Category Archives: Reviews

Hi-Fi Fruition

October 12, 2016
The Hi-FI, Indianapolis, Indiana
Writer/Photographer: Tyler Muir

America’s favorite self-proclaimed “Song Band” came to The Hi-Fi in Indianapolis, Indiana Wednesday October 12th, 2016. It is always exciting when a band is dedicated to its craft and refuses to be categorized into a genre or two, steadily improving, steadily growing their fan base by constantly touring and having fun. The Portland band is composed of Jay Cobb Anderson on guitar/vocals, Tyler Thompson on drums, Kellen AseBroek on guitar/keys/vocals, Jeff Leonard on bass, and Mimi Naja on mandolin/guitar/vocals. This well oiled musical machine goes by the name Fruition.


Fruition’s visit to Indianapolis had a bit more excitement surrounding it because it was band member Jay Cobb Anderson’s 33rd birthday, which had the band all wearing baseball style shirts with his silhouette on the front as well has his last name and age on they back. Being that is was Jay’s birthday and all the band seemed to bring more energy on stage and they wanted to make sure everyone had fun both on and off stage. One thing that makes the band unique is how they weave their different styles of music into their set having something for everyone.


Fruition started off the night with, “Bent” off their, It Won’t Be Long album. The country western jazz tune was a great foot stomping sing along to get everyone dialed in. It was great seeing Mimi hop between instruments with so much style and grace. “Labor of Love” off their latest album helped take you on the journey they have found themselves on, such a solid song it almost makes you feel at home with the warm feeling it brings.


A nice surprise mid set and it appeared both the band and crowd enjoyed it just as much was, The Beatles cover of, “I’ve Got a Feeling”, which the band put a soul spin on. “Santa Fe”, brought out a more of the Americana side of the band as well as their depth. Mimi and the boys can rock and it was obvious they love to show it when they busted out a Neil Young, cover “Ohio”. Showing their bluegrass side of their set brought the song, “Mountain Annie”.


Very few bands can cover so much music in their original work as Fruition does and showcased Wednesday night. The band may have been around since 20008, but they are still picking up steam and building a cult underground following. As if that was not enough the encore found the band rousing up the crowd to sing Jay happy birthday. Mimi’s voice can cover so much ground, the last song of the night was a cover of Bonnie Raitt’s, “Love Sneakin Up On You”, that very few people could do it justice. Fruition is a band for the people, after the show Mimi signed autographs and took pictures outside of the venue while the rest of the band did the same thing but from inside. It was encouraged that fans stayed around to celebrate Jay’s birthday by drinking with the band. Very few bands have the down home feel Fruition does with their fans.


The Great Folkgrass Happenstance


The Great Folkgrass Happenstance

October 15, 2016

Ruins Park, Glen Rock, PA

Writer: Tim Newby

Photographer: Doug Martin


Taking place at Ruins Park in Glen Rock, PA, the 2nd Annual Great Folkgrasss Happenstance Festival highlighted some of the mid-Atlantic’s best and most exciting, upcoming bluegrass and folk bands in one of the most unique locations every chosen to host a festival.  Ruins Park is the re-purposed ruins of the historic Enterprise Manufacturing Company’s warehouse.  Over the years the historic warehouse deteriorated into a concrete shell.  In 2013 in it was transformed into an art and music venue.  The walls are continually transformed with every evolving art and murals that decorate the building’s wall. The space is unique in that portions of structure remain, providing a sheltered enclosure that is still open-air.  The stages have been built from pieces of the walls that have crumbled down and been re-purposed to create two performances stages.

