Sarah Potenza w/ Granville Automatic

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Sarah Potenza w/ Granville Automatic

Sarah Potenza w/ Granville Automatic

Hill Country Live Presents

This show as seating and standing room. All seats are first come, first serve. All sales are final. No refunds. If you would like to dine in before the show please go to www.hillcountry.com.

 

Sarah Potenza:

"I work for me," Sarah Potenza declares at the beginning of Road to Rome, kicking off her second solo album — a record of self-empowered R&B, swaggering soul, and contemporary blues — with her own declaration of independence.

 

Filled with messages of self-worth, determination, and drive, Road to Rome shines new light on a songwriter whose career already includes multiple albums as front-woman of Sarah and the Tall Boys, a game-changing appearance on The Voice, and an acclaimed solo debut titled Monster. Released one year after she sang in front of 12 million people during The Voice's eighth season, 2016's Monster prompted Rolling Stone to gush, "Potenza is to the blues what Adele is to pop: a colossal-voiced singer who merges her old-school influences with a modernistic sound." Three years later, that sound deepens and intensifies with Road to Rome, an album that shows the full scope of Potenza's aims and ambitions.

 

And just who is Sarah Potenza? She's a songwriter. A bold, brassy singer. A businesswoman. A proud, loud-mouthed Italian-American from Providence, Rhode Island, with roots in Nashville and an audience that stretches across the Atlantic. Road to Rome spells it all out. Co-written by Potenza, produced by Jordan Brooke Hamlin (Indigo Girls, Lucy Wainwright Roche), and recorded with a female-heavy cast of collaborators, the album isn't just her own story. It's the story of all artists — particularly women, who remain the minority within the male-dominated music industry — who've learned to trust their instincts, refusing to let mainstream trends dilute their own artistic statements.

 

For Potenza, such lessons were learned during the writing sessions for Road to Rome, which took place aboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean, as well as at her home in East Nashville. It was during the cruise that she first began writing songs with Justin Wiseman, a piano player from Austin, TX. For years, she and her husband, Ian Crossman, had worked together as a duo, splitting their musical duties more or less equally, writing songs with guitar in hand, and merging their very different influences. This was something different, though — something about the piano that allowed Potenza the chance to rediscover her own voice, making an album whose unique approach to soul music was entirely her own. Although Crossman and Wiseman’s contributions as co-writers can be heard throughout Road to Rome's tracks, the album represents a strong shift in dynamic, with Potenza leading the charge.

 

When it came time to record Road to Rome at MOXE, Jordan Brooke Hamlin's Nashville-area studio, Potenza looked to a wide range of musicians for influence. She turned to Whitney Houston. To Lauryn Hill. To Pops Staples, the Dirty Projectors, RL Burnside, Bette Midler, and more. Those artists gave her inspiration not only on a musical level, but on an emotional and thematic level, too. They were artists who spoke with conviction, chasing their own muses into unique, personalized territory. Potenza did the same, turning Road to Rome into an album filled with everything from the torch song balladry of "Earthquake" (a love letter to Crossman, thanking him for years of support ) to the funky fire of "Dickerson and Queen" (where Potenza howls, swoons, and croons over bass grooves and swirling organ, reminding everyone that, "I don't give a fuck about nothing but the music"). She even makes room for a piano-propelled cover of "Worthy," originally written by Grammy-nominated icon Mary Gauthier, who personally sent the song to Potenza.

 

Released on International Women's Day 2019, Road to Rome is the sound of a songwriter taking the wheel and driving toward her own destination. This is Sarah Potenza's strongest album to date: a battlecry from a soul singer and blues belter, shot through with pop melodies, rock & roll attitude, and absolutely zero fucks. 

 

Granville Automatic: 

 

Led by a modern-day Linda Ronstadt, Granville Automatic writes songs the Associated Press calls “haunting tales of sorrow and perseverance.” With influences as diverse as The Smiths, Emmylou Harris, Simon & Garfunkel and Dawes, Granville Automatic has created a one-of-a-kind sound that revolves around their passion for storytelling. The duo, comprised of Nashville songwriters Vanessa Olivarez and Elizabeth Elkins, is named after a 19th-century typewriter.

The girls’ devotion to the project has proved a chaotic road of back-breaking touring, interpersonal tension, former-day-job balancing, other-band leaving, and a love-hate dynamic that brought them from Atlanta to Nashville. Theirs is a creative partnership reminiscent of Lennon-McCartney, a dreamer-doer, accessible-obtuse, country-rock collision of two polar opposites. What the two share, however, is a love for nostalgia: old records and antiques, tarot cards and dusty books, ghosts on battlefields and lost stories from the past. That common ground has produced music praised by The New York Times and Rolling Stone.

They have more than 750,000 streams to date, and their recent singles have been featured on Apple Music's Hot Country Tracks and Pandora's New Country.

Granville Automatic’s latest album is Radio Hymns, a 13-track concept record mining Nashville’s lost history from the two wives of city founder Timothy Demonbreun to the day in 1974 that the Ryman Auditorium was saved from the wrecking ball. The album features guest appearances from Jim Lauderdale, Kevin Griffin of Better Than Ezra, Ben Fields and Matraca Berg. Elkins and Olivarez self-produced the record, using some longtime Granville players and some of Nashville’s legendary studio musicians (and studios). The album rocks and rolls, haunts and soars, and pays true homage to the mystery of Music City. The album has been featured in USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Bitter Southerner, The Tennessean, No Depression, American Songwriter and many more.

The press on the record led to a book deal to co-write The Hidden History of Music Row, due from The History Press in summer 2020.

“Stories always find their way to us,” Olivarez explained. “For our last album about the Civil War, those stories were usually very sad ones about love and loss. But for Nashville – we kept discovering stories of deception, murder, trickery, drugs and debauchery. It’s a very different beast, but one often with redemption at the end of the road.”

“This is my favorite recording project I’ve ever done,” added Elkins. “The stories are insanely intense – and really reveal the character and heart and depth of Nashville’s past. Much like Music Row has its secrets, the city is full of incredible stories of affairs, God, war, love and ghosts. We spent hours looking for the greatest stories, many long buried as the houses or streets where they happened have vanished. I think we found some good ones.

“As writers in Nashville, we often write for the radio with hopes to make a living. But we came here because songs are our hymns – they save us. That’s why we called thisRADIO HYMNS,” the girls agreed.

Elkins and Olivarez have written songs recorded by country stars Billy Currington (the Billboard Country Top 30 single “Drinkin’ Town With A Football Problem”), Sugarland, Kira Isabella (the Billboard Canadian Country Top 15 hit “Little Girl”), Aaron Goodvin, Wanda Jackson, Angaleena Presley and numerous others. Their songwriting led them to a coveted Composers in Residence spot at Seaside, Fla.’s Escape to Create program. They’ve appeared on DittyTV, PBS’ Sun Studio Sessions and WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour. You may have heard their songs on ABC’s American Crime and The Lying Game, as well as Netflix’s The Ranch. Their tour schedule is as frenzied as 150 shows a year, including stops at SXSW, the Key West, Island Hopper, Red River and 30A Songwriters festivals, CMA Fest and Tin Pan South. They’ve played at venues from the legendary Joshua Tree roadhouse Pappy & Harriet’s to Texas’ haunted Gruene Hall and have shared the stage with Gretchen Peters, Little Texas, Ty Herndon, Shenandoah, Radney Foster and The SteelDrivers.

Details

Sarah Potenza w/ Granville Automatic
Thursday, November 21, 2019
8:30 PM
This event is 
Age Limit: 

Event Map

Hill Country Barbecue Market  
410 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20004

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