The Davenports & Kris Gruen at City Vineyard - 11/5Monday, November 05 2018 4:30pm Doors / 8:30pm Start
The Davenports & Kris Gruen at City Vineyard - 11/5
at City Vineyard at Pier 26
Tickets will be $18 Day of Show
“Klass writes melodic confections that seep into your psyche and stay…and does so with wit and intelligence” (PopMatters).
Heard the story of the old aunt whose car keys have to be confiscated because she’s too senile to drive without potentially killing somone? Or the one about the man who stops calling his lover by her pet name because their relationship has soured? Or the one about the executive who plants a mole in his staff to find out who his detractors are?
Moment-in-time stories that drive through some of the rockiest terrain of human nature, with twists and turns of phrase and melody connecting a soundtrack that’s equal parts expansive rock and close melancholy – if you’re there, you’ve ventured into the songcraft of Brooklyn’s Scott Klass, aka The Davenports. It’s this music that’s “steeped in pop/rock—Ben Folds meets Weezer …leading you to sing along to songs you’re hearing for the first time while stories unfold of relationships gone awry….” (The Deli) that has been the foundation of The Davenports since Klass started it in 2000.
He puts it out with a rotating cast of great musicians including regular appearances by Claudia Chopek (Father John Misty, Springsteen, Moby), Garo Yellin (The Band’s Visit, The Ordinaires, Pere Ubu), Danny Weinkauf, Dan Miller (They Might Be Giants), Erik Philbrook, Rob Draghi, Cheri Leone and others.
Well-known for “Five Steps,” the theme song to A&E’s Emmy-nominated Intervention, Klass has licensed numerous songs to TV in addition to putting out three critically acclaimed records—Speaking of The Davenports, Hi-tech Lowlife and Why the Great Gallop—which set tales of love, lust, mean, money-dangling mothers, superstitious panic attacks and the like to a torrent of melodic rock.
The Davenports’ latest release, Don’t Be Mad at Me, marks a series of firsts for Klass. Shirley Simms of The Magnetic Fields takes lead vocal on “Miranda in Her Room”--the first Davenports song to ever feature a lead vocalist other than Klass. While the duet comes across as seamless, Klass and Simms recorded their vocals in different cities (New York and Boston, respectively), and they didn’t actually meet in person until the following year at a Magnetic Fields show.
Another song--”I Don’t Know What to Do”--marks Klass’s first co-write. He penned the tune with Swedish popster David Myhr (The Merrymakers) while he was doing a “co-writing tour” of the U.S. last year. As with “Miranda in Her Room,” the recording of “I Don’t Know What to Do” was a long-distance collaboration (in this case, international).
In addition to his own output, Klass/The Davenports are regular contributors to a popular series of cover projects. They recently contributed renditions of Wham! and Randy Van Warmer songs to the compilation series’ Drink a Toast to Innocence (covering the ’70′s) and Here Comes the Reign Again (covering the ’80s)–records which also featured Mike Viola, Freedy Johnston and Rachel Yamagata.
Klass is also a member of Look Park, the new project from Fountains of Wayne frontman Chris Collingwood which also includes Philip Price of Winterpills. Last year, the trio played Japan’s Fuji Rock festival and opened for Britpop legends Squeeze on their west coast tour. This past April, Klass and Collingwood opened for British invasion staple Dave Davies of the Kinks.
Kris Gruen writes songs about grownup life infused with a mystic wonder, softening the world’s sharp edges like a glass of exceptionally fine bourbon. Kris grew up steeped in classic records. His Americana influenced new folk is grounded in the tradition of great narrative songwriters like Cat Stevens and Paul Simon and yet Kris’s voice is strikingly current. A New York City native who’s put down roots in Vermont, Kris effortlessly blends sagacious wit and emotional depth.
The new album Coast & Refuge is an album both about and created by partnerships where the sonic and thematic threads feel constant, equally at home in the old townships of Vermont where the new folk-artist lives, as it is in the new frontiers of Scandinavia, and the California coastline where much of it was written. The songs retain folk roots, but bring a contemporary urgency and a big sound. The result draws comparisons to Matthew Perryman Jones, Pete Yorn, Elbow, Griffin House, Ryan Adams, and Peter Bjorn and John; in fact, the latter’s Peter Morén appears on the album as vocalist and co-writer of one of the first singles “Every Day and Night Now.”
Over a four year period Kris worked with LA writer/producers Brad Gordon (Vance Joy, Dan Wilson, The Weepies,) and Justin Gray (Dirty Heads, James Bay & John Legend), Ramin Sakurai (Supreme beings of Leisure), Finnish singer-songwriter Peppina, and LA artist AM. During a seven country European tour in 2015, while supporting Jesse Malin, Kris was led to Stockholm to work with Peter Morén. Gruen also collaborated with filmmaker Melissa Miller-Costanzo on the song “Coming Down Around Me” for her feature film “All These Small Moments” starring Molly Ringwald and Jemima Kirke, which premiered at The Tribeca Film Festival this past April. Longtime producer Charles Newman (The Magnetic Fields, The Bones of J.R. Jones) produced the track in his Brooklyn based Cottage Sounds studio, as well as The Morén duet and the album closer, “2008,” a beautifully nostalgic ballad co-written with Los Angeles based artists Jim and Sam.
Kris has shared the stage with the likes of The Avett Brothers, Anais Mitchell, Billy Joe Armstrong, and Sean Lennon, and recently supported Alejandro Escovedo on the east coast and just returned from dates in Sweden at the Live at Heart Festival, as well as supporting Jesse Malin and Craig Finn (The Hold Steady) on a few shows in the UK.