On a visit to the heartland of the delta blues - some of the juke joints are still there in Clarksdale and they're still doing some old school blues. July 2019 - Deak Harp:
Bernard Allison played a strong set at The Morristown Jazz & Blues Festival in New Jersey on 8/18/19. Here is "That's The Way Love Was Meant To Be":
By: Steve Hefter
On tour in support of their latest album, Up And Rolling, on November 13, 2019 the North Mississippi Allstars made a stop at The Hamilton, one of DC's premier nightclubs. Definitely one of those shows you look forward to for the months leading up to it, and with good reason. The NMA, in their rawest form, is a power trio with their roots firmly planted in the blues. Brothers Luther Dickinson (guitar, keys, vocals) and Cody Dickinson (drums, vocals, guitar, washboard, etc.) are the heart of the band. This particular night saw Jessie Williams on the bass guitar.
Seemingly too young to have been at it for 23 years, with ten studio albums, this album is different. They wanted to connect the music of those they grew up idolizing, with what was happening in the music scene they knew today. All sparked by an old, forgotten roll of film shot in 1996 by Wyatt McSpadden with photos of of people and places in North Mississippi that were special to the brothers. This is how Up And Rolling was born. Listening and watching Luther play, can launch a tad of confusion in one's mind. He is some kind of genuine, superhero. At times you'd swear you were listening to a ninety year old blues pioneer, with brother Cody wailing on his washboard. Then with a chord progression, or after playing with the volume on his amp and/or guitar (or both), you're now watching one of the cutting edge guitar players of our time. It is all a joy to take in - to watch - and to listen to, and I think the band is having as much, or more fun than the audience! Any time NMA is headlining, it's a pretty simple formula - GO.
Wolf Trap has quickly become one of our all-time favorite summer-time venues. This year showcased some stellar concerts at the beautiful Filene Center, with huge names in music as well as lesser-known supporting acts getting an opportunity to play in front of the huge Wolf Trap audiences. This combination can work well and when it does, you can experience some truly inspirational musical moments. Below is a shot from each show we covered at Wolf Trap this summer.
At the end of July, 2019 something truly extraordinary happened: The one and only live concert DVD ever produced of and by legendary master guitarist and musician Frank Marino was released for purchase by the public! This is ground-breaking for several reasons. Let's start with Frank himself, whom I've known and speak with occasionally since early 2010. When I asked him a while back why he had never put out a concert DVD, he responded in his straight-forward matter-of-fact way, "Steve, how many times have you watched the same DVD over again?" After a few seconds of thought it dawned on me that there are actually very few DVDs I've watched more than once or twice. Frank then said, "Now compare that with how many times you have listened to the same album. Audio is played over and over, and if you are especially fond of it, you're probably still listening to it even decades after you first heard it." It was hard to argue with that. He was right - but in this case, the Live at the Agora Theatre DVD, with over six hours of high quality Blu Ray video and amazingly rich audio, mixed by Frank himself, will be watched many, many times. There is a small book that comes with the DVD, with Part 1 written by Ryan Sparks and Part 2 written by Frank himself, that explains the winding and ironic story of how and why this DVD came to be in the first place. I won't give it all away, but it starts with a liquid light projector and twists and turns from there.
