July 12, 2013 


Botanical Roots Concert Series

Botanical Conservatory, Fridays, July 26 – August 30



Fort Wayne, IN: Botanical Roots, the eclectic downtown concert series featuring music from a wide diversity of regional heritages and cultural backgrounds, begins again Friday, July 26:


2013 Botanical Roots Concert Series


July 26th   Roots Rock Society  w/ TRIAAC Jenbe Ensemble

Roots Rock Society, founded in December of 1986, strongly believes in keeping their heritage and culture alive with their energetic live show and innovative blend of reggae, calypso, soul, zouk and other rhythms of the African Diaspora. What makes RRS stand out are their live performances as well as their original recorded material. Timeless tracks, smooth vocals, vibrant instrumentals matched with exotic rhythms and delightful lyrics performed in English with Spanish and French accents. It is a fine mixture of quality and care with a healing effect leaving you wanting more. RRS has shared the stage with acts such as L.L. Cool J, Earth, Wind and Fire, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, Dave Matthews collaborator Tim Reynolds, Third World, Burning Spear, Mighty Sparrow, Youssou N’Dour, Ritchie Havens and Toots and the Maytals to name a few.



August 2nd Nikki Hill w/ Todd Harrold Trio

Nikki Hill draws on vintage female rhythm and blues influences such as LaVern Baker, Etta James and Ruth Brown, as well as some of her favorite male singers Otis Redding and Solomon Burke, without being stuck or pigeonholed strictly as a ‘retro’ artist. Her tough vocal style fits with contemporary sensibilities yet evokes all the great blues shouters of previous decades. With the success of similar artists such as Amy Winehouse or Imelda May, Hill is poised to blaze her own trail in their wake.

Hailing from Durham, North Carolina, Nikki comes by her Deep South soul honestly. Her musical roots began while singing in gospel choirs at church. A stint living in nearby college town Chapel Hill introduced her to many different styles of music and the awareness of music (and more importantly, unique and non-mainstream music) as a possible career. After pairing up with her guitar-playing husband Matt Hill, they promptly relocated to St. Louis, Missouri, where they have established themselves as roots rock, rhythm and blues powerhouses!

Recently creating a whirlwind of excitement following her performances at the Viva Las Vegas festival (the largest roots music festival in the United States), Nikki Hill is currently anticipating the release of her first recording. Following the release of her debut effort, Hill plans to extensively tour the United States and Europe, spreading her message of down-home dirty R&B to believers and new converts everywhere.



August 9th  Nic Cowan w/ Lee Miles

When this native Texan transplanted to Atlanta he decided to get serious about his musical career, he turned to the professional musician he knew best—his dad, a drummer who regularly gigged with folk, country and jazz ensembles. “He said the key is to be completely original,” Cowan recalls. “Don’t do something that people can categorize easily. You want them not to be able to put a label on you. You can be an amazing singer, amazing player, amazing songwriter, but if you sound like something that’s already out there, then you’re not going to get far.”

Nic is currently on Zac Brown’s record label, Southern Ground Artists. This opportunity presented itself after Nic opened for the Zac Brown Band in Carrollton, GA. Nic approached Brown after the show, thinking he’d ask for some tips, wanting to know what Brown would do in Nic’s position. Brown had listed to some of Nic’s set and told him “I’m going to be starting a record label and when I do, I’d love to sign you.”

Brown provides guest vocals on “Cut It Loose,” a song Cowan had originally written with him in mind. Cowan’s songs are designed to spark a good time. Particularly in tracks like “Gutter Song,” “Wrong Side” and the title track, his bad-boy persona comes through loud and clear. But the approach is seasoned with a humorous wink, and is interspersed with heartfelt, laid-back cuts like “I Won’t Let Go” and “Reno.” While it’s sure to spark audience sing-alongs, it’s not calculated in the slightest. 



August 16th  Morry Sochat & the Special 20’s  w/ Trackless

Morry Sochat (pronounced Socket) and The Special 20's are bringing a fresh sound to the Chicago Blues scene. They mix classic Chicago Blues with Swing and Rock N’ Roll from the 1950’s. The band is influenced by the best in blues history. Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Louis Jordan, Junior Wells, and all of the Chicago greats.Originally hailing from Texas, Sochat played with The Shakes and Tongue & Groove before starting The Special 20s in 2005. Their first, http://special20s.com/disco.html#debut href="http://special20s.com/disco.html#debut" target=_blank>self-titled release, recorded in 2006, was received with great reviews, taking the 20s from playing one or two nights a month to constant bookings all over the city. Morry has been playing around the city learning from the greats in Chicago, playing with Dave Specter, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Billy Flynn and Barrelhouse Chuck. In 2008, they returned to the studio to record a new CD, http://special20s.com/disco.html#swing href="http://special20s.com/disco.html#swing" target=_blank>Swingin’ Shufflin’ Smokin’ produced by Nick Moss. The CD was met with rave reviews and opened the doors for touring across the United States. The third CD, http://www.special20s.com/disco.html href="http://www.special20s.com/disco.html" target=_blank>Eatin’ Dirt, was released in 2010. It was produced by Jimmy Sutton and features 10 original songs.  The band has grown in both skill level and size, adding a horn section on a lot of the songs.  The current line up features Marty Binder, Doug Corcoran, Jim St. Marie, Shoji Naito, Chris Neal, and Ted Beranis.  Other musicians who play regularly with the 20s are Jimmy Sutton, Beau Sample, Mark Fornick, Ariyo, Brother John Kattke, Chris Bernhardt, and Kenny Smith.  



