Ingrid Michaelson – Tickets – Iron City – Shows – Birmingham, AL – June 5th, 2015

Ingrid Michaelson

Ingrid Michaelson

Jukebox the Ghost, Oh Honey

Friday, Jun 5th 2015

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Iron City - Shows

Birmingham, AL

$25 ADV / $30 Day of Show

This event is all ages

Ingrid Michaelson
Ingrid Michaelson
To say Ingrid Michaelson is prolific is an understatement: In just a decade, she has released six albums (five of which have charted) and ten singles (eight charted). But to say she's an emotional multitasker? That's a relatively new accomplishment for her. The love's-labors-lost banger "Hell No," is her first single in a year. It's also surprisingly playful. Because over the past two years, Michaelson has grappled with not only the personal and familial sickness chronicled in her previous album, 'Lights Out,' but also the death of her mother and demise of her marriage. For some, it can take a lifetime to navigate the stages of so much grief. But Michaelson did it in record time.

Her new album, the aptly named 'It Doesn't Have to Make Sense' (out August 26, Cabin 24/RED), is a powerfully honest time capsule of her undoings and rebirths. "Allowing myself to not try to make everything make sense was freeing for me," she explains the New York-based singer. "Life doesn't always make sense."

Previously, her glass-half-full outlook served her richly. It started with beautiful, idiosyncratic creations such as "The Way I Am" (2007) and "Maybe" (2009), songs that have breathed life into everything from "Grey's Anatomy" to an Old Navy ad and made a mark on the singles charts. The momentum never waned. Her last two albums, 'Human Again' and the more contemplative 'Lights Out,' both hit No. 5 on the Billboard charts.

Though her last album teemed with melancholia, she introduced it with the uplifting hit "Girls Chase Boys." (It ended up being her highest Billboard Hot 100 single since "The Way I Am.") Similarly, the joyful "Hell No" is a gateway to the all-parts-of-the-buffalo 'It Doesn't Have to Make Sense.' "There are heart-wrenching songs on it, but some are just fun for fun's sake," she says. "You can choose the path of darkness or you can choose the path of light. The record reflects a positive motion."

Co-written with Nashville songwriter Luke Laird -- who also contributed to the back-porch party "Celebrate," her album's other contact high -- "Hell No" is essentially a country song gussied up as a pop song. "It's about an angry woman who is going to leave this cheating man," she says. "The lyrics are not about a specific relationship -- it's about 5 or 6 different ones, culled together." Lest you take her message too seriously, Michaelson is in rare form in the video: She can be found modeling all the face-morphing Lenses that Snapchat has to offer. (The vibrant spot also hints at her side projects: a TV pilot she's co-written and is shopping now and her upcoming feature film debut -- "Humor Me," Sam Hoffman's directorial debut, also starring Elliott Gould, Jemaine Clement, Bebe Neuwirth, Erich Bergen and Annie Potts.)

"I think on 'Lights Out,' I was learning how to let people in," she says. "This time around, I kind of knew what I was getting into. I was just going into songwriting in such a different way -- I was so unguarded." Which was a particularly gutsy leap of faith, since so much of 'It Doesn't Have to Make Sense,' being inspired by her mom, is so close to her.

"Light Me Up" is, hands down, the rawest wound on the album. Penned in late 2014, just a week after her mother's death, the fluttering song is a snapshot of her anguish, warts and all. "These are fresh, in-the-middle-of-the nightmare vocals," she says. "That song came from a place of wanting to see her again, not really understanding where she's gone." Rendering it live will be painful, "But," clarifies Michaelson, "I'll never write a song that I don't want to sing over and over again."

What she probably didn't anticipate was her grief sparking a surge in creativity. "I have odder pieces of music that I put on the record," she says. "It would be a lie to say that I didn't care. But I cared less about what people think." The cinematic "Another Life," for instance, packs a lot into one song: string arrangements, tempo changes, nightingale vocals. "That song came out of a little assignment where I wanted to write a song with as many bizarre chord changes as I could. I kind of just sat at the piano and made the melody fit over it," she says. It's about the romance of feeling connected to someone. "It was a very simple sentiment wrapped up in a very intricate piece of music," she says. "I was really just trying to make a symphony in three minutes."

