Archive for August, 2022

With Horns, Strings, & Soaring Vocals, 
The Company Stores Release The Family Album Sept 23, 2022

2nd Single “A New Leaf” Out Today

Produced by Galactic’s Robert Mercurio
Recorded at Echo Mountain Recording in Asheville
Galactic’s Number C Studio in New Orleans

Watch the Official “Ways” (1st Single) Music Video

Preorder The Family Album 

CHARLESTON, WV — The Company Stores independently releases The Family Album, their third full-length album, on September 23. The powerful and sultry voice of lead vocalist Ileana Ille captivates the audience with her ability to express raw emotion, while the band unites many influences to lay down bold grooves amidst dynamic crescendos. 

This album tells a story of everything being turned upside down; both personally and across the country,” says Matthew Marks, the primary lyricist for the band. “It is about family and understanding the triumphs, failures, tendencies, and choices of the people who came before, in order to understand how to successfully navigate where you are going.” 

No Depression’s Amos Perrine writes, “The album had me from the opening track, ‘Savannah,’ which could have easily been on a Steely Dan record (notably the guitar parts), by way of the jazz group Return to Forever. The vocals by Ileana Ille glide over the instrumentation much like those of Return to Forever’s first vocalist, Flora Purim, did. Ille’s vocals are but one of the many textured layers that blend together in unexpected ways.”

The fiery “A New Leaf” is the second track as well as second single, premiered by Americana Highways who calls it “…a whirling musical milieu… Complete with horns to punctuate the high points’” The song explores negative patterns in life, with the lyrics, “Damn… what a year. Sucker punched me to the next hemisphere… And now I’m waking up thunderstruck. Right in front of God and everyoneBut now…clarity… A view from the floor that I had to see myself for sure. To turn over a new leaf…” 

With its rockin’ country western vibe “Ways” continues on this theme, but sees the narrator start to recognize how choices made have developed these patterns of behavior that produce similar outcomes. “These old ways ain’t the best ways, just the ones I know… Trails blazed over time in my mind are deciding where I go… Now I gotta find peace of mind, redefine my life…” “Ways” also sees special guests Walter DeBarr [Song of the Year in Minnesota 2021, William Elliot Whitmore] and Jodi Hall (also on “A New Leaf”) on backing vocals. “Ways” is dedicated to DeBarr, known for his soulful songwriting and deep raspy voice, who sadly passed away shortly after recording with the band.
JamBase premiered the “Ways” music video and the song was the album’s first single.

Maria” sees Latin influence and “Old Dog” has a bit of hip-hop flare. Set in the minor key, “Fathers” looks into how mistakes made can be passed down for generations, stuck in a cycle and an ethereal “Blue Tide” calls out to explore the dark depths of oneself. A rock opera, “There Went The Neighborhood” is followed by the progressive “American Dream Girl.” “Some Sunday,” composed and written by Micucci, has a R&B flavor, with a focus on bass and groove. The album closes with a southern rock gospel ambience in “Castles & Cain.”

Based in Charleston, WV, the band blends elements of rock and roll, jazz, funk, world music, Appalachian folk, gospel, and other soulful roots music with soaring harmonies, electronic textures, strings, and horns over a solid rhythm section. Along with Ille’s vocals and Marks on guitar, The Company Stores is Michael Micucci on bass, Joseph Cevallos on violin and trumpet, Matthew Jackfert on keys, vibes, trombone, among other instruments, and John Query on drums. Jackfert, who is also a freelance composer and classical music broadcaster, collaborated with Marks on the arrangements in shaping the lush orchestral soundscapes.

The Company Stores had plans to hit the road hard, raise funds, and save to record their new album in 2020, then all plans got curtailed and almost all of their live shows and side jobs were canceled due to the pandemic. The songs were written during a time of personal havoc for Marks after his engagement had ended and he moved to his family farm, where he still resides, in March 2020 to help with his Grandad who was dying of lung cancer. While first there, he did a deep dive into his family history and roots lending to the content and mood of the album. They were able to start recording in mid-2021 after a year-long pause once things seemed safe for travel again. 

