Tag Archives: Lake Street Dive

At the Beach with the Avett Brothers

At The Beach – The Avett Brothers (and friends)
Hard Rock Hotel, Riviera Maya, Mexico
February 09-12, 2017
Writer/Photographer: Josh Mintz

It was almost a cliche. Taking the stage on the very first night of their At The Beach festival in Mexico, the Avett Brothers kicked off their headlining set with “At The Beach.”

And, it was perfect. Continue reading At the Beach with the Avett Brothers

The 19th Annual Magnolia Fest

Magnolia Fest 2015
The 19th Annual Magnolia Fest
Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, FL

Writer: Niklaus Earl
Photographer: Amber Jennings/Crowe Light Photography

Here’s what you missed: the fall season kick off at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak Florida on October 15th – 18th that celebrated the 19th Annual Magnolia Fest.

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To elaborate, the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park is a 500+ acre, premier campground and music park located on the banks of the Suwannee river with accommodations for any type of camper, ranging from primitive sites for those who like to truly rough it, to rental cabins for those who like to camp with all of the modern creature comforts at hand. A campground of this nature provides a venue for even those who shiver in dread at the word ‘camping’ to enjoy a music festival. The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park does it’s level best to provide everything that a guest could need while camping, so that the guest can get on with the business of relaxing and enjoying the many musical offerings to be found on their four stages over the course of four days.

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At around four in the afternoon on Thursday, the Florida-grown Lee Boys took the stage at the Amphitheater and kicked things off under a clear, blue Florida sky. Their unique, ‘sacred steel’ music is a form of Gospel music with deep roots in blues, but which also embraces and beautifully blends soul, funk, rock, jazz, country, and hip-hop. Their style of music was the perfect way to begin the festival as it faultlessly embraced the core message of Magnolia Fest; All Are Welcome. After the warm festy welcome by the Lee Boys eight more bands would keep the music flowing between the Amphitheater stage and the Porch stage; the Ivey West Band, Band of Heathens, Parker Urban Band, The Congress, The Corbitt Brothers, The Motet, Nikki Talley and Lake Street Dive until 1:30 in the morning.

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By ten in the evening the temperatures had dropped thirty degrees from the daytime highs in the mid 80’s to the low to mid 50’s but did little diminish the enthusiasm of festival-goers as The Motet, a disco-funk revival band out of Colorado, laid down a sound that blew away any thoughts of being chilly and installed a single, musical imperative in their place: You Must Boogie! Children new to this sound danced alongside folks in their sixties and seventies who were remembering younger days in the Age of Funk and Disco as decades-old muscle-memory awakened within them and drove them to shake their aged-yet-still-funky booties. Joy suffused the faces of fans as The Motet put every effort into shaking the leaves from the trees of the outdoor theater with their mighty sound. Bass, two-piece brass, drums, keyboards, percussion, guitar, and vocals all came together flawlessly to create a modern tapestry of those musical elements that made the Disco-Funk era great, while leaving behind those elements that made it cringe-worthy.

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Following The Motet, western North Carolinian Nikki Talley kept things rolling from eleven to midnight on the Porch Stage, offering a more intimate country duet set with herself and husband Jason Sharp playing and harmonizing sweetly, allowing guests to cool off without going cold.

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At midnight, the final set of the night was performed by Lake Street Dive back at the Amphitheater Stage. The three-piece, four member band makes up for any possible lack of sound they might have compared to larger bands by adding their voices to the mix in precise harmonies that work to supplement and support the drums, double-bass, and guitar and/or trumpet, all of which work together to provide a framework for the strong lead vocals. Taken as a whole, the artists provide a cohesive sound where every part exists in a musical symbiosis and no element offers discord by trying to outshine its fellows. All fancy talk aside, Lake Street Dive laid down a sound big enough to keep festival-goers dancing until 1:30 in the morning.

