Adonis Puentes & the Voice of Cuba Orchestra at The Colonial Theatre

Get ready for some hot Latin jazz! Adonis Puentes’ rich, soulful voice is the perfect front for his all-acoustic orchestra, layering traditional Cuban rhythms with deep bass lines, jazzy horns, and his melodic guitar. A Grammy-nominated vocalist and composer from Cuba who weaves passionate, hypnotic Salsa and Cuban Son melodies through jazz arrangements, Puentes and the Orchestra create a worldly experience that is as emotive as it is danceable!

“Original compositions richly imbued with tradition; superb arrangements with an international flavor; a world class band that delivers with great precision; witty, intelligent lyrics inspired by everyday life and by the greatest power of all: Love.” —Latin Jazz Network

The Colonial Theatre Presents: Iris DeMent

The youngest of 14 children, born in Arkansas and raised in Southern California, Iris DeMent spent her childhood immersed in gospel and traditional country music. Beginning with her 1992 debut, ‘Infamous Angel,’ which was hailed as “an essential album of the 1990’s” by Rolling Stone, Iris DeMent released a series of stellar records that established her as “one of the finest singer-songwriters in America” according to The Guardian. The music earned her multiple Grammy nominations, as well as the respect of peers like John Prine, Steve Earle, and Emmylou Harris, who all invited her to collaborate. Merle Haggard dubbed her “the best singer I’ve ever heard” and asked her to join his touring band, and David Byrne and Natalie Merchant famously covered her “Let The Mystery Be” as a duet on MTV Unplugged. NPR called her “one of the great voices in contemporary popular music” and The Boston Globe hailed her work as “a work of rare, unvarnished grace and power.”

“Iris DeMent makes music that celebrates humanity’s efforts toward salvation, while acknowledging that most of our time on Earth is spent reconciling with the fact that we don’t feel so redeemed. Grounded in hymns, early country songs, gospel and folk, DeMent’s work is treasured by those who know it for its insight and unabashed beauty.” —NPR

The Colonial Theatre Presents: Gangstagrass

Bluegrass and Hip-Hop may sound like an odd combination, but don’t tell that to Producer Rench, who birthed the fusion in 2006, with Gangstagrass. “There are a lot more people out there with Jay-Z and Johnny Cash on their iPod playlists than you think.” says Rench, who had previously made a name for himself as an in-demand Brooklyn country and hip-hop producer and singer/songwriter. He should know – he’s toured the country with a band of bluegrass pickers and hip-hop emcees to the delight of standing room crowds everywhere.

When FX Network came to Rench looking for the Gangstagrass sound for the theme song to their new series Justified, he had bluegrass players lay down an original track with rapper T.O.N.E-z, the younger brother of early hip-hop legends Special K and T-LaRoc. The result was “Long Hard Times To Come,” the song that opened every episode of six seasons of the hit series. “Long Hard Times To Come” was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2010, contending for best theme song after critical praise and massive fan response.

The same live bluegrass band approach was used to make Lightning On The Strings, Thunder On The Mic, a full length album of with T.O.N.E-z, the emcee featured on the Justified theme song. Two years later the Gangstagrass sound was expanded with the release of Rappalachia, a 15 song album featuring a variety of rappers, including Kool Keith, Dead Prez, Nitty Scott MC, T.O.N.E-z, BROOKLYN35, R-SON, and Dolio The Sleuth. Country singers Brandi Hart from the Dixie Bee-Liners and Jen Larson added gritty harmonies alongside Rench’s choruses. Broken Hearts and Stolen Money was released in 2014 featuring performances by legendary rap team Smif-N-Wessun, Juno award winning rapper Liquid (of BranVan 3000), Brandi Hart of the Dixie Bee-Liners and Alexa Dirks of Chic Gamine in addition to the now regular crew of emcees and pickers. The album received universal critical acclaim including the Boston Globe labeling the raucus single Two Yards “essential.” A fourth official album titled American Music was released in April 2015. Featuring a collection of standout original cuts and traditional folk anthems the band once again broke new ground, while also paying tribute to their cast of American songwriting heroes, and debuted at #5 on the Billboard bluegrass charts.

Gangstagrass has toured internationally, blowing minds on main stages from SXSW to Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, with a live stage act taking full advantage of the improvisational aspects of both hip-hop and bluegrass. With two emcees R-Son and Dolio The Sleuth trading verses, Dan Whitener on Banjo, Landry McMeans on dobro, and Rench on guitar, and frequent 3 part harmonies, the Gangstagrass live show has garnered a reputation among fans for its dynamism and spontanaety. Currently touring across the US, Gangstagrass is using live performances to organically develop new material for an album that will further explode the boundaries between genres generally thought to be incompatible.

Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn at The Colonial Theatre

Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, “the king and queen of the banjo” (Paste Magazine), have a musical partnership like no other. Béla Fleck is a fifteen-time Grammy Award winner who has taken the instrument across multiple genres, and Abigail Washburn a singer-songwriter and clawhammer banjo player who re-radicalized it by combining it with Far East culture and sounds. The two met at a square dance, began collaborating musically and eventually fell in love. Over the years, they played together most visibly in the Sparrow Quartet alongside Ben Sollee and Casey Driessen and informally at a pickin’ party here, a benefit there, or occasionally popping up in each other’s solo shows. Fans of tradition-tweaking acoustic fare eagerly anticipated that Béla & Abigail would begin making music together as a duo.

Fleck has the virtuosic, jazz-to-classical ingenuity of an iconic instrumentalist and composer with bluegrass roots. His collaborations range from his ground-breaking standard-setting ensemble Béla Fleck and the Flecktones to a staggeringly broad array of musical experiments. From writing concertos for full symphony orchestra, exploring the banjo’s African roots, to jazz duos with Chick Corea, many tout that Béla Fleck is the world’s premier banjo player.  Washburn has the earthy sophistication of a postmodern, old-time singer-songwriter who has drawn critical acclaim for her solo albums. She has done fascinating work in folk musical diplomacy in China, presented an original theatrical production, and has contributed to singular side groups Uncle Earl and The Wu-Force. In addition to being named a TED Fellow in 2012, Abigail was recently named the first US-China Fellow at Vanderbilt University, in addition to Carolina Performing Arts/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s DisTil Fellow for 2018-2020

With one eye on using the banjo to showcase America’s rich heritage and the other pulling the noble instrument from its most familiar arena into new and unique realms, Bela & Abigail meet in the mean, head-on, to present music that feels wildly innovative and familiar at the same time. Whether at home, on stage or on record, their deep bond, combined with the way their distinct musical personalities and banjo styles interact, makes theirs a picking partnership unlike any other on the planet.

The Hot Sardines On Stage at The Colonial Theatre

Fueled by the belief that classic jazz feeds the heart and soul, THE HOT SARDINES are on a mission to make old sounds new again and prove that joyful music can bring people together in a disconnected world.

In the last two years, the Hot Sardines have been featured at the Newport Jazz Festival and the Montreal Jazz Festival, have sold out NYC venues from Joe’s Pub to Bowery Ballroom, and have released two albums to critical raves and a No. 1 slot on the iTunes Jazz chart in the U.S. and internationally. 

These mischief-makers of hot jazz have been described as “potent and assured” (The New York Times) and “simply phenomenal” (The Times, London). “Everything in our DNA is about connecting with the audience. That’s where we feel most at home,” says Elizabeth, of playing live with the eight-piece band (including one wildly percussive tap dancer).

The War & Treaty at The Colonial Theatre

The War and Treaty. The name itself represents the pull between trauma and tranquility, music inspired by darkness and despair that ultimately finds a higher spiritual purpose. A rising act in the Americana field, are a married duo comprised of Michael and Tanya Trotter, which have received comparisons to Ike and Tina Turner. Separately and together, they’ve tried on numerous stylistic identities and artistic approaches. Long before she met Michael, Tanya (nee Blount) dueted with Lauryn Hill in Sister Act 2 and recorded sultry, mid-’90s R&B slow jams in a Toni Braxton vein. Michael sang in church, and during a tour of duty in Iraq, was dealt the singular sacred duty of paying tribute to fallen comrades in song, before striking out as a smoothly seductive R&B singer-songwriter. After teaming up in life and music, the pair dabbled in sleek soul updates under their combined surnames. But they also drew inspiration from voices embraced as touchstones across generations and genres — Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash and Nina Simone among them — and ultimately settled into a rootsy aesthetic animated by the range of their musical experiences.

The Colonial Theatre Presents: The Capitol Steps

“An oasis of good-natured ribbing in a fiercely partisan world” —The Washington Post

The Capitol Steps are a troupe of Congressional staffers-turned-comedians who travel the States satirizing the very people and places that once employed them. The Steps perform over 500 shows a year all over the country.

