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Don Gallardo Band
plus Ags Connolly

Saturday 24th November 2018

Dinton Parish Church, Dinton, nr Aylesbury, HP17 8UG

Doors 8 pm
Tickets £12.50 in advance
Buy tickets . . .
Empty Room Promotions 2018 ©
Due to sound check restriction the door time indicates the earliest opportunity we can give access to the venue. Live music will start 20-30 minutes after the door open time.
From the foot of Mount Tamalpais, just north of San Francisco and east of the Pacific shore, to East Nashville’s stubbornly independent community of young artists and musicians, singer/songwriter Don Gallardo’s path has always steered clear of the mainstream.
 
Traces of his journey illuminate his newest album. Begin with its title, 
Still Here, an assertion that he has learned from life and expressed its lessons in songs. Many have taken note already, including MOJO Magazine (“Gallardo nods to country’s most distant past while sounding like its very near future”), No Depression (“highly recommended to fans of great songwriters”) and, several times, Rolling Stone, who most recently heralded him as one of “10 Artists You Need To Know” in 2017.
 
The times have caught up with Gallardo, whose love for musical tradition and willingness to melt genre barriers anticipated the Americana boom by at least a decade. On 
Still Here, “The Bitter End” conjures a neon-lit honky-tonk. An ambling beat and jaunty clarinet on “Stay Awhile” suggest a carefree jazz lounge. Raw roots-rock, a storefront church testimonial, an intimate acoustic-and-steel waltz… each track is an echo of something Gallardo heard and filed away until the right lyric came along.
And lyrics have always been central to his writing. Poetic sensitivity, honesty, and sprinkles of humour find common ground throughout Still Here. To long time listeners, this is hardly news. But Still Here represents something new for Gallardo, a corner turned and a step taken upward toward a new level of creativity. “On every record I’ve released until now, I’ve written everything on my own except for a song here or there,” he says. “For this one, I wanted to step out of that box.”
 
So, all but two songs on 
Still Here were by Gallardo and a co-writer. Significantly, each is as personal as anything else in his catalogue. “I didn’t change much in the way I approached these songs,” he points out. “What changed was the way I approach a melody. I wanted to sing melodies that weren’t like the ones I normally write. I did this to become a better singer. So I reached out to some songwriters I really like.”
 
With Mando Saenz, Robby Hecht, Tim Easton, and other gifted collaborators, Gallardo emerged with a passel of new songs he was eager to record. Beginning with bare-bones demos of voice and acoustic guitar, he recruited a team of musicians who knew how to tap into the spirit of each composition, including Old Crow Medicine Show mandolinist/steel player Joe Andrews, keyboardist Micah Hulscher from Margo Price’s band and Dave Roe, who played with Johnny Cash for 12 years and played on Sturgill Simpson and Dan Auerbach’s last albums.
 
With his writing and performing partners, Gallardo achieved something rare with 
Still Here: a perfect flow of diverse stories into a single emotional statement. “The title of the album says it,” he says. “I’ve been playing for a long time. It hasn’t always been easy. Lots of opportunities seemed to present themselves and then disappear. I’m not complaining. That’s the way the music business is. So what do you do? You keep going forward. That’s what my dad and mom taught me when I was a kid.”
  
In addition to catching one of his live shows, fans can hear Gallardo's music prominently featured in films like "Jolene" and Jackass Presents "Bad Grandpa," as well as the television series "The Vampire Diaries," ABC / CMT's "Nashville," and Netflix series "The Ranch."
Ags Connolly

“The best singer-songwriter in the country field that this country has ever turned out.” – Country Music People

Ags Connolly is a traditional country singer-songwriter from Oxfordshire, England. Having attempted to write songs for years, Ags found the confidence to take it seriously after attending a workshop with Nashville super-musician Darrell Scott. Since then he’s built a reputation as an inspired songwriter at major festivals and as a constant presence on the touring circuit. Ags has headlined shows both solo and with a band across the UK, Europe and the US.
Ags’ influences come essentially from hardcore country songwriters like David Allan Coe, Johnny Paycheck and Dale Watson. However, he also takes major singer-songwriter influences from the likes of Guy Clark, Loudon Wainwright III and Chris Knight.

The debut album ‘How About Now’ was released in February 2014, receiving rave reviews including being named ‘Album of the Month’ in Country Music People magazine who described him as “the closest we’ve ever come to an English Willie Nelson”. The album was also heralded as “a masterpiece” by Maverick magazine. In 2016, Country Music People magazine named the song ‘When Country Was Proud’ as one of the Top 50 country songs from the last 30 years.

Ags’ second album, ‘Nothin’ Unexpected’, was released in February 2017. Its release led Country Music People magazine to declare him “the best singer-songwriter in the country field that this country has ever turned out” and John Godfrey from The Troubador Show to label it “the best country album to come out of the UK from the best ever UK country artist”.