The ArtsCenter - Cat's Cradle


Nov
30 Sat
Image for Daughter of Swords and the Dawnbreaker Band (Nick Sanborn/Ryan Gustafson/Jeff Crawford/Yan Westerlund), with Jake Xerxes Fussell

Daughter of Swords and the Dawnbreaker Band (Nick Sanborn/Ryan Gustafson/Jeff Crawford/Yan Westerlund), with Jake Xerxes Fussell

Carrboro, NC
United States
Doors at 7:00 PM, Show at 8:00 PM
 More Information
TICKET PRICES CURRENTLY AVAILABLE
ADVANCED: $15.00

TICKET SALE DATES
ADVANCED Public Onsale: September 20, 2019 10:00 AM to November 30, 2019 7:00 PM

PERFORMANCE DESCRIPTION
In 2017, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig began recording a set of songs... ...about a breakup that had yet to happen. Her partnership had drifted into a comfortable state of indecision, stalling when it came time to make big life moves or chase new horizons. She had the sense that she needed to slip the relationship in order to pursue everything else life might have in store-more music, more adventures, a general sense of the unknown. Those feelings drifted steadily into a set of songs that lamented the inevitable loss but, more important, outlined the promise of the future. Recording the ten tracks that became her stunning solo debut, Dawnbreaker, under the new name Daughter of Swords gave Sauser-Monnig permission to go.

Dawnbreaker began as the first phase of Sauser-Monnig's return to music after stepping to the sidelines for the better part of a decade. Her college trio, Mountain Man, rose to quick acclaim for their peerless harmonies around 2010, but the friends slowly drifted apart, following their own interests to different coasts and concerns. While working on a flower farm as a farmhand, though, Sauser-Monnig realized that she missed the emotional articulation she found in writing songs and singing them and resolved to start again. She pieced together an album just as Mountain Man-now newly gathered in the fertile Piedmont of North Carolina-began to regroup for its second LP, 2018's aptly named Magic Ship. Working with Sylvan Esso's Nick Sanborn, Sauser-Monnig shaped what began as quiet reflections into confident compositions, crackling with country swagger and a sparkling pop warmth. They were, after all, preemptive odes to the next phase of life.

Calling the ten tunes of Dawnbreaker breakup songs is to hamstring them with elegiac expectations, to paint them as sad-eyed surrenders to loss and grief. Sure, there is the gentle opener "Fellows," a hushed number that explores the turmoil of being unable to reciprocate the feelings of a wild and shy, tall and fine man. And there's the blossoming country shuffle of "Easy Is Hard," where Sauser-Monnig stands in the yard and sees her lover leave, his taillights fading into the night sky; she can't sleep, so she gets up to turn the lights and stereo on, to "feel my soul coming down."

Even there, amid the throes of a life convulsion, there is a wisp of hope and possibility, framed by the way "the dim light change[s] into dawn, rosy blue, pink fawn." The very heart of Dawnbreaker is not the impending breakup that inspired many of its songs but the sense of liberation and breaking out that the breakup inspired. Buoyed by the insistent patter of a drum machine and rich acoustic guitars, Sauser-Monnig finds herself in search of new thrills during "Gem," whether pondering the fleeting nature of existence at a waterfall's edge or watching the shapes of mountains seemingly dance beneath her headlights. The muted, harmonica-lined boogie of "Sun" begins with a vulnerable confession, a revelation of loneliness; it is, however, a low-key anthem for the open road, about giving oneself over to the infinity of solitude and an endless strip of asphalt. Sauser-Monnig captures these scenes with a painter's eye and delivers them with a novelist's heart.

Links: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Bandcamp
Mar
24 Tue
Image for James McMurtry, with Bonnie Whitmore

James McMurtry, with Bonnie Whitmore

Carrboro, NC
United States
Doors at 7:00 PM, Show at 8:00 PM
 More Information
TICKET PRICES CURRENTLY AVAILABLE
ADVANCED: $22.00
DAY OF: $25.00

TICKET SALE DATES
ADVANCED Public Onsale: November 8, 2019 10:00 AM to March 24, 2020 12:00 AM
DAY OF Public Onsale: March 24, 2020 12:00 AM to March 24, 2020 6:00 PM

PERFORMANCE DESCRIPTION
The New York Times Magazine's cover story "25 Songs That Tell Us Where Music Is Going" (Sunday, March 12) prominently features a four-page spread focusing on James McMurtry's "Copper Canteen," from his 2015 release Complicated Game. The author points directly to the song's frequently quoted opening line as a representative passage in McMurtry's work: "Honey, don't you be yelling at me while I'm cleaning my gun."

"Though that line about the gun got a big laugh when McMurtry played it in Dallas," Ruth Graham writes, "I still don't know whether to hear it as a joke or a threat, and McMurtry has never been one to offer the easy comfort of a straight answer."

Additionally, while many fans consider McMurtry an overtly political songwriter ("We Can't Make It Here Anymore," "Cheney's Toy"), Graham notes that he's actually more concerned with the effect of policy on personal workaday matters. "McMurtry often writes about how seemingly distant political concerns nudge his characters' choices and prod their psyches," she says, "the stretched budget of the Veterans Affairs Department or the birth of a new national park's consuming the neighbors' land through eminent domain."

Read the New York Times Magazine in full here.

Those living and visiting Austin during South by Southwest this week will have several chances to catch McMurtry, from his full-band showcase at Mojo Nixon's Jalapeno Pancake Mayhem at the Continental Club to a solo gig at El Mercado's Backstage. Fans on the East Coast can see him on his Stateside Solo tour later in March, which launches at the Clementine Cafe in Harrisonburg, Virginia on March 25 and routes throughout the region before concluding at New York City's City Winery on April 2.

"Nothing makes you miss Waffle House like a couple of weeks in Europe," says McMurtry, who has been touring abroad recently. "The term 'Continental Breakfast' is an oxymoron."

"James McMurtry may be the truest, fiercest songwriter of his generation" -Stephen King

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

300-g E Main St
Carrboro, NC
United States
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