Alabama Shakes – Shakes up Portsmouth Pavilion

Alabama Shakes – Shakes up Portsmouth Pavilion
Portsmouth Pavilion in Portsmouth, Virginia
Friday, September 16th, 2016
Photographer/Writer: Mark Robbins

When Brittany Howard sings the blues her voice defines heartbreak. The mournful, soulful sound coming from the 28 year old singer/songwriter of Alabama Shakes belies her age. Stir in some Janis Joplin, Etta James, a little Aretha and some James Brown and you have the recipe for one of the strongest female singers out there today. Friday night at the Portsmouth Pavilion Alabama Shakes with an expanded band, including backup singers, took over 2000 congregants to church. From the ground shaking “Gimme All Your Love” to the sad lament of “Over My Head” not only does Howard deliver but the three other founding members of the band, guitarist Heath Fogg, Zac Cockrell on electric bass and drummer Steve Johnson back her with perfect timing as well as shining with their own solos. It is easy to hear the difference between the material from their first album, “Boys and Girls”, and the newer Grammy Award winning “Sound and Color”. Where “Boys and Girls” is mostly Southern rock “Sound and Color” is a more mature outing with a darker sound with a heady mixture of gospel, R&B, blues and alternative rock. From the church organ opening notes of “Sound and Color” to Howard belting out the anthem-like “Don’t Wanna Fight” or presenting “Joe” almost as a spoken monologue you know you’re hearing from someone who has lived what she’s singing which is hard to believe from one so young. If their two albums and show Friday night are any indication of the future, Alabama Shakes is going to around for a long time.

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Opening for Alabama Shakes was two time Grammy winner Corinne Bailey Rae. Singing material from her three albums, her third album, “The Heart Speaks in Whispers”, NPR has named as one of their 30 favorite albums of the year, Rae gave a silky smooth performance for a legion of fans who sang most of her songs along with her. Backed by a great 4 piece band and sometimes accompanying herself on acoustic guitar, Corrine Bailey Rae was a welcome start to an outstanding night of music.

The Travelin’ McCourys announce fall tour, New Years plans, and first ever recorded music

The Travelin’ McCourys announce fall tour, New Years plans, and first ever recorded music

The Travelin’ McCourys have a lot to be excited about. Today they announce the most extensive tour since their inception including several Grateful Ball dates (with Jeff Austin Band) and Bluegrass Ball dates across the country. They also just released their first recorded single ‘Cumberland Blues’ and are announcing plans to release a new recorded song every month for the foreseeable future leading to the eventual release of a full album.

You can listen to Cumberland Blues here: https://soundcloud.com/rainmakermanagement/cumberland-blues/s-oNhU3

And finally, the band is excited to announce plans for a 2 day New Years party with Del McCoury Band and Jeff Austin Band at Bluegrass Underground! Tickets will go on sale Tuesday, September 20th at 10am CST. Packages include hotels, food, yoga, Friday 12/30 with Del McCoury Band, Saturday 12/31 with multiple sets from Travelin’ McCourys and Jeff Austin Band (including a Grateful Ball set), and much more! Complete details can be found at: http://bluegrassunderground.com/new-years-eve-2017-countdown-underground/

Fall/Winter Dates include:

October 14 – Hillberry Music Festival – Eureka Springs, AR
October 20 – State Theatre – State College, PA (Grateful Ball with Jeff Austin Band) *
October 21 – Rex Theater – Pittsburgh, PA (Grateful Ball with Jeff Austin Band) *
October 22 – Ardmore Music Hall – Ardmore, PA (Grateful Ball with Jeff Austin Band) *
October 23 – Flying Monkey Performance Center – Bristol, NH (Grateful Ball with Jeff Austin Band)*
October 24 – Rams Head On Stage – Annapolis, MD (Grateful Ball with Jeff Austin Band)*
October 25 – Appalachian Brewing Company – Harrisburg, PA (Grateful Ball with Jeff Austin Band)*
October 26 – The Hamilton Live – Washington, DC (Grateful Ball with Jeff Austin Band)*
October 29 – Bluegrass Underground – McMinnville, TN (Grateful Ball with Jeff Austin Band)* SOLD OUT
October 30 – Suwannee Hulaween – Live Oak, FL
November 10 – Neighborhood Theatre – Charlotte, NC
November 11 – Imperial Theatre – Augusta, GA
November 12 – Riverhawk Music Festival – Brooksville, FL
November 13 – Terra Fermata – Stuart, FL
November 17 – Castle Theatre – Bloomington, IL (Bluegrass Ball with other band TBA)
November 18 – Old Rock House – St. Louis, MO (Bluegrass Ball with Nick Forster and Danny Barnes)
November 19 – The Garage at Knuckleheads – Kansas City, MO (Bluegrass Ball with Nick Forster and Danny Barnes)
November 20 – Bravo! Concert Series – Knoxville, IA
December 8 – Aggie Theatre – Ft. Collins, CO (Bluegrass Ball with Pert Near Sandstone)
December 9 – Caribou Room – Nederland, CO (Bluegrass Ball with Pert Near Sandstone)
December 10 – Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom – Denver, CO (Bluegrass Ball with Pert Near Sandstone)
December 15 & 16 – Isis Music Hall – Asheville, NC (Bluegrass Ball with Andy Thorn, Travis Book & Friends)
December 30 & 31 – Bluegrass Underground – McMinnville, TN

