Marcus King Band wsg/ Django Knight
The Hi-Fi, Indianapolis, Indiana
February 14, 2017
Photographer/Writer: Tyler Muir
It is rare for two acts to share one stage in the same evening and bring a breath of fresh air to two separate genres of music. It gives those who have attended concerts for years a feeling of yesteryear, and demonstrates to the younger crowd a feeling of exactly how it should be done. When you add that it was Valentine’s Day, and in the best venue in the city, it almost had poetic charm. Those in attendance will be discussing this show with anyone that will listen until both these acts return to Indianapolis, and probably even longer. Continue reading Marcus King Band wsg and Django Knight→
Germantown Performing Arts Center
1/5/17 & 1/6/17
Writer/Photographer: Josh Mintz
That’s exactly how long it took for Jason Isbell to sell out the Germantown Performing Arts Center, an 864-seat venue in the Memphis suburbs. The show sold out so fast that they added a second performance the night before.
There’s not a lot Keller Williams hasn’t done from a sonic standpoint. For a guy who mostly made his bones as a solo artist, he’s done bluegrass, he’s done dub, he’s done a children’s album, and he’s had lord knows however many iterations of bands throughout his career. Each project generally includes a new cast of characters, and SYNC is the first album from a 2015 project, KWahtro, a band that features longtime Williams collaborator Gibb Droll (guitar), Rodney Holmes (drums) and Danton Boller (bass).
Williams bills KWahtro as “acoustic dance music,” which is an apt description – SYNC listens like an extension of what Williams does on his own. However, the additional players on the record allow the music to bridge out a little more than possible with pre-recorded loops; there’s just more freedom with a human being driving the ship.
“Hategreedlove” is a standout track on the recording. Holmes provides a dark, brooding bass line that’s augmented by a string section (provided by The Accidentals).
Fans of Williams’ token lyrical silliness won’t be disappointed, as the album includes tracks like “Missing Remote” and “Ripped 6-Pack,” the former providing one of the stronger musical performances from Droll and Holmes.
KWahtro really stretches out, though, on “In the Middle.” It showcases the musical depth of the group, and the places that they can go when all four players are speaking the same musical language.
SYNC doesn’t exactly break any new musical ground. For a guy like Williams, who’s had his fingers in so many musical pies, that’s hard to do at this point. But, those who like what Williams has been doing for decades are going to dig this – there are just a few more faces on stage.
One set: New Ammo, Boogaloo, Down Down Down, Just Got Paid, Sway, Viola Lee Blues, Drop Down Mama, Here Comes Sunshine, Let A Woman Be A Woman, Nobody Wants You, Speedometer, Devil’s Door, This Version, Express Yourself, Po Black Maddie, Funky On My Back, Some Skunk Funk, So Real
November 22, 2016
The Tabernacle, Atlanta, Georgia
Photographer/Writer: Brad Kuntz
My Morning Jacket frontman, Jim James performed at the Tabernacle in Atlanta, Georgia on November 22, 2016 in support of his latest release, Eternally Even. Twin Lamb, a band from his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky opened the show and then became 3/5 of Jim James’ band for the main event.
Opening with “Hide in Plain Sight”, off the new record, “Eternally Even”, and then “Know Til Now”, from James’ debut release, “Regions of Light and Sound and God”. James rapped/skatted “Same Old Lie”, a song that gets very political about voting and lying politicians that we elect, this was the first single released from the new record. “Dear One and a New Life”, from the first release was a classic. Two more new tracks followed, “The Worlds Smiling Now and True Nature”, heavy on the 1970’s sound into “I’m Set Free”, a Velvet Underground cover. Two new favorites, “In the Moment”, and “Eternally Even”, end the set. “I Hope You’re Having a Wonderful Life!!!” and “Living in The Shadows Light” were some uplifting lyrics.
The encore featured, “Of the Mother Again”, into “Dear God”, from another side project of James’, “Mothers of Folk.” “Dear God”, was the highlight of the night!!! “Down on the Bottom”, is from the “New Basement Tapes”, yet another side project and film finishing Bob Dylan songs that had not been completed with a hand picked group of stellar musicians. The show ended with another classic James tune, “State of the Art (AEIOU)”, covered by My Morning Jacket on occasion.
Sandler Center for the Arts
Virginia Beach, VA
Writer/Photographer: Mark Robbins
Robert Cray at the Sandler Center for the Arts The Blues is His Business and Business is Good (to paraphrase Etta James). For 40 years Robert Cray has followed the same trusted formula, let the songs do the talking. So when he hit the stage Friday night at the Sandler Center he let his guitar and song lyrics do all the talking. No histrionics or gimmicks, just pure blues. Backed by longtime band mates Richard Cousins (bass), Les Falconer (drums, vocals) and Dover Weinberg (keyboards) the band jumped right into “Chicken in the Kitchen” followed by “Because of Me” and more songs of lost love and sorrow. Taking liberally from 20 some albums the evening offered no surprises which suited the audience just fine.
Over the years Cray’s fans have come to expect masterful guitar playing and song interpretation and that’s just what they got. Cray is not only a great player and singer but his writing chops rank with the best. His “Strong Persuader” had fans dancing at their seats. Don’t think blues is the only trick in his bag, the funky “Phone Booth” or soulful “You Move Me” showed the versatility of this musician.
Cray may not be as flashy as some of the new blues players, but that’s okay. He shows up on stage prepared to entertain his audience with what they came for, the blues at it’s best. The 90 minute set (including encores “The Forecast Calls for Pain”, “Time Makes Two”) went by way too fast but the near capacity crowd left knowing that when they heard the words “like this” before each song they were treated to a few minutes of magic.”