CAMP STREET CAFÉ
Camp Street Schedule
New reservation policy at Camp Street Cafe.
Saturday, September 14
The Wright Family hosts the evening. Bring an instrument and jam, perform at the open mic, or just come and listen!
Tony Ramey grew up in West Virginia on Bluegrass and Bill Withers; found Willie, Waylon, Cash, and Kristoﬀerson at eleven, who compelled him to write songs; then heard Steve Earle who made him move to Guitar Town to hone his craft; and he left for Texas when the road called him out again...
Somewhere in the middle of all that he acquired a Masters, taught at a university while working on his PhD, and garnered Gold and Platinum Records as a songwriter in Nashville. Currently he tours the US and Texas, where he has been named 2016's Independent Artist of the Year by the Texas Country Music Association.
With the exception of his release Soul Survivor, featuring a duet with the iconic Willie Nelson (also a new fan of his music), Tony Ramey has not caught much press. Yet, he is still grabbing the attention of industry people, and growing his audience by leaps and bounds because of his undeniable prowess as a singer/ songwriter, and his passion for playing live. Ramey has spent most of his music career flying below the media radar, refusing to don make-up and perform the dog and pony show for the camera. Not a fan of glitz and glamour, Tony prefers the troubadour life-style, and the solace of his writer's getaway between shows where he says he can "be alone with nature, his thoughts, and the eternal spring of the Art Spirit."
It's not uncommon for artists of Ramey's ilk to find a low profile as a result of an obsessive pursuit of the next song, next town, next project, or the next artistic endeavor, forsaking photo ops and publicity driven functions…So following the bohemian path that most true artists naturally follow, Tony occupies an awkward middle ground in terms of his recognition. His name rings a bell outside his touring routes because he is a giant in terms of his craft. Most listeners understand the power of his gift only upon experiencing it first hand--at a show or by hearing one of his records. Industry icons like Willie Nelson and George Strait know his name well because of his status as a poet in the purest sense of the word.
Ramey admits that his current project Spirit of Hank and the Heart of James Dean came at a strange time. He says of contemporary music and the state of the industry, "We live in an age when the album is obsolete, the song is incidental to the artist's brand, and artists seem only as popular as their pockets are deep. But I still make music the way I want to make it. There are awesome opportunities out there for Indie's these days--Kickstarter, crowd funding, Indy Labels, etc.--so all is not lost in big business; we just have to work a little harder for a little less. Nobody told me this life would be easy, and I don't mind the sweat." With songs like "The Spirit of Hank and the Heart of James Dean," “This Ain’t No Country,” ”Ramblers,” "Pocatalico," "Almost Had Me There," “Ain’t Gettin’ Anywhere," "Lonely Heart," and "Good Kinda Crazy," Ramey’s next album is chalk full of powerhouse songs that will continue to turn heads and wow audiences everywhere.
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Out of the heartland of America, stomping grounds of Truman and Twain, “powerhouse” troubadour Dana Cooper dedicated himself to a life of music over 40 years ago. This song poet engages and inspires audiences around the world with his quick wit, insightful stories and commanding presence. He is the recipient of the 2014 Heritage Musician award from Pilgrim Center for the Arts in Kansas City, MO. He was also named the
2015 Spirit of Folk award winner by Folk Alliance International. He has performed on Austin City Limits, Mountain Stage and the Kerrville Folk Festival where he was nominated for their Hall of Fame. Cooper’s songs have been recorded by top-notch artists such as bluegrass star Claire Lynch; Irish vocalist Maura O’Connell; and luminary songwriters Pierce Pettis and Susan Werner. Cooper’s mixture of flat-picking, finger-picking and percussive strumming style is legend among other guitarists. An expressive singer his voice is ageless evoking a rich lifetime of experience.
At 12 he sang, played drums, guitar and harmonica in local bands. By 13 he began writing his own songs and at 16 he performed regularly at the prestigious Vanguard Coffeehouse in Kansas City. His deep love and commitment to a life of music drew Cooper away from an art scholarship.
Cooper took to the road touring midwest college coffeehouses for one year then sold an electric guitar and his entire record collection to buy a one-way ticket to Los Angeles. Four months later he was signed to Elektra Records where his eponymous first album was released in 1973.
