Ellis Dyson & the Shambles

5 Albums I'll Never Stop Spinning - Danny

There are plenty of exciting happenings brewing here at Shambles headquarters. We’ll get to those soon. Today I want to share five albums from throughout my life that have made a major impact on my love of music. Perhaps you’ll find a new favorite album. I tried to pick some that go beyond the obvious (I love the Beatles and I assume you do too). We would love to hear from you about some of your favorites too, so reach out on Facebook if you’d like! In no particular order, here are five albums that really “do it” for me.

Wayne Shorter - Speak No Evil (1966)

Released in 1966 on Blue Note Records, this album features the powerful line up of Wayne Shorter (tenor sax), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Ron Carter (bass) Elvin Jones (drums), and Herbie Hancock (piano). By simply reading the track listing, you can get a sense of the mysticism and fantasy of the album. Songs like “Witch Hunt” and “Fee-fi-fo-fum” create a world of intrigue and imagination. Each solo is more of a journey than a collection of licks and riffs. I’ve yet to find a ballad as powerful and beautiful as “Infant Eyes,” which was written for Wayne’s newborn daughter. I listened to this album just about every day a few summers ago, and I’m certain that it will never get old. I suggest enjoying it with a strong cup of coffee on an overcast day to really achieve the mood.

Frank Zappa - Apostrophe (‘) (1974)

Frank Zappa is a fascinating figure in American popular music. He wrote and produced over sixty albums and orchestral works in a career spanning more than thirty years. A true iconoclast, he was as influenced by Igor Stravinsky as he was by shredding guitar rock. Like many strange and eccentric artists, it can take a bit of time, patience, and effort to dig into his catalogue. I think that "Apostrophe (‘)” is a great place to start. It’s an exciting introduction to the humor, variety, musical proficiency, and compositional genius of Zappa. The opening track, “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow” warns the listener “watch out where the huskies go and don’t you eat that yellow snow.” I suggest giving this one a try all in one sitting at a time where you can pay attention to all that is happening. If you don’t connect right away, wait a week and try again. If you do, move on to the album “Overnite Sensation,” which was recorded during the same sessions. It’s not for everyone, but after hearing this I know I went and listened to everything I could find.

Yo-Yo Ma, Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer, Stuart Duncan - The Goat Rodeo Sessions - (2011)

This album is everything that a genre-defying supergroup collaboration should be. Four virtuosos from slightly different areas of the string world come together and perform some of my very favorite modern compositions. Yo-Yo Ma is the quintessential household name of classical cellists, Edgar Meyer is deeply steeped in classical and jazz, Stuart Duncan is a bluegrass legend, and Chris Thile does it all and then some. If this is your first time hearing of this project, I would suggest starting with the Tiny Desk concert, because it helps to see them breathe together and make plenty of eye contact: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7EcT5YzKhQ. This album is perfectly suited for close listening on your favorite couch, or as the soundtrack for some cooking and cleaning. It is a collaboration that I can only aptly describe as magic. Here’s to hoping that they make a follow up one day.

D’Angelo And The Vanguard - Black Messiah (2014)

The story of Michael Eugene Archer (D’Angelo) is full of drama, disappointment, and patience. The very short version goes like this. After the two hugely successful albums Brown Sugar (1995) and Voodoo (2000), D’Angelo seemingly disappeared off the face of the Earth. He was overwhelmed with personal issues and struggles, notably his reluctance as a sex symbol. The music video for his song “Untitled (How Does it Feel) features a shirtless D’Angelo, and this largely contributed to this status. The sabbatical following “Voodoo” was years and years longer than anybody anticipated or expected. In fact, after years of delays, his third album didn’t come out until December of 2014. It took awhile, but man was it worth the wait. Hard hitting funk and soul numbers are interspersed with sensual ballads and political statements. Joining him are longtime D’Angelo collaborators such as Questlove, Pino Palladino and Chris Dave. I’m happy to have him back and I know I’m not the only one.

Hiatus Kaiyote - Choose Your Weapon (2015)

This album is difficult to describe. There is so much going on. It’s an assault on the senses and I mean that in the best way. Hiatus Kaiyote is a quartet from Melbourne, Australia, and they self-describe their sound as “multi-dimensional polyrhythmic gangster shit.” As is the theme for this short list, this album might take a listen or two or three to really understand. They’re able to create so much sound and rhythm, without any of it being extraneous or overdone. Front woman “Nai Palm” has the voice of an angel. A really cool angel. This album is best enjoyed nice and loud with the bass turned up on your favorite speakers. It makes for a great home dance party, just make sure that you stretch first.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy some new music!