*The Bluegrass Ball includes a set from Jeff Austin Band, a set from Travelin’ McCourys, and a set with both bands together playing the music of The Grateful Dead

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Fourth Lockn’ Festival as Hot as the Weather

Fourth Lockn’ Festival as Hot as the Weather
Oak Ridge Farm, Arrington, VA
August 25-28, 2016
Photographer/Writer: Mark Robbins

The 4th installment of the Lockn’ Festival at Oak Ridge Farm in Arrington, VA proved to be a sizzling hot weekend. Not only was the music a blistering blur from well known to not so well known bands but the temperature held in the high 90s all 4 days (actually 1 night and 3 days) with the only relief given by the mist machines placed throughout the festival grounds. The festival, started by Peter Shapiro and Dave Frey, not only offers the best jam bands, as well as other genres, but also the best in local farm to table eats and craft beers and wine. New this year was a raised main stage which had a rotating center so when one band was finished with a set the center would rotate with the next band already in place.

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THURSDAY HIGHLIGHTS

Thursday night’s lineup kicked off with Vulfpeck, a funk band who had a great time on stage with Jack Stratton constantly running back and forth between turns on the keyboard. Antwaun Stanley, billed as a”special guest” has a powerful voice that filled the festival grounds and would be at home singing R&B, funk or gospel.

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Umphrey’s McGee’s music was only surpassed by it’s outstanding light show. This band was the VIP for the weekend playing non-stop glory. It’s genre hopping, time and key changes may be off-putting to some but Umphrey’s McGee was non stop glory.

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Finishing the night was Ween. Known for their unusually goofy lyrics, distortion and abrasiveness they more than lived up to their reputation. This is not a jam band and they don’t try to be.

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FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS

Friday was the first full day of music with Phish, Ween, Peter Wolf of the J. Geils Band, Charles Bradley and the Extraordinaires, White Denim, Vulfpeck, Turkuaz and Moogatu.

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Phish played two 2 hour sets Friday and Sunday nights. It’s hard to believe this band has been killing it for some 33 years now. With a set list that included “555”, “Ghost”, “Punch You in the Eye”, “Wing Suit” and much much more from the Phish song book the highlight was an a cappella cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”. Those who paid for super VIP tickets were treated to a private show by Anders Osborne between Phish sets.

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Charles Bradley survived a difficult childhood and early adulthood to finally getting the praise he deserves. Strongly influenced by James Brown, Bradley is a true showman and has the soul and R&B chops to go with it. Whatever emotion he is feeling, joyfulness or sadness, the audience feels it as deeply. Bradley is one of those performers who has to be seen live to really appreciate how great he is. Turkuaz is big band funk. This nine piece band would have raised the roof if there was a roof to be raised. White Denim has been around since 2008. From their opening song, “Real Deal Momma” the band kept a soulful vibe going throughout their entire set.

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SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS

My Morning Jacket, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Hard Working Americans, Galactic with Lee Oskar, Twiddle, Moon Taxi, DJ Williams Project, Phil Lesh and Friends.

My Morning Jacket is not only a great indie band but Saturday night they put on an outstanding Rock and Roll Show. Front man Jim James is an unstoppable force backed by an equally dynamite band. Originals mixed in with covers, a particularly moving “What the World Need Now” (Burt Bacharach and Hal David), made their set one of the more memorable of the weekend.