The record features such acclaimed players as Leland Sklar, Russ Kunkel and Jim Horn.Years later he returned to San Francisco City College to study another great love, horticulture. Still he played whenever possible in clubs all over the Bay Area. Cooper’s diverse experiences as a taxi driver, warehouseman, nurse’s aid, gardener, waiter and touring musician continued to bring maturity and depth to his songwriting.
Cooper eventually moved to Texas writing, performing and recording with Shake Russell in the late 70s and with his own power trio, DC3 during the early 80s. Returning to his roots as a solo performer Cooper relocated to Nashville in 1988. He has become an integral figure in the Music City songwriting community collaborating with renowned writers such as Tom Kimmel, Sally Barris, Kim Carnes and Don Henry. Cooper has been invited to participate in songwriting workshops from Belfast to Copenhagen to Austin.
His prolific endeavors have resulted in 28 albums. The critically acclaimed Miracle Mile on Compass Records was nominated for a Nashville Music Award as “Best Pop Album” and was chosen by Performing Songwriter magazine as one of the top DIY recordings for the year. Harry Truman Built a Road was named one of the best records of 2002 by The Tennessean and was also chosen as one of the top twelve DIY recordings for that year. Made of Mud released on King Easy Records in 2005 won Cooper the “Best Male Songwriter Award” by Indie Acoustic Project. Working with co-producer/guitarist Thomm Jutz, Cooper released his 27th album, Building a Human Being, in September, 2015.
Cooper and Jutz also coproduced his 28th recording, Incendiary Kid, which will be released October 20, 2017 on Travianna Records. Americana and Folk radio stations across the country are now playing the new CD in anticipation of its release.
Robert K. Oermann in Music Row Magazine says of Building a Human Being “Nashville veteran Cooper wins the Disc of the Day prize. Highly recommended.”
Fellow singer songwriter Buzz Holland says “Cooper is a person who can sing like an angel and play like the devil.”
Legendary Texas singer songwriter Eric Taylor said of Cooper’s performance at Kerrville Fall Festival 2015 “Dana Cooper gave the best solo performance I’ve seen and heard for many years. Could be the best I’ve ever.”
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Mike Aiken is an Americana, Country, Roots artist with an ocean view. This songwriter, guitarist and sea captain is originally from rural Western New York, outside of Buffalo. He currently lives aboard his sailboat in Norfolk, Virginia when he’s not on the road or in Nashville. His highly anticipated seventh studio album, WAYWARD TROUBADOUR, released in June 2018, is a follow up to Grammy-nominated CAPTAINS & COWBOYS. On the recording, Mike brings his favorite band (of wayward troubadours) together to help tell the musical stories behind the songs including Kenny Vaughan (Marty Stuart) on extra guitars, David Roe (Chet Atkins, Johnny Cash) on upright bass and vocal appearances by co-writers Henry Paul (Outlaws, Blackhawk) and Chris P James (Burrito Brothers).
Mike Aiken may have been born in the wrong century. An inner sense of chivalry oozes from every story he tells and every song he sings. Aiken has drawn tales – and hope – from “trail riders, aging rodeo champs, sea captains, Rastafarians and outlaws on the lamb” and crafted an evening of tunes that draws the threads of these independent spirits together. Shows feature tasty playing, sweet harmonies and a video backdrop that highlights the stories behind the songs. You can expect to hear upbeat, rootsy grooves, from slide guitar to honky-tonk piano, percussion and harmony vocals that take you to the heart of a summer jump-up.
“Tall Tales and Troubadours is a tour de force performance…” – Ron Wray, No Depression
“Mike writes songs that are a little closer to the bone.” – Chuck Dauphin, Billboard
“A performer loved by all audiences.” – Virginia Arts Council
“The audience hooped and hollered and stomped their feet! With his stories and songs, it was like an old friend singing on your back porch. Mike’s music gave a comfortable classical country feel but with an original edge that kept everyone entertained. “ – Mark McCreary, Ross Ragland Theater
Mike’s stage setup speaks to the kind of musicality he delivers – a On stage with Mike is his wife and musical partner, Amy, whose setup is also unique – snare and hi-hats, congas, rub-board, African gourd and assorted hand percussion. The full band consists of additional band members on upright bass, second guitar, and four-part harmony. Reviews have stated that ‘together they emit an aura of warmth and experience that transfers to the audience.’