-Danny Abrams

Studio Time

We had a great time with Noah and Jerry at the Rubber Room Studios

Hey everybody! After a short break for the holidays, we made a new home for ourselves in the Rubber Room recording studio in Chapel Hill. We instantly felt the history of the space, a studio which has seen many of our favorite artists. North Carolina favorites from Carolina Chocolate Drops to Mipso and Mandolin Orange have all recorded in the same room. Jerry Brown of the Rubber Room ran the sessions alongside the Wolfman himself, Noah Adams of New Orleans’ Dirty Bourbon River Show. Their combined experience and a fresh batch of Shambles songs made for a very exciting mix. The album intertwines songs familiar to fans of our live show with brand new songs that have yet to be premiered. We’re excited to share our new creation. A big thanks to Kamala Lee for documenting the process with these sharp photos. Stay tuned for more show announcements. We’re gearing up for a huge Spring and Summer. Need some more Shambles in your life? Please direct all booking inquiries to theshamblesmusic@gmail.com.

The Shambles Return to New York

Check us out at the Rockwood in NY!

As winter starts to roll in, we have made the logical decision to trudge up into the great northern tundra. That’s right, we are returning yet again to New York City for the biggest one yet. Join us at "Rockwood Music Hall" on the Lower East Side (while tickets last) on Saturday, December 17th at 7:45 PM. We love nothing more than seeing familiar Carolina faces alongside New York natives. And once the show ends, the after-party begins. We will be schmoozing in the bar at Rockwood where fans can enjoy $2 off drinks. Don’t miss this chance to see some world premiers of our newest tunes. Be sure to snag your tickets here soon, as they're nearly sold out!

Speaking of new tunes… we’ll be entering Chapel Hill’s esteemed Rubber Room recording studio in January to cut our second full-length album. The legendary Jerry Brown will be behind the boards at a studio that has been graced by the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Mipso, and the Marsalis brothers (to give a very short list). We could not be more excited to share our next batch of music with the world. Some of these have been a staple of our recent live shows, while some have never been heard before. The support of our fans has led us directly to this point, and we most certainly could not have done it without all of you. We hope that this will be the second installment in a long series of original music. Keep an eye out for news from the recording process.

From our family to yours, we wish you a warm and safe holiday season and the happiest of New Years.

A Letter from the Rooster's Nest

Rarely do I take time to stop and reflect, to turn inward and evaluate what makes me myself. We’re busy, all of us are. So busy that we wear our workload like skin and our happiness like the embarrassing sweater that grandma knit. It’s easier that way, only because it’s damn hard to be happy. Today, two things happened that made me turn inward. Not just for a moment, but for hours.

The first, as most of us are already aware, is the passing of Leonard Cohen yesterday at 82 years old. Mr. Cohen made pain real for me. He molded it in song and print, conversed with it, broke it. He was a man who knew pain, and a man who understood that his platform came with great responsibility. He spoke of love and hate, sexuality, passion, light and dark, depression. He spent his life in the relentless pursuit of happiness and internal freedom. His passing reminds me that I have lost sight of my happiness, that I have paused my pursuit in the wake of other things that seemed more pressing. Now those things seem trivial in a life that is short. Mr. Cohen, for you, for myself, and for others, I will commit my life to the preservation and enhancement of my happiness and the happiness of others. I only hope that my platform up on stage has brought all of you some happiness if only for a moment, and that our interactions off stage have done the same.