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By noon on Friday, the temperatures were back up in the 80’s where they would stay for the rest of the day, with the light clouds and mild breezes typical of a Florida fall day. The first full day of the festival was in swing as all of the park’s four stages came to life. Merchants and food vendors were fully operational and ready to greet ever increasing numbers of attendees who arrived throughout the day that hurriedly set up camp and then made their way to the main festival area. Here the festival-goers wandered back and forth between the three outdoor stages and the refreshingly dark and air-conditioned Music Hall, catching the bands that they had come to see as well as becoming fans of bands that had been, until now, unknown to them. With twenty-one bands playing on four stages in a thirteen-and-a-half hour time frame, it would be just as impossible to not find a band that tickled your fancy as it would be to see every single performance, though there were those who certainly made a valiant effort at doing the latter. Artists performing bluegrass, country, blues, rock and roll, Cajun, funk, and endless variations of all of the above could be found all day and night throughout the park.

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Of the many great artists to be seen performing on Friday, one absolute, not-to-be-missed set was that of The Del McCoury Band. At 76 years of age, Del is the epitome of the classic, classy bluegrass performer. He and his band, including sons Ronnie and Rob, took the Meadow Stage at six in the evening. Dressed in suits and ties in spite of the 84 degree heat they played in the finest bluegrass tradition with the sun kissing their faces as it sank below the cypress.

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More often than not, in spite of having the expanse of the massive Meadow Stage on which to perform, the band clustered closely together in a tight knot, singing into a single mic in much the same way as Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys did seventy years prior. To see Del perform is to see a man who appears to be the happiest man in music. In spite of the heat and the sun shining in his eyes and the gnats in his face – several of which he claims to have swallowed while singing, “…they went down pretty easy, though…” he complained not at all, but rather grinned his infectious grin and laughed like the possessor of the world’s funniest joke. Singing songs about being sad and blue while seemingly tickled pink at life, Del McCoury looks to be the living example of the person that we all wish that we could be: the person who has found the thing they love to do the most in the world, and then got paid to do it.

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The sun set as the Del McCoury Band played the last songs of their set. The heat fell away while fans smiled and tapped their feet to the music or danced in happy abandon. The dust kicked up by feet mingled with the smoke of campfires while the evening mist of the cooling humid Florida air worked to soften the view of the meadow. Happy festy folk danced and smiled as dragon flies flew overhead while Del continued his set. Children and families played without care or concern, content to exist in the moment as night fell and Del and his band bowed and left the stage. There were moments throughout the weekend that perfectly crystallized the nature and intent of what Magnolia Fest was meant to be, and this was certainly one of them.

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Though the Del McCoury Band set might seem like the perfect ending to a great day, there were still six and a half hours of shows left to be enjoyed, starting with The London Souls on the Porch Stage. The New York City based power-duo turned the page as day became night and their music filled the vending area with a massive sound that was surprising in its strength for having been made by only two men. Doyle Bramhall II took to the Meadow Stage and The Congress filled the Music Hall with their sound, each band doing their part to remind attendees that, though the sun was down, the day was far from over. Then the Amphitheater Stage was mounted by The Travelin’ McCourys with guest musicians, Roosevelt Collier (pedal steel) and Earl Walker (drums) of The Lee Boys as well as Ronnie McCoury’s eldest son, Evan, on guitar. As an additional special guest, Del McCoury took the stage in order to lend his talents to the performance of ‘My Love Will Not Change’.

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After the Travelin’ McCoury’s, the Tedeschi Trucks Band took over the Meadow Stage for a two hour set. The twelve member band filled the night with their southern-style rock and Gospel sound. The superb skills of Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks were generously supported by a fat brass section, a trio of backup singers, keyboards, bass, and, not one, but two drum kits, all orchestrated in such a way that never was the sound cacophonous or overwhelming, but always a perfect mix of the right sound in the right place.

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By 11:30, many festival-goers thought themselves spent for the night and ready to return to their camps until The Motet began their second set of the weekend. People who thought themselves depleted of energy found themselves recharged and ready to shake to the funk for the next two hours. Finally, at 1:30 in the morning, the music on the main stages came to an end. As attendees made their way back to their campsites the gentle picking of Slopry Land would divert their attention and call to them to enjoy the late night festivals throughout the campground.

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Saturday was another beautiful fall Florida day with highs in the low 80’s. Attendees marveled at how early noon comes when you stay up until the wee hours of the morning the night previous, but put on their happy faces and were present in respectable numbers when the first of twenty-two bands to play that day took their places on the stages. It would be another thirteen-and-a-half hour marathon with some bands like Berry Oakley’s Skylab, Col. Bruce Hampton, Steep Canyon Rangers and more giving repeat performances, much to the relief of many fans who had been forced to choose between seeing these bands and others who were only playing on Friday.

