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Grayson Capps is relaxed. You can hear it in the tone of his voice when he speaks, in the thoughtful, laconic way he reflects on the sometimes-tumultuous course of his life and work. It’s not the sound of complacency or comfort, but rather of personal growth and understanding. Capps is not without worry or darkness in his life, but he’s reached a kind of peace with it, an unhurried acceptance that enables him to write with unflinching honesty and remarkable humanity. His long-awaited new solo album, ‘Scarlett Roses,’ is his first in six years, and it showcases the kind of understated brilliance that can blossom when creativity is detached from expectation, when songs are truly given the space and time to find their writer. Grayson Capps is relaxed, but it wasn’t always this way.

“Up until 2011, I was expecting myself to come up with a new record every year,” says Capps, “but then something just clicked. I told myself, ‘Man, you don’t need to worry about the timing. Just let these songs and your career catch up with you.’”

The Alabama native moved back to his home state with his wife, the Grammy Award-winning engineer/producer Trina Shoemaker, and cut himself loose from the self-imposed deadlines he’d been adhering to for the better part of a decade. He built a writing shack in his backyard and christened it a sacred space for creation without targets or schedules. There, he tapped deep into his subconscious, channeling the songs that would become ‘Scarlett Roses’ from a trance-like state in which the music practically bubbled up out of him like water from a spring.

Rosie Flores

It’s telling that Rosie Flores’ e-mail handle begins “chickwpick…” In a long and eclectic career of singing, songwriting and performing, no phrase has ever described the San Antonio native better or more concisely.

But now, with the release of her latest album, Flores takes square aim at a genre she has only sampled heretofore. Simple Case of the Blues showcases Flores in a new light, as a seasoned performer steeped in life’s uncompromising lessons. At once torchy, soulful, heartfelt and yearning, the songs on Simple Case of the Blues are not for the emotionally naïve—it’s the music you make when you’ve come through joy and heartbreak and back again.