Aiken’s love for singing, songwriting and sailing has taken him all over the world. As a songwriter he puts pen to paper and shares his colored and colorful life. As an artist who comes by his stories honestly, Aiken has definitely taken his place among well-respected songwriters and musicians in the Americana and Country communities.
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One listen to the brand new album, "This Side or The Other," and you'll know David Olney is a man familiar with the wandering life and yearning heart of a poet. After more than 30 years in music, he's had as many incarnations as you can imagine. His resume has expanded to include acting, poetry and a popular weekly streamcast. All of this adds to Olney's strength as a songwriter's songwriter, and one of Nashville's founding fathers of Americana music.
While "This Side or The Other" is not a concept album, there are some recurring themes. The frequent reference to walls in these songs - walls being built and tumbling down - will suggest that while Olney has encountered more than his own share of walls, he is still trying his best to understand them.
"I wanted to explore the idea of walls," says Olney, "What does a wall mean? What does it mean to be an immigrant who comes upon that wall as a wanderer, someone lost and alone?"
A wall in song can be the symbolic blockage from one place to another, or the flat finality of something coming to an end. In life as in art, Olney has scaled walls and torn them down. Yet, it's not his own path he is particularly interested in exploring. David Olney has always been an observer, a student and writer of life for as long as he could hold a pen.
"I'm not comfortable writing about my own dirty laundry," says Olney, "It's better for me to look at characters and what they might be going through. When I write about the heavy stuff of life, it's usually while I'm in someone else's shoes."
"This Side or The Other" contains solid musicianship as good as anything Nashville has to offer, and a stark, moody production by Juno Award-winning producer Steve Dawson.
"I look for a producer I can be relaxed around," Olney says, "And I really wanted to work with Steve on this record. And while I knew he was a good producer, I had no idea what a terrific musician he was until I had him play guitar on 'Death Will Not Divide Us.' He did a beautiful job."
The other musicians on "This Side or The Other" are Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Charlie McCoy, The McCrary Sisters, Fats Kaplin, Anne McCue and Olney's regular band: Daniel Seymour on bass, Ward Stout on fiddle and Justin Amaral on drums.
The ten songs on "This Side or The Other" have been compiled from new and old writings, as well as a few collaborations with friends. Olney says he enjoys collaborating. "Annie McCue and John Hadley cowrote the title song, 'This Side or The Other' with me. It's currently my favorite song."
In "Stand Tall," a song Olney's been writing on-and-off for 25 years, he admits "I'm never going to change the way I am" - a sentiment that will gratify his longtime fans from all over the world, who like him just the way he is and only want more of the same.
"Breaking out of your comfort zone," admits Olney, "can lead to certain encounters with banana peels, but that's the chance you have to take to get songs and performances with a certain edge. I tend to stay on the margin of the page. I'm always looking for that 'otherness,' staying a bit off center."
The sweetest song on the album, a plaintive love song called "Open Your Heart (And Let Me In)," is one part plea and one part indictment of a would-be lover who's missing the chance for real love.
Olney's last track is a rootsy cover of The Zombies' 1965 hit, "She's Not There." It's a delicious reminder that everything David Olney touches gets infused with a rare blend of dark chocolate. Despite it being the cover of a popular song, we hear words we've never heard in the same way before.
But David Olney knows words. He knows what they can do, and when paired with a bitter/sweet melody, they can take on a life of their own.
And maybe they can even tear down walls.
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Reservations will guarantee the reservation holder a seat,
but not a specific seat. Seating will be general admission,
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Doors open at 5:00 PM
Show begins at 6:00 PM
In Austin, Texas—a town overflowing with gifted singer/songwriters and guitar players—Christine Albert & Chris Gage have a long track record of making beautiful music together, although both musicians' individual pedigrees are far more extensive. Over the course of six duet albums, the duo has demonstrated that disparate backgrounds do not preclude musical soul mates from finding one another.
The Houston Press noted, “From George Jones and Tammy Wynette to Richard and Linda Thompson, male-female duets are one of popular music's most delightful permutations. And the Austin-based duo of Christine Albert and Chris Gage easily slot right in with the best.”
Onstage, Albert's slender, dark beauty contrasts strikingly with Gage's craggy good looks and how gracefully they complement each other is easily apparent. In 2003 Albert and Gage released their first live recording, Albert and Gage at Anderson Fair. Dirty Linen commented that the set, which is reflective of their typical live performances, had “energy, humor, really fine duet singing, strong leads, original harmonies, a strong sense of partnership, personality, and musicality” and Sing Out! called it “a cohesive and exciting exploration of the roots of popular, mostly American, music”.