The concept of symphony is key. Much of 'It Doesn't Have to Make Sense' is Michaelson broadening her musicianship by endeavoring to communicate more through evocative sounds than her actual lyrics. While the album does not belabor any aural theme, it does make spectacular use of strings and harmony in its gut-wrenching laments. "Drink You Gone," written with Busbee in just two hours, is a classic love song that relives the moment Michaelson was holding the hand of her mother, as she faded away in the hospital. Meanwhile, the heartbreakingly quiet "The Old Days" captures the feeling of "moving forward, but never forgetting the love." If there is a thread to the randomness of 'It Doesn't Have to Make Sense,' it is that one can only purge emotions after nearly drowning in a rush of them.

"This was me was finding my way out of the darkness. And asking, 'Where do I go from here?'" she says. "It's been a struggle to become fulfilled again. And I had to put that sorrow into something." In that sense, 'It Doesn't Have to Make Sense' is an epic break-up album, in which Michaelson finally bids farewell to demons.
Jukebox the Ghost
Jukebox the Ghost
Jukebox the Ghost's third album Safe Travels marks a period in the band's career that's steeped in change, both personally and professionally. Relationships dissolved and crumbled. Loved ones passed on. The band themselves relocated from Philadelphia to New York City and played over 200 shows since the release of their last album in 2010. In the midst of so much change, the band spent months in the studio creating what would become Safe Travels, a record that represents a shift in the band's creative trajectory.

"It felt like the music was finally growing with us—Songs that relate to who we are as people right now, not who we were when we were 19 or 20," Siegel said. "This record is more heartfelt; part of that came from not worrying about exactly what kind of music we were supposed to be making and instead just working on songs that felt genuine and natural at the time."

Safe Travels, at its core, represents three people going through universal life changes—A way of coping with how quickly things can turn around, for good and bad. And though it's clear their sound and outlook have matured to addressing some darker subject material, their brand of upbeat pop still remains intact.

"We've always been the kind of band that juxtaposes darker lyrics with upbeat music, but this record feels a little more personal," Thornewill said. "In the grand scheme of things, it's certainly not a downer record but you need pain to get joy, and joy to get pain; they're inseparable."

Bolstered by an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, an appearance at Lollapalooza, and extended opening tours with Ben Folds, Guster, Adam Green and Jack's Mannequin, the band has acquired an incredibly loyal (and sometimes rabid) fanbase since the release of 2008's Live and Let Ghosts. Over the years, Jukebox the Ghost has maintained a tour schedule that most bands would balk at, playing over 150 shows a year and becoming a well-oiled, high energy live band. This summer, the band embarks on their biggest headline tour to date after performing at Bonnaroo on the album's release weekend—Their Bowery Ballroom show in June has already sold out two months in advance.

Safe Travels also marks the first time that the band had been afforded unlimited studio time. The sessions took place in Brooklyn, with their friend Dan Romer (Ingrid Michaelson, Jenny Owens Young) producing and engineering. The result is a collection of 13 songs that finds the band maturing both musically and lyrically. The band was also able to work with a string section for the first time, which gave Thornewill the chance to flex his compositional skills and formal classical training.

They'd be the first to admit that their previous two records had a charming, "hyperactive" quality about them, but you don't get that sense here. There's a balance between the peppy piano pop of songs like the album's upbeat opener "Somebody", the bouncy synth-pop of "Oh, Emily" and the radio-ready drama of "Don't Let Me Fall Behind" to more poignant, contemplative songs in the album's second half that represent the band's desire to travel into new sonic territory.

"In the past Ben and Tommy sometimes wrote from various fictional perspectives" says drummer Jesse Kristin, "but the songs on this album feel closer, more personal, and steeped in actual life experiences."
This creative shift is best exemplified by "Dead," "Adulthood," "Ghosts in Empty Houses," and "The Spiritual" – songs that deal with death and mortality head on, with an immediacy that was masked on previous albums.