The Family Album was produced by Robert Mercurio, bassist for New Orleans funk legends Galactic. The instrumentation was recorded by Julian Dreyer at Echo Mountain Recording in Asheville, NC. Mercurio stepped in as engineer to record the vocal parts at Galactic’s Number C Studio in New Orleans—including bringing in the Josh Kagler Choral Group to enhance the choruses on much of the album. The album was mixed and mastered by Mikael “Count” Eldridge [Trombone Shorty, DJ Shadow, The Revivalists]. 

Mercurio says, “As a producer, I feel like I saw this band grow immensely as songwriters though the process of making this album. We started working on it before the pandemic, and with their downtime they put in the work it takes to make great songs. Illy blossomed into the rock star she now is—crushing the vocals on every take. I’m very proud of the final product and had a blast working with all of them.” Along with his own band, Mercurio has production credits with an impressive list of artists including Big Freedia, Lyrics Born, and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe.

The Family Album is preceded by the 2017 release Little Lights, also recorded at Echo Mountain Studio in Asheville, and their local debut Rollin’ In in 2014. Mother Church Pew says, “The Company Stores‘ Little Lights features a fiery backdrop of musicality that begs for a festival-sized stage and a whole lot of sunshine. It’s punchy, it’s poignant, and it’s perfect” and Jammerzine says it is “filled with emotional highs and empathetic harmonies laid over an almost orchestral level of musicianship.” 

Keep an eye on their website and socials for tour dates and further news: www.thecompanystoresband.com, facebook.com/thecompanystores, twitter.com/CompanyStoresWV and instagram.com/thecompanystores

Presave and preorder The Family Album at https://thecompanystores.hearnow.com

The Company Stores – The Family Album – Track Listing
1. Savannah (4:08)
2. A New Leaf (3:31)
3. Ways (3:47)
4. Maria (5:53)
5. Old Dog (4:58)*
6. Fathers (4:07)*
7. Blue Tide (3:47)
8. There Went The Neighborhood (2:43)*
9. American Dream Girl (3:32)
10. Some Sunday (3:58)
11. Castles & Cain (3:54)

*FCC Warning: please note explicit language
Radio edited versions are available for “Old Dog” and “There Went The Neighborhood”

Press Shots by The Oberports 
Album Artwork by Chris Woodall 

The Company Stores Tour Dates 

9/3 Sat – ACE Adventure Resort – Fayetteville, WV
9/17 Sat – Funktafest- Huntington, WV
10/15 Sat – Spirits in the Sky Fest @ The Bullock Distillery – Charleston, WV
10/28 Fri – Martin’s – Jackson, MS
10/29 Sat – Tipitina’s – New Orleans, LA 

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Bill Scorzari Independently Releases The Crosswinds of Kansas 8/19

The Musicians:
Bill Scorzari, Brent Burke, Cindy Richardson Walker and Marie Lewey a/k/a The Shoals Sisters,” Chelsea McGough, Danny Mitchell, Eamon McLoughlin, Fats Kaplin, Juan Solorzano, Kyle Tuttle, Matt Menefee, Mia Rose Lynne, Michael Rinne, Neilson Hubbard, Ty Allison, Will Kimbrough 

The Crosswinds of Kansas Available Now

HUNTNGTON, NY — With a rich, raspy voice and a remarkable ear for lyrics and composition, prolific songwriter Bill Scorzari independently released The Crosswinds of Kansas Aug 19. The album was co-produced by Neilson Hubbard and was recorded in part at Scorzari’s studio in Huntington, NY—First Thunder— before bringing it to Nashville (after pandemic restrictions eased) to Skinny Elephant Recording—with a cast of incredible musicians. Born and raised in New York, Bill transformed his life as a New York Trial Lawyer to a new life as a full-time musician. This is his 4th album released, following Just the Same (2014), Through These Waves (2017), and Now I’m Free (2019)—-all independently released to critical acclaim.

The Crosswinds of Kansas was released to radio in mid-July and debuted on the Folk DJ Monthly Chart for July at #36 and climbed to #19 on August 10th on the Alternative Country Specialty Chart. The album is well received by the press with nods from Glide Magazine, The Boot, Americana Highways, Music Mecca, DittyTV among others.