August 23rd  CJ Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band  w/ Scratch ‘n Sniff

The son of late zydeco music pioneer http://www.allmusic.com/artist/clifton-chenier-mn0000159337 href="http://www.allmusic.com/artist/clifton-chenier-mn0000159337" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/artist/clifton-chenier-mn0000159337>Clifton Chenier, http://www.allmusic.com/artist/cj-chenier-mn0000532312 href="http://www.allmusic.com/artist/cj-chenier-mn0000532312" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/artist/cj-chenier-mn0000532312>C.J. Chenier has been dubbed "the crown prince of zydeco." Since inheriting leadership of his father's group, http://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-red-hot-louisiana-band-mn0001738275 href="http://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-red-hot-louisiana-band-mn0001738275" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-red-hot-louisiana-band-mn0001738275>the Red Hot Louisiana Band, http://www.allmusic.com/artist/chenier-mn0000532312 href="http://www.allmusic.com/artist/chenier-mn0000532312" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/artist/chenier-mn0000532312>Chenier has continued to pay tribute to his father's sound and to expand the zydeco tradition. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/chenier-mn0000532312 href="http://www.allmusic.com/artist/chenier-mn0000532312" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/artist/chenier-mn0000532312>Chenier's interests in zydeco were sparked in his early twenties. Although he studied piano in the third grade, switched to the saxophone a year later, and received a scholarship to study music at Texas Southern University, he was drawn to the funky sounds of R&B and modern jazz. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/chenier-mn0000532312 href="http://www.allmusic.com/artist/chenier-mn0000532312" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/artist/chenier-mn0000532312>Chenier played saxophone, keyboards, flute, and sang backup vocals in a Top 40 cover band, http://www.allmusic.com/artist/hot-ice-mn0000269209 href="http://www.allmusic.com/artist/hot-ice-mn0000269209" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/artist/hot-ice-mn0000269209>Hot Ice.

In 1978, http://www.allmusic.com/artist/chenier-mn0000532312 href="http://www.allmusic.com/artist/chenier-mn0000532312" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/artist/chenier-mn0000532312>Chenier was invited to replace saxophonist http://www.allmusic.com/artist/blind-john-hart-mn0001262966 href="http://www.allmusic.com/artist/blind-john-hart-mn0001262966" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/artist/blind-john-hart-mn0001262966>"Blind" John Hart in his father's band. Although he had little experience with zydeco music, he accepted the invitation. Over the next decade, he apprenticed with his father, assuming his role as accordion player and bandleader following his father's death in 1987. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/chenier-mn0000532312 href="http://www.allmusic.com/artist/chenier-mn0000532312" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/artist/chenier-mn0000532312>Chenier has remained active in a variety of outside projects. In addition to playing on http://www.allmusic.com/artist/paul-simon-mn0000031685 href="http://www.allmusic.com/artist/paul-simon-mn0000031685" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/artist/paul-simon-mn0000031685>Paul Simon's http://www.allmusic.com/album/rhythm-of-the-saints-mw0000202777 href="http://www.allmusic.com/album/rhythm-of-the-saints-mw0000202777" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/album/rhythm-of-the-saints-mw0000202777>Rhythm of the Saints, he participated in http://www.allmusic.com/artist/simon-mn0000031685 href="http://www.allmusic.com/artist/simon-mn0000031685" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/artist/simon-mn0000031685>Simon's http://www.allmusic.com/album/born-at-the-right-time-mw0000987864 href="http://www.allmusic.com/album/born-at-the-right-time-mw0000987864" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/album/born-at-the-right-time-mw0000987864>Born at the Right Time tour. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/chenier-mn0000532312 href="http://www.allmusic.com/artist/chenier-mn0000532312" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/artist/chenier-mn0000532312>Chenier was a guest performer on http://www.allmusic.com/artist/gin-blossoms-mn0000947563 href="http://www.allmusic.com/artist/gin-blossoms-mn0000947563" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/artist/gin-blossoms-mn0000947563>Gin Blossoms' http://www.allmusic.com/album/new-miserable-experience-mw0000081872 href="http://www.allmusic.com/album/new-miserable-experience-mw0000081872" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/album/new-miserable-experience-mw0000081872>New Miserable Experience.

