Sat · May 23, 2015
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm
World Cafe Live Philadelphia - Upstairs
This event is all ages
All sales are final. Ticket prices do not include processing fees. There are no refunds or exchanges. Cameras & recording devices are not permitted. Showtime and supporting acts are subject to change.
All Upstairs tickets are General Admission and seating is not guaranteed.
Dining is available at World Cafe Live. Reservations are accepted for Upstairs Live, our full service restaurant. For more information and to see menus, please read the Restaurant Info and Dining FAQ.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE SEATS are located on all seated levels of this theatre. For more information, please contact us at email@example.com or call 215-222-1400.
Lions is a musical reflection of the personal renovation that’s taken place since 2010’s Gold In The Shadow. Best summed up by Fitzsimmons himself:
“The last couple years have been…full (kind of difficult to describe years in a single word). They have been wonderful, painful, long, incredibly brief, and more educational and rewarding than any I’ve ever lived before. ??I finished touring on the previous record feeling very conflicted. The longer I’m given the wonderful opportunity to write and create things, and subsequently share them with others, the more seriously and preciously I take that endeavor and responsibility. It is something I look upon with the utmost gratitude and respect. ??And yet at the same time I find myself making art in a field that is itself quite the opposite of it. I am learning that one of the most difficult things about being human is not merely facing things that you don’t generally find comfortable or appropriate or even good, but actually learning how to live in the midst of it and not let it take over who you are. ??When you feel you are on a wrong-headed path, the quickest way to get where you want to go is to turn around, head back, and start again from the point you went askew. ??And so I did.
I returned simply to the things, which have always brought me some measure of understanding, peace, and movement. I began to write and play music without “motive” or “goal” or end result in mind. The way that I wrote when I first began.
There was no cartoon light bulb over my head or kitchen timer dinging to let me know I had gotten somewhere. With the stuff that matters there rarely is I suppose. But after months and months and months (and more bottles of beer and bowls of tobacco than I’d care to disclose), I felt like a necessary distance had been traversed. ??Wanting to continue in this very spirit, I chose to take yet another leap. I made a list of the producers who were making the music and records that most meant something to me. With no expectation I got in touch with the person at the top of the list. And, in a few months, I was on a plane to Seattle to begin working with Chris Walla to turn these songs in a notebook into the collection I wanted them to become.
“Lions” is something I’m terribly proud of and utterly connected to. It’s a very personal piece to me (aren’t they all) and something that I want you to connect with deeply. And I think you will. I honestly don’t want to say too much about the music, because the truth is if music is of any worth, it should be able to speak for itself.”
Much like any one of Denison's previous eight records, this ninth record started as a collaboration. He and fellow producer/engineer Devin Greenwood casually started working on an EP.
In the midst of this new start, however, Denison found himself pulled back to his native Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His father, who was diagnosed with cancer 3 years previously, had taken a turn for the worse. "My father was never the kind of guy who let people fuss over or take care of him," Denison says of that time. "But in the last few months of his life, there was this kind of acceptance and he allowed himself to be taken care of. He did it really graciously and generously. It was a beautiful thing to participate in and a gift to those around hm. Those are months that I would never trade for anything. I stopped making music. I stopped doing everything. I just spent time with him."
A few months later, his dad passed away. Denison grieved with his family, and remembered.
He returned to the studio with a new approach to the EP he had first started building the previous winter. What began as an EP grew into a full-length album, as Denison added songs that reflected the changes in the intervening year.
Denison's albums have always been markedly personal, each one a significant milestone in his life. But The Ones Who Wait marks a whole new level of intimacy with listeners. Getting married, starting a business, and watching his dad close the final chapter on his life have helped Denison tell his own story better, to be more delicate, and confident. Bringing things full circle, as he wrapped up post-production on The Ones Who Wait, Denison found out he was going to be a father too.
The sound of The Ones Who Wait indicates a new maturity in Denison's musical career, a subtle sense of confidence in his voice and music. His guitar and voice sit front and center in the sound, evoking a melodic warmth reminiscent of 70s-era singer-songwriters like Paul Simon and Jackson Browne. Denison reined in his well-established network of musicians to fill out the sound of the record, including CJ Camerieri (Bon Iver, Rufus Wainwright), Devin Greenwood (Norah Jones, Amos Lee), James McAlister (Sufjan Stevens), Charles Staub (Melody Gardot), and Rosie Thomas.
His songwriting, now trademark, is a finesse he uses to balance dark and light in the songs, lament and hymn. On "Hold On," Denison sings about "How a father always starts out as a son, how sometimes you're both, sometimes you're only one. How we manifest things far beyond our means. I do this for you. You did that for me."
A Lancaster, PA native, Denison first picked up the guitar at age 16, and was writing his own songs shortly after. Mentored by Don Peris (Innocence Mission) and influenced by Neil Young, Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen, Denison forged a compelling ambient folk sound that CMJ called "deceptively powerful" and Pitchfork said was "lavish but restrained." Rollingstone.com called Denison their "favorite underrated singer-songwriter."
The Ones Who Wait is also Denison's first release for Asthmatic Kitty Records, whose employees and much of its roster have been long-time fans and collaborators with Denison. Asthmatic Kitty will also be releasing a "part two" of the record later in the summer of 2012.
Put all together, the album marks a big change for Denison: a life without his dad, a new label, a new worldview as a parent. As Witmer looks forward to the next phase of "the cyclical life" of writing-recording-touring, he is philosophical, as always, but confident about releasing an album in an overcrowded marketplace.
"I don't really have an agenda when I release my records," he says. "I just feel like I want to share something and give back to the creative community that I've taken from as a listener. My hope is that people can experience the music and it touches them in some way. I've been in this business long enough to know that you can't pick your fans. Your fans pick you. My biggest concern is I want people to feel like I'm being honest with them, and for me, to know that I've created something that I really believe in."
World Cafe Live Philadelphia - Upstairs
3025 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19104