img_6287The Great Folkgrass Happenstance Festival uses this unique space to showcase some of the best regional acts throughout the day including Pennsylvania bands, Colebroook Road and Mountain Ride and Baltimore acts The Dirty Grass Players and the day’s headliner Caleb Stine.  Both Colebrook Road and Mountain Ride have seen their profile’s grow dramatically over the past year with a series of increasingly more prestigious shows. Colebrook Road has been touring steadily and was selected to be part of the lineup for the International Bluegrass Music Association award winning Charm City Bluegrass Festival in April.  Mountain Ride is a hard-hitting bluegrass band from western Pennsylvania who perfectly straddles that dynamic jamgrass sound while still staying true to the music’s roots.  They have recently been tapped by current jamgrass darlings, Cabinet, to be part of their New Year’s Eve celebration at the TLA in Philadelphia.  Baltimore based the Dirty Grass Players is another band who is starting to find their stride, and whose name will soon be a regular part of shows and festivals across the country. The debut album is slated for early next year and will be their coming out party to a much wider audience.


The festival headliner, Caleb Stine, is a longtime Baltimore stalwart, who is perhaps the most criminally overlooked, but most stunningly powerful songwriter around.  His music lives in the realm of Townes Van Zandt and Gram Parsons, by way of a trip to the mountains to visit Ola Belle Reed.  He is an engaging performer who pulls everyone in with his highly intense and personal sets that make even those in the back feel like they are having a personal conversation with him.  This personal touch even included a repeating his song “Butter” at the request of six-year old who was dancing in front of the stage the whole set and wanted to hear the song again because it was his, “favorite!”


The unique personality of Ruins Park and the laid back feel fostered by the crowd created a welcoming, community, atmosphere in which the music truly never stopped.  Ruins Park has two stages, both of which are built from re-purposed sections of the wall that have fallen down. The larger, main stage stands firmly at one end, while a smaller stage is just off the side.  During the brief downtime while band’s changed on the main stage, open jams were held on the side stage.  Anyone was welcome to join, and it was not uncommon to see band members who had just finished playing wander over and join in with the rollicking, open jam taking place.


It is great in this day and age, when there are seemingly mega festivals every day of the year, that find you camped miles from the stage and forced to endure long waits and walks between stages, to still be able to find festivals like the Great Folkgrass Happenstance, that is part of the fabric of its community, and lets that spirit of the community permeate the day, creating an event that allows you to discover new music, new art, and new friends.



Jonny Lang and Norfolk Are Made for Each Other

Jonny Lang at the NorVA
October 04, 2016
Norfolk, VA
Writer/Photographer: Mark Robbins

The sign of a great show is when the lights go up after the encores, the stage is empty but the crowd doesn’t move hoping the band is coming back. This was the scene Tuesday night at the NorVA after Jonny Lang and his band left the stage.


The NorVA has long been one of the premier music venues on the east coast and in 2013 was selected by the fans in a Rolling Stone poll as the number 1 “venue that rocks” in the country. Over the years the NorVA has transformed from a vaudeville theater to a movie theater than a brief stint as a health club. In 2000 it opened as a bare bones rock palace with no seats, a VIP balcony, two bars and a favorite for traveling musicians because of its backstage basketball court, sauna, hot tub, laundry service and one of the most crystal-clear sound systems heard anywhere.


Jonny Lang put that sound system to good use Tuesday night with his spectacular voice and killer guitar. Walking out on the stage with no introduction he and his 4 piece band tore right into, “Blew Up” from his new CD Fight For My Soul. “Blew Up” brought to mind the funkiness of Parliament and Sly and the Family Stone. Lang’s voice sounds older than his 32 years and has just enough weariness to make you believe every word he sings. His guitar chops are just as impressive, especially on the newly recorded, “Breakin’ In” and “We Are the Same”.


Singing material from all his albums Lang could not be pigeon holes into one genre. Jumping from blues to R&B to James Brown funk the singer/guitarist was at home in any style he chose. The standout of the evening was, “Lie to Me”, which was sung with such heartache that many of his fans were dabbing at their tear stained eyes. First released on his album Lie to Me in 1997, the song had a more upbeat feel to it maybe that’s how a then 16-year-old Jonny Lang heard it. Now, at 32, he presents the song as if his heart has been torn out. So was everybody else’s!