Another reason that this DVD is unlike any other ever made is that during the two days of recording, the system that Frank used for years to record was not picking up the drum tracks. Assured that the back-up audio recording system was in place, and unable to diagnose the issue with the primary recording system, Frank had no choice but to rely on the fact that the back-up, redundant system, would be recording all the instruments, including the drum tracks. For whatever reason, that did not happen. After bringing the master recordings back to his home in Montreal, Frank was, what must have been shocked, sickened, <place adjective here>, to find out that the drum tracks from backup system were corrupted. As Frank told me, "It was just a bunch of pops and clicks." To make a very, very long story short , Frank spent nearly nine years - NINE YEARS, digitally recreating roughly 12 hours of drumming by his long-time drummer, Mr. Dave Goode. I spoke to Frank several times throughout this period. Essentially this was Frank's only real option (again I leave you to read the details in the book), but during this time, and through various different methods, Frank recreated every single drum beat. From snare to Bass, to high hats and everything else in between. I feel confident in saying that never in the history of live music recording has anyone attempted, let along finished, such an amazingly daunting task. He told me that on a good day (12-14 hours) he could complete approximately 3-4 minutes of drumming. Think about that. Nearly every single day over the course of almost nine years, Frank used those pops and clicks, along with whatever the other mics on stage had picked up, to completely recreate the masterful performance Dave Goode laid down during those two days in December of 2010. Frank told me recently that he purposely did not watch te video when he was working on the drum audio. He did not want to be influenced at all by anything else except what he was hearing on the audio he did have. And the results are truly astonishing. Possibly the finest live music DVD ever produced. If you are, or ever were, a fan of Frank Marino Mahogany Rush, you absolutely owe it to yourself to go out and buy this. It is worth every single penny, and probably a whole lot more.
I reached out to Dave Goode recently, prior to the release of the DVD, explaining that I would like to interview him to get his perspective on the DVD shoot and in particular, his thoughts on what Frank did, digitally recreating his entire performance, and how he thought it turned out. Check back in a few days to hear what he had to say. We discussed his musical background, how he met and ended up playing drums for Frank, what he's been up to since Frank stopped touring after the DVD shoot, and much more!.
Jimmy Herring is from another world! Nearly everything he works on is unique and of course is another vehicle for him to dig deep into his musical soul and translate it to audiences through his insane talent. Always playing with fantastic musicians in their own right, The 5 of 7 sounded as if they had been together for years. Winding through extended jams liberally sprinkled with hard rock jams leading into Jimmy soaring to places most guitar players can only dream of. Beside Jimmy Herring (guitar), the band is Kevin Scott (bass), Darren Stanley (drums), Matt Slocum (keys, vocals), and Rick Lollar (guitar, lead vocals). These four had a band that Jimmy heard called King Baby out of Atlanta. After listening to them, Jimmy thought that the five of them could write and mke some amazing music, and he was right. In addition to being a fantastic guitarist, rick also has a knack for singing. He has a distinct vocalizations and can sing through the entire spectrum, exceling on the louder, more rocking tunes, his vocals and playing mesh very neatly with Jimmy Herring's unique, powerful playing. In fact, this entire band felt destined to be. They put on a fine, well rounded show at the top-noth Hamilton in Washington, DC.
By: Steve Hefter
Slide guitar virtuoso Sonny Landreth made a stop at Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis on November 12, 2019. Instead of only bringing a few guitars, his effects board, and his pure talent, he also brought with him fellow musician and steel guitar master, Cindy Cashdollar. At 68, and having accomplished more on the guitar than most, Sonny Landreth draws on his extensive knowledge of various forms of music that makes for a thoroughly entertaining evening of music. Based mostly in classic jazz, but with his unmistakable personal style which he has honed into a sound decidedly his own. Playing everything from covers like "Key To The Highway" and "Walkin' Blues" to some of his first original like 'Blues Attack", Sonny never disappoints, and frequently leaves audiences in awe of his sheer talent. On this night, having the lovely and talented Cindy Cashdollar to play with and off of, made for an extra special show. Cindy grew up playing with the likes of Paul Butterfield and Levon Helm, and she more than holds her own with Sonny. The audience was treated to a fantastic evening of some of the beast slide guitar anywhere.
Available at: https://mahoganyrush.com/
Note: The two videos above we released by Frank Marino in 2010 and 2016, respectively
By: Tom Pragliola
On October 19, Bettye LaVette performed an outdoor concert at 300 Ashland, a plaza at a busy intersection in the Fort Greene cultural district in Brooklyn, NY. We have some great videos from the show! (see Below).
Here's an excerpt from the liner notes of her latest CD, Things Have Changed:
In 2018 she released Things Have Changed, an album of all Bob Dylan songs, for Verve Records. It received two Grammy nominations, one for Best Americana Album, and one for the song "Don't Fall Apart On Me Tonight" for Best Traditional R&B Performance.
