Category Archives: Columns

The Trongone Band: Southern Rock Soul

By: Tim Newby

 

Band: The Trongone Band (Official Webpage)

Hometown: Richmond, Virginia

Members:  Andrew Trongone (guitar/vocals) Johnny Trongone (drums/ vocals), Ben “Wolfe” White (keys/ vocals),                               Todd Herrington (bass/ vocals)

Sounds Like:  A boogie-woogie shot of whiskey delivered with a deep taste of southern-rock soul.

For Fans Of:  Little Feat, Black Crowes, Drive By Truckers Continue reading The Trongone Band: Southern Rock Soul

Electric Love Machine: Outer Space Adventure

By: Tim Newby

Photo: Rich Barnstein

Band: Electric Love Machine (Official Webpage)

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Members:  Jon Wood (Guitar, Vocals), Jon Brady (Keyboards, Vocals), Alex Lang (Bass), Evan Lintz (Drums)

Sounds Like:  An outer space adventure through sound that touches on a diverse universe of elements including electronic, traditional Americana, funk, and improvisational jazz.  

For Fans Of:  Disco Biscuits, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Dopapod, 

Bio:  Electric Love Machine is an electronic fusion ensemble from Baltimore, Maryland comprised of longtime veterans of the Baltimore music scene.  Electric Love Machine features Jon Wood (guitar), Jon Brady (keys), Evan Lintz (drums), and Alex Lang (bass) and has been delivering their brand of danceable electro-funk across the country since they formed in 2013.  Their power-house sound has not gone unnoticed as they won the 2016 Maryland Music Award for best Electronic Act.  They released their debut album Xenofonex in 2013, followed by their sophomore release Love Deluxe in 2017. Continue reading Electric Love Machine: Outer Space Adventure

John Mooney & Bluesiana: A Lifetime of the Blues

By: Tim Newby

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Band: John Mooney & Bluesiana (Official Webpage)

Hometown: New Orleans, LA

Members:  John Mooney (guitar), Rene Coman (bass), Kevin O’Day (drums)

Sounds Like: A lifetime of the blues lived in the funk of New Orleans.

For Fans Of: Son House, Professor Longhair, Dr. John Continue reading John Mooney & Bluesiana: A Lifetime of the Blues

The Dirty Grass Players: Forward-thinking bluegrass with a rock ‘n’ roll soul

Pilgrim Profiles: Your guide to the freshest faces in grass-roots music

By: Tim Newby

Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling, people playing musical instruments, guitar and outdoor

Band: The Dirty Grass Players (Official Webpage)

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Members:  Ben Kolakowski (Guitar), Ryan Rogers (Mandolin),     Colin Rappa (Bass), Alex Berman (Banjo), Alex Tocco (Violin)

Sounds Like: Forward-thinking, innovative bluegrass played with an exploratory, rock ‘n’ roll soul. Continue reading The Dirty Grass Players: Forward-thinking bluegrass with a rock ‘n’ roll soul

Baskery: Blistering banjo punk

Pilgrim Profiles: Your guide to the freshest faces in grass-roots music

By: Tim Newby

Band: Baskery (Official Webpage)

Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden

Members:  Greta Bondesson (guitar, banjo, drums, harmonica, vocals), Stella Bondesson (bass, vocals), Sunniva Bondesson (acoustic/electric guitars, cello, vocals)

Sounds Like: Blistering banjo punk with shimmering vocal harmonies. Continue reading Baskery: Blistering banjo punk

Dopa-Blog: The Road Journal of Dopapod #8 – Billy Joel, Bonnaroo, Synths

db1Well, I asked Billy Joel to sit in with us, but he said no. I don’t know why, maybe he was weirded out because I asked him while we were both taking a leak in the bathroom. Whatever, bro, get over yourself. It’s 2015. The walls of urination etiquette are a savage custom of the past. Live in the now.

 

Okay, so I didn’t actually ask Billy Joel to jam with us, nor did I even see him whatsoever. But on a serious note, Bonnaroo was absolutely unbelievable; without question not only the hugest crowd we’ve ever played for, but also one of the most energetic and appreciative. But I’ll start from the beginning of our Bonnaroo experience before we get into the meaty show time details.