Blew Up
Red Light
Great Day
We R Same
40 Days
Lie To Me

Jackie Greene Brings Good ole American Rock and Roll to the Hi-Fi

Jackie Greene
September 29, 2016
The Hi-Fi, Indianapolis, IN
Photographer/Writer: Tyler Muir

Good ole American Rock and Roll made it’s way to the Hi-Fi in Indianapolis September 29th, 2016. The ever talented Jackie Greene brought his style of Americana and blues along with the band Cordovas with him for taste of how stage presence and music should be done. From the very start of the night until the end, the crowd was treated to solid sets from each band. It is always fascinating seeing acts that make you feel like they have been playing on stage for decades.


Cordovas was a great way to start the night off. The band from Nashville, Tennessee consists of Joe Firstman on bass guitar, Lucca Soria on guitar, Jon Loyd on keys, and Graham Spillman on drums. Each of these guys were bursting with energy and musicianship their entire set and just when you thought they could not get any better, they threw a Grateful Dead teaser into their set. Their set brings back memories of an almost forgotten time, a time when all that mattered was a band’s talent and much they brought it. Though they were formed in 2011, the way these boys play together you would think they should be celebrating their 25th anniversary.


The interaction with the crowd from onstage made it hard not to fall in love with them. With timing that was constant perfection, they know when to give the crowd that Rock and Roll demeanor. As if their set was not enough the encore had Joe Firstman hopping on keys with the rest of the band standing around one mic for a great harmony.


Jackie Greene continues to be the type of musician that everything he touches is his own style and amazing. Playing in bars since his early teenage years, it was clear Thursday night he has perfected his craft over the past two decades. Jackie has put out albums since 2002, but chose to start the night with I’m so gone from his 2006 album, Gone Wonderin’, the night would see that album woven throughout the set list. A true performer on stage he knows when it’s time to slow it down a bit from the rocker to show his softer side. “A Moment of Temporary Color”, showcased his passion which he has no problem expression on stage as well.


Who doesn’t love a good live Grateful Dead tune? It is hard pressed to find a better live version of, “New Speedway Boogie” than what Greene ripped out Thursday night. “Shaken”, showed Jackie’s depth both as lyricist, it had everything, blues, rock, folk, all rolled into one. The set could be used as a blueprint for how it should be down, cover all bases and having nothing left when the band leaves the stage causing the crowd to leave feeling satisfied.


If you did not get enough of the opening act or the Grateful Dead, Jon Loyd of Cordovas set in with the band for a magical version of, “China Cat” that followed by Joe Firstman trading places with Jon on keys for a very memorable, “I know you Rider”. Jackie Greene continued to prove why he is constantly evolving in every aspect of himself and that he loves bringing a talented act you may of never heard of with him to start the night off proper. Never sleep on Jackie Greene coming to your town.

Jackie Greene – Setlist

I’m so gone
Silver Lining
A Moment of Temporary Color
New Speedway Boogie
Light Up Your Window
Farwell, So Long, Goodbye
Medicated God
So Hard to Find My Way Home
Till the Light Comes
China Cat w/ Jon Loyd on keys
I Know You Rider w/ Joe Firstman on keys

Low Attendance Makes for High Elevation Performance

Ian Moore
September 30, 2016
The Bridge, Santa Fe, NM
Photographer/Writer: Jake Cudek

Over the weekend, the patronage of the City Different doled out one of its typical practices upon the live music scene: low attendance. Walking into The Bridge as the opener completed, it was easy to see Santa Feans missed an opportunity to experience great musicianship with a turnout of less than 100 people.