Fans, critics and artists have nothing but high praise for her live show and her vocal prowess. Now, at 73 years old, she is still performing with the ferocity of a woman half her age. She is one of very few of her contemporaries who were recording during the birth of soul music in the 1960s and is still creating vital recordings today.
Bettye LaVette is no mere singer. She is an interpreter of the highest order. Whether the song originated as country, rock, pop, or blues, when she gets through with it, it is pure R&B. She gets inside a song and shapes and twists it to convey all of the emotion that can be wrought from the lyric.
“Bettye LaVette has profound respect for the great writers of the great songs.
And she delights in mining, recording, and performing them.
LaVette does not cover songs, she inhabits them.
She owns a stand-alone, impeccable prowess which no one but she can claim.
Bettye LaVette is the lyrics whisperer.” - Carol Friedman (liner notes to ‘Things Have Changed’ CD).
By: Tom Pragliola
It was a school night, so his homework was going to be late.
Brandon "Taz" Neiderauer played to a capacity crowd at Bowery Ballroom in lower Manhattan on Wednesday night. The 16 year old guitar whiz has been traveling most weekends, in a seemingly non-stop trajectory to star status in what is already a very successful music career, performing to enthusiastic audiences all across the country. He does this while maintaining the "normal" life of a high school student. Even with all his success and the accolades coming his way, it was a special night for him, playing to a sold-out crowd as the headliner in his hometown.
At one point between songs, Brandon told the crowd "I'm also a regular kid, going to school, and I think one of my teachers is here tonight. So, you know, I'm going to have some late homework, cause you can see, this is what I'm doing tonight." In the band with Taz is one of his guitar mentors, Mat Godfrey on guitar, Matthew Fox on bass, and Kendall Lentz on drums, all providing solid support.
Here's a few videos so you can see for yourself what Taz and the band are up to on a school night: 1) My Revival; 2) Where I Belong; 3) Wildfire, Part 2.
When did you first see Deep Purple? For me it was somewhere in the early 80s. And I saw them several times after. The last time I saw them was last week, in Washington, DC at the beautiful, historic theater, The Warner. What a phenomenal ride through some of rock music's most well known songs they took the audience on! The electric atmosphere waiting for a true super rock band that pulses through an audience is something I miss. The positive energy flowing from the audience to these fantastic musicians while they cranked out classics like, "Space Truckin'", "Highway Star", and of course the ultra-classic "Smoke On The Water". Ian Gillian (vocals), Roger Glover (bass, vocals), Ian Paice (drums), Don Airey (keyboard, vocals), and guitar legend Steve Morse nailing each song with that fire and pure talent he's been showing us all for 45+ years.
The Long Goodbye tour rolls on from city to city in major part, thanking audiences for years of loyalty and of connection, as well as rocking the hell out of them! It was great to see Deep Purple live again and hear part of the score of a younger me and I hope to see them again!
We spoke with Steve Morse last night (10/12/19) and when asked for his thoughts on the current tour, he responded:
"The new tunes are going very well. In general, playing with Flying Colors is very exciting because we never do enough gigs to make it old hat or boring! What I noticed about the show last night (10/11/19) was that when everyone is comfortable we can have these tremendous dynamics even within the songs. That’s just another thing that I really enjoy about the band."
What is there left to say about the classic southern blues rock band ZZ Top? A whole lot! Guitarist Billy Gibbons, bass player Dusty Hill (born Joe Michael Hill), and drummer Frank Beard are currently on their 50th anniversary tour! What an amazing accomplishment. Long before this milestone was reached, they already held the record for the longest touring, all original band in the history of music! Quite an accomplishment. I recently saw someone ask the band why they had stayed together so long. Each member said the same thing, that early on in their careers, they knew they had each found the guys that they wanted to play with and that they never had any desire to play with anyone else.
Dusty and Frank turned 70 this year, and in December Billy will be joining them at 70. Never taking themselves too seriously, but always putting the music first, they have become instantly recognizable, through both the music and their appearance.
On October 25, 2019 they brought their one-of-a-kind show the theater at MGM at National Harbor in DC. It's truly amazing how good they still sound, and I for one hope they keep on going for many more years!