Gage is a journeyman musician and South Dakota native who literally began touring in a station wagon at age 15. In the mid-Seventies and early Eighties he led the popular Midwestern country-swing Red Willow Band, whose reunion shows still draw thousands of devoted fans. From there he graduated to an eight-year tenure on piano with guitar virtuoso and country star Roy Clark, which included appearances on Hee Haw, The Tonight Show and The Grand Ole Opry. After moving to Austin in 1991, Gage began commuting to San Antonio to take the reins as a musical director for the Fiesta Texas theme park.
But it was during (and following) his next incarnation, as bandleader for West Texas alt.-country singer/songwriter Jimmie Dale Gilmore, that he began to carve out his own place in the Austin scene as an in-demand session player, accompanist and producer. It was with Gilmore that Christine first heard Chris play and in 1997 Albert & Gage was formed. The duo later toured as an opening act for Gilmore and as members of his ensemble. In 2011, the Academy of Texas Music proclaimed Mr. Gage "Musician of the Year" and in 2015 he was inducted into the South Dakota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Christine cut her musical teeth in northern New Mexico after moving west from her childhood home in upstate New York. Along with old friend and fellow New Mexico chanteuse Eliza Gilkyson (whom she also cites as an early influence and inspiration), Albert relocated to Austin in 1982 and began to distinguish herself as a singer-songwriter in a town where the bar for such artists is set very high indeed.
Christine Albert's French grandmother lived in Paris and her mother was born in Switzerland, so perhaps it's inevitable that the occasional Edith Piaf song migrates into her sets of original material and carefully chosen covers. She has recorded a series of acclaimed albums of lovely Franco-Lone Star fusion - Texafrance (1992), Texafrance-Encore (2003) and Paris, Texafrance (2008).
Christine's latest release, "Everything's Beautiful Now" is an exploration into the richness of loss, and has been well received by critics and fans alike. Everything's Beautiful Now were the last words spoken to Christine by her mother-in-law Darleen as she was making the final move towards the other side. Originals mix lovingly with soulful covers of Warren Zevon, Jackson Browne and Texas faves Shake Russell and Dana Cooper.
Christine released several other solo albums during the years before she met Chris, and had established a solid name on the Texas scene. She was voted Female Vocalist of the Year in the Kerrville Music Awards poll and has appeared on Austin City Limits. A longtime community activist, Albert is also the Founder of “Swan Songs”, a non-profit that fulfills musical last wishes by organizing private concerts for individuals with a terminal illness. Ms. Albert served for 10 years on the National Board of Trustees of The Recording Academy, the organization that presents the GRAMMY Awards, eventually rising to the position of Chairman of the Board.
With the exception of 1997’s Jumpin’ Tracks, Albert and Gage’s albums have been recorded at their own MoonHouse Studio (a commercial facility in south Austin) and released on the artist owned MoonHouse Records. Chris maintains a busy studio schedule and over the years they have expanded MoonHouse Records with Gage productions by Cowboy Johnson, Michael Austin and Abi Tapia. Gage also plays lead guitar in Texas legend Jerry Jeff Walker’s band and is co-produced Walker’s latest CD, It’s About Time.
The duo’s most recent CD, Dakota Lullaby (2009), features twelve songs by an unheralded songwriter from South Dakota – Tom Peterson. The CD landed in the top 40 on the Americana Music chart and the Top 20 on the Euro-Americana and US Folk-DJ charts. FAME described it as “a pure, unadulterated labor of love…Albert & Gage, obviously on the same page at all times, blend voices effortlessly, fluctuating between smooth country and western swing like they were born to it. Beneath those voices Gage placed a bang-up group of sidemen most musicians would kill for and handled production like the pro he has become.”
Christine Albert and Chris Gage are well respected, seasoned music business veterans, but the joy they experience making music together is fresh and infectious. “They can rock, boogie, swing, trot down country roads and stride down sophisticated boulevards and make it all sound as it should: like parts of a unified whole rather than a mishmash of different styles. Albert and Gage have global class, musicality and charm.” (Houston Press) You can’t ask for more than that.