Although this factor can lead to diminished performances, this was not the case for guitar extraordinaire Ian Moore and his backing band known as The Lossy Coils. With Moore on guitar, the band consists of Ben Jarrad on bass, Travis Foster on drums, and Greg Beshers on accompanying guitar. As expected from their talent, these gentlemen and their personal histories are nothing to scoff at. Jarrad and Foster are both graduates of the Berklee School of Music. Jarrad is deep in his groove and is often seen swinging the spectrum onstage, from eyes closed to ecstatic implementation, while laying down creative and appropriate lines to the tunes. Foster’s auditory presence is exuberant, while his visual presentation is controlled and attentive. Beshers poker faced playing is both dissonant and melodic and is often accentuated with Townsend-esque fanning of his axe as tunes ascend into the ethereal. As if the superb playing wasn’t enough, the vocal provisions of Jarrad and Beshers rounded out their qualifications as great collaborators to the effort. Although Moore is certainly the front man of this outfit, he warmly welcomes the contributions of his fellow band mates and encourages their outings, often seen by his migration across the stage to engage the band member being showcased, face to face, in high-octane musical exchange.


Moore who’s currently based out of Seattle, born from the south Texas music scene, this man delivers power in the form of composition, frenetic solos, and expansive and detailed story telling. Delivering a 15 song set filled with hard-edged, rocking originals spanning his career, Moore showed no signs of being deterred by the vacancies, but instead took the opportunity to expand his narrative with the audience, presenting longer renditions of some of his tales that are a cornerstone of his performance. These accounts covered his history of growing up and writing many of his songs in the mountains that surround Santa Fe, a fact that was unknown to many in the crowd. His anecdotes are linear and well thought out and carry an honest presence, each leading up with the history of the next number or his view of the modern world. This aspect lends credit to anyone who travels with the singer-songwriter moniker, and in the case of Moore, his name tag is adorned in all capitals.

As for the band, all seem to be having the time of their lives and spoke highly offstage of their personal relationships with each other and their commitment to music. At night’s end, Moore rewarded the faithful with a move out the guitar god handbook. Announcing the closer, “Closer”, the band started up the soft intro and a few bars into it, the production manager hurriedly approached the stage, letting them know that they were past curfew. Moore smiled and stated,” Sorry, man. Once we start the tune, we gotta play it” and unloaded an extended version to the appreciation of all.


Although he may not carry the same “popular” recognition of many of his counterparts of the genre, his take on it is nothing to overlook. He presents as a genuine individual, both on stage and off, and seems not to have fallen to the confines of guitar ego. As his tour consists of smaller venues and festivals, this aspect should not speak to the level of his craftsmanship, but instead, it should be revered as the rare opportunity to see someone pour out his heart, soul, and sweat on smaller stages with the colossal prowess that makes legends.

Elephant Revival Fall Tour – HiFi, Indianapolis, Indiana

Elephant Revival
September 22, 2016
Hi-Fi Indianapolis, IN
Photographer/Writer: Tyler Muir

One of the meanings for revival is an improvement in the condition or strength in something, and Elephant Revival seems to never forget that. The band came back to Indianapolis, Indiana September 22nd, 2016 making it the first stop on their tour in support of their new album “Petals.” Elephant Revival’s companions on the fall tour, Dead Horses, set the mood by getting everyone comfortable at the picturesque Hi-Fi, in one of downtown’s most gentrified districts.

The Milwaukee-based trio’s acoustic set included, Sarah Vos on vocals and guitar, Peter Raboin on guitar, mandolin and vocals and the lower acoustic end Daniel Wolff on Double Bass and vocals. The band’s moral compass aligns with that of the headliner that we are all one and that love is the path to unity through the darkness to better times. Their haunting Americana Folk melodies drifted through the Hi-Fi compelling the audience to join their path of unity.


When Elephant Revival took the stage, Bonnie Paine on washboard, djembe, musical saw and stompbox, Bridget Law on fiddle, Charlie Rose on banjo, pedal steel, guitar, horns, cello and double bass, Dango Rose on double bass, mandolin and banjo and Daniel Rodriguez on guitar, banjo and double bass, the crowd settled in for a relaxing quaint evening with the band.


There were moments throughout the night where the band proved time and again how masterfully they have continued to grow and how they create their own style and genre. Several times throughout the performance Bonnie’s emotion came out showcasing her strength lies in being able to tell such a tale through her lyrics as well as stage presence. The band finds strength tying themselves around things that revolve around the universe, in their new album they have delved into things revolving around social issues. The band’s new music video “When I Fall” found them working with a non-profit agency to raise awareness and funds for the current immigrant and refugee crises.