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Tedeschi Trucks Band is all that needs to be said. From the rapid fire guitar of Derek Trucks to the sublime voice of Susan Tedeschi as well as a great band, this is as good as it gets. Their cover of “Bitches Brew” was so smokin’ that Miles Davis even smiled.

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Hard Working Americans is a Neo Southern super rock band. “Mission Accomplished” should have been their closer instead of opener because when their set was over, judging from the crowds reaction, it was mission accomplished. With Todd Snider in front with vocals, dancing, and mugging for the crowd, the rest of Hard Working Americans cook with such intensity flames should be covering the stage. This band’s pedigree is second to none with Dave Schools (Widespread Panic), Neal Casal (Chris Robinson Brotherhood), Chad Staehly (Great American Taxi), and Duane Trucks (King Lincoln).

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Galactic is the quintessential New Orleans funk band. With Stanton Moore on drums this band can do no wrong. Together for 20 years,Stanton Moore Ben Ellman, Robert Mercurio, Jeff Raines and Rich Vogel have visited every genre of music and conquered them all. For their Lockin’ set special guest harp player Lee Oskar, founder of War, joined them for “Slipping Into Darkness”, “Like a Rolling Stone” and a few others. Add vocalist Erica Falls to the mix and an extended set (Brandi Carlile could not appear due to illness) and there were a lot of happy campers.
Phil Lesh has a lot of good friends. With members of the Dead, Phish (John Fishman, Page McConnell, Anders Osborne, Joe Russo) and The Infamous Stringdusters, this group could have had their own festival. Getting a late start, travel problems for Lesh then a blown amp, the fans patiently waited as the new rotating stage turned to the opening strains of “Scarlet Begonias”. Through a set of Dead covers and an extended jam, Phil Lesh and Friends were welcomed back anytime.

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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS

Phish, Gary Clark, Jr., Phil Lesh and Friends, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, The Wailers, Twiddle, Doobie Decible System, The Dharma Initiative, Keller Williams’ Grateful Gospel

Keller Williams has a good time and so does everyone else who is there to hear him. Dressed in a dark suit, white shirt, white tie, and no shoes, Williams comes to preach. “Palm Sunday”, “Who Was John”, “St Stephen”, “Sampson and Delilah” and more made this set a must hear for the weekend. Performed on the much smaller Blue Ridge Bowl Stage and earlier than the normal starting time (10 AM) it was still wall to wall people (if there were walls) who knew this was not a set to miss. Williams was backed by his three piece band and 4 singers who preached to the heavens.

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Phil Lesh’s friends today were Chris Robinson Brotherhood (who had their own set) and Gary Clark, Jr.. Sunday’s show went off without a hitch with more Dead covers and Gary Clark, Jr. showing his blues licks on “Good Morning, School Girl” and “Wang Dang Doodle”. Lesh and friends, no matter who they are, can do no wrong.

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Gary Clark, Jr. is not as famous as he should be. His style encompass fuzz rock, blues, r&b, hip-hop, soul and even a little jazz. His crackling “Bright Lights” set the tone for the rest of his rock blues appearance.

Summerdance Music Festival

Summerdance Music Festival
Nelson’s Ledges Quarry Park, Garrettsville, OH
September 2 – 4, 2016
Photographer/Writer: Anthony Gima

What a magical weekend! Unreal musicianship, gorgeous, sunny weather, talented painters and other artists, friends, family, cliff jumps, floating penguin rafts, and of course, Disco Pizza! Summerdance Music Festival couldn’t have taken place at a better venue, or a better Labor Day Weekend. Held at Nelson’s Ledges Quarry Park in Garrettsville, Ohio, plenty of music fans flock to this breathtakingly unique oasis. Lotus captivated the minds, souls, and bodies of multiple generations alike, to come together, in a tribal-like unity and escape the daily stresses of the real world, in a truly enchanting place. This festival had all you needed – a place in the woods to camp with old growth-trees that provided ample shelter during the day, a beach to hang out on that leads into a water-filled quarry where you can take your time swimming or floating, relaxing on rafts during the day or find places to take a leap of faith and cliff jump. The Ohio Burn Unit provided expert fire dancers on the beach after the music was over, and of course, places to resupply and fuel up with some awesome food vendors.