What Folks Are Saying:

“His thoughtful, cinematically shaped songs continue to resonate after repeated listens… To be sure, one needs solitude to appreciate his literate craft, a blend of prose and poetry put to music, a Walt Whitman of sorts for our times… With Scorzari, one hangs not just onto every word, but just about every breath (which unbelievably, you can hear.) Strap yourself in. This album runs for 71 minutes, and some are so emotionally devastating that it’s almost too much to take in at once. Allow yourself the time. The music is mostly surprisingly upbeat even when he is singing about pain and darker times.” —Glide Magazine, Jim Hynes

“It’s the voice of someone who brings a variety of experienced life stories into focus and one that draws you into the heart of each song… It is the kind of music that envelops you” —Lonesome Highway, Stephen Rapid

“The instrumentation and production are superb, while his weather-worn voice embodies the heartbreak and hope in the finely crafted lyrics.” —KPFA Radio, Tim Lynch

“Singer, songwriter, Americana hypnotist Bill Scorzari effortlessly captivates with his forthcoming The Crosswinds of Kansas … Scorzari’s vocals immediately grab hold of your attention with this or any of his previous work, bleeding with honesty and conviction while gravelly capturing your imagination… It is meticulously drawn from the experiences, emotionally-fueled then executed as naturally as the sunset across the plains or the water falling over Multnomah Falls… Expectations were high and Bill Scorzari, naturally, exceeded them with every chord and word…” —Nanobot Rock

“The poetic rhythm of Scorzari’s lyrics is most impressive, the syllables serving as elemental pulse as much as any of the (many) instruments constructing his songs… This is what I find with Scorzari’s songs and albums: there is always something new to capture your attention, something previously missed that reveals itself as it must… ” —FervorCoulee, Donald Tepylske

“…Scorzari’s message is powerful and profound. …this listener cannot get enough of “All Behind Me Now”, “Try, Try Again” and the eleven-minute glorious, meditative opus “Tryin’, Tryin’, Tryin’, Tryin’”. Oh, and “Patience and Time” might well be the most tender and loving song I’ve heard this year. …The Crosswinds of Kansas is an indisputable triumph… an utter joy to review.”  —Listening Through The Lens, Rob Dickens

“Scorzari’s raspy vocals—think Dave Van Ronk with a touch of Steve Earle—add weight to his wise, poetic lyrics and contrast beautifully with the album’s frequently sweet-sounding music, which features a variety of guitars and such other instruments as dobro, cello, piano, fiddle, banjo, upright bass, mandolin, and percussion, not to mention Native American flutes and a Tibetan singing bowl bell. Songs like ‘All Behind Me Now’ and ‘Inside My Heart’ will have you hanging on every word and wondering why Scorzari isn’t famous yet.” —Americana Highways, Blog Critics, Jeff Burger

“A  welcome treasure to my ears… with each lyric, he calls my mind to ponder, the crunch of a gravel road below resonates with a voice that is both conversational and reflective. Bill Scorzari’s music is akin to the musings of  Tom Waits, John Prine, and John Moreland. His songs are a conversation where we can savor his poetry. The message echoes in our souls with every instrumental break. Bill’s music is both organic and timely. With each creative muse, I really can’t wait to see where he leads us.” —The Long Island Sound Podcast, Steve Yusko

“[‘The Broken Heart Side of the Road,’ is] a standout track… With its melancholy tone, Scorzari lends his gritty vocals to a work of dark Americana roots music… a song that carries a stirring energy and a haunting tale.” —Glide Magazine, Song Premiere “Broken Heart Side of the Road”

“He’s captured such pain. And the beauty of a Rose.” —Americana Highways Video Premiere: “I-70 East” 

“Bill Scorzari’s sandy blast suggests he was born to sing tales of the dusty highway. In fact, Scorzari was a trial lawyer in New York City before hanging it up to tour, the setting for ‘I-70,’ in which he fights the literal winds to make it back to the East Coast to care for his mother. The song’s surging melody and Scorzari’s impassioned punk-influenced performance calls to mind vintage Two Cow Garage.” —The Boot’s Weekly Picks, Rachel Cholst 

“I like Bill’s voice & ‘Ocean In Your Eyes’ – that’s the ticket, that’s a great showcase. The resonance in his voice has spirit. Instead of burning kindling, he’s ignited a log. This is what Bill needs with lines like ‘I’m swimming for my life’ – perfect for his penetrating vocals. The words he sings must be believable. It’s here. They need to be words from a voice as lived in as Bill’s.” —Americana Highways, John Apice