The Capitol Steps were born December, 1981 when three staffers for Senator Charles Percy were planning entertainment for a Christmas party. Their first idea was to stage a nativity play, but in the whole Congress they couldn’t find three wise men or a virgin! So, they decided to dig into the headlines of the day, and created song parodies & skits which conveyed a special brand of satirical humor that was as popular in Peoria as it was on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Ronald Reagan was President when the Steps began, so co-founders Elaina Newport, Bill Strauss and Jim Aidala figured that if entertainers could become politicians, then politicians could become entertainers! Most cast members have worked on Capitol Hill, some for Democrats, some for Republicans, and others for politicians who firmly straddle the fence. No matter who holds office, there’s never a shortage of material. Says Elaina Newport, “Typically, the Republicans goof up, and the Democrats party. Then the Democrats goof up and the Republicans party. That’s what we call a two-party system.”

Although the Capitol Steps are based in Washington, DC most of their shows are out-of-town or for out-of-town audiences. Whether it’s the National Welding Supply Association, a University audience, high schoolers, or State Legislators, people love to laugh at the foibles of Jerry Falwell (“Loonies of the Right”) or even Bill Clinton’s new office (“In the Ghetto”). In fact, the Capitol Steps have performed for the last five presidents (six if you include Hillary). The only complaints the Steps seem to get are from the politicians and personalities who are NOT included in the program!

150th Anniversary Celebration of Mt. Washington Cog Railway

Join us for a celebration of the Mount Washington Cog Railway and its history of 150 years of operations. With special presentations about the railroad history, food, drinks and a fireworks show to WOW, it’s sure to be a celebration for the ages!

This is a special ticketed event. The cost for the event has not been released yet, and tickets will be released on a certain day at a certain time. Please stay tuned to thecog.com and the Mount Washington Cog Railway on Facebook for information about ticket purchases and more. Availability is extremely limited.

The Colonial Theatre Presents: Bombino

For centuries, the desert town of Agadez has served as a converging point for the great camel caravans driven by the Tuareg that link West Africa with North Africa and the Mediterranean. Born in 1980 at a nomadic camp near this dusty outpost, the young guitarist and songwriter Omara “Bombino” Moctar was raised during an era of armed struggles for Tuareg independence and violent suppression by government forces. Bombino’s electrifying jams capture the spirit of resistance and rebellion while echoing with guitar riffs reminiscent of fellow Africans Tinariwen and Ali Farka Touré not to mention rock and blues icons such as Jimi Hendrix, John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Page.

Ghost of Paul Revere & Jason Spooner Band at The Colonial Theatre

“We grew up listening to Radiohead and the Beatles and Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd,” says Griffin Sherry, guitarist/singer in The Ghost Of Paul Revere. “Everyone assumed we were a bluegrass band because we were playing these traditional instruments, but we weren’t writing traditional music. We were just writing songs with the instruments we had.”

The result is a sound that the Portland, Maine-based band describes as “holler folk,” not because it involves a lot of hollering, per se, but because it invokes the rich communal tradition of field hollers, with their call-and-response melodies, sing-along hooks, and densely layered harmonies. That sense of musical camaraderie is essential to everything The Ghost of Paul Revere does.

“The Monday before Newport we got a message saying to pack our bags and come on down,” remembers Sherry. “We hadn’t played much outside of Maine or started opening for any big acts yet at that point, and it was a hugely inspiring moment.”

Word began to spread about the rowdy pickers from the north. The Boston Globe raved that they “create the type of music for which festivals are made,” while No Depression said they “prove that superior roots music can come from anywhere,” and Dispatch Magazine wrote that they possess not only “the chops, but the heart to reach their audience and leave an undeniable impression.” Hitting listeners straight in the feelings has been the band’s M.O. since its inception in 2011, and they’ve used their powerful stage show to convert the masses at every stop along their long and winding journey, which has included shared stages with artists like The Avett Brothers, The Travelin’ McCourys, Brown Bird, The Revivalists, the Infamous Stringdusters, and more.

The Jason Spooner Band: The ingredients behind northern New England’s Jason Spooner Trio read like a bizarre musical science experiment. Start with a prolific, singer/songwriter (Jason Spooner) with heavy roots, folk & blues influences. Then mix in a classically trained bassist (Adam Frederick) with foundations in jazz and a knack for serious pocket grooves. Lastly, shake things up with a rock-solid drummer (Reed Chambers) with deep-seeded roots in funk, soul & reggae and you’ve begun to scratch the surface of this unique, energetic band.