Hailed by Lotus fans as a musical mecca, Summerdance has continued to surprise and inspire. This weekend was a special weekend for Lotus; drummer Mike Greenfield had a baby over the weekend, so who else to fill his shoes but their original drummer, Steve Clemens! Also filling in on drums was Jeff Peterson.

Playing two nights were the funky, dance-grooving, fun-loving four piece called Pigeons Playing Ping Pong. These guys are quickly gaining a huge following – to no surprise, you can’t help but feel like dancing whenever their sound waves interact with you. This year’s lineup also featured Particle, Broccoli Samurai, G-Nome Project, Octave Cat (ft. Jesse Miller & Eli Winderman of Dopapod), Luke the Knife, Genetics (ft. Chuck Morris), Eric Evasion, Sean 2:16, Thunder St. Clair.

Hidden in the forest was something truly majestic. If you wandered around long enough, you were sure to find a couple of unique campsites. At one campsite, Camp Excess, the hosts provided generators, mixers, lights, and PA systems to enable local bands and DJ’s to keep the vibes flowing during the day and when the main music was done for the night. Some artists from Pittsburgh, The Clock Reads, Shaq Nicholson, Wink, and Andrew Schillinger were among some to play sets at this campsite. Summerdance serves as a perpetual stepping stone for musicians and friends to interact and share their music with others, even if not on the big stage. One of the best things about Lotus is even though they are world-class musicians, every member is so humble and gracious. What a truly engaging, immersive, and inclusive festival.

Deep Roots Mountain Revival Festival on Marvin’s Mountaintop (Sept 15-18)

Deep Roots Mountain Revival Festival
Marvin’s Mountaintop in Masontown, WV
September 15 – 18, 2016

Deep Roots Mountain Revival Festival is proud to announce the daily performance schedule for its inaugural music and arts festival on September 15-18, 2016. Top-tier bluegrass, jam band, rock and country acts will convene on the legendary Marvin’s Mountaintop in Masontown, WV, the original site for the All Good Festival. Performing on Thursday, September 15th, is jam band pioneer Melvin Seals and the JGB and more. On Friday, September 16th the dynamic and genre-defying Greensky Bluegrass performs, along with outlaw country music and southern rocker Shooter Jennings with Waymore’s Outlaws; Love and Theft; Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives; Cabinet and more. On Saturday, September 17th, slam grass virtuosos Leftover Salmon are joined by grassroots phenomenon Blackberry Smoke; The David Grisman Sextet; Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder; Rising Appalachia and more. Sunday, September 18th, features country music favorites Jamey Johnson; Corey Smith; The Marcus King Band and more. A full daily schedule can be found on the Deep Roots Mountain Revival website at www.mountainrevival.com.

Deep Roots offers a full schedule of community-building, family-friendly activities and events. Kids and their guardians are encouraged to visit the Family Activity Zone featuring scheduled events including yoga, hula hooping, instrument making, a t-shirt tie dye station, art and nature encounters. On Saturday, September 17th, shuttles will be available from the festival grounds to the Hovatter’s Zoo. Adults are also encouraged to play like kids with daily yoga sessions, paintball, a cornhole tournament, nature hikes and mountain bike tours. A schedule of activities can be found by visiting www.mountainrevival.com/kids-activities/.

The festival will donate $3 from all purchases of 3-day passes to the United Way of Southern West Virginia to support flood relief efforts. The recent flooding left many West Virginia communities in dire need of help. Deep Roots Mountain Revival in partnership with the United Way of Southern WV is committed to long term flood recovery. General Admission Tier One tickets are currently available for $150 for 3-day passes and $180 for Thursday early arrival tickets. On August 1st, GA tickets increase to Tier 2 prices, $165 and $195 respectively. VIP tickets are available for $570 per person. All VIP ticket packages include early entry; catered meals; access to premiere viewing areas at all stages with beer and wine; access to private bathrooms and showers; VIP camping sites; VIP lounge access; discounts on festival grounds beer; and a stainless steel souvenir mug. Tickets can be purchased at www.mountainrevival.com/tickets.

For more information on the Deep Roots Mountain Revival Festival, visitwww.mountainrevival.com.

