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Sam Evian

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About This Event

Sam Evian with Buzzy Lee, Liam Kazar

Sam Evian

Sam Evian returns with a joyous new single “Easy To Love,” and an accompanying video. It’s Sam’s debut release on his new label, Fat Possum. Two years ago, Sam and his partner, Hannah Cohen, split from the bustle of New York City and settled in a quiet Catskills town upstate. Buttressed by bold baritone sax by Jon Natchez (The War On Drugs), lifted by exuberant trumpet by Raymond Mason, and washed in Sam’s fluorescent guitars, “Easy to Love” is an exultant ode to finding a new paradise outside of the city, an idyllic setting where you can plant love and literally watch it bloom. The video, directed by Luca Venter and shot in the land around Sam’s home, switches between scenes of performance and playfulness.

“‘Easy To Love’ was the first song I wrote after moving to upstate NY,” says Sam. “It was springtime and it’s very much about peacing out of Brooklyn with my partner Hannah and falling in love with a new space, new life, and lightening the load coming out of grinding in the city for ten years. Our first spring up here was euphoric. I’ve never witnessed a forest come to life after winter – the electric greens, bird calls, waterfalls….It was the first time in my adult life that I’d felt such a visceral connection to nature.”

While continuing to write and produce his own music, Sam has kept busy working as a preeminent collaborator, producing and engineering records for the likes of Big Thief, Cass McCombs, Widowspeak, and Anna Burch. In their new home, he and Hannah hosted bands like house guests as he helmed their sessions. The pandemic clamped down on those interactions, largely sealing the couple from their longtime scene. So Sam turned to his own music. This new single, “Easy To Love,” is the first taste of that period of creativity.

Buzzy Lee

Buzzy Lee is the artist project of Los Angeles performer, writer, and actress Sasha Spielberg. Sasha is a storyteller by nature, and as Buzzy Lee, she demonstrates a rare ability to detail a dark scene in just a few words-the novels within the margins ,the stark, vivid characters she portrays. She’s also a humorist, a writer and singer capable of depicting poignant scenes awash with sorrow and sarcasm, phrased savagely and delicately, her voice at times plaintive, at other times soaring. Her debut album co-produced by Nicolas Jaar, ‘Spoiled Love’ was released in 2021with support from Gorilla vs. Bear, Vogue Germany, David Dean Burkhart and a performance on NPR’s Tiny Desk. Her weekly Twitch series, Gearhead, ha samassed over 120k views with guests including Dev Hynes, Rostam, Chris Coady, Chrome Sparks, Nicolas Jaar, HAIM and Jack Antanoff. Her debut EP ‘Facepaint’ came out in 2018 with praise from Pitchfork, NPR, and shows at Pitchfork Avent Garde and toured with Dirty Projectors.

Liam Kazar

Liam Kazar makes joyful rock songs so irresistible they feel timeless. Just ask Jeff Tweedy. “I love everything about Liam. His voice, his songs, the way he plays instruments, his smile, his cooking… Everything,” says Tweedy. ”Whenever I hear one of his songs for the first time I almost immediately start thinking to myself, ‘oh yeah! This song! I love this song.’ It’s a magic trick very few people can pull off: making something brand new sound like a cherished memory.” But on Kazar’s debut album Due North, out August 6 via Mare Records, the LP’s 10 tracks are full of so much charm, wit, and heart it can’t be a sleight of hand. 

The Kansas City-based, Chicago-raised musician and acclaimed chef/founder of the Armenian pop-up restaurant Isfahan, describes the making of Due North as a personal revelation, where the more he wrote the more his songs showed what kind of artist he’s always wanted to be. While he’s consistently been a dream bandmate over the past several years, performing with artists like Tweedy, Steve Gunn, Daniel Johnston, and more, making his own songs presented a chance to finally find his own voice. But figuring out how to step out was a rewarding challenge. “This record kind of all stemmed from a conversation I had with Jeff,” says Kazar. “I showed him some of my earliest songs I was working on and he told me, ‘It sounds like you’re writing for the people in your bands, you’re not writing for yourself.’ He was completely right. I was not writing songs for myself.” With that needed insight, Kazar decided to start from scratch and write songs that felt like himself. 