With no knowledge of Mr. Cohen’s passing, but by some divine stroke of the universe, a person who I have never met sent me an email today. I once worked with this person, technically, but I’ve never met him nor do I know anything about him. In the subject line he had written simply “Life”. His message to me was one that I’ve heard a million times and loosely followed: “life is short.” This man is many years my senior, and a man with I think many regrets. A man who has realized at this point in his life that his working definition of success was wrong. He took the time this morning to send me an email telling me to pursue my passions with good faith and vigor. I needed it this morning and I need it at this point of my life. Fresh out of college, working my tail off to make a dream work, and struggling with the expectations of others. I’m a musician. That’s what I do, I make music. That’s what I think about every second, that’s what I work my tail off to make a possibility, that’s what I work to improve. Music, playing music for you, is what makes me happy above anything else. It is the reason that I am able to love other people, that I am able to be kind to other people, that I am able to believe in people. My definition of success when I am playing in this band is so much purer that when I’m not. I am sorry for losing sight of that, even if it was only briefly. To those that come see us and listen to our music, I am devoting my life to you and your happiness. I will be happy too. That’s what Mr. Cohen wanted us to do and that’s what this gentleman this morning begged me to understand. Do not tread cautiously the currents of happiness, dive deep into that ocean.

~Ellis Dyson

Halloween Hullabaloo

Celebrate Halloween with us!

Howdy folks! We have been just a bit less active in the past few weeks. But fear not, as we have been writing up a storm of new original tunes for your listening pleasure. We’re hard at work in anticipation of recording our second studio album at Chapel Hill’s legendary Rubber Room in January. But this doesn’t mean that we’ve been hiding away all this time. This past weekend brought us to the beautiful and wonderfully unique city of Charleston, SC. We had the honor of playing in the courtyard of the Kudu Coffee House located down the street from the College of Charleston. It felt like a romantic scene from an indie movie; church bells ringing and floating lights hanging above a crowd of fresh faces. We can’t wait to return to Chuck Town.

This week brings us to perhaps our favorite time of the year. That’s right, it’s time for the annual Halloween throw down. We’ll be at the Night Light in Chapel Hill on Thursday 10/27. Once in a lifetime Halloween themed covers and an absurdly low $3 cover are two reasons to attend. Costumes are encouraged to the highest degree, so let your freak flag fly!

Stay tuned for more news and show alerts. Shamble On everyone.

September Shambles Update

We have been quite busy here at Shambles headquarters. This weekend we had the great honor of sharing the stage with flat picking legend Larry Keel and his fine band at the Pour House in Raleigh. It was nice to pack up after our set and then be treated to a masterclass by one of the greats. Sunday brought us to our first ever performance at Weaver Street Market as part of the annual Carrboro Music Festival. We had an amazing time playing for the hometown crowd made up of old friends and new faces. CMF is always a reminder of just how important music is to this area. Cheers to Carrboro for putting on such an action filled day.

There’s not much time to rest, however, as this week we’ll be in Raleigh for three (!) nights in a row for the International Bluegrass Music Association festival. Catch us at King’s Barcade Thursday (9/29) for a showcase that also features good friends Kate Rudy, Blue Cactus and Christiane and the Strays. Friday night (9/30) we will be bringing the heat to the outdoor dance tent on the corner of Salisbury and Lenoir in downtown Raleigh. Saturday (10/1) brings us back to King’s Barcade, this time with Honey Magpie and The Ginger Snaps. Come out to see us and other great music all weekend, and stay tuned for more Shambles news.

Merch Madness

If you've been watching our twitter recently, you may have noticed that we hinted at some cool news coming your way this week, and when have we been known to disappoint? We've got some great stuff going on in the merchandise corner so make sure your socks are firmly attached to your feet and let's get into it.

First of all, Porch Pickin Tees are now only $5!! We have limited sizing available, (no more mediums, and limited numbers of all other sizes), so get on it before they're gone folks! You can snag 'em over on the store, at any show, or by contacting the band and picking it up in Chapel Hill. We've had these beloved tees for a while now, so it's time they go to a good, loving home. For such a great price how can you say no?

You'll look great in our tee!
Fun Fact: This tee is also guaranteed to up your skills in the kitchen.

In with the new!! We're very excited to bring to you, our loving fans, a brand new merch item! *Gasps all around* Yes, that's right people, we are releasing a tanktop perfect for all your summer exploits. The catch is that we need your help deciding on a color! We've got a few options mocked up, and want your feedback to help us pick the right color scheme. It'll take less than a minute of your time, and ultimately help to make this something that you'll actually wear; it's a win-win. So just click right here and take the survey for us, we really appreciate it! We anticipate ordering the shirts this weekend, so you can expect to get your hands on 'em in the second week of August or before.

We've got more in the works as well, but if you've got some ideas about things that'd look especially good with Ellis Dyson & the Shambles stuck on them, we want to hear about it! Don't hesitate to reach out to us, we'd love to hear your input. Until next time, be sure to vote on your favorite tanktop color!

