Western Centuries

Pearl Street Warehouse Presents

Western Centuries

Dirty Mae

Sun · September 29, 2019

Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pm



This event is 21 and over

This is a FREE show.

NO Tickets are required for this show.

Seating is limited & first come first serve

RSVP appreciated but not required

RSVP does NOT guarantee a seat at a table

Western Centuries
Western Centuries
When did country music start to sound the same? The first generation of country artists borrowed from everything around them: Appalachian stringband music, Texas fiddle traditions, cowboy songs, Delta blues. In an era of unprecedented access to our musical pasts, shouldn’t country music be even more diverse than it was in its infancy? Honky-tonk supergroup Western Centuries, back with a new album in 2018, surely understands this. They aren’t bound by any dictum to write songs in a modern country, or even a retro country style; instead they’re taking their own personal influences as three very different songwriters and fusing it into a sound that moves beyond the constraints of country. Part of the reason they can make music with this range of influences is because of their roots in city life. Both Cahalen Morrison and Ethan Lawton, two of the three principal songwriters, live in Seattle’s diverse South end, and the third songwriter, Jim Miller, spends most of his time in and around New York City. The urban landscape is rarely mentioned in country music, but it makes for a refreshing sound that draws as easily from modern R&B as it does George Jones. It helps too that the album was recorded and co-produced by acclaimed musician and Grammy-winning producer Joel Savoy in Eunice, Louisiana, where local Cajun and Creole artists have always been adept at marrying old country sounds with R&B and rock n roll.

With Songs from the Deluge, out April 6, 2018 on Free Dirt Records, Western Centuries brings three songwriting voices together into a more unified sound than ever before. Over the past year of heavy touring (since the release of their last album), they’ve pushed each other hard as songwriters. But with a band this well tested on the road, it’s the sonic and lyrical places where each artist’s styles depart that’s most interesting.

Ethan Lawton, known for his earlier work in Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers, loves to pen imaginative parables about people living at extremes. "Wild You Run" by Lawton tells the story of watching someone you love deteriorate with a crippling addiction. The subject chases his temptation, but loses his soul as Lawton cries out helplessly "I won't tell mama what you done, go have your fun....” Lawton's "My Own Private Honky Tonk" is a rambunctious new take on the drinkin' alone narrative which finds Lawton dancing and playing music until the downstairs neighbors call. It's a boogie-woogie flavored tune à la Fats Domino that highlights the upright bass work of Nokosee Fields, the band's newest member. With the opening track, “Far From Home,” Lawton wails "mother, dear mother, won't you spin a yarn about the way things were.” It's about the dark days that young men found abroad in Vietnam and the personal wars they had to fight when they returned back home.

Cahalen Morrison, known for his earlier duo work with Eli West, is the country boy to Lawton's urban cowboy, inspired by his love for cowboy poetry and the New Mexican desert where he grew up. He's got a knack for bending words around stories until they're as funny as they are tragic, as fantastic as they are real. His songs grow like mesquite in the desert; they twist and turn. On "Earthly Justice," Morrison sings of barflys and their troubles, remarking sardonically "if earthly justice just don't get them in the end, there's always a heavenly trial on its way" as vocal harmonies and pedal steel two step all around him. On Morrison’s album closer "Warm Guns,” he waxes quixotic about loss in love, singing in Spanish about being a victim of his own flaws.

Jim Miller, known for his earlier work with Donna the Buffalo, is the resident psychedelic poet. Like the best country songwriters, Miller's sense of communion with nature turns his songs into works of magical realism. On "Wild Birds", a song about a road-bound band, he consults the moss, befriends the tide, and survives fire all while asking for prayers to guide his band home to the end of their migration. "Borrow Time" features Louisiana accordion legend Roddie Romero, and the album's best harmonies between the three lead singers. Some of his most beautiful lines happen on "Time Does The Rest" as he sings "Your heart knows what’s best / Hold her close, the lips will confess / Let it rise let it fall, time does the rest".