WHAT: DEEP ROOTS MOUNTAIN REVIVAL FESTIVAL
WHEN: THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2016
WHERE: MARVIN’S MOUNTAINTOP IN MASONTOWN, WV
TICKETS: Tier 1 General Admission 3-Day $150 (on sale now) // GA + Thursday Early Arrival $180 (on sale now) // VIP $570 (on sale now) // Tier 2 General Admission 3-Day $150 (on sale starting August 1) // GA + Thursday Early Arrival $180 (on sale starting August 1)
PURCHASE TICKETS: www.mountainrevival.com/tickets
FESTIVAL WEBSITE: http://www.mountainrevival.com

ABOUT THE UNITED WAY OF SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA
The United Way of Southern WV is committed to long term flood recovery, along with The United Way of Greenbrier Valley and The United Way of Central WV. 100% of proceeds donated to the flood relief effort will be used to help our communities repair their infrastructure, to return to normal life as quickly as possible, as well as provide long-term support to the region. Our sincere thanks to Deep Roots Mountain Revival for their generosity, their confidence, and their trust in our organizations. We promise to combine your gift with others to deliver long-term solutions for southern West Virginia’s people in need. Thank you for investing in Southern West Virginia! More information can be found here www.mountainrevival.com/partners/united-way-flood-relief-campaign/ Continue reading Deep Roots Mountain Revival Festival on Marvin’s Mountaintop (Sept 15-18)

Kyle Hollingsworth Band Brings it to The Bridge

Kyle Hollingsworth Band
August 20, 2016
The Bridge, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Writer/Photographer: Jake Cudek

The Kyle Hollingsworth Band rolled through Santa Fe on Saturday night as part of two- night mini-tour of New Mexico breweries. The Bridge, owned and operated by The Santa Fe Brewing Company, was the venue for night two of this jaunt. For those familiar with the man and his band, excitement was twofold: a visit from one of the long standing members of The String Cheese Incident and the promise of bringing out some of his new compositions produced at the recently founded SCI lab.

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Arriving an hour before doors opened, threatening thunderheads could be seen to the south, and everyone wondered if the weather would hold for the night. Whether because of the potential for rain or the lax motivations of Santa Fe residents, it was apparent that this was not going to be a sold out show. The outdoor venue with the capacity to occupy 1000 people had a mere 100 people.

Although this would have diminished a typical band and a typical audience, those who had shown up had arrived to celebrate a visit from one of their favorites, and let the band know their intent wholeheartedly as they took the stage.

The band took heed and reciprocated with a single set performance that never let up and sounded fresh and invigorated from tune to tune. The set was a mix of numbers from each of Kyle’s three albums, songs performed with SCI and a few covers.

The band kicked off the set with an instrumental version of The Beatles’ “Taxman.” This pulled the audience in from the start, as many in the crowd could be heard singing the more familiar lines. The band collected its dues from the audience and showed no signs of being deterred by the low attendance and instead pushed every aspect of the tune and their instruments.

Up next was “Here We Go,” this song is an automatic smile inducer. Its calypso style bypasses the brain and heads straight to the feet getting them moving and then moves back to the face producing elated beams both on stage and the dance floor.

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The first sandwich of the night came wrapped in the form of “Too Young” with a tasty “Will It Go ‘Round in Circles” center. The segues into and out of Billy Preston’s “Circles” were spot on and well-rehearsed, turning on a dime rather than leading into or out by way of musical meanderings. “I can’t win if that’s all I’m gonna do” the resounding lyric of “Too Young,” connected in perfect juxtaposition to the lyrical context of “Circles,” illustrating the repetitive interpretations of experience and the reminding need to change up personal status quo thinking.

“Pack It Up,” with its distinctive bass intro came next. Although a staple of SCI performances since 2005, this instrumental tune penned by Hollingsworth has only appeared on KH’s latest album, “Speed of Life.” This was received with excitement, as those who were there were certainly cut from the Cheesecloth. Its odd timings reinforced this notion, as many jigged with familiarity to the tune. At its finish, Kyle continued the same driving feel and segued into “All Falls Apart,” cycling between drenching organ solos and piano rifts that continued to lift the feet of the flailing cooperatives.

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A new concoction produced in the SCI lab, “Let Me In” intoxicated the crowd with its soul-funky groove, and continued to contribute to the intimate experience elating many well acquainted with his catalog by this unveiling in the live setting.

“Can’t Wait Another Day” came up next and held a surprise that no one expected. As the tune stepped into decline, the distinct chords of “Terrapin Station” rose from the ashes. As the portion played was the instrumental section of the suite gave way to each of the members hitting the structure with force. Of exceptional note were the heavy bass bombs that got the crowd calling out as the vibration rolled over the crowd in seismic waves.