“‘All Behind Me Now’… is surprisingly welcoming and perfect for a movie soundtrack. It presents listeners with a sense of perseverance and hopefulness for the future and a lesson in personal perspective” —HVY.com, Will Phoenix

“From New York Trial Attorney to full-time musician, Bill Scorzari makes the seemingly 180-degree transition to a new life look natural.” —Music Mecca, Morgan Brady 

“Bill Scorzari is a master storyteller. He puts it to music and creates pure magic!!” —The Colfax Journal’s Jay Vee Music Review, Jeff Vallet 


Much of The Crosswinds of Kansas was inspired by his three-month-long Now I’m Free Tour in 2019—which had become a journey of self discovery, with Bill ultimately arriving at a new awareness and desire to adapt and continue to create. He had made his way from the east coast, toward, and around the west coast and back, traveling under two full moons, visiting waterfalls, hiking, climbing, pondering and processing his life experiences of loss, gain and change, and at times composed haiku as a way to pass the time on the long drives between performances, until the tour came to an unexpected early end when Bill learned of the sudden decline in the health of his then 94 year old mother back home in NY.

His journey home, which included travel through some treacherous crosswinds over the Kansas highways, was folded into the story told within the electric-guitar-driven opening track (and first single released) “I-70 East” and its accompanying music video

Upon his return to Huntington, NY, Bill spent the early days of the Covid lockdown finishing the songs for the album, building out his studio, gathering the right instruments to fit the mood, and caring for his ailing mother. He also learned Navajo from new friends that he met when commissioning a Native American flute to be able to recite his lyrics in the language for the closing track, “Tryin’, Tryin’, Tryin’, Tryin’”—a song with an intriguing backstory. 

Scorzari draws inspiration from a full palette of moods and emotions and the 13 original tracks on The Crosswinds of Kansas have many stories to tell. On the lighter side he presents, the transcendent “All Behind Me Now,” the life-affirming “1, 2, 3, Jump,” the fast-moving acoustic jam of “A Ghost, My Hat and My Coat,” and the rhythmic, semi-autobiographical, sound-collage that is “The Measure of a Man.” 

With a heavier brush stroke, Scorzari recounts a hard tale of the destruction of a relationship in the rootsy “The Broken Heart Side of the Road” (the album’s 2nd single and music video). “Multnomah Falls” weaves a chronicle of a rainy day’s hike into an account of the trials of change and transcendence set to cascading mandolin lines. The orchestral “Oceans In Your Eyes” recounts a perilous navigation through an enchanted captivation, and in “Patience and Time” he evokes a haunting nostalgia with wistful melody and lyrical promise. Nostalgia reemerges in the hypnotic, plaintive “Try, Try Again,” and prescience triumphs over uncertainty in the folksy “Not Should’ve Known.” With a mix of contemporary and Indigenous instruments, “Inside My Heart” tells a melancholy story of an unrequited love.

Bill says, “For me, the journey that had begun in 2019 (and in many respects, much earlier), became a journey into the depths of my soul, not just in a nebulous aspirational or conceptual sense, but in its fruition, and this album is a record of many of the ways in which it has all unfolded for me so far. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have occupied my time with this effort and for the opportunity to continue to participate in the dance that is life, through this pandemic and beyond.”

He continues, “It has been an arduous and relentless trek to the ultimate discovery that we are here simply to dwell in the experience of being human and to come to know that wherever that experience may take us, and to whatever heights or depths we may rise or fall in it, it is all nothing less than an unspeakably generous and miraculous gift of life and great love.”

Order or stream The Crosswinds of Kansas at billscorzari.hearnow.com/the-crosswinds-of-kansas.

The CD is a six-panel digipack and includes a 16-page lyric book beautifully decorated with original art by Anna Berman and photography by Jacob Blickenstaff. 

For more information, updates and tour dates, visit www.BillScorzari.com

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Vibrant, Rootsy, and Vivid, Damn Tall Buildings

Independently Release Their 3rd Album Sleeping Dogs Sept 9

Presave/ Preorder Sleeping Dogs

Under the Radar Premieres Damn Tall Buildings’ “Podcast”

Brooklyn indie folk trio Damn Tall Buildings have been making their way through the Americana world… In their early days, the band busked together, and today their style captures that same ragtag charm and breezy joy, blending unassuming presentation with narrative observations on the mundanities of daily life. 