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Fans that missed the performance of Steep Canyon Rangers on Friday were able to catch them on the Meadow Stage Saturday afternoon. The sextet thoroughly entertained the crowd with a modern bluegrass sound which is still firmly rooted in its ancestral soil. To the joy of many present, they invited Jeff Austin and two of his band members to join them on stage to play, demonstrating one of the key elements of bluegrass; a love of playing and picking with friends.

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One of the most notable moments of the Steep Canyon Rangers’ set was when fiddle player, Nicky Sanders, left the stage to come down to play along the rail where he was given a bear-hug by an enthusiastic fan. Upon extracting himself, Sanders backed up and tripped over the stairs leading back up to the stage. Though stumbling, Sanders managed to keep his feet without doing himself an injury or dropping a single note in his furious fiddle playing.

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Adding another musical element to the festival, the Rebirth Brass Band took the Meadow Stage and filled the evening air with a prime example of New Orleans jazz brass. Fans in the know danced energetically while waving hankies, scarves, bandanas, or just index and middle fingers held together in the air to signal their approval of the sounds this band of thirty-two years was laying down.

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Jeff Austin Band returned to the stage with his band for his scheduled set at 7:30 pm, giving fans another example of solid, jam-grass. The thing that distinguishes Jeff Austin from so many other excellent bluegrass musicians is the obvious punk-rock soul that seems to seethe just beneath the surface and which influences both the lyrics and the beat of many of his songs. The overall feel of much of his music speaks of a vision of the world that is greyer and less ‘bright and shiny’ than traditional bluegrass and watching him perform is like watching a bluegrass version of Angus Young as he shreds on his mandolin. As always, it is an exhilarating performance.

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The headliners of the night were The Avett Brothers with a much expanded lineup, taking the stage at 9:30 pm to the joy of their adoring fans. A crowd of smiling, upturned faces reflected stage light back at the band as music spilled across the meadow and drew the greatest number of fans for any performance of the weekend. In spite of chilly temperatures in the upper 50’s, fans in shorts and t-shirts would sooner have sawn off a limb than leave for warmer clothes and risk missing a single minute of the two hour set. Their love of the band would be enough to keep them warm.

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Finally, rounding off the evening back at the Amphitheater Stage, Donna the Buffalo, a core band of Magnolia Fest, played their first set of the weekend. They lead festival-goers out of the last hours of Saturday and into the first hours of Sunday with their distinctive sound that had fans, as always, dancing almost nonstop.

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Scattering outward into the darkness after the last notes of Donna The Buffalo had faded away, many a camper drifted back to their respective campsites to wind down before turning in, but no small number of people made their ways through the darkness to seek out the many islands of sound that drew them in back into Slopery Land like moths to an audible flame. Here, musical guests and festival attendees alike played long into the small hours of the morning, keeping the music going on a lower key, though with no less earnestness than any of the performances which had come before.

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Sunday dawned cool and breezy and had a distinct, ‘the party is winding down’ feeling to it. It was the kind of morning that encouraged one to enjoy breakfast slowly and to linger over hot, fragrant coffee while mulling over the events of the preceding days and nights. Only a single stage, the Amphitheater Stage, would be in use by five bands for a piddling eight-and-a-half hour day of music. O, what luxurious and relaxing bliss does a lazy Sunday bring!

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Looking out over the meadow where the now-silent Meadow Stage stood, one was given sight of yet another of those moments that perfectly crystallized the core notion that Magnolia Fest was founded on. Children laughed, played and giggled with the pure abandon that is the sole province of the innocence of youth, while adults looked on and smiled to see such beauty in the world. Here was a moment in time where the grinding concerns of life could be set aside momentarily and one could embrace the joy to be found in a world of music and the camaraderie one finds in the company of others in whose souls also dwells an appreciation for beauty in all its varied forms.

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At noon the music started off with Big Cosmo, followed by Grandpa’s Cough Medicine and Jim Lauderdale, all of whom drew solid attendance and put out enough energy to keep exhausted festival-goers, if not dancing outright, smiling and tapping their feet at the very least. Unsurprisingly, the majority of those folks dancing on Sunday were aged roughly 12 and below, as they seem tapped into an energy source to which the rest of us have long since lost access.