In Spanish, the term Peregrino refers to something being unusual, odd, and migratory. This epitomizes this Latin flavored tune as it contained a spacy, ethereal quality surrounding a structured root and deviates between throughout its entirety. Both dynamics were presented and continued the dance fest that had been non-stop over the past 90 minutes.

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Viewing the onstage set list, this song was to be the end of the first set. Instead, the band abandoned that notion and labored on with the thick grooves of “Let’s Go Outside.” It was apparent that neither the band nor the patrons were showing any signs of fatigue and both continued in merriment. As the song structure loosened into a jam, a familiar chord structure arose and led into a full version of Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer.” As another popular cover, the crowd began to sing the backup sections of the song. Hollingsworth took notice and called out to the crowd, encouraging them to play the role of backup singer. This invitation inspired the crowd to take it up a level and where there was once bashfulness, there now was a full on sing along of all parts.

“Tumbling,” another new song made in the SCI lab was preceded by the story that inspired the piece. Hollingsworth spoke of a trip to a Grateful Dead show at Three Rivers Stadium in Pennsylvania. This bouncy unit told the story of summer love and the laid back experience that preceded impending Dead shows of yore.

“World Girl” brought out her funky, disco infused moves and the crowd took her hand and worked it. Smiling, spinning, and giggling, the crowd swirled in this dance number.

The light rock tune “So Fine” was the bookends to the second sandwich of the evening and was filled with Hollingsworth’s admitted favorite cereal “Lucky Charms.” Shifting from uplifting light lyrics and progressions, this new song eventually gave way to the crunchy funk of the popular breakfast cereal which had the band and audience coming back for seconds and thirds. The tune kept building and residing back to its head giving each band member the opportunity to jump right into the bowl.

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“Happening Now” with a poppy almost 80’s theme bordered on electronica and reinvigorated many in the crowd to keep their participation going. Although this one motivated the younger attendees well acquainted with attributes of EDM, it was refreshing to see the older component spinning with abandon seemingly recapturing some part of the inner child.

The final three punch closer of the set left no step undanced. Beginning with the slow rising and spacious “Falling Through the Cracks,” the music’s crescendo gave way to Lionel Ritchie’s “All Night Long,” again getting the participants involved in both movement and accompaniment. Taking to the bridge the band began playing double time and eventually moved onto the last lady of the night, “Rosie.” Immediately, the recognition of this number was apparent and was especially exuded by the female faction in attendance. The crowd danced and called out the lyrics as if this was the first song, not the last, and the band rewarded by playing a full and exhausted version devoid of any brevity.

The band left the stage and stood together in the wings, huddled as in conference, but more likely taking the opportunity to catch their breath and composure, having laid down an unbroken set clocking in at just under two and half hours.

Recuperation gained, the band returned for the encore, “The Way That It Goes.” Giving every last drop in the tank the band brought it in full force again and the crowd met them note for note.

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As the threat of thunderstorms had resided behind the band for most of the night, it seemed that the music gods had enjoyed the show as much as the mortals. As the final note of the song came to its end through the PA system, like cosmic clockwork, the sky opened up and a deluge of rain sent both musician and listener running for cover.

Hollingsworth’s style, both in construction and execution, is infectious and literally brings a smile to the face. It easy to tell that he loves what he does and when he sits down to write his material, the notions and movements come from a personal level of trying to raise his own virtue and that of the listener. The band is well rehearsed and attentive to every shift and run at a pace that is equal to one another, including the bandleader. This equality carries over to the joy expressed both facially and emotionally by each member and their auditory accomplishments. Paul McDaniels is the unassuming bass man who digs deep and lays down both structure and improvisation with an unforced demeanor. Brian McRae, the counterpart on rhythm, is notably a blur throughout his performance. His mixture of exclusive cymbal and tom work draws in the attention and his consistent ability to shift makes him a perfect fit to the musicality of this band. Dan Schwindt, known as “Schwindt-Rock” to those close to him, is one of those guys you could pass on the street and never know his extent for burning down the house. His ability to play a moving section in one song and then melt the faces of those around him in the next makes this man more myth than minstrel. The combination of these gentlemen is something not to be missed.

