Cool Shows Next Week 12/13 – 12/19


Monday 12/13

Shaun Johnson + Big Band Experience at the Ames Center – TICKETS

Shaun Johnson, an Emmy-winning singer/songwriter, seemed destined for a life of music from the very beginning. “One of my earliest memories,” he says, “is of performing at state fair talent shows with my little sister. We’d sing Sonny and Cher songs, a cappella, when neither of us was quite tall enough to reach the microphone.”

Originally from the small town of Saint Joseph, Iowa, Shaun attended Saint John’s University before settling in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he began his career with the nationally known vocal group, Tonic Sol-fa. This quartet has sold nearly two million albums independently and has been featured in Newsweek and on the Today Show.  Shaun is still an active member. 

In 2016, Shaun put together a group featuring some of the best instrumentalists and arrangers in the Midwest– guys who’ve toured with numerous luminaries, who are Music Educators of the Year and who are integral members of collegiate jazz faculties.  His vision was to create a contemporary big band sound with a pop flair, honoring legends like Frank Sinatra, with a nod to Michael Bublé, while giving the music his own twist – performing songs ranging from the “Spiderman Theme” to increasingly popular original work. 

The initial holiday tour received such overwhelming feedback that another, expanded holiday tour was undertaken the following year. The proceeds from those first, small tours were subsequently donated to local charities.  In 2018, with increased presenter and fan demand, the BBE added even more cities to the holiday tour and for the first time, began accepting regular season shows which expanded rapidly across the U.S.

Look for the BBE’s very first PBS special, “Spirit of the Season,” to air across North America as well as the Big Band Experience’s very first studio recording, “Capitol,” which garnered a top 5 debut on the Billboard Jazz Chart.  


Tuesday 12/14

Houndmouth at the Fine Line  – TICKETS

Houndmouth — the band that has continuously transformed humble, Indiana-bred folk into a platinum selling singles, main stage sets at Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, and SXSW, and performances for Conan, Letterman, and many, many more — will be playing Fine Line Music Cafe on 12/14. As a part of the second leg of their fall tour, the shows follow a rousing CBS Saturday Sessions performance from the warm confines of their hometown headquarters and a slew of adrenaline-inducing shows last month. 

From the “rich harmonies of Nashville’s ’70s pop crossovers” (Boston Globe) to “shaggy, big screen story-telling” (NPR), the band’s live act raves up their warm, home-spun folk into shout-along sets that are altogether more colorful, more energetic, and more adventurous than their home recorded harmonies. You can get a taste of what their shout-along set will entail in their performance video for “Make It To Midnight”, a set filled with haleful harmonies and amped up guitar.

While on the road, they’ll be playing tracks from their recent record Good For You (out Nov 5), what MOJO calls “an escapist tonic” that is “highly attuned to nuances of mood and scene setting” in a 4 star review. Recorded with Brad Cook (Waxahatchee, Hiss Golden Messenger) and mixed by Jon Ashley (The War On Drugs, B.J. Barham) in the band’s hometown studio, the record exudes warmth and nostalgia: as dulcet melodies waltz sweetly across beds of celestial organs and grungy guitar riffs, Houndmouth’s hopeful harmonies uncover jaded wisdom. 


Wednesday 12/15

Allen Stone at the Fine Line – TICKETS

Allen Stone is an R&B / soul singer from Chewelah, WA. The son of the pastor of the local church, he was immersed in gospel from an early age until he found funk and soul as a teenager through Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions. Billboard has praised his “disarmingly soulful vocals” and WXPN says “his energetic shows, plus his warm and evocative albums, explain why Stone has such a solid fan base”.

Allen released his third studio album in 2019 called Building Balance that includes hit songs Brown Eyed Lover, Sunny Days, and Consider Me. Building Balance is a textured amalgam of R&B and soul, which saw Stone draw inspiration from ‘70s funk and punctuate his music with modern pop flourishes. His latest release, a cover of Bob Marley’s “Is This Love”, is the first song off his upcoming acoustic album APART, due to release November 12.

“This album was a way to pay homage to the songs that have been my foundational support for the last decade, and to also pay homage to all the people who’ve loved these songs over the years,” says Stone. He has performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, as well as the Special Olympics opening ceremony, NPR’s Tiny Desk, and has been a guest mentor on American Idol.

Saturday 12/18

Watkins Family at Hopkins Center For Arts – TICKETS

Brother – sister duo, Sean and Sara Watkins, have performed separately and together for nearly their whole lives. As young adults, Sean, Sara, and Chris broke out nationally at Nickel Creek, an acoustic ensemble that sold millions of albums, won a GRAMMY and toured the world.