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By 4:00 in the late afternoon when Keller Williams’ Grateful Gospel took the stage, the batteries of most of the adults had recharged enough that they were able to dance along with the tireless children. The previously clear air of the day is now dissected by shafts of sunlight because of the amount of dust kicked into the air by happy feet. Bubbles float lazily overhead, hula-hoops are enthusiastically, if not always professionally, spun, little children are bounced on the shoulders of parents, hammocks rock, and fans sing along as Keller plays.

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Last, but not least by any stretch, Donna The Buffalo takes the stage once again for the final set of the day, giving fans two more hours of music with which to enfold their spirits before taking their leave of the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park and picking back up their burdens of daily life. Though the music of Magnolia Fest has come to an end for another year, the memory of the music and the joyful festival-goers and the perfect weather will linger on in our minds and, in times of need, hopefully be a balm to our souls when we are sometimes battered by the casual indifference of daily life. It is in the memory of joy and beauty that we find the strength to straighten our backs and smile when we might otherwise bow our heads and let the innumerable little burdens of life break us down. It is for those memories that Magnolia Fest exists, and we hope next year to see you there, so that next time, You, dear reader, are the one who can begin the story with, ‘Here’s what you missed…’

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The 19th Annual Magnolia Fest on October 15-18, 2015

Magnolia Fest 2015

Features Tedeschi Trucks Band, The Avett Brothers, The Del McCoury Band, Keller Williams Grateful Gospel, Lake Street Dive, Jeff Austin Band & more

The 19th Annual Magnolia Fest on October 15-18, 2015

at the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, FL

 

In just one week Magnolia Fest will celebrate it’s 19th year at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida. The festival kicks off on October 15th and will run through Sunday, October 18th.

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The line up for this year includes Tedeschi Trucks Band, The Avett Brothers, The Del McCoury Band, Keller Williams Grateful Gospel, Lake Street Dive, Jeff Austin Band, Roosevelt Collier & The Travelin McCourys, Doyle Bramhall II, Steep Canyon Rangers, Rebirth Brass Band, Donna the Buffalo, Jim Lauderdale, The Motet, New Orleans Suspects, Col Bruce Hampton, Jerry Joseph & The Jackmormons, Lost Bayou Ramblers, CeDell Davis, The Lee Boys, The Congress, Band of Heathens, The London Souls, Nikki Talley and more.

 

The 500+ plus acre campground of Spirit of the Suwannee provides one of the most unique festival experiences a festivarian can have. The beautiful wooded floodplain surrounded by upland pine woods and maturing hardwood forests draped in thick lush Spanish moss bestows one of the finest backdrops imaginable. The mystic of the antebellum era can be felt as one hikes through the 12 miles of trails.

 

Magnolia Fest will kick off on Thursday, October 15th with the American sacred steel ensemble, Lee Boys. The Florida based band’s unique sound has attracted musical such as Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers Band, The Black Crowes, Los Lobos, Michelle Shocked, Gov’t Mule, Derek Trucks Band w/ Susan Tedeschi, The North Mississippi Allstars, Hill Country Revue, Umphrey’s McGee, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, Oteil & Kofi Burbridge, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Toubab Krewe, Victor Wooten, The Del McCoury Band and The Travelin’ McCourys- all of whom have played with the Lee Boys and/or invited them to tour with them. The Amphitheater and Porch stage will host acts throughout the day from Ivey West Band, Band of Heathens, Parker Urban Band, The Congress, The Corbitt Brothers, The Motet (who will also close out the evening on Friday), Appalachian singer song writer Nikki Talley. The evening is set to close with Massachusetts based band, Lake Street Drive known for their split difference between Motown soul, sixties pop zip and British invasion swagger.