Single “Shoes Too Tight” was a clarifying moment for Kazar in this journey. Originally a slower acoustic ballad, Kazar slowly tinkered with a synth sound and happened upon the song’s bouncy chord progression. “That was probably the closest to an aha moment that I had of ‘Oh, this is me and this is what I’m into,’” says Kazar. The finished product is an undeniable jam with a swaggering exuberance that channels Richard Swift and David Bryne. Soon after, Kazar switched gears for the yearning and delicate “On a Spanish Dune” which showcased his emotional resonance as a writer. With lush synths and wistful acoustic guitars, he sings, “Everybody’s asking me / What you gonna do, gonna be / I couldn’t tell you if I tried / I’m just a poem with an open line.” Though completely different songs, Kazar used these two earliest offerings as guides for what would come next. “ Those two songs were my North Star that I was following for this album,” says Kazar. “This is what it sounds like when I write for me.” 

“There were two words I had in my head during the making of this record, which was joyful and vulnerable,” says Kazar, citing Al Green’s 1978 The Belle Album as an LP that encapsulates such a feeling. “I was trying to talk about things that I’m scared about but acknowledging that I’m not that powerful and you can still be joyful in the face of your own insecurities.” Take album highlight “Frank Bacon,” where Kazar sings, “When you’re running uphill and swimming upstream / Nothing’s ever gonna be the way it seems.” Despite any lyrical uncertainty the track is bursting with life, especially in the monster groove from drummer Spencer Tweedy and bassist Lane Beckstrom. Elsewhere on “Nothing To You,” Kazar finds the sweet spot between indie rock jangle and subtle country twang as he sings, “I hope you don’t resent / The love between your hands.” 

Along with Tweedy and Beckstrom, Kazar enlists keyboardist Dave Curtin (Woongi), co-producer James Elkington on pedal steel, as well as Ohmme and Andrew Sa on backing vocals. Opener “So Long Tomorrow” showcases the band’s chemistry, a winding jam full of playful and soulful instrumental flourishes. One of the last songs written for the album, it was recorded remotely in quarantine but despite the distance the band’s tight bond is obvious. “These songs totally blew me away the first time I heard them: they sound like David Bowie meets the Band,” says Mare Records co-founder Kevin Morby. Due North was mixed by Sam Evian at his Flying Cloud Recordings Studio in upstate New York. “Sam knew exactly what I’m trying to do with this record,” says Kazar. “He put the whole track listing together and really had a vision for the record that I needed at that time.” 

Like most musicians, the pandemic threw Kazar for a loop, knocking out both his touring revenue and his part-time gigs as a bartender. With more than enough time in his Kansas City home, he decided to pursue his longtime love of cooking by creating the restaurant, Isfahan. With recipes that honor his Armenian heritage and his family’s journey to the United States from Iran, Syria, and Lebanon, Kazar’s cooking has received press from Time Out Chicago and Eater. “In COVID, my mantra was to not have my heart broken about the future and be present,” says Kazar, explaining that ethos is one of the reasons why he named the LP Due North. 

Though Due North is full of songs that act as a mirror to Kazar’s many talents, few sum it up as concisely as “No Time For Eternity.” On the track, he and Chicago country crooner Andrew Sa sing over wailing pedal steel, taking stock of the most important things in life: “Making time to live my life / Making time for you and me.” “The reality of my life is that when I come home, and I’m talking with my partner, maybe we had a bad day, but we still are laughing and having a good time with each other at the same time,” says Kazar. “I had to make music that expressed that part of me that’s a person who genuinely enjoys themselves.”

Please Note: All patrons must show proof of completed Covid-19 vaccination. Original documents, clear paper copies, Excelsior Pass, or clear digital images of these records and matching ID will be accepted.

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