Steve Miller has been an enlivening presence on the American music scene for more than half a century. To begin with, he was a mainstay of the San Francisco music scene that upended American culture in the late ’60s. With albums like Children of the Future, Sailor and Brave New World, Miller perfected a psychedelic blues sound that drew on the deepest sources of American roots music and simultaneously articulated a compelling vision of what music – and, indeed, society – could be in the years to come.
Then, in the ’70s, Miller crafted a brand of pure pop that was smart, polished, exciting and irresistible – and that dominated radio in a way that few artists have ever managed. Hit followed hit in what seemed like an endless flow: “The Joker,” “Take the Money and Run,” “Rock’n Me,” “Fly Like an Eagle,” “Jet Airliner” and “Jungle Love,” among them. To this day, those songs are instantly recognizable when they stream on the radio – and impossible not to sing along with. Their hooks are the very definition of indelible.
Running through Miller’s distinctive catalog is a combination of virtuosity and song craft. And that’s no accident. His parents were jazz aficionados, not to mention close friends of Les Paul and Mary Ford, so, as a budding guitarist, Miller absorbed valuable lessons from that musical tradition. When the family moved to Texas, Miller deepened his education in the blues with family friend T-Bone Walker. Miller then moved to Chicago, where he played with Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, James Cotton and Paul Butterfield. That range of sources informs his music to this day.
In recent years, Miller has fully immersed himself in the blues and its many byways. As he has always done, he continues to find creative outlets for the full panoply of his musical passions. On his successful tours with the Steve Miller Band, he complements the commercial peaks of his extensive catalogue with lesser-known songs that expand his fans’ awareness of the range of his work. As a member of the Board of Directors at Jazz at Lincoln Center, he has curated and headlined shows that explore themes like the bridge from blues to jazz in the music of guitar great T-Bone Walker; the distinctive sounds of the blues triangle of Memphis, Texas and Chicago; the resonances between the singular musical creations of Ma Rainey and Miles Davis; and the deep American roots music of Appalachia. He is also a member of the visiting committee of the Department of Musical Instruments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Indeed, five of his guitars will be displayed in “Play It Loud: The Instruments of Rock and Roll,” a groundbreaking exhibition at the Met that will run from April 8 through October 1 of this year.
In the course of his long, full career, Miller has sold tens of millions of records and with each listen the beauty and immediacy of his work, whether at its most playful or most serious, is palpable. As always, whether he was riding the top of the charts or traveling the endless blue highways of American music, you can hear him playing and singing with conviction and precision, passion and eloquence, making music that is at once immediately accessible, thrillingly alive in the present, and more than able to stand the test of time. – Anthony DeCurtis
Visionary GRAMMY Award-winning artist Warren Haynes is a cornerstone of the American music landscape, lauded as one of the most formidable guitarists and vocalists of the modern era and a prolific songwriter and producer. He effortlessly cross-pollinates genres and unfurls solos that broil with passion in his distinctive, signature style. Throughout his prolific career as part of three of the greatest live groups in rock history – Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule and the Dead – and an acclaimed solo artist, he has become one of music’s most treasured storytellers and his artistry has led to thousands of memorable performances and millions of album and track sales. Haynes is a beacon of creativity and musical excellence that inspires fans as well as fellow musicians, evidenced by the diverse array of artists that he has performed and recorded with. His legendary Christmas Jam benefit concert, which celebrated its 30th Anniversary in 2018, benefits the Asheville Area Habitat of Humanity in Haynes’ hometown of Asheville, NC and has raised more than $2.3 million. The Christmas Jam is known as one of the longest running and most celebrated live benefit concerts in the U.S. As the front man of Gov’t Mule, Haynes along with his bandmates drummer Matt Abts, keyboardist Danny Louis and bassist Jorgen Carlsson, create consistently honest, organic and daring music, leading them to be recognized as one of the most timeless, revered and active bands in the world whose spot amongst rock titans remains unshakable.
Multi-platinum selling, Grammy and Golden Globe nominated recording artist Wiz Khalifa burst onto the scene with mainstream success with the release of his first major label debut album, ROLLING PAPERS in 2011. ROLLING PAPERS spawned the hugely successful hits “Black and Yellow,” “Roll Up” and “No Sleep” and gave Wiz the platform to win the award for “Best New Artist” at the 2011 BET Awards and “Top New Artist” at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards. As a follow up to ROLLING PAPERS, Wiz Released O.N.I.F.C. This album featured his songs “Work Hard Play Hard” and “Remember You” featuring The Weeknd. His third studio album, BLACC HOLLYWOOD, debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart and included the hit single “We DemBoyz.” Soon after, Wiz’s track, “See You Again,” off the FURIOUS 7 soundtrack, catapulted to the top of the charts across 95 countries. Holding the #1 spot for 12 consecutive weeks, “See You Again” broke records by being Spotify’s most-streamed track in a single day in the United States and in a single week in 26 countries. In addition to winning 3 Teen Choice Awards in 2015, “See You Again” continued its success by winning a Critics’ Choice Award in the “Best Song” category, winning two Billboard Music Awards in the categories “Top Hot 100 Song” and “Top Rap Song,” earning three Grammy Award nominations in the categories “Song of the Year,” “Best Pop Duo/Group Performance” and “Best Song Written for Visual Media,” and a Golden Globe nomination in the category “Best Original Song – Motion Picture.” Wiz released his album, KHALIFA, in February 2016 as a thank you to fans which included the tracks “Bake Sale” featuring Travis Scott and “Elevated.” In June of the same year, Wiz collaborated with Juicy J to debut TGOD MAFIA PRESENTS: RUDE AWAKENING and TM88 and also embarked on his co-headlining “The High Road Summer Tour” with Snoop Dogg. On April 20th, 2017, Wiz launched his mobile app, Wiz Khalifa’s Weed Farm, which has garnered over 10.1 million downloads and is currently being played in over eight countries and six languages. Later that year, Wiz’s mixtape, LAUGH NOW, FLY LATER, was released in November and featured the chart-topping hit, “Letterman.” His latest studio album, ROLLING PAPERS 2, which is certified gold, was released in July 2018. Following the release, Wiz and rap duo Rae Sremmurd hit the road for their “Dazed and Blazed Tour” throughout summer 2018. In April of 2019, Wiz released his 5-part docuseries with Apple Music, “Wiz Khalifa: Behind the Cam,” which gives viewers an exclusive look into his life and career. This summer, he will embark on his “Decent Exposure Summer Tour” with French Montana, Playboi Carti, Moneybagg Yo, Chevy Woods, and DJ Drama.