A new, stronger sense of intimacy seemed present on stage with them. Maybe there is power in numbers, maybe each member is more in touch with themselves, or with each other, whatever seemed to bring it out, it seems strong enough to not wilt away anytime soon. The passion they brought as well is such that you could not walk away that night without being inspired, having every emotional string tugged.

Charlie Rose brings a new dynamic, his skills on the pedal steel felt right alongside the rest of the band. Another pleasant surprise was Bonnie on the electric cello. Yet another meaning of revival is an instance of something becoming popular, active, or important again. It is safe to say the band continues to show the importance of using each member’s talents to amplify one another’s. Very few bands can have their instrumental parts tell a story as much as their lyrics do.


The distance fans are willing to travel to see their favorite band says a lot about the connection they feel towards the band. Inside the Hi-Fi there were fans from all over the Midwest. Along the rail were four fans from South Bend, Indiana who had plans to catch the first four shows of the band’s tour, by the end of the night it seemed they had convinced a couple next to them from Chicago to follow them to Wisconsin to catch the second night of the tour. The common theme among the crowd was it is truly a treat when Elephant Revival comes to your town. In this day and age with everyone having a camera in their pocket and a conversation that cannot wait until after the show, a true sign of fan appreciation was shown that night by both of those things being kept at a minimum.

Wheels of Soul Tour Sandia Casino Amphitheater Albuquerque, NM

Wheels of Soul Tour
The Tedeschi Trucks Band, Mississippi All-Stars, Los Lobos
September 19, 2016
Sandia Casino Amphitheater Albuquerque, NM
Photographer/Writer: Jake Sudek

Monday night’s sky was full of stars and clarity, not only in regards to weather, but also what was to come for those attending an evening on The Wheels of Soul Tour. The night was a reschedule from an August date postponed due electrical storms. The great weather brought relief to many who were returning to the Sandia Casino Amphitheater from the cancelled show in August. By far, one of the hottest tours of the summer was the Wheels of Soul Tour in its second incarnation. This powerhouse tour de force consisted of the North Mississippi All-Stars, Los Lobos, and The Tedeschi Trucks Band. A characteristic of what has made these shows unique is the innumerable sit-ins and band mash-ups that occur on a nightly basis, set after set, seeing all sorts of collaborations, not only by the main names of each band, but also by the auxiliary players of the groups.


As standard for the tour, the show opened with North Mississippi All-Stars. This sibling based, driving trio presented with all the energy one would expect from a band with the term “All-Star” in its name. The group, Luther and Cody Dickinson on guitar and drums, and the deep end foundation of Danielle Nicole on bass. They wasted no time jumping right in for the eager crowd. Their 12-song set featured many blues standards infused with their own brand of improvisation and verve, notable enough that the legends that penned the tunes would have been proud.

Keeping true to their roots, the band covered such tunes as R.L. Burnside’ s “ Po Black Maddie”, Son House’ s “Death Letter Blues”, Muddy Waters’ “Rollin’ and Tumblin” and “Got My Mojo Workin”, Buddy Guy’ s “Baby Please Don’ t Leave Me”, T-Bone Walker’ s “Mean Old World”, and Jimi Hendrix’ s “Hear My Train A Comin”. As there were many deadheads in the crowd, remarkable excitement and warm receptions were detected at the performance of Elmore James’ “It Hurts Me Too” and the traditional “Deep Elem Blues”.


