Schumacher has several connections with the city, and in talking to him, it's clear that he feels a certain obligation to do whatever he can to help out. "My wife and I have been going down there forever for Jazz Fest--one of the best musical events probably in the world--and just fell in love with the city," he says.
Schumacher is one of the organizers of the TapeOp Conference, an offshoot of TapeOp magazine, both of which are geared toward providing practical information to independent music producers and engineers. After a succession of locales, Schumacher convinced the magazine's publisher and editor to hold the convention in New Orleans, which they did, in June of this year. Things went so smoothly there that, Schumacher says, "We really sort of felt like we had found our home." Enter Katrina, which dashed those hopes for the foreseeable future. (Schumacher is currently looking into the possibility of holding next year's conference in Tucson.)
In keeping with the "think globally, act locally" ethos, in recent weeks, Schumacher has also been working on setting up Mike Prado, a former engineer at New Orleans' Piety Street Studio (which Schumacher describes as "the Wavelab of New Orleans"), who came to Tucson following the hurricane, with a ProTools studio called Big Block Recording Studio in the same building that houses Wavelab.
And this weekend's benefit shows, billed as Wavelab vs. The Weather, are yet another step in Schumacher's efforts to contribute whatever he can to aid Katrina's victims. The lineup for Saturday, Nov. 12, will feature Sunday Afternoon, Luca, Chango Malo and Haley Jane, while Sunday, Nov. 13, will see Fourkiller Flats, Neko Case, Rum Tenor, the Determined Luddites and Paul Wild. Case's appearance is particularly notable, as it's one of the few times she will be performing until her new solo album is released next spring.
Attendees are also highly encouraged to bring a can or two of food to the shows, to replenish the local food bank, which was nearly depleted after supplies were sent to aid hurricane victims.
Both shows are open to all ages, with tickets going for $7 in advance for a single night, or $11 in advance for both, available at the Rialto box office, 318 E. Congress St. They'll be $9 at the door. Call 740-1000 for more information.
While it hasn't changed my life in the same way it apparently has Smith's, the band's recent album, Gasoline (No Fun, 2005), is a giddy concoction of garagey, good-time guitar riffs (they are from Detroit, after all), cheesy sustained organ, inspired drumming, dueling male/female vocals and, best of all, melodies that stick with you once the album's over. Should make for an awfully fun live show.
Catch The Hard Lessons at Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St., on Wednesday, Nov. 16, as part of a bill that also includes Live the Day, The Infernal Racket and Ghost Cow. Things get rocking at 9:30 p.m., and you can call 622-3535 for further info.
The new album also marks some other changes. The group left their garage studio in the South Bay of Los Angeles to record with Phil Ek, who has produced The Shins, Modest Mouse and Built to Spill, in Seattle. The result is a rather intoxicating collection of hazy, breezy, atmospheric pop songs that never get bogged down in their tricks. It recalls The Shins and Grandaddy, but is not as '60s-obsessed as the former, and not as analog-devoted as the latter. Regardless, it should appeal to fans of both.
Dios (Malos) performs on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Swords and The Crowd open the all-ages show, which will set you back 10 bucks. Call 622-8848 for details.
Nominated in both 2004 and 2005 for a W.C. Handy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Female Artist (the awkward syntax is theirs, not mine), Janiva Magness stops in Tucson this week in support of her 2004 disc, Bury Him at the Crossroads (NorthernBlues). The album pairs Magness' powerful, note-perfect voice with a truly inspired band whose arrangements recall Tom Waits on one song, and delve into spare Delta blues on the next. She'll be at Boondocks, 3306 N. First Ave., on Saturday, Nov. 12. Call 690-0991 for all the details.
Smooth country crooner Don Williams brings his repertoire of classics to the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15. Tickets to the all-ages show are $35, available at the venue's box office. Call 740-1000 for more info.
And finally, Soundbites would like to wish a fond farewell to musical jack-of-all-trades Ozlo, who will be moving to Atlanta soon. You can do the same tonight, Thursday, Nov. 10, when he performs his final local show before relocating, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Things get started at 9:30 p.m., with a $4 cover. Call 798-1298 for the 411.