 

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The lineup for Friday continues the introduction of some world’s finest performers in Americana, Roots Rock, Acoustic Blues, Singer/Songwriter, Bluegrass & Newgrass, Cajun/Zydeco with opening acts Grits and Soul and Bonnie Blue. Friday also sees the addition of two stages, an expansive Meadow Stage and the Music Hall. Performances will include Mojo Gurus, Applebutter Express, Berry Oakley’s Skylab. The Lee Boys, The Corbitt Brothers, Nikki Talley and The Congress will take to the stages once again for those who missed out on the Thursday sets. The lineup continues with Cedell Davis, Habanero Honeys, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Col. Bruce Hampton, Grammy award winning bluegrass favorites the Del MCoury Band, Quartermoon, The London Souls and Doyle Bramhall II whose been on tour with Tedeschi Trucks Band.  The Travelin’ McCourys with the front man for the Lee Boys Roosevelt Collier will play a set before the headline for the evening Tedeschi Trucks Band. The Colorado impro funk band The Motet will wrap up the performances on the stages. Late night campfire pickin’ will continue into the wee hours of the morning by attendees and performers alike.

 

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Saturday’s lineup packed to the gills with goodness will include Steve Pruett’s Back from the Brink, Bryce Alastair Band, This Frontier Needs Heroes, Quartermoon, Berry Oakley’s Skylab, The Corbitt Brothers, Flagship Romance, Whetherman, JacksonVegas, Col. Bruce Hampton, Steep Canyon Rangers, Sloppy Joe, Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons, Quebe Sisters, Rebirth Brass Band, Grits and Soul, Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, Jeff Austin Band, Jim Lauderdale, New Orleans Suspects. The multi Grammy award winning Americana folk rock band, The Avett Brothers, will headline the Meadow Stage Saturday evening. Donna the Buffalo the amazing zydeco, folk rock band will close out the evening.

 

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donna buffalo

 

The low key Sunday schedule gives attendees the opportunity to explore the wonderful Spirit of the Suwanee Park. The shady banks of the historic Suwannee River provide an excellent picturesque paddling experience with canoe rentals or wandering the trails by bike or foot. The lineup for Sunday starts at noon on the Amphitheater stage with Big Cosmo, Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, Jim Lauderdale, Keller William’s Grateful Gospel and will close with a set from Donna the Buffalo.

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Tickets are on sale in advance and at the gate. Tickets are $200 until October 14th; and $210 at gate. All weekend tickets are inclusive of all taxes and fees, and include 4 days of primitive camping and music. Kids under 12 are invited to join for free. Fans can also upgrade their experience with VIP tickets for $400 which includes dinner, discounts, VIP Lounge, festival poster, & other perks. Single day tickets are available. Student and Military tickets are $180 and $210 at the gate. The Live Oak Music And Arts Foundation (LOMAF) will have a booth with raffles to raise money for the local music and art programs in the area.

SOSMP is located between Jacksonville, Florida & Tallahassee, Florida about 30 minutes south of the Georgia State line, about 45 minutes north of Gainesville. For RV hook ups, cabin rentals and golf cart rentals, please visit the park’s web site at www.musicliveshere.com call SOSMP at (386)-364-1683. For further information and tickets, please visit →www.magnoliafest.com/tickets.

Lake Street Dive: Colbert bumps, rare sounds, & super-heroes without capes

Lake-Street-Dive-Cr_-Jarrod-McCabeLake Street Dive has been playing together for many years, but chances are, you have never heard of them. And if you have, it was probably a recent discovery.

 

The band is comprised of lead vocalist Rachael Price, trumpeter and guitarist Mike “McDuck” Olson, upright bassist Bridget Kearney and drummer Mike Calabrese.  They play a blend of soul, pop, R&B, funk, doo-wop, country, rock, and then splice that myriad of eclectic sounds with a solid jazz pulse, which is always emanating out from their core.

 

The band just released their fourth album, Bad Self Portraits. The album dropped at a fortuitous time for the group. After years of hard-work, they recently caught a big break on YouTube. They recorded the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back,” on a street corner in Boston, standing around a single condenser mic. The video went viral – as of the time of this writing is has over 1.5 million hits – and then the late night shows started calling. They recently performed on The Colbert Report and then the Late Show with David Letterman.

 

Gone are the days when talented artists were forced to fight for the attention and good graces of producers and A&R men; with the help of social media and sites like YouTube, bands can now take their music directly to the fans.

 

While on a short-break from the recent whirlwind of excitement that surrounds Lake Street Dive right now guitarist Olson checked in with Honest Tune to talk about the band’s newfound fame, their songwriting process, the Colbert Bump and much more.