The sit-ins began mid-set, starting off with TTB vocalist Alecia Chakour lead vocals on Levon Helm’ s “Move Along Train”. Following this blues rocker, the remaining back up singers of TTB, Mark Mattison and Mark Rivers, joined the band with Chakour on Mississippi Fred McDowell’ s “Back Back Train”. The end of the set welcomed both Susan Tedeschi and Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo to lend guitar duties on “Deep Elem Blues”, “Mean Old World”, “Got My Mojo Workin”, and “Hear My Train A Comin”. The entire set was full of smiles and joyous exchanges, both onstage and off. The chemistry between the “D” brothers and Sistah Nicole is inspiring and magical. From the solid beat of the skins by Cody, the rambunctious flailing of Nicole’ s moves while being able to lay down consistent grooves and growling vocals, and the other-worldly slide work by Luther, the product of this southern equation shows that this group is as much a headliner as anyone else on the bill. It is often said that the opener for many shows leaves much to be desired, but in the case of the NMA, their exit left many only with the desire for more. With a minimal change out of equipment, Los Lobos took the stage to the raucous welcoming of the audience.

Being a local favorite for decades, the crowd’s eruption was still audible as they began their first tune. This group’s ability to effortlessly swing from Latin-infused themes to classic rhythm and blues progressions and everything in between makes them not only danceable, but intoxicating and entertaining. The highlights of the set were incredible and filled with notes that legends are made of. The first song of the evening was one of the group’ s more popular songs, “Mas Y Mas”, and featured accompaniment by Derek Trucks, TTB trumpeter Ephraim Owens, and TTB flautist, Kofi Burbidge. This salsa flavored instrumental clocked in at 14+ minutes and solos were given over to the onstage guests with equal latitude of that of the core members. The horn exchanges between Owens, Burbidge, and Los Lobos’ saxophonist, Steve Berlin, were tasteful and furious and built on each other until the release of the crescendo, leaving just as many giggling on stage as those watching. Trucks’ opportunity was not wasted either and saw encouragement by Cesar Romero to take the lead, adding a stringed complementary exchange equal to that of the preceding brass duel. Another highlight from the set was a cover of Marvin Gaye’ s “What’s Going On”. Tedeschi was employed for lead vocals and was joined by the vocal component from TTB. The piece was soulful and true to the original. Steve Berlin of Los Lobos traded duties of keys and saxophone, nailing both effortlessly. The band pulled out Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba” as one of their closing tunes. With help from Trucks, they took this number over the top and really stretched it out. As the mid-section began to diminish, the expectation was a return for the last stanza of lyrics, but instead the band shifted the tune into The Rascals “Good Lovin’”, exciting the crowd, both deadheads and 60’ s rock lovers alike.


There was no shortage of rocking on this piece or the band encouraging the audience to sing along. Again, the band and guests seemed to experiencing as much exhilaration as the people laid out in front of them, shaking their bones. The energy continued to build and at the point that the climax seemed like it could be taken no further, the band dropped right back into “La Bamba”, closing the set with satiated, exhausted exaltation.

Before The Tedeschi Trucks Band took the stage, the promoter, John Nichols, came out and addressed the audience. He wanted to let everyone know that without the compassion and integrity of the bands, this evening would not have been such a great success. He added that the evening’s show was actually turned into a fundraiser by the groups to contribute to a local charity, New Day, which aids in getting teens off of the street, back into education, and re-inspiring their potential for the future. This announcement of humanity put a smile on many in the sea of faces and when Nichols finally said,”……and would you please welcome…….”, the entire venue responded with such a long and deafening salute that it was only the opening chords of the TTB original “Let Me Get By” that finally capped the revel as the third and final set took off. This energetic, bluesy gospel number was prolonged and gave all sections the ability to show for the crowd. Burbidge’ s Leslie solo stood out and received a round of rousing upon completion.