In 1997, http://www.allmusic.com/artist/chenier-mn0000532312 href="http://www.allmusic.com/artist/chenier-mn0000532312" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/artist/chenier-mn0000532312>Chenier was nominated for a W.C. Handy Award. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/chenier-mn0000532312 href="http://www.allmusic.com/artist/chenier-mn0000532312" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/artist/chenier-mn0000532312>Chenier's own albums include 1988's http://www.allmusic.com/album/my-baby-dont-wear-no-shoes-mw0000616184 href="http://www.allmusic.com/album/my-baby-dont-wear-no-shoes-mw0000616184" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/album/my-baby-dont-wear-no-shoes-mw0000616184>My Baby Don't Wear No Shoes from Arhoolie Records, 1990's http://www.allmusic.com/album/hot-rod-mw0000690556 href="http://www.allmusic.com/album/hot-rod-mw0000690556" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/album/hot-rod-mw0000690556>Hot Rod. and 1992's http://www.allmusic.com/album/i-aint-no-playboy-mw0000084464 href="http://www.allmusic.com/album/i-aint-no-playboy-mw0000084464" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/album/i-aint-no-playboy-mw0000084464>I Ain't No Playboy, both from Slash Records, and 1995's http://www.allmusic.com/album/too-much-fun-mw0000644006 href="http://www.allmusic.com/album/too-much-fun-mw0000644006" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/album/too-much-fun-mw0000644006>Too Much Fun, 1996's http://www.allmusic.com/album/big-squeeze-mw0000074809 href="http://www.allmusic.com/album/big-squeeze-mw0000074809" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/album/big-squeeze-mw0000074809>Big Squeeze, and 2001's http://www.allmusic.com/album/step-it-up-mw0000011769 href="http://www.allmusic.com/album/step-it-up-mw0000011769" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/album/step-it-up-mw0000011769>Step It Up from Alligator Records. The more meditative http://www.allmusic.com/album/the-desperate-kingdom-of-love-mw0000429728 href="http://www.allmusic.com/album/the-desperate-kingdom-of-love-mw0000429728" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/album/the-desperate-kingdom-of-love-mw0000429728>The Desperate Kingdom of Love, recorded a month or so after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast region, was released in 2006 on World Village Records. Recorded live in a single session at http://www.allmusic.com/artist/rock-romano-mn0000292922 href="http://www.allmusic.com/artist/rock-romano-mn0000292922" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/artist/rock-romano-mn0000292922>Rock Romano's Red Shack Studio in Houston, Texas, the high-energy http://www.allmusic.com/album/cant-sit-down-mw0002210621 href="http://www.allmusic.com/album/cant-sit-down-mw0002210621" target=_blank>http://www.allmusic.com/album/cant-sit-down-mw0002210621>Can’t Sit Down appeared in 2011, also from World Village.


August 30th  Deals Gone Bad w/ Unlikely Alibi

What do you get when you mix the chugging rhythms of Jamaica, the energy and emotion of American Motown, and the over the-top pub/rock of the Pogues? Now in their 14th year, Deal’s Gone Bad is touring extensively with its strongest and most consistent line-up in its history. With elements of ska, rocksteady, reggae, and American soul, DGB is sure to please on the dancefloor as well as on their fourth release to date, “The Ramblers” on Megalith and Jump Up! Records (March, 2007). Although the band draws its influences from classic Jamaican (Desmond Dekker, Jimmy Cliff, Ken Boothe) and American (Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, The Temptations) artists, the sound is a uniquely modern combination, unlike anything else on the scene today.

Deal’s Gone Bad will appeal to fans of both soul and Jamaican music, as well as anyone looking for a turn on the floor or a song in their hearts. It is in live performance where lead singer Todd Hembrook and the boys truly shine. Deal’s Gone Bad shows are a combination of soul rave-up and island dance party, with the force and energy of any punk band worth their salt. Lace up your dancing shoes and slip into your sharpest suit or pencil skirt, Deal’s Gone Bad is coming to your town so get ready! 



The Botanical Conservatory invites the community to grab a lawn chair, settle in, and enjoy music that’s fun and funky, creative, and upbeat.  Bands are selected from regional and national touring acts with an emphasis on uniqueness, quality, and representation of a specific musical style.


Shows are Friday nights through August 30. Local bands will warm up the scene; food and beverage is available and youth ages 12 and under are admitted free with a parent or guardian.  Admission is $6 at the gate. Gates open at 7:30 p.m.; shows start at 8:30 and the events take place outdoors, rain or shine. The Conservatory is located in downtown Fort Wayne at 1100 S. Calhoun Street.


Botanical Roots is sponsored by The Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department, Rock 104, The Home of Rock and Roll, Whatzup, PBS39, Fort Wayne Metals Research, Holiday Inn and the Downtown Improvement District and the Botanical Conservatory. 


For more information phone 260/427-6446 or go to http://www.botanicalconservatory.org/

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