Summer Sweat & the Shambles

Well folks the day has arrived! Tonight we'll be playing in downtown Raleigh's city plaza as a part of the Pickin' on the Plaza series. We will be joined by Honey Magpie this evening, you can check them out here. Music starts at 5pm, and the Shambles will go on around 8:30. Come out and hang with some live music, food trucks, and craft beer for what's sure to be a great summer night for all. See you there!

Bourbon and Bacon

We just finished a run of shows with Asheville’s Dr. Bacon and New Orleans’ Dirty Bourbon River Show. Our only regret is that it’s not still going! First we took on The Blind Tiger in Greensboro, playing for old friends and new. The energy was high and the bands were tight. Next was the triangle’s holy grail, The Cat’s Cradle Main Stage. We were thrilled to see so many friends in the audience. The love that we feel from all of you is the best feeling in the world. We were especially excited to be joined by the members of Dirty Bourbon for "Ellie Mae" and "I Wanna Be Like You.” Also, having Noah Adams trade verses with Ellis on "Men Trinkte Mashke” makes a strong case from best all-time version of that classic Shambles song.

We won’t be quite as active as usual this summer, but you can catch a free show in downtown Raleigh on July 14 for "Pickin’ in the Plaza.” Otherwise, stay tuned for new music and new dates this fall. Where would you like to see us play? Shoot us an email and let us know. Happy Summer everyone!

From Spring Tour to Shakori Hills

We have had quite the Spring Tour. Every stop along the way was full of new friends and great concerts. The Shambles traveling circus visited old favorites like Carrboro, Raleigh, and Wilmington and saw brand new places like Knoxville, Atlanta, Richmond, Washington D.C., Charleston, and New York City. We have now been to nine different states, plus our nation’s capital. That’s only 41 more to go! Will you be with us on our Dakotas tour? It really has been one heck of a Spring, and we can’t wait to revisit old friends and keep on making new ones.

There is only more thing that can truly and appropriately end Spring tour, and that is Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music & Dance. We will be blowing the roof off of the Dance Tent on Friday night, May 6, at 8pm. There will be a swing dance workshop directly before our set. And the Punch Brothers are playing the following night. Does is get any better than that? We hope to see you there and beyond. Keep on Shamblin.

Shakori Hills

Tonight in Knoxville, TN at the Jig & Reel!

Well folks we've made it out here to Tennessee after a gorgeous drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains and we are set to play at the Jig and Reel this evening! We are excited to be in a new town (and new state) and play for a new audience as well. If you're around the area or know anyone from out here in the hills, make sure to come out or let 'em know we're playing. We will go on at 10pm and play into the early hours! It's going to be a hell of a time so get out here and enjoy some Shambles music in its natural environment. We hope to see you there.

Tomorrow we'll be heading a little further south to Atlanta to play an early evening set at the Red Light Cafe, where music will run from 6pm - 8pm. We'd love to see some familiar faces at this one too, but are pumped to be spreading our music to the legendary ATL. Shamble on everybody.

NPR and a Cat's Cradle Live Album

We had the privelege of playing on WUNC's "The State of Things" program last Friday, February 19th. Not only did playing on NPR fulfill the hopes and dreams of a few of our band members, but we had a great time and the broadcast went real well. If you'd like to stream the program from that day and hear our segment, check out our State of Things segment here.

If you were there at the Cradle on Friday night, you know what a special night that was without being told. For those of you that couldn't make the show, it was one hell of an experience. From the Bulltown Strutters through to the Dirty Bourbon River Show tearing it down, Friday night was a night for the record books. So much fun in fact, that our Saxophonist and resident audiophile Danny cut a live record of the evening's set for your listening pleasure. Check out the Cat's Cradle Live Album, including our entire set from start to finish, cut into tracks.

Finally, we have discovered that we're kinda lacking in the photos department here on the website. So what we have decided to do is have ourselves a little submission contest! If you've got some awesome pics of us you think we'd enjoy, send em over to us either on Facebook, email (theshamblesmusic@gmail.com), or any way you can think of. We just might post some on our Instagram and give you a shoutout too. Good luck, we're looking forward to seeing all of your great pictures!