"Adulthood" was initially a difficult song for Thornewill to perform. Written before his grandfather's death from lung cancer, the line "In my lungs I still feel young" was painfully prophetic and the overall message that "from adulthood, no one survives" became all too real. "Dead" approaches a similar theme with understated elegance. The song begins with Siegel's innocent, boyish croon over a ghostly drone and builds into a climax with post-rock ferocity entirely new to the band's catalogue.

"Even though we're tackling some difficult themes this go-round, we're still a band that wants people to feel good," said Tommy. "We're the same upbeat band we've always been, but we're firm believers that pop music can have depth."

Ask Brooklyn's Jukebox the Ghost why their third album is called Safe Travels, on a surface level, it's likely they'll tell you about a song by Austin's Red Hunter, who performs as Peter and the Wolf. The song, from his 2006 album "Lightness" became something of a mantra for the band. "Since we're always in new cities and away from the people we love, that song really hit home for us," said Ben. "It was a song that represented saying goodbye."

On Safe Travels, Jukebox the Ghost manages to contrast these darker themes with the same optimistic sound and a familiar sense of youthfulness that stays true to their core.
Oh Honey
Oh Honey, named both for Mitchy Collins' favorite episode of "How I Met Your Mother" and the burgeoning artisan honey movement in Brooklyn that captivated him and band-mate Danielle Bouchard, is a blend of bright folk and uplifting pop which -- like the sound of a cold beer snapping open in the summertime -- represents the promise of something great.

After working in music since his late teens, musician and songwriter Mitchy Collins woke up in the spring of 2013 inspired to create a new project, a folk pop duo that balanced his own voice with a female counterpart. Mitchy, who had joined Billy Mann's Green & Bloom Publishing two years back, enlisted the help of a few of his fellow Brooklyn songwriter and producer pals. The idea was to channel an organic sense of candor in the propulsive, acoustic numbers in a way that felt free of industry pressure.

The Jersey-born Brooklyn musician connected with Danielle Bouchard, a songwriter and theater actress, through a friend who sat Mitchy down and played him an iPhone voice recording of Danielle covering a Bonnie Raitt tune. When they met, the duo clicked immediately, both personally and in the studio, where their voices matched seamlessly with each other. The end result was the duo's independently released debut EP, "With Love."

The EP's four songs are amiable, hooky and infused with a humble optimism. "That's where we started with the music and we just kept that vibe organic," Mitchy says. "I prefer to leave the emotions in the songs since I'm not so good at doing that in life. And the songs and our friends -- the musicians and producers who helped us -- really led the way."

Since then, things have grown quickly for the band. "With Love" was released in November of 2013 and its flagship single, "Be Okay," has a celebratory buoyancy to its folky riffs and infectious chorus that reflects Oh Honey's overarching affirmative tone. The single's accompanying video was shot by more friends in the Brooklyn community around New York, and captures a day in the life of the city as the musicians engage passersby and local musicians around the Bedford L stop. In December, Netflix's "Orange Is The New Black" star Danielle Brooks enlisted Oh Honey to help her and costar Uzo Aduba create a Christmas medley for the holidays. The medley, which is featured in a charmingly irresistible video, lends a folky sensibility to classic Christmas numbers.

"Be Okay" was added to rotation on Sirius XM in January of 2014, after their programming team discovered the group, a success that was added to the band's growing list of organic achievements, including a buzzed about performance at CMJ, and sold out shows around New York. To top if off, Oh Honey joined the Atlantic Records roster in February. The collaborative connection between Mitchy and Danielle has only gotten stronger as things have progressed for the band. "Each time we sit down together, whether it's to write or sing or just grab coffee, it feels like we're in harmony," Danielle says. "Sometimes we're singing and sometimes just being, and that's made everything so much more fun."

Oh Honey's aesthetic all comes down to the theme of "Be Okay." For the musicians, that's the whole message of the band. "We hope our music can affect people," Mitchy says. "I once read a quote that said 'I don't want to spoil the ending, but everything's going to be okay.' Life happens but there's always tomorrow and there's always light at the end of the tunnel."