The 13-part concert series INFINITY HALL LIVE celebrates the music and energy of groundbreaking American artists. The acoustically perfect Infinity Music Hall, a historic 130-year-old venue in Norfolk, Conn., provides an intimate setting for engaging, authentic and heartfelt performances by an eclectic group of musicians. This season's line-up includes: pop trio Wilson Phillips, "folk soul" singer-songwriter and guitarist Keb' Mo', soulful singer-songwriter Shelby Lynne, alternative rockers Rusted Root, The Wailin' Jennys folk group, folk troubadour Jonathan Edwards, rockers The Smithereens and guitar virtuoso Tim Reynolds. Candid interviews with band members provide a window into their motivations, their inspirations and their unique styles. Cameras also eavesdrop on backstage preparations, providing a glimpse into the creative process, as well as a sense of the behind-the-scenes anticipation and nervous energy at the heart of any live concert.
INFINITY HALL LIVE continues with a concert by Grammy Award-winning artist Shelby Lynne. Since her debut in 1989, Shelby Lynne has been difficult to define with her music ranging from country, blues, Southern soul, roots rock, Western swing, jazz and adult contemporary pop. When asked to define herself, Lynne replied simply, "I try not to define anything really, myself especially. I like to let the music do the talking." This simple statement speaks volumes to her craft. Shelby Lynne is a musician at heart, bringing her soulful, down-home sound and style to countless individuals. Born in Virginia but raised in rural Alabama, Lynne struggled at the onset of her career. It wasn't until her 2000 album, I Am Shelby Lynne, that she garnered critical acclaim, propelling her into the international spotlight. Since then, she has continued to dazzle audiences across the country, asserting herself as one of country music's greats. Lynne has even made inroads onto the silver screen, appearing in several films, most notably the Johnny Cash biopic, Walk the Line. At Infinity Hall, Lynne takes the stage with accomplished Nashville guitarist John Jackson. "John Jackson is an excellent guitar-playing friend of mine, " she says, introducing Jackson, who has played with musicians like Bob Dylan and Lucinda Williams. Although the pair performs only with guitars, vocals, and a harmonica,Lynne's music fills the room and captivates the audience. Her set includes three songs from I Am Shelby Lynne, the album that earned her a Grammy in 2001 for Best New Artist. The show also includes a moving performance of "Pretend," an original song she included on her 2008 Dusty Springfield tribute album, Just A Little Lovin', and "Killin' Kind," which appeared in the film, Bridget Jones's Diary.
Sunday, April 07, 2013 Length : 57 min MPT
The Wailin' Jennys Episode # 108
The Wailin' Jennys bring their brand of folk and contemporary roots music to Infinity Hall. Brought together in 2002 for what was supposed to be a one-time coffee house gig in Winnipeg, this award-winning trio soon found their irresistible chemistry and tight vocal harmonies were winning over audiences throughout North America and beyond. Comprised of Nicky Mehta, Ruth Moody, and Heather Masse, The Wailin' Jennys have toured extensively since the release of their eponymously named first studio album in 2003. They've collaborating with a variety of artists and become a fixture as musical guests on public radio's A Prairie Home Companion. Steeped in classical music and art, The Wailin' Jennys have developed a style and sound all their own. With heavy use of acoustic instruments, the group's musical influences range from 70s rock to traditional Celtic folk tunes. Their complexities in style and musical offering only serve to distinguish them further from the rest of the music industry.Having won a Juno Award (Canadian Grammy) in 2005 for their album, 40 Days, The Wailin' Jennys have continued to enjoy success, including their newest album, Bright Morning Stars, released to critical acclaim in the United States and Canada.
Sunday, April 21, 2013 Length : 57 min MPT
Rusted Root Episode # 109
The Pittsburgh-based fusion band Rusted Root brings their unique percussive jam-rock sound to the historic stage at Infinity Hall. With a highly unique sound, the band has cultivated a loyal following, selling more than 3 million albums worldwide. Originally formed in 1990, the band has been characterized as many things: a jam band, an eclectic collection, a college-radio wonder. Whatever the case, the band has been nothing but popular. With consistently sold-out tours, Rusted Root appears to be garnering the attention of more than just their loyal "Rootheads." Blending world influences from the African, Indian, and Middle Eastern traditions, Rusted Root embodies a percussion-driven rock band with heavy use of tight vocal harmony and pulsing chords. With hit songs like "Send Me on My Way" and "Dance in the Middle," Rusted Root has become an immovable facet in alternative rock.
Sunday, April 28, 2013 Length : 57 min MPT
Jonathan Edwards Episode # 111
INFINITY HALL LIVE showcases veteran folk singer/songwriter Jonathan Edwards, best known for his 1971 classic "Sunshine." The song - a fierce proclamation of protest and independence set to deceptively upbeat music - became an anthem for numerous young people who opposed the Vietnam War. Today, Edwards seems more comfortable as a laid-back troubadour than a political radical. Often performing on stage barefoot (as he does at Infinity Hall), Edwards demonstrates an expertise with the guitar, mandolin, and accordion to create his own brand of acoustic folk-rock. His heart-felt lyrics and easy-going style continue to please his loyal fans as well as win over new ones. Edwards and his band - Moondi Klein on guitar, Charlie Rose on banjo, Tom Snow on piano and Joe Walsh on mandolin - perform songs primarily from his 2011 album, My Love Will Keep, such as the stunning a cappella rendition of "This Island Earth." But he doesn't disappoint his longtime fans and offers exuberant performances of the classics "Sunshine" and "Shanty," the latter which came to be known as a "Friday song" for many radio stations who would play it every Friday night at 5 to kick off the weekend. "I love playing rooms like this," Edwards says of Infinity Hall. "[It's like] we're playing in a big guitar ...or a Steinway grand piano. It feels like we're inside something like that and the music just vibrates and lives very much in a place like this."
Sunday, May 26, 2013 Length : 57 min MPT
Dawes Episode # 112
The venue is packed as Los Angeles-based band Dawes takes the stage. Although they could have filled an even larger venue, the intimate atmosphere at Infinity Hall is welcomed by guitarist and lead vocalist Taylor Goldsmith. "I'm pretty sure venues like this are exactly what our music is meant to be played in. No bigger, no smaller. This is exactly perfect," he told the audience after opening with "That Western Skyline" and "The Way You Laugh." With his brother Griffin Goldsmith on drums and vocals, Tay Strathairn on keyboards and vocals, and Wiley Gelber on bass, the foursome's carefully crafted rhythms and tight harmonies have been compared to the Laurel Canyon sound of Crosby, Still and Nash and Neil Young. Taylor commented on Dawes' chemistry both musically and personally. "We're all extremely close," says Taylor. "I don't think this would work if we weren't. A big part of our careers and our time spent playing music is on the road." The band puts an emphasis on its live sound, even turning to traditional methods when recording albums. Strathairn points out that the band records on two-inch tape, laying down an entire track at once rather than recording each part separately. "The performance becomes paramount. We're all in a room, and they say go, and you have to do a whole take of a whole song. We're a live band essentially, and I think that captures us a bit," he says. The group tours extensively and considers its live performances to be its greatest asset. "Music being what it is today, where the value of the record isn't what it was and people could take it for free if they want, the only way to carve out a career for yourself is playing on stage and playing shows and having people come out to the shows. It's always been the best way to spread the word about the band," says Taylor. True to his word, Taylor shows his appreciation for the audience by turning his microphone stand toward the singing crowd as they belt out the chorus line during an inspirational rendition of "When My Time Comes." Dawes closes the show with "Time Spent in Los Angeles," the song they played in June 2011 while performing on The Late Show with David Letterman.