Let's Rock the Cradle Friday Night

Cat's Cradle, Carrboro NC

This Friday, North Carolina meets New Orleans in the most epic lineup we have ever had the pleasure of being a part of. Durham's Bulltown Strutters, who are fresh off of hosting Durham's Mardi Gras, start the night off with their 20+ piece mega parade. They are the heart and soul of the local brass band scene. We’re up next with our first and last major hometown show of the foreseeable future. Playing for our hometown brothers and sisters is the best feeling we can possibly have. If you haven’t seen us yet, or can’t wait to see us again, this is the time to do it. And of course, allllll the way from New Orleans, Louisiana comes Dirty Bourbon River Show. Nobody stands out like these raucous gentlemen and lady. Do not miss this tornado as it blows through town. After a few years of playing together, we've made the step up to the big boy and girl stage at Carrboro's historic Cat's Cradle. Do not make the mistake of waking up Saturday morning and wondering what could have been. Tickets are cheaper online so just go ahead and lock it in! Thanks for all of your support over the years. Let’s celebrate life and live music this Friday, February 19.

Back to the Boonies

Hey folks. We’re excited to be returning to Boone this Friday for our first appearance at the legendary “Legend’s.” There’s no time quite like winter to head into the mountains. We can’t wait to bring the ruckus to Appalachian State! Boone’s own "Unaka Prong” will be kicking off the festivities. We have some new tunes fresh out of the oven so come on out and join the party.

Stay tuned for our New Orleans tinged February plans. We’ll be celebrating Mardi Gras in Durham on Fat Tuesday and on February 19th we’ll be joined by Durham’s Belltown Strutters and New Orlean’s own Dirty Bourbon River Show at the Cat’s Cradle main stage in Carrboro! Experts are predicting that this could be the biggest one yet. Stay warm and safe this winter and we’ll see you soon.

Tour Change for Tonight, 12/18

Our tour has been great so far everybody; we've been having a blast seeing all the sights and hearing all the sounds of the North so far, having played in Baltimore, New Jersey, and Philadelphia already this week. We'll be closing out the tour with two final shows in New York tonight and tomorrow before we head back down to Carolina again.

On that note, tonight's show will no longer be in Smithtown, NY at Katies, but rather it will be at Past Times Bar in Kings Park, NY on Long Island. Music will start at 9:30 pm, click here for event details on Facebook. It's going to be a hell of a final two days on the road and we're going to close out the tour with a bang, so if you're around the area tonight or tomorrow, make sure to stop by! See you there.

We're Way Up Yonder, Now

Well everybody, we made it up to the North-land, arriving in Baltimore in the middle of the afternoon on this fine day. We're just doing some pre-show resting up before we burn down the house at An Die Musik tonight for our first show of the Way Up Yonder Tour! If you're around the area make sure to grab your tickets here; it's going to be one hell of a show...

We're going to be doing some exploring tomorrow morning before heading over to New Jersey for our show at Spider Saloon, we'll be taking lots of pics and videos to share with y'all one way or another so keep a lookout on our social media platforms for all that! We are all pumped to be on tour and experiencing new places, meeting new folks, and having a great time away from Chapel Hill for a bit, so thanks to all of you guys for giving us this opportunity; we hope to be doing much more of this in the coming months! We'll be sure to bring you more updates tomorrow, so until then, stay shamblin'.


The Shambles Hit The Road!

Ladies and gentlemen, we are excited to share that will be hitting the road next week and heading north on “The Way Up Yonder Tour." After a local show at the "Stag’s Head" in our beloved Raleigh, we’ll be on our way to “An Die Musik” in Baltimore, new home of Ledah Finck, our founding fiddler. Next stop is in New Jersey with a nice big lineup at the “Spider Saloon and Speakeasy.” After that we’ll find ourselves in the city of brotherly love, at “The Fire” in Philadelphia. Then it’s on to Long Island for an intimate show in Danny’s hometown. Then we close it out with a big bash in Brooklyn at “The Rock Shop.” Spread the word far and wide and we’ll see you on the road!

Dec 15 - An Die Musik - Baltimore, MD
Dec 16 - Spider Saloon and Speakeasy - Little Falls, NJ
Dec 17 - The Fire - Philadelphia, PA
Dec 18 - Katie's - Smithtown, NY
Dec 19 - The Rock Shop - Brooklyn, NY

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