Music roundup for June 12-18, 2014

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By Bill Livick, Special to The Gazette
Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ellis Paul at 8 p.m. Thursday, June 12, Cafe Carpe, 18 S. Water St., Fort Atkinson. Tickets: $20. Call 920-563-9391.

Singer-songwriter Ellis Paul is recognized as a master of the “Boston-style” of songwriting—a literate and introspective type of songwriting that emerged in the early 1990s to become prevalent in the modern folk music landscape.

Paul has released 18 albums and has received an astounding 14 Boston Music Awards—one of the highest honors in American folk music.

He began his career in the late 1980s after graduating from Boston College, where he earned a scholarship as a track and cross-country star. While recovering from an injury during his junior year, Paul learned to play guitar and began performing at open-mic events.

He was a natural and in 1991 was given the Boston Acoustic Underground Award. The honor set his career in motion, and Paul began touring the country as a solo artist.

He made his first appearance at Fort Atkinson’s Café Carpe in the early 1990s and has returned several times.

In an interview, Paul said he has performed in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to small listening rooms.

“I like playing a variety of stages, and I don’t have favorites,” he said. “I just want a good crowd. It’s more about the people who are there rather than the size of the room. It’s still fun.”

Paul recently completed a new album that he began recording last year, “Chasing Beauty.” He described the music as “more guitar-driven” than his last few recordings.

“It comes across as a folk-rock record, rather than a strictly acoustic thing,” he said. “This is a little more melodic and a little more guitar-driven.”

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, June 12, Majestic Theatre, 115 King St., Madison. Tickets: $15. Call 608-255-0901.

The Philadelphia-based indie rock band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is touring in support of its new album, “Only Run.”

National Public Radio described the album as “a simultaneously soaring, jittery and joyful sound in surprising ways.” The record is the follow-up to the band’s 2011 release, “Hysterical.”

Frontman Alec Ounsworth has a reputation for being more comfortable lurking in the shadows than basking in the spotlight. Those first heady years after the band’s 2005 self-titled debut were tough for him—he has always preferred house concerts to arena venues, which is where CYHSY landed after its initial success.

Nowadays, the band is back performing in smaller, more intimate spaces, which should make its appearance at the Majestic Theatre an exceptional experience for anyone lucky enough to attend.

Jamey Johnson at 8 p.m. Friday, June 13, The Rave, 2401 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee. Tickets: $30-$35. Call 414-342-7283.

Jamey Johnson is another artist whose career began in 2005. The next year, Johnson released his debut album, “The Dollar,” which peaked at No. 2 on the country album charts.

Johnson has released three albums since then, including “The Guitar Song” in 2010. That album reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and sold 63,000 copies in its first week.

Johnson released his fourth album, “Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran,” in October 2012. It was nominated for best country album at the 2013 Grammy Awards.

Maxwell at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 14, The Riverside Theater, 116 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee. Tickets: $26.25-$75. Call 414-286-3663.

Neo-soul singer Maxwell, aka Gerald Maxwell Rivera, is a versatile singer whose styles encompass everything from funk to R&B to classic soul music. But he is best known as one of the leaders of the subgenre neo-soul movement of the late 1990s.

After a successful debut album, “Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite,” Maxwell released two more albums before taking an eight-year hiatus. He returned with the platinum-selling “BLACKsummers’night,” in 2009.

He received 12 Grammy nominations with two wins: “BLACKsummers’night” was named best R&B album at the 2010 Grammy Awards, while the song “Pretty Wings” won for best male R&B vocal performance.

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