With ‘Podcast’ the band leans further into their sun-lit harmonies, rugged instrumentation, and lively performances… they deliver some deliciously biting lyrics, taking shots at the entertainment industry’s complacency as the world rushes to its end.” —Under the Radar, Caleb Campbell

“Podcast” Available Now

What others have said about Damn Tall Buildings:

Virtually unmatched energy and enthusiasm, underpinned by intelligent songs that don’t skimp on the infectiousness… The musicianship is smart and skilled, but still playful and groove savvy” —Saving Country Music

The Carter Family for the millennial generation” —The Boston Globe

Damn Tall Buildings is a damn fine trio, mixing bluegrass, swing, and foot-stomping old-time music you wouldn’t think possible from a band from Brooklyn” —No Depression, Chris Griffy

The natural groove made by a string band seriously happy with the music they are making speaks louder than wordsThe Alternate Root

BROOKLYN, NY — Acoustic Americana trio fed on bluegrass, roots rock, old time, and vintage swing, Damn Tall Buildings are excited to release their 3rd album, Sleeping Dogs, on September 9. Whether sharing lead vocals and instrumental solos or blending their voices into loose, joyous harmony, the three members of Damn Tall Buildings—multi-instrumentalist and primary lyricist Max Capistran (guitar and banjo), bassist Sasha Dubyk, and fiddler Avery Ballotta—delight in entertaining. For a handful of tracks on the album, they brought in special guests on trumpet, drums, flutes, lap steel, and keys to add to their dynamic sound.

Witty and engaging, Damn Tall Buildings’ energizing music finds beauty and glory in the mundane workaday struggle of everyday life: time keeps passing and the seasons come and go, you scroll too much, you smoke too much, you lose yourself, only to sit with yourself and find yourself again, you laugh with your friends, and you look out the window and dream about what else might be out there. It all keeps coming around. You carry on, intent on flourishing and thriving. This is what Damn Tall Buildings sings about, what they seek to share with their audience.

Sleeping Dogs is a bop about looking things smack-dab-right-in-the-face and is essentially about how it has become almost impossible to not be constantly influenced by current events, media, and all of the other things that surround you in your day-to-day life. “Snow Crash” by Neal Sephenson—a bizarre, mind-altering romp through the infocalypse— is high on the band’s reading list. Damn Tall Buildings says, “The impact that things outside ourselves have on us, specifically, the rise of social media and all that comes with it, leads to an exponential increase of people’s awareness of other people’s lives, and how that affects them and how they feel about their life.”

The album’s 2nd single, “Podcast” is out now and was premiered by Under the Radar who writes, “With ‘Podcast’ the band leans further into their sun-lit harmonies, rugged instrumentation, and lively performances… they deliver some deliciously biting lyrics, taking shots at the entertainment industry’s complacency as the world rushes to its end: ‘Sleeping on the ground/Thinking you’re so profound/Your podcast sucks and I think I hate you…Your bio says your an artist/Filtering all your garbage/Do you know what you’re even saying?’”

“Sometimes you just gotta get the lead out,” Ballotta says to Under the Radar. “This upcoming album is all about facing our skeletons head-on (er skull-on?), and ‘Podcast’ is a real tongue-in-cheek commentary on the use of honesty–in the entertainment realm especially. Also, this one is definitely about the end of the world. A nice funk to it. Some sticky icky guitar picking. A little fiddle chuck. Bass thump. Oh it’s all going south for sure, but we are groovin’ to it. When it’s all said and done, life is worth living while we’re here – don’t you think?”

The album opens with, “What A Nice Life,” which has some extra pep to balance out the darker “I-don’t-know-who-I-am-anymore” lyrics: “And it’s been feeling mighty lonesome now that winter’s coming on… Not sure who I’ve been lately… But holy sh*t can barely stand me.” This is followed by an old timey, swingin’ “Dark Window Panes,” in which they ponder a pending apocalypse, accompanied by longtime friend and maestro of sound Garrett Eaton [Dana Williams, Gracie and Rachel] on trumpet.