Western Centuries’ music crosses vastly differing geographies–the city, the southwest, the metaphysical. And their musical influences are equally as diverse. Together, they weave a tapestry of western music, without sacrificing their hard-earned country dancehall sound. Songs from the Deluge will levitate heavy hearts, turn spilled beer into ballads, and bring country music home as literate, epic odysseys from parts unknown.
Dirty Mae
Dirty Mae
Dirty Mae is an NYC born-and-bred indie folk band blending bluegrass, blues, rock, latin and Americana roots music. With remarkable success, since forming in 2016, it comes as no surprise that venues and festivals across the country are beginning to request Dirty Mae. In less than 3 years together, they've outgrown their Harlem roots and taken audiences by storm with their truly original sound, powerful performance and theatrical flair. They headlined Lucille's at BB Kings, (le) poisson rouge, Rockwood Music Hall & Citifield's Subway Series Concert. In 2019 alone, they co-founded the Big Red Fest to empower women in music, received over 20,000 views on SCENES Live Sessions, and were hand-picked by Adam Duritz (of Counting Crows) to perform in his Underwater Sunshine Festival. Their most recent hit single & music video "Big Red," caught the attention of female driven blogs and reviewers nationwide. Their Freshman self-titled EP (released July 2018) showed their knack for songwriting, harmonizing, catchy beats and unique, New Orleans-inspired flair. Their Sophomore Long Play "Holy Mama," is set to release this September and showcases their incredible diversity, range and talent featuring haunting harmonies, raw grit, soulful blues, melodic ballads and foot stomping beats. Their instrumentation includes banjo, harmonica, guitar, piano/organ, upright bass, fiddle, sax and signature trombone.

The band was co-founded by three diverse and unique singer/songwriters: California-native Cassie Fireman, Ohioan piano/guitarist Robin Frost, and Tennessee raised banjo/guitarist/harmonica player, Ben Curtis. Curtis, is no stranger to the spotlight as his vocal grit, southern-bred blues and flair for the dramatic arts, has landed him success in bands for over 20 years (not to mention he was America's favorite TV spokesperson "The Dell Dude"). But it wasn't until he met the sultry and seductive Californian, Cassie Fireman, that he became completely smitten. Her magnetic cabaret style, crooner-like voice, and an insatiable gift for lyrics and poetry put a spell on the Southern boy. Their connection is electric and there's no escaping their unbreakable bond. They have the wedding rings to prove it, but wait till you see them on stage. They've since had 3 musical projects together ranging from bluegrass to hard rock. However, something in their sound was missing, and that something was the young musical prodigy, Robin Frost. Curtis befriended Frost when they both played for an indie rock band, Danny Fingers & The Thumbs. "That band was looking for a new bassist. We found Robbie and he learned our entire set in one night. Not only was he super talented, he was one of the most easy going and loving people I've ever met. If anyone could complete a band with Cassie and me, it was this guy. One day we were at a rehearsal, and Robbie picked up a guitar and started singing... I was floored. He is a great bassist, but an even better guitarist, and when he opened his mouth to sing... wow. He has the voice of an old soul from New Orleans in the 1920's. I pulled out my harmonica, and we wrote 4 songs right there on the spot." Curtis & Frost immediately left the Thumbs, started their own project with Miss Fireman, and the rest was history. Thus emerged the truly unique sound that is DIRTY MAE.

With the three founding members coming from completely different backgrounds, it's hard to nail their sound into one genre. One editor described it as "New Orleans Ghost Folk." Emmy-nominated composer, Michael Whalen said "it's like listening to two characters from a Faulkner novel making music today." Our Northern contingency calls it "indie folk," while our Southern friends say "just call it Americana!" Whatever you call it, it is an unforgettable sound of old and new worlds, that will keep you swinging all night long. Together they are a recipe for unmistakable success. Hard to believe they've only just begun.
Venue Information:
Pearl Street Warehouse
33 Pearl St SW
Washington, DC, 20024