Little Feat Play Geneva Saturday Night

Little Feat will play live on the Hobart and William Smith Quad Saturday, June 3rd as part of the HWS Reunion Weekend at 10pm following the fireworks.From wikipedia.org:Little Feat was formed by two former members of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention: songwriter and guitarist Lowell George, who also provided vocals and slide guitar and Roy Estrada on bass guitar. They were joined by drummer Richard Hayward and Bill Payne on keyboards.Their first two albums, Little Feat and Sailin’ Shoes, received good reviews and spawned a classic in George’s song “Willin'”. But lack of commercial success led to the band splitting up, with Estrada leaving music to work in the computer industry. In 1972 Little Feat reformed with bassist Kenny Gradney replacing Estrada, and also adding a second guitarist, Paul Barrere, and percussionist Sam Clayton. This new lineup radically altered the Little Feat sound and brought fresh songwriting capabilities to the band. The group went on to record Dixie Chicken (1973)—one of the band’s most popular albums, which incorporated New Orleans musical influences and styles—as well as Feats Don’t Fail Me Now (1974), which was a studio-recorded attempt to capture some of the energy found in many of their live shows from around that time.Little Feat reached a musical peak in this mid-1970s period. Although outdone in sales and popularity by other rock contemporaries, they had built up a solid audience following through their album releases and incessant touring, were being hailed as exceptional and groundbreaking by most music journalists and, as proof of their musical integrity and influence, could count members of The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin among their loyal fans.The release of The Last Record Album in 1975 signalled another change in the Little Feat sound, with Barrere and Payne developing their interest in jazz-rock, which was further extended in 1977’s Time Loves A Hero. Lowell George continued to produce the albums, but his songwriting contribution lessened as the group moved onward into jazz-rock territory. In August 1977, the band recorded a live album entitled Waiting For Columbus, which is considered by many rock music critics to be one of the best live albums of that decade. It was released in 1978, by which time it became apparent that Lowell George’s interest in the band was diminishing, along with his health. George did some work on what would eventually become Down On The Farm but then recorded a solo album Thanks, I’ll Eat it Here and declared that Little Feat had disbanded. During touring for Thanks, I’ll Eat it Here in June of 1979 George died of a heart attack, although it is unknown whether this was related to the stress of touring or to his drug habit.The rest of Little Feat finished and released Down On The Farm before disbanding in 1979. A subsequent retrospective double album compilation of rare outtakes and live tracks, Hoy-Hoy! was released in 1981.After a long break, the group reformed yet again in 1988 when Barrere, Clayton, Gradney, Hayward and Payne added guitarists Craig Fuller, formerly from the band Pure Prairie League, and Fred Tackett (the former also providing vocals). The initial release by the new lineup, Let It Roll, was well received by many of the fans of the original group, and it held promise for a return to glory. The evolving show of live touring was more structured than the earlier incarnation, as Fuller is considered a stage showman and more of a front lead.Subsequent releases and live shows were not so well received, with many fans considering them unfavourable, compared to the work of the band when led by George. It is important in the history of the band, regarding their fan base, to know that fans of Little Feat tend to split into two camps: those who prefer the Lowell George-era group, who was considered the founder of the band, and those who still enjoy the band in its various post-Lowell incarnations. This is not unlike various reincarnations of other great acts who have had such longevity and success.In September 1993 Fuller’s vocals were replaced by those of female singer Shaun Murphy. Murphy began her career working in Detroit, Michigan, most notably in theatre, and received a record contract with Rare Earth Records, a division of Motown Records, as a member of a duet with notable recording artist Meat Loaf. The duet later disbanded, and Murphy went on to sing and record with renowned artists such as Eric Clapton and Bob Seger, prior to joining Little Feat as a replacement for Fuller. With Murphy, the tone of the live shows is more relaxed, and lends itself to more free-flowing jams, as other members of the band seem to prefer. The studio albums with Murphy failed to attract some of the origninal fans of the band, but the group continues to show promise and produce music effectively.The latter and current replacement line-up has found commercial success harder to come by for many reasons, and although their live performances have had limited commercial success, they continue to have a faithful grass-roots following among the baby-boomer generation, second only to other bands such as Jimmy Buffet and The Grateful Dead, and continue to attract members of the younger generation, both in the United States and abroad.Some of the prominent musicians and bands to play, record, and cover the music of Little Feat include The Byrds, Garth Brooks, Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris, Nicolette Larson, Randy Newman, Robert Palmer, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt, John Sebastian, Van Halen, Joe Walsh, Phish, and Bob Weir.Little Feat continues to play and tour all over the world in “the new millennium”, and is regarded by many rock music critics as a “band’s band”, and as one of the greatest rock bands in American rock music history.The majority of Little Feat album releases through 1990 can be found in the Warner Brothers Records catalog. In 2002 Little Feat launched their own record label, Hot Tomato Records.

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