 

We arrived nice and early in the afternoon with a lot of time to kill before our set. I usually don’t like to be at a festival all day before we play. It’s not that I don’t want to be there; I just know from experience that walking around for eight hours under the hot sun can leave me totally drained of any energy by show time. Not only that, but a lot of times I get bored and cope with it by drinking beer. And that’s definitely not something you want to consume all day before playing. In this case, though, we didn’t have a choice, so I figured I might as well walk around Bonnaroo and take it all in. I did, however, give myself a rule of no drinking before the set. I didn’t want to be a sloppy, exhausted pile of crap for one of the biggest festivals we’d ever played.

 

db2Before our set we sat down to do an interview with Red Bull TV, which was one of the stranger things I’ve experienced in my time on the road. They brought us up to a sort of tower overlooking the concert field, where they sat us down in front of super bright lights, handed us all microphones and dabbed makeup on us. I felt like I was announcing New Years Rockin’ Eve or something. It was weird. The interview itself was pretty fun, though.
The time finally came to set up our equipment, and I was surprised to see a substantial amount of people already at the stage waiting for us. To be honest, I initially told myself that they were probably just camping out for a good spot for whatever band would be playing after us, and we were just the entertainment in the meantime. As we neared completion of our sound check, we were all a bit stressed to discover that Eli’s Moog prodigy was completely incapable of staying in tune. Fun fact for those of you who don’t know much about keyboards (and I am one of you): Vintage synthesizers actually have to be tuned. I don’t know if it was the dust or the humidity or what, but the Moog was in super rough shape. But it was now or never! Gear malfunction moments are what separate the men from the boys, and if you don’t keep your cool and handle it with grace you’re bound to have a terrible time on stage. I knew that if anybody could handle it, it was Eli. He has four other keyboards on stage, and dude sounds amazing on anything that has piano keys, so I knew if something went wrong he would still play it off like a boss.

 

db3As we took a minute to collect ourselves before walking on stage, we heard the entire crowd chanting our band’s name, and I realized that the people who had been waiting while we were setting up were not just waiting for some other band to start playing. I hate to be cheesy, but we were really moved by it. As we finally took the stage, I was absolutely dumbfounded at how much the crowd had grown since I had walked off after sound check. I had never experienced anything like it. I would guess it was somewhere between 10,000 and 12,000 people. A few of my friends and family asked me if were nervous playing in front of such a big crowd; Honestly, aside from being a touch nervous about Eli’s synth working properly, I couldn’t have been less nervous. How could I be stressed playing in front of a crowd that was so warm and enthusiastic? I didn’t feel I had anything to prove. I was only focused on having a great time and enjoying such a beautiful moment while it lasted. On top of that, Eli dealt with his technical difficulties beautifully. I was proud of him for being so zen about it and adjusting without a hitch.

 

 

After having a day off to enjoy Bonnaroo, we hopped on a plane and headed back up north to play at Disc Jam Music Festival. I have to give a shout out to our unbelievable road crew for this one.  As soon as our set had finished, they packed up the all the gear and drove all the way from Tennessee to New York so that we could stay at Bonnaroo for an extra day and then fly into the next gig. That just blows my mind. They work way harder than we do to begin with, yet we’re the ones who get special treatment. I won’t lie, I was more than happy to be able to hang out for awhile and then fly in a nice comfy airplane, but I felt kind of guilty about it. The next time a fan comes over to me to shake my hand or ask for an autograph I should just tell them to go get our road crew to sign their stuff instead, because in actuality my job is pretty easy and theirs is unbelievably difficult.

 

 

We arrived at Disc Jam in high spirits, not only from the afterglow of Bonnaroo, but from excitement about playing a festival that’s been so good to us throughout the years. It’s changed locations multiple times at this point, but has managed to retain the same vibe no matter where it’s been held each year. My theory is that it’s truly a festival that thrives off of the people who attend it. I’ve seen so many of the same faces every year I’ve ever played at it that it really doesn’t matter what the location is. The people there dictate the mood and spirit of the event.