Daryl Hall & John Oates Stop Off at Mansfield, MA

Daryl Hall & John Oates
Special Guests: Sharon Jones, Trombone Shorty
July 16th, 2016
Mansfield, MA
Photographer: Greg Gouwens

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Flood City Music Festival

Flood City Music Fest 2016
Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Aug 4 – Aug 7, 2016
Photographer/Writer: Bob Adamek

The 8th installment of Johnstown PA’s, Flood City Music Fest, managed by Lucky Dog Productions was a solid success. Placed amongst the mountains of western Pennsylvania, Flood City Music fest has been growing steadily every year, producing a lineup for this year’s event that wowed festival goers. The fest made a move to open on Thursday night, and put up Grace Potter to headline the main stage.

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Grace Potter showed her considerable range from slow and thoughtful acoustic ballads to raging rock and roll, leaning more heavily on the latter. The packed crowd was left buzzing from the set in which Potter mixed her powerful voice with a well-honed front woman’s craft, energetically running around the stage while playing guitar and keyboards.

Friday of the festival had many treats in store including main stage headliners, The Revivalists. As the Revivalists have been doing in towns on their first visit all over the country for the last several years, they asked for a show of hands of those who have never seen them before. This was most of the crowd. Then the band did what they do best, made fans. By the end of the set the crowd was passionately hooked, screaming for an encore.

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Another festival highlight took place earlier on the pavilion stage when Samantha Fish sat in with Tab Benoit for two songs. Fish had crushed her set beforehand, opening many eyes and Tab was doing the same, but when the two blues guitarists played together, the energy was incredible.

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The breakout band The Record Company also played a good set, as did the New York artists London Souls. The Pittsburg punk-meets-Irish band, Bastard Bearded Irishmen, capped the night in the Oil House. Their high energy set was perfect for the late night crowd, showing you should never miss a band that has three guys wearing kilts.

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Saturday saw even more top shelf acts, headlined by the potent New Orleans musician, Anders Osborne. Osborne has played in Johnstown many times and has garnered a huge following there. He mixed songs from his newest release Flower Box, like “Different Drum,” “Fool’s Gold” and the title track, to go with well-worn staples like “Road to Charlie Parker” and “Sarah Anne.”

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Preceding Osborne was fellow Louisiana musician, the blue-eyed soul singer, Marc Broussard. It was another set that turned heads as Broussard wove through his catalog of funk and soul originals, such as “Home” and “Come Around” as well as covers like Al Green’s “Love and Happiness.”

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Earlier in the day Love Canon played their unique take on 80’s pop hits in the style of bluegrass, creating plenty of laughs and loud sing-a-longs. Local favorites Derek Woodz Band, Jimmy Adler Band and the R&B powerhouse Commonheart also raged on the festival grounds. The night was finished off by the amazing light show and music of TAUK.

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Flood City Music Fest is growing quickly. It is well run and is in a beautiful location, well worth the effort to get there. The lineups have gotten stronger every year with “A” list headliners and a solid and worthy undercard. Put this one on your radar for the first weekend in August next year!

Wheels of Soul Tour – Tedeschi Trucks Band at the Lawn at White River

Wheels of Soul Tour
Tedeschi Trucks Band with special guests Los Lobos, North Mississippi Allstars
Wednesday, July 27th 2016
The Lawn at White River, Indianapolis, Indiana
Photographer: Tyler Muir
Writer: Amber Jennings

White River State Park, located in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana, offers one of the state’s best amphitheaters, The Lawn at White River. The venue sits on the east bank of the river and offers concert goers sensational picturesque views when the sun slips behind the amphitheater and paints the sky with stunning sunset colors. The acoustics of the venue are a match of the view – amazing.

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Grammy Award-winning Tedeschi Trucks Band, along with special guests Los Lobos and North Mississippi Allstars, played the venue on July 27, 2016 as part of their Wheels of Soul Tour. This year TTB released their new album, Let Me Get By and have been celebrating the success of the album. Recorded independently in their own studio, Swamp Raga, the album recognizes the self-reliance, connection and sense of family that has grown since the inception of the band in 2010.

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North Mississippi Allstars kicked the evening off as fans settled into their seats. The founding brothers Luther Dickenson (guitar, lowebow and vocals) and Cody Dickenson (drums, keyboards, electric washboard) with Chris Chew (electric bass guitar) are known for their American southern rock/blues bringing the dirty south full throttle to the Midwest before Los Lobos took the stage.

