Music roundup: Miranda Lambert planning March 18 show in Rockford

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By Bill Livick/Special to The Gazette
Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Cold War Kids, 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 14, Majestic Theatre, 115 King St., Madison. Tickets: $30-$35. Call 608-255-0901.

The five-piece indie rock band Cold War Kids appears Tuesday at the Majestic Theatre with new songs from its latest album, “L.A. Divine,” which comes out next month.

Formed in 2004 in California, the band is led by guitarist, singer and songwriter Nathan Willett. Cold War Kids have released five albums to date, all with a blues-rock sound that has echoes of Bob Dylan and Velvet Underground.

Cold War Kids released their first album, “Robbers and Cowards,” in 2006 and then toured for two years in the U.S. and abroad before returning to the studio. The band sold about 200,000 copies of its first album, according to its website.

In 2008, the band began working on its next album, “Loyalty to Loyalty.” The album featured less hard rock than its predecessor and instead focused on more narrative storytelling.

After the album's release, the band toured to support it for almost two years, occasionally opening for Death Cab for Cutie. In 2009, the band returned to the studio to work on its third album, “Behave Yourself,” and the next year it began recording “Mine is Yours,” an album that hit record stores in 2011.

Commenting on the album in Filter magazine, Willett compared Cold War Kids to indie rockers Wilco.

“I was just watching the Wilco documentary again, and I think that in many ways Wilco is to country/Americana as Cold War Kids is to soul/punk,” he said. “We are taking what we do to the next level on this record.”

Expect the band to play songs from its entire repertoire when it comes to Madison next week.

Gaelic Storm, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 16, Barrymore Theatre, 2090 Atwood Ave., Madison. Tickets: $25-$30. Call 608-241-8633. Also, 8 p.m. Friday, March 17, The Pabst Theater, 144 E. Wells St., Milwaukee. Tickets: $29.50. Call 414-286-3663.

The Celtic rock band Gaelic Storm rose to fame after appearing in the Hollywood blockbuster “Titanic” in 1997.

Back in 1996, founding members Patrick Murphy, Steve Twigger and Steve Wehmeyer all had day jobs, but they also had a regular Sunday night gig at an Irish pub in Santa Monica, California. Their reputation grew locally along with their tenure at the bar.

One night, the music director for “Titanic” came in and caught the band performing. He had been searching for a group to do the music for the film but couldn't find anyone with the right sound. He found what he was looking for in Gaelic Storm's driving rhythm and spirited Celtic music.

“Titanic” director James Cameron also loved what he heard and agreed Gaelic Storm was the right band for the project. Initially, the band was expected to record the music, and actors would play the parts of musicians in the film. But the band members' look had an air of authenticity, and they found themselves on the film set.

After appearing in the film as the steerage band below deck, Gaelic Storm returned to Santa Monica, resumed playing at the pub and waited for the film's release. Once “Titanic” hit theaters in December 1997, life for Gaelic Storm changed completely.

The band has released 11 albums of traditional Irish and Scottish music—all fueled by a strong dose of Celtic rock—and performs an average of 125 shows worldwide annually.  

Here Come The Mummies, 8 p.m. Friday, March 17, Turner Hall Ballroom, 1040 N. Fourth St., Milwaukee. Tickets: $22.50. Call 414-286-3663.

They've opened for P-Funk and Al Green, so you know they've got to be good.

But who they are remains a mystery.

Here Come the Mummies is a 10-piece funk band reportedly comprising top Nashville musicians who keep their identities under wraps, literally. Media reports speculate members of the band are under contract with competing record companies, and in order to perform together without abrogating label contracts, the mummies have gone under cover.
The band has released nine studio albums, four EPs and two live albums.

Here Come the Mummies has performed regularly on the Bob & Tom Show, a nationally syndicated radio program. The band is currently touring the country with a stop at Turner Hall Ballroom on Friday.

Here Come the Mummies released its debut album in 2002 and released two albums last year that feature a full horn section and funk and soul arrangements.

The band's original songs have an element of parody, touching on comical themes. Its instrumentation includes guitar, drums, keyboards, two bass players, percussion, tenor saxophone, trumpet, tenor and baritone saxophone, flute and clarinet.

Miranda Lambert, 7 p.m. Saturday, March 18, BMO Harris Bank Center, 300 Elm St., Rockford, Illinois. Tickets: $39.75-$59.75. Call Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000.

Miranda Lambert is one of the biggest stars in country music today.

Since breaking onto the Nashville scene in 2005, she's been nominated for 14 Grammy Awards and has won two. She's also won seven consecutive Academy of Country Music Female Vocalist of the Year awards (a record for most consecutive wins in that category), and she is also the first woman to have won the Country Music Association's Album of the Year award twice.

Recognized as a powerful singer and an accomplished songwriter, Lambert began learning her craft while still in high school in East Texas. She regularly performed in local honky-tonks and roadhouses, fronting a popular local band.
At 16, she appeared on the Johnnie High Country Music Revue in Arlington, Texas, and won a recording session in Nashville. But she left the Nashville studio frustrated by the music she was asked to record.

Lambert went back to Texas in 2000 and asked her dad to teach her how to play guitar so she could write her own songs.

She released her debut album, “Kerosene,” in 2005, and it sold more than one million copies. Later that year, at the Academy of Country Music Awards, Lambert won the Cover Girl “Fresh Face of Country Music” award.

In 2007, Lambert received a Grammy nomination for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for her single, “Kerosene.” She also won the Top New Female Vocalist award at the 2007 Academy of Country Music Awards. In 2008 the ACM chose Lambert's “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” as Album of the Year.

Lambert has released four more albums since “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” including “The Weight of These Wings” last year. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart and is considered by some publications and music critics as one of the best country albums of 2016.

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