 

As I set up my equipment in preparation for our set, I enjoyed the sounds of Electron emanating from the adjacent stage. Those guys have all been doing what we’re doing for years and years, and they’ve been super cool and supportive to us. They’re definitely always a fun hang. The only guy I haven’t talked to too much is Tom Hamilton, but I can safely say I was really impressed with his guitar playing. To be honest, up until recently I didn’t really know he was so good. It’s not that I didn’t think he was good – I just hadn’t checked out much of his playing – that was until a few months ago, when I caught him playing with Joe Russo’s Almost Dead in Denver. Man, that guy can play guitar.

 

As Electron wound down and we started getting into our set, I felt a nice, rare wave of contentment. If I’m being honest with myself, I feel like I always want something else; more songs, more gigs, less gigs, more notoriety, more guitars, whatever. But every once in awhile, I can reach a place where I’m totally happy with where I’m at right then and there. I got to go to that place while I was on stage at Disc Jam, and I really appreciated being there. I was on stage with my friends, playing music that I was happy with, for a crowd of people who were feeding us great energy. I couldn’t have asked for more.

 

 

The set started off pretty standard, with us breezing through a few more abridged versions of songs. Definitely tight, but the real fun was yet to begin. Then, about halfway through the set, we brought up our friend Justin Hancock from Haley Jane and the Primates to play some guitar. Justin goes way back with all of us. I met him in college in a guitar lab, where we bonded over Phish. On top of that, he used to be in a band with Chuck and Eli called Actual Proof, so there’s a lot of history between all of us. We all had a great time playing together, and Justin sounded great. From that point on, I don’t think there a single break between songs. I also don’t think a single thing went according to plan, which is how we want it to be. That’s when the really good stuff happens!

 

Anyhow, that’s all for now, I’m in the van, as usual. It’s a little past midnight, and I’m listening to some Cannonball Adderley. Check him out if you never have. He is definitely my favorite bebop horn player. I may even start my next blog as soon I’m done with this one. It’s not like I have anything else to do! ’Til then, you all be safe out there.

 

Dopa-Blog: The Road Journal of Dopapod – #7 Martha2, “Echoes,” and Slayer

mt jamHey everybody! I’m back at it after a long hiatus from blogging. I guess I just got the bug again and needed some sort of activity to keep me from going nuts on the road. But before I give you the details of last week’s run of shows, I figured I’d tell you about a couple of the more exciting things that have happened so far this year.

First off, I started off the new year by purchasing a shiny new guitar. That’s exciting stuff for me. For any guitar geeks out there who care about specifics, its a Gibson custom shop CS-336 with a non-reverse firebird headstock. For anyone who doesn’t care about what its called, just look at the pretty picture of it below:

guitar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was out to dinner with my girlfriend and we stopped into a terrific guitar shop called Lark Street Music. I had no intention of buying a new guitar, but it felt and sounded too perfect for me not to fall in love with it. I spent the following couple days trying to get it out of my head so as not to make a frivolous decision, but ultimately my wonderful, lovely girlfriend told me to stop being a dumb ass and buy it. There’s nothing like the love of a good woman, huh? Anyhow, it’s been my primary guitar for the last six months, which is saying a lot since I’ve sold every guitar I’ve owned in the last 8 years. I named her Martha 2 (Martha 1 is my dog). Also, for anyone who cares, I still have Amelia, my trusty Paul Reed Smith hollowbody II that has been my primary guitar for the last ten years. That guitar will have to be pried from my cold, dead hands. She is however, in need of some TLC and overall maintenance, so I haven’t been playing her too much as of late.

Another highlight of this year for me was our three night run at the Sinclair in Boston. Playing shows and just being in Boston in general is always a big deal for us since we started the band there many years ago, and being there always brings something out of us creatively. I usually try not to voice my opinion of any of our shows. Who am I to let my negative opinion of a show ruin what was a great experience for someone in the audience? And, conversely, I’m wary to think too highly of a show and then get people’s expectations up too high only to have the music not meet it. But I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that these three shows are some of my favorite shows we’ve ever played. I love the feeling of abandoning a setlist for the sake of creativity and exploration, and I don’t think any of the three shows abided by what was written down. I also felt that every chance we took paid off in spades. I couldn’t have had a better time.

