Monday, October 26, 2015

Joan Armatrading in Concert at Byham Theater Wednesday Evening

Vocalist Joan Armatrading

    The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust welcomes three-time Grammy nominated singer, songwriter, and guitarist, Joan Armatrading, as she continues celebrating with audiences her first solo performance world tour and last major tour through 2015.  Ms. Armatrading will perform in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, October 28, 2015 at 7:30 p.m., at the Byham Theater, 101 6th Street, in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, with special guest performance by Marti Jones & Don Dixon. This concert is presented by 91.3 WYEP and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
    “She’s a gutsy performer with soul who exudes a down-to-earth charm that has endured across more than 40 years. Her fans adore her and with such a fantastic solo show, it’s easy to see why she’s still selling out venues after all this time.” –The Bristol Post
    Ms. Armatrading’s 2014-2015 concert dates in select cities throughout Europe and the U.S. are part of her first ever solo world tour, as well as her final major tour, with North American dates set through 2015.  The artist shared, “I will never retire but this will be the last major tour that I will undertake. For the first time these concerts will be me solo on stage playing the guitar and piano and singing.  I want these concerts to be a special lively interactive one to one experience. I have absolutely enjoyed the last 42 years of performances but now, with my final major tour, I want to capture a unique memory for both myself and the audience.”
    Regarding her solo tour, The Argus raved, “Without the backing band she has traditionally toured with, Joan’s raw emotional power and poignant beauty shone through.”  The Broward Palm Beach New Times hailed, “Her ability to blend rock, reggae, blues, and balladry is only part of the reason she remains such a singular performer. Add to that a still vibrant vocal — one that easily shifts from the gruffest growl to a soaring soprano — and a knack for menacing guitar licks and it’s clear Armatrading’s still capable of dazzling diversity.”
    Tickets ($45-$65) can be purchased in-person at the Box Office at Theater Square, 655 Penn Avenue, online at, or by calling 412-456-6666. Call 412-471-6930 to purchase 10 or more group tickets.
    Ms. Armatrading grew up in a musical family, taking her first musical steps on her mother’s piano. When Joan saw a guitar for sale in a pawn shop, she begged her mother to barter for the instrument. She taught herself to play and began writing her own music by the age of 14.
    From there, her music career began to blossom, and what a bountiful career she has had. Joan signed on to Cube Records in 1971, and released her debut album, “Whatever’s For Us”, the following year. After signing on to A&M in 1974, her career saw a plethora of memorable songs – “Love and Affection, “Down to Zero”, “Drop the Pilot”, “Me Myself I”. In December of 1998, she released the album, “Lullabies With A Difference”, in support of PACES, a charity for children with Cerebral Palsy.
    In addition to winning the Ivor Novella Award, Joan has been nominated for three Grammys and a Brit Award. She holds countless gold, platinum, and silver discs, and has received a prestigious Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE), becoming one of the only few female artists to ever do so. She has also performed for Nelson Mandela, been given the key to Sydney, and earned a BA Honors degree from Open University for studying history while on tour.
    Over the years, Ms. Armatrading’s music has ranged from Pop, Blues, Folk, Reggae, and Jazz. In 2003, “Lovers Speak” was released, featuring an album where Joan played every instrument but the drums. In 2007, Joan released “Into the Blues”, which debuted at #1 on The Billboard Blues chart. Her 20th CD, a jazz laced album called “Starlight”, was released in 2012.
    Marti Jones and Don Dixon have been performing together, off and on, for over twenty years. This longtime partnership has resulted in an intimate stage rapport as well as the seamless blending of two of the most distinct voices around today. With over two hundred songs in their collective recorded catalogue, you never know quite what to expect when they hit the stage, but rest assured their performance will feature thoughtful lyrics and heart-felt singing.
    Marti Jones release her first solo album, “Unsophisticated Time” (A&M), in 1985, which was produced by Don Dixon. Jones and Dixon later married, and Don has produced all of his wife’s albums since. Marti released two more albums for A&M in the 1980s, featuring artists such as Marshall Crenshaw, Mitch Easter, The Uptown Horns as well as others. Ms. Jones’ most recent album, “Lucky Stars: New Lullabies for Old Souls,” which was released in 2008, features six vocal songs and five instrumentals, credited to both Jones and her husband.
    Don Dixon started out playing and recording in his teens with a band called, ARROGANCE. Dixon went solo in 1983 and has released nine CDs. His writing, production, and session credits include REM, Hootie & The Blowfish, Counting Crows, Joe Cocker, Mary Chapin Carpenter and more.

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