Taj Mahal (Henry Saint Clair Fredericks (born May 17, 1942)) really is that oft-heard and over-used cliche' "living legend". Few musicians from the era that produced Taj Mahal are still with us, and of thise that are, there are only a few that can still play with the passion, technique, and talent that Taj does. Seeing at The Birchmere seemed to be a bonus, in particular, for Taj Mahal. The atmosphere lends itself perfectly to the rather intimate show that seems to make him tick. Surrounded by all of his favorite instruments, from a standard acoustic guitar, to a banjo, to his gold American Standard resonator guitar, he appeared releaxed and in complete control. A showman in every sense of the word, he still plays songs that were first written decades ago with a passion that is hard to decribe....eyes closed, fingers working, all enhanced by his bluesy, relaxed, experienced vocals. As our musical heros age and depart us, it is a pleasure to still be able to see and hear such a huge musical contributor person, still. The audience was enthralled, and it was much more of a shared experience with Taj, than a concert.
Ghost Hounds opened for ZZ Top on October 25, 2019. They had already opened for the Rolling Stones on a leg of their recent 2019 tour. Then after the 10/25 show they went on to open for, what was billed as, Bob Seger's final concert in Philadelphia. The band, Tre Nation (vocals), Johnny Baab (guitar), Thomas Tull (guitar), Bennett Miller (bass), Blaise Lanzetta (drums), Joe Munroe (keyboard) put on a great show, on tour in support of their new album, Roses Are Black.
Initially formed in the mid-2000s, by Pittsburgh Native Thomas Tull, after putting out one album, Tull found himself pulled in different, solo directions. Recently, having a strong desire to play in a rock-n-roll band again, Tull, along with producing and songwriting partners David Grissom and Kevin Bowe, and six-time Grammy Award-winning producer, engineer and mixer Vance Powell began writing music. At the same time, Tull was pulling together the guys who would eventually make up the band. The final piece of the puzzle came together when they brought in lead singer Tre Nation, who appears to have enough energy to light a small city. A throwback to rock's heydey in the mid-to late 1970s these guys can rock! And they are rocking out to well though out rock songs. Each member bringing with them their own unique set of talents. With Ghost Hounds the whole clearly outweighs the sum of the parts. I expect big things from these guys.
We stepped out of our "norm" (whatever that is) and hit the famous 9:30 club in Washington, DC for a killer triple bill of hard rock. We went to see Bones UK open the show. The band is Carmen Vandenberg (guitars, vocals), Rosie Bones (bass, vocals), and Heavy (drums. vocals). Bones UK have just put out a brand new album and are touring extensively getting the word out. We first became aware of the Carmen & Rosie back in 2016 when they were asked by the one-and-only Jeff Beck to help with a new album (Loud Hailer) as well as tour with him that summer. We caught Jeff's tour at Wolf Trap then and were impressed by the performances of these two hard rocking musicians - so when we saw they were scheduled to play the 9:30 club in DC, we made it a point to be there. Nice bonus that the headliners were The Struts with The Glorious Sons playing in between. On June 12, I spoke to Carmen on the phone and we chatted about the new album, touring and writing with Jeff Beck, her musical influences, and much more. .
~ See the photos from BONES UK's killer set ~
~ Photos of The Struts in command of the audience ~
In full disclosure, I went to this show to see Jonny Lang. I am a huge fan, and a concert with just him is always more than just fine. I knew there was an opening act, but didn't know who. Imagine my utter thrill at finding out (thirty minutes prior to show-time) that the North Mississippi Allstars and JJ Grey and Mofro were both going on before Jonny. This is one of the best triple bills I've ever seen. NMA came out and brothers Cody (drums, washboard) and Luther Dickinson (guitar, vocals) with Carl Dufresne on bass, casually walked out, said hello to the audience, and proceeded to rock and roll for over an hour! Luther Dickinson is a force of nature. His playing is spot on, clean, and happy, never over the top or forced, he drives the trio. Luther's technique is really something you need to see to appreciate just how difficult and technical what he is doing on the guitar really is. If you only listen, he makes it sound so effortless and fluid, you might not "get it