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The east Los Angeles, California band, Los Lobos, snagged the stage and initiated a set of rock and roll, Tex-Mex and zydeco with “Whiskey Trail.” Luther Dickinson would take the stage with the band for a cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s “300 Pounds of Joy” and “Gates of Gold.” Later in the set, Susan Tedeschi appeared for a Marvin Gaye cover, “What’s Going On.” The closing number of the set, “Más y más,” included Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, and the Tedeschi Trucks Band’s horn section.

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As the sun slipped behind the stage and lit up the sky in wondrous colors, the Tedeschi Trucks Band appeared on stage. They opened their set with “Laugh About It,” a tune from the new album. Derek Trucks’s guitar intro set the song with a light and airy feel, while Susan Tedeschi’s vocals added a dimension to the evening, the breadth and depth of her voice matching the sinking sun. The band seemed to relax into a groovy strut for another new song, “Don’t Know What It Means.” The funky, slink groove showcased Tedeshi’s power on guitar with heavy brass accompaniment. They rolled into a cover from the Box Tops, “The Letter,” and dipped into the new album’s title track, “Let Me Get By,” a southern rock jam featuring heavy keys and vocals.

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The set continued with a boozy strut, “Right On Time,” featuring Mike Mattison on vocals. Tedeschi sang the song in a lower pitch than usual, making a fitting harmony with Mattison. Mattison continued on vocals for a ZZ Top cover, “Goin’ Down to Mexico.” Trucks’s heavy guitar intro drove the 12-piece ensemble, while mixing lead guitar with Tedeschi.

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As twilight settled, TTB slowed the evening down with a dreamy Derek Trucks Band cover, “Swamp Raga,” that segued into “Midnight in Harlem” from TTB’s 2011 Grammy award-winning album, Revelator. Gentle slide guitar and cascading drums gave way to Tedeschi’s vocals that blanketed the audience with a soft, dreamy feel. They continued with another Revelator track, “Bound for Glory,” a George Jones cover, “Color of the Blues’ and another cover, Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “I Pity the Fool.” They wrapped up the set with “The Storm,” a perfect set closer. Trucks’s intro was a taste of the solo he would rip into midway through the song, solidifying the title.

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The band encored with a Sly and the Family Stone cover, “Are You Ready” and a James Taylor cover, “Fire and Rain;” the latter featured Mark Rivers on vocals with Mike Mattison and Tedeschi.

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The show concluded about 15 minutes early but did not let the attendees down. It was a great Wednesday evening show on the Lawn.

Preview of the Flood City Music Fest

Preview of the Flood City Music Fest
Photographer/Writer: Bob Adamek

The Flood City Music Fest begins its 8th year August 4-7 in Johnstown PA. There is a great vibe at this uniquely western Pennsylvania festival. Gorgeous forested mountains meet early 20th century steel work factories and dozens of beautiful old churches, giving a startling urban-meets-nature backdrop, framing a variety of major acts.

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The festival has a Thursday night kickoff, which features Grace Potter. On Friday and Saturday the festival has a four-stage format, with two bands playing at a time. The hard rising New Orleans rock band, The Revivalists headline on Friday, while Daptone Records star, Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires headline on Saturday.

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The Flood City lineup also features a wide variety of styles from blues, bluegrass, Rock-n-roll, jam band and folk in a something-for-everyone offering. A couple of top blues acts roll into the festival this year on Friday when Tab Benoit follows rising star Samantha Fish. Blue-eyed soul singer Marc Broussard plays on Saturday, as does the brilliant songwriter and guitarist Anders Osborne.

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Another band on a rapid rise hits on Friday when The Record Company plays, followed by the NYC power duo The London Souls. The Pittsburg Celtic-meets-punk band Bastard Bearded Irishmen play the late night set on Friday, as does the amazing jam band TAUK on Saturday night.

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Folk singer songwriter Chris Smither plays on Friday and Virginia based Love Canon bring their super fun bluegrass take on 80’s pop music on Saturday. The rest of the schedule is filled by top quality local favorites, regional bands that have worked through western PA and beyond for many years.

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Flood City Music Fest offers on site camping at a very reasonable price with flush bathrooms. There are a good variety of food vendors as well. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the fest is the low-key vibe. Getting up front to see a band isn’t difficult and many bands hang out long after their sets, watching the other acts. If you have never been to this little jewel, you shouldn’t miss it this year, the lineup is killer.

For more information check out http://www.floodcitymusic.com/