The velvety and rejuvenating Cold Rain,” the album’s 1st single, was premiered by AmericanaUK who calls it, “music that is determinedly of Now.” For the song, they are joined by mandolin wizard Dylan McCarthy (a longtime DTB collaborator and 2019 Rockygrass Mandolin Champion) and rock-steady drummer Micah Cowher [STOMP in NYC]. Micah also lays down the beat on the catchy “Sweet Girl,” with its chorus, “I am not myself, I am everyone else,” which became what the band calls, “the motto for the record; It’s basically our new anthem.” 

A cheery sentiment echoes in the deep groove & colorful melodies of “Lemons” (with the virtuosic flute playing of Anh Phung [Twisted Pine]), and this fresh energy can also be felt as the sunshine slips in on “Patio.” The mid-tempo shuffle “Painter” (with Lars Thorson [Kane Brown on lap steel) illustrates a re-emergence into the world. They slow things down a bit in an ode to waiting, “Quietly Heartbreaking,” & the gentle “My Baby.” 

The album closes out with the title track, “Sleeping Dogs,” flipping the script on the old proverb—“Don’t you let them sleeping dogs lie.” The song emphasizes the theme of the album: don’t ignore life, get out there and live it, take pleasure and meaning from the little things that keep us all connected and growing.

Self produced and recorded, the album was mixed & mastered by Dan Cardinal [Darlingside, Lula Wiles, Josh Ritter] at Dimension Sound Studios. Dan also played keyboard on the title track, adding to the texture of the song.

The trio is individually from all over the United States (New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Montana), but were born as a band while attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA in 2013. They started as buskers on Newbury Street in Boston, started touring nationally, and then moved the band to Brooklyn in 2017. Max says, “Brooklyn has an endless influence on our music. Yemeni music on iPhone speakers at the deli. Reggaeton from the street side auto shop across the street rattling our window panes. West African guitar rhythms on the walk to the train. It’s insane. We love it.”

Damn Tall Buildings have made notable appearances at MerleFest, John Hartford Memorial Festival, Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Philadelphia Folk Festival, Ossipee Valley Music Festival, Bear Creek Folk Festival, BlissFest, and Freshgrass Festival (where they took second place in the 2016 band competition).

Since their busking days, they’ve made two albums—Cure-All (2014) and Don’t Look Down (2019)—and released a self-titled EP in 2015. The band’s music has been praised by publications such as Bluegrass Today, PopMatters, The Boot, Saving Country Music, The Boston Globe, The Alternate Root, Folk Radio UK and more.

Damn Tall Building says, “Our innate desire is to connect with people on a level that’s beyond day-to-day interaction. Our hope is that the joy that making this music brings us will somehow get passed along to the people listening, which they can then take with them to pass along to someone else. It’s a shared celebration of positive energy, and that’s what keeps us cooking.”

Website: www.damntallbuildings.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/DamnTallBuildings 
Twitter: @DamnTallTweets
Instagram: www.instagram.com/gramtallbuildings/ 
YouTube: www.youtube.com/c/damntallbuildings 

Damn Tall Buildings on Tour

9/2 Fri – Towne Crier Cafe – Beacon, NY
9/3 Sat – Rettich Preserve @ Madison Land Trust – Madison, CT
9/6 Tue – WDVX Blue Plate Special – Knoxville, TN
9/6 Tue – Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge – Madison, TN
9/9 Fri – Coppell Arts Center – Coppell, TX
9/10 Sat – Cactus Cafe – Austin, TX 
9/15-17 Thu-Sat – Walnut Valley Music Festival – Winfield, KS
9/27-29 Tue-Thu – IBMA Bluegrass Ramble – Raleigh, NC
9/30 Fri – Bourgie Nights – Wilmington, NC
10/1 Sat – IBMA Wide Open Bluegrass Festival – Martin St. Stage – Raleigh, NC
10/13 Thu – Parlor Room – Northampton, MA
10/15 Sat – Glastonbury Apple Harvest & Music Festival – Glastonbury, CT
10/16 Sun – 118 North – Wayne, PA
10/20 – Rockwood Music Hall – New York, NY
11/10 Thu – Prius Hall-Ball State University – Muncie, IN
11/11 Fri – Thrasher Opera House – Green Lake, WI

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