 

Olson started by reflecting on their recent YouTube ‘discovery’:  “I was recently reminded of an Andy Warhol quote: ‘In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.’ This has become so much more true with the advent of YouTube. It’s made everybody’s cats and kids celebrities. Don’t get me wrong, we are extremely pleased for the wider exposure the online video has afforded us, but there is a kind of absurd surprise and pleasure that comes from it too for us, that we can work for so long and so hard, and all it takes is a tweet from Kevin Bacon to propel us into a completely new bracket of notoriety.”

 

LSD liveWhen the band formed they were all in school for music, yet despite what must have surely been an abundance of amazingly talented musicians around them, the original set-up of the band did not even always guarantee a chordal instrument in the mix. Olson explained, “The original instrumentation was based more on a jazz setup than a pop or rock instrumentation. The Ornette Coleman bands had a drummer and a bass player and two horn players, so in the original idea for the band it was far more rooted in the jazz tradition.  Rachael’s voice was like the other horn player.”

 

This unique instrumentation still exists today as Olson splits duties between guitar and trumpet. There are often times in their music when the only sounds coming from the band are bass, drums and vocals. A rare sound for a pop band. But let’s be clear: this isn’t any ordinary band and it definitely isn’t any ordinary vocalist. Price sings with a power that would shake the judges of American Idol right off of their pedestals. She is a diva without the attitude, a super hero without the cape. The bridge on “You Go Down Smooth” from Bad Self Portraits would not feel out of place at the Met and it is hard to imagine that so much sound could possibly come out of a singer as tiny as Price. But it does, and once you hear it, you will rewind it and listen to it again.

 

Her voice was on display in a recent episode of the hit Netflix show House of Cards where she is seen belting out the National Anthem at Camden Yards.  Her appearance on the show was a fortuitous bit of casting as the director of House of Cards and his daughter happened to be at a Lake Street Dive show and was blown away by Price’s powerful voice.

 

Olson could not praise and speak highly enough of his band mate Price and her power and vocal abilities. “She can breathe life into a limerick,” he says, “Her voice is amazing. It’s our not-so-secret weapon. Rachael is the gateway for our songs to see the light of day, her voice draws even jaded music listeners, and she never gets the lead singer diva syndrome. She’s just purely amazing, and we are lucky to have her.”

 

1386606729LakeStreetDive2But of course, she is lucky to have the rest of the band with her as well. While Price is very much the band’s front-woman, there isn’t a weak link in this quartet. Kearney is a monster on the upright bass. Her intro to “Bobby Tanqueray” sounds like an electric guitar that is running chords and pushing the melody. She moves seamlessly between lowdown dirty funk, thoughtful jazz and pulsating pop lines.

 

Kearney has one hell of a rhythm section partner-in-crime in Calabrese. Often playing his kit with one hand, with a tambourine or shaker in the other, he gives Kearney – and the rest of the band – the freedom to let go and move. He is a reliable and solid drummer who adds flourishes that are so graceful, they are hardly noticed. But try listening to the disco-imbibed “Use Me Up” without nodding your head and tapping your feet. That is Calabrese making you move.

 

All four members of the band are songwriters, and all but Price contributed tracks for this album. In the past, numerous songs were collaborations and credited as such.  This time around, each track is credited to a single band-member. Olson made it clear though that nothing should be read deeper into the change in songwriting.  “We don’t collaborate a ton on the songwriting process, simply because it’s challenging for us,” he said. “We each have very different methods and processes. However, we are extremely collaborative with the arranging part of making a song performance ready. Usually, a songwriter will bring in a ‘skeleton’ of a song, the words, the chords, a temporary form, maybe some background harmonies; from there, we work on taking it from demo status to something that is totally Lake Street Dive, with a classically Bridget-style bass line, to a feel that only Mike Calabrese could pull off on the drums, and of course, Rachael takes every melody and interprets it with care and love and makes it her own as well. Even if the songs aren’t collaboratively written, they are inevitably filtered through the lens of the band to make each one special.”