Tedeschi vocals, accompanied by the backup singers, added to the grit of the number. “Laugh About It” was up next and showcased more of Tedeschi’ s control in the vocal department. This beautiful, laid back piece is uplifting and warm. “Don’ t Know What It Means” showed that the front woman of this band has pipes that don’t bend or tire easily. This funky tune had great accents from the horn section, including a voracious solo by TTB saxophonist Kebbi Williams, who once he started blowing notes didn’ t stop, clutching his horn and shaking it. A fantastic rendition of Clapton’s “Keep On Growing”was delivered next. Its punchy structure gave way to accentuated beats of enthusiasm, both rhythmically and melodically. Lee Dorsey’s “Get Out of My Life Woman” was up next and as Tedeschi stepped away from the mic, as TTB’ s Mike Mattison took center stage to lead the band through this number.
What guitar inspired night would be complete without a number from the late Stevie Ray Vaughn? “The Sky is Crying” bought out the first sit-in of the TTB set, seeing the return of Cesar Romero. His exchanges with both Tedeschi and Trucks reinforced the fact that this man is not pigeonholed to any genre, nor his comfort or command diminished outside of his usual band members. “Right On Time”, a dark, speak-easy tune, gave rise to the spotlight of another outstanding member of the TTB horn section. Elizabeth Lea let loose on the trombone, as her swollen cheeks blew grit with every line, accompanied by great slide work and complement by both Trucks and Tedeschi.

Welcoming Luther Dickinson to the stage, the band delivered a double punch of goodness with “I Want More” and Santana’s “Soul Sacrifice”. The interplay in call and response fashion and straight ahead searing leads between Dickinson and Trucks brought obvious laughter between the two string marauders, as both appeared impressed and motivated by each other, fueling the fire of brilliance. B.B. King’s, “ How Blue Can You Get?” waltzed out of the gate in true blues fashion and gave all the dancers in the hall the opportunity to catch their breaths and witness in genuine spectator fashion the talent of the band. This number, again, showcased the front lady’ s ability to soulfully present herself on guitar and verse. The set closer came in the form of another Clapton rocker, “Had To Cry Today” and saw the return of Hidalgo to the stage. This tune has both the complements of hard-driving, distorted chords and softer, melodic vocal sections. The jam, again, seemed unending and spiraled higher and higher with every measure and continued to grab everyone’s attention.


With a curfew looming, the band returned to the stage for their final piece on this epic excursion. Bob Dylan’ s, “You Ain’t Going Nowhere” was an even-keeled choice that with its lightness and smooth tempo gave everyone on stage the ability to shine one more time. The fact that this was a reschedule instead of a cancellation and that all three bands returned to the Land of Enchantment, despite that the formal tour had ended weeks ago, speaks volumes about these players and their level of commitment to their fans and the overtly obvious enjoyment they receive playing together, demonstrated by displays of affection visible on stage. All performers, whether guest or host on stage, leaves every turn with toes intact and the girth that everyone receives feels more like family than fame. The proof is in the pudding and the universe willing, if the Wheels of Soul takes on another formation, anyone and everyone should witness this amazing ensemble of talented performers.

Grace Potter Headlines Grand Point North – September 17 & 18, 2016

Grace Potter Headlines Grand Point North
September 17 & 18, 2016
Burlington, VT
Photographer: Greg Gouwens









Jimmy Landry: Sing Your Own Song

Piano man Jimmy Landry had a novel problem when adding his new release, Sing Your Own Song, to iTunes. What genre is fitting for a record with such a wide berth of styles and influences?

It’s not a bad problem to have, and it is validated given just one spin through the album’s 10 accessible, piano-driven tracks that tap into a world where heart and soul are on full display. Kicking off with “Where the Love Is,” Landry demonstrates a fine-tuned approach and a deft ear for textured orchestration, particularly when the track’s funky keys give way to a reggae groove. He assumes Todd Snider-like spoken word above an achingly upbeat piano melody on “Let’s Get Together,” and takes a lounge-y approach to the heartbreak of “Proved Me Wrong.” Regardless of the lyrical subject matter, the compositions roll with a playfulness that is kissed by the sun and salt air of his coastal South Carolina home.

Sing Your Own Song marks Landry’s first release since his 2008 debut, New Day, and he delivers in spades when it comes to both style and execution. And about that genre problem? Who really cares. Sing Your Own Song is truly difficult to categorize, and that is its strength.

Sing Your Own Song is self-released and out now. Buy it here!

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.


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.