Here’s some of personal highlights of the run:

1- the entire first show

2- Russ Lawton and Ray Paczkowski of Soul Monde and Trey Anastasio Band sitting in with us on “Roid Rage”

3- Playing Pink Floyd’s “Echoes” for nearly an entire hour. It was the only song of the entire second set on the third night.

 

Fast forward to Summer and here we are, in the midst of festival season. This is an exciting yet stressful time of year for any band. Being at a festival with all our friends from other bands feels like a giant family reunion. The hang is just unbelievable. I honestly feel that all the other bands that are sort of in the same teir as us (is that what the kids are calling it these days? “Teir?”) are my best friends. Unfortunately, with all of us always on our own crazy tours we don’t get to hang as much as we’d like to, so we look forward to the hang that occurs backstage at any given festival.

Last weekend was an amazing, albeit insane one for us. We started off by flying to Arkansas to perform at Wakarusa. The set was all right despite fighting through some technical difficulties in the first quarter of the set. We were also using all rental (or “backline,” as the pros say) equipment, which was a bit stressful. But we made it through unscathed to fight another day. I think my personal highlight of the day was that all the water at the festival came in cans, which blew our minds. It felt like we were drinking beer, but we were actually being healthy. Good stuff.

We woke up bright and early the next day for one of the most hectic days of travel I’ve experienced in recent memory. We started off with an hour and a half drive to the airport, and then got on an airplane and landed in Chicago to catch a connecting flight. The layover culminated with our plane arriving an hour late, only to be kept at the gate for an extra hour because the flight crew couldn’t get the door of the airplane to close. That’s reassuring! A door being broken on an airplane is definitely pretty high up on the list of things you don’t want to be broken on an airplane. Dead men tell no tales, however, and obviously I’m alive to tell this one, so I think it’s obvious that the door held up okay. Then once that plane landed at LaGuardia, we hopped in a car and drove another three hours to Mountain Jam in Hunter, New York. All in all, thirteen hours of traveling in one day.

Thankfully, we arrived in time to catch the last half of Robert Plant’s set. He rocked the shit out of that mountain. He still sounds great and his music has aged gracefully over the years. Also, in between songs he told weird stories about young girls walking through the heather with buckets of milk singing “English refrains of old.” I don’t know what the hell he was talking about, but Robert Plant was saying it so it was pretty much the coolest thing I had ever heard.

After that, I walked over to the indoor stage to play our late night set. I’ll admit it was a bit surreal to watch a member of Led Zeppelin and then walk 100 yards and play my own set. That was a pretty cool “pinch me moment.” I enjoyed our set a lot, although I can’t think of any specific highlights. I just know it was nice to play a good long set that allowed us to stretch out. We’ve had a lot of power hour festival sets where we’re off stage before we even know we have started playing, so it was nice to have time on our side once again.

We got finished at 3 am and headed to our hotel to get some rest, but not for long. We were back at the venue at 11 am to get set up for an early afternoon set on the main stage. This was by far the biggest stage we had ever played on, but frankly I didn’t care what the stage looked like; I just hoped that people would get up early and come see us. No one wants to play for an empty ski slope. Fortunately, we had a wonderful crowd as well as a beautiful, sunny day amidst a lush, green mountainous setting. What a beautiful time. Despite our exhaustion from all the travel, we felt really locked in and creative. All four of us were in high spirits and were truly enjoying such a beautiful place to make music. 

I hung out for the afternoon and enjoyed some free beer and food, and then decided to hit the road so I could have some “R and R” before getting back on the road, which brings me to now. We’re in the van, headed to Bonnaroo. My back is killing me and my hair is starting to go gray. Do you guys think Billy Joel would be down to sit in with us? I doubt it. Maybe we’ll ask Slayer…they’re a jam band, right? We’ll see… 

 

Jonathan Scales Fourchestra: Innovative, other-worldly jazz

Pilgrim Profiles: Your guide to the freshest faces in grass-roots music

By: Tim Newby

scales

Band: Jonathan Scales Fourchestra (Official Webpage)

Hometown: Asheville, NC

Members:  Jonathan Scales (Steel pan drums), Chaisaray Schenck (Drums), Cody Wright (Bass)

Sounds Like: A highly-inventive Miles Davis acid-trip led by steel-drums.