 

Despite being a band of equal parts jazz and pop, Lake Street Dive’s ability to improvise is what sets them apart from every other band.  “Since we have such a strong jazz background as individuals, improvisation is a constant for us, even though we play the same basic pop songs each night and basically in the same way from one show to the next,” says Olson, “However, since everyone has such a command of their instruments, each time a song is played, there are variations and embellishments that do change night to night. This could take the form of a trumpet solo or a vocal riff or whatever, but the important thing is that we are listening to each other with the ears of improvisers, in that if someone does something new or wild, we all react to it, and it elevates the playing in a different way than it we were playing the exact same version of each song over and over again.”

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While Price’s vocals are the ones you will walk away from the band singing, their harmony vocals are an equally important part of their sound. The remaining members of the band sing tight and fluid harmonies in powerful and unique ways, which essentially serve as an additional instrument. While not opposed to backing up Price with harmonies on the lead vocal lines, they are just as likely to add ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ to build an aural foundation for their songs, which are massive in scope and well beyond what their numbers should allow. At one point in “Bobby Tanqueray”, Price join’s the ethereal ‘oohs’ with Kearney and Calabrese while Olson whistles his melody, creating a truly haunting sound.

 

The band’s name has led to many confusing introductions as they are often called Lake Street Drive. Despite the increased exposure they are getting, Olson says that this still happens. “I was really holding my breath on Letterman and Colbert, nervous that one of them would mis-read the teleprompter. I just know that someday, if we ever get introduced by John Travolta, he’ll say Drive.”

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The Colbert Report was the band’s first big TV break and provided a well-deserved shot of big-time exposure.  Host Colbert is a talented singer in his own right and often joins in with many of his musical guests but he let Lake Street Dive shine on their own.  “He just let us do our thing, which was super nice of him!  Maybe he’ll have us back, and we’ll back him up on a few songs.  I’m just putting it out there,” says Olson.

 

The experience and exposure the band gained from their appearance on the Colbert Report was a life-altering moment for the band, when asked whether The Colbert Bump was a Great Bump or the Greatest Bump?  Olson emphatically responded, “Greatest. I think we’re still riding it.”

 

Follow Josh Klemons on twitter @jlemonsk

Lake Street Dive tour dates, new album due out Feb 18

Lake Street DiveIn support of their new album, Bad Self Portraits, due out February 18, Lake Street Dive has announced an extensive winter tour that will kick-off February 7 at Carnegie Hall in New York City and run through April 12 when they will wrap up at the Old Settlers Music Festival in Driftwood, Texas.

Lake Street Dive tour dates:

Feb 07 – New York, NY @ Carnegie Hall

Feb 08 – Fall River, MA @ Narrows Center for the Arts

Feb 12 – Washington, DC @ The Hamilton

Feb 14 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle

Feb 15 – Oriental, NC @ Old Theater

Feb 16 – Charleston, WV @ Mountain Stage Radio

Feb 21 – Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair

Feb 22 – Lancaster, PA @ The Chameleon Club

Feb 23 – Charlottesville, VA @ Jefferson Theater

Feb 25 – Asheville, NC @ The Grey Eagle

Feb 27 – Charlotte, NC @ Neighborhood Theatre

Feb 28 – Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West

Mar 01 – Nashville, TN @ 3rd & Lindsley

Mar 03 – Louisville, KY @ The New Vintage

Mar 04 – Cincinnati, OH @ The 20th Century Theater

Mar 05 – Columbus, OH @ Skully’s

Mar 07 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall

Mar 08 – Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Cultural Center

Mar 11 – Seattle, WA @ Neptune

Mar 12 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom

Mar 14 – San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall

Mar 15 – Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour

Mar 16 – Solana Beach, CA @ Belly Up

Mar 20 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The State Room

Mar 21 – Paonia, CO @ Paradise Theatre

Mar 22 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater

Mar 23 – Boulder, CO @ eTown

Mar 25 – Iowa City, IA @ The Mill

Mar 26 – St. Louis, MO @ Old Rock House

Mar 28 – Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern

Mar 29 – Millvale, PA @ Mr. Small’s Funhouse

Mar 31 – New York City, NY @ The Bowery Ballroom

Apr 01 – New York City, NY @ The Bowery Ballroom

Apr 12 – Driftwood, TX @ Old Settlers Music Festival

Lake Street Dive recently stopped by the Colbert Report to perform a couple of songs from the upcoming album. Check out an exclusive performance of “Rabid Animal.” 

 

The Colbert Report
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