For Fans Of:  Bela Fleck, Toubab Krewe, Medeski Martin & Wood

Bio:  Jonathan Scales first the started the band in 2007 upon graduation from college.  The band went through various line-up changes until it solidified with the addition of bassist Cody Wright in 2011.  Drummer Chaisaray Schenck, a college friend of Scales, joined in 2014 to round out the current line-up.  Prior to the addition of Wright, Scales released three solo albums.  Since the addition of Wright, The Fourchestra has released two albums 2013’s Fourchestra and 2014’s Mixtape Symphony a “dense half-hour long-form album inspired by and dedicated to Roy “Futureman” Wooten.”  The album peaked at #6 on the iTunes Jazz Charts.

Albums: Fourchestra (2013), Mixtape Symphony (2014)

Key Tracks:  

 

What They Do Live:

(An exclusive premiere of “Life After D” from The Fourchestra’s new DVD, Alive at Rex Theater)

Bird Dog: Campfire-Punk-Americana

Pilgrim Profiles: Your guide to the freshest faces in grass-roots music

By: Tim Newby

Bird Dog 2

Band: Bird Dog (Facebook Page)

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Members:  Ben Chace (guitar/vocals), Nino Chace (vocals), Mark Dobbyn (guitar/vocals), David Christian (drums), Peri Delorenzo (violin/vocals), Graham Norwood (bass/vocals)

Sounds Like: A trip to the mountains by way of  the gritty city streets while the tape-deck blasts out rhythms blown straight from a tropical beach.  Or in the words of the band, Campfire-Punk-Americana.

For Fans Of:  The National, Brothers Comatose, Dr. Dog, Delta Spirit

Bio:  Formed in 2010 by brothers Ben and Nino Chace, Mark Dobbyn, and Paul Defiglia.  Ben and Paul were students at New York University and commissioned to record a song for a multi-media vinyl project for visual artist Xaviera Simmons.  The resulting song, “Wandering Through the Pines,” was included on a vinyl release by Merge Records along side tracks from Yim Yames and Tunde Adebimpe.  Following the success of their initial foray into music, Bird Dog was born, and Ben – a filmmaker by day – solidified the band’s line-up to its current incarnation of Nino Chace, Mark Dobbyn, David Christian, Peri Delorenzo, and Graham Norwood.  The band has released three EPs since then, with a fourth, Bon Bon Voyage due out in June.

Albums: Bon Bon Voyage EP (due out June 2015), Cabin EP (2012), Rivers EP (2012), Bird Dog EP (2011)

Key Tracks:  Check out a brand new song, “High and Low,” from Bird Dog’s upcoming Bon Bon Voyage EP.

Bird Dog – Painting Lines from Ben Chace on Vimeo.

Ballroom Thieves: Heartfelt Lyrics, Passionate Melodies, and Sublime Harmonies

Pilgrim Profiles: Your guide to the freshest faces in grass-roots music

By: Tim Newby

Ballroom_Thieves-Warehouse_by_One_Love_PhotoBand: Ballroom Thieves (Official Website)

Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts

Members:  Martin Earley (Guitar/Vocals), Devin Mauch (Percussion/Vocals),  Calin Peters (Cello/Vocals)

Sounds Like: A rock-show cloaked in heartfelt lyrics, up-tempo passionate melodies, and sublime harmonies delivered with a folky-Americana edge.

For Fans Of:  Shovels & Rope, Lumineers, Houndmouth, Avett Brothers

Bio:  Formed in 2011 by Martin Earley and Devin Mauch. The pair worked through some line-up changes and a year of transition, before they added cellist Calin Peters which solidifed the band’s line-up and sound. The new line-up gelled quickly around their heartfelt lyrics, up-tempo passionate melodies, and sublime harmonies, all of which highlight the band’s first full length album, A Wolf in the Doorway, due out April 21. The twelve tracks on the band’s upcoming album are a definitive statement of the band’s powers and will surely establish the trio as one of the best new bands of the year.

Albums: A Wolf in the Doorway (due out April 21, 2015), The Ballroom Thieves EP (2013), The Devil & The Deep EP (2012)

Key Tracks:
Check out “Archers” and “Oars to the Seas” from the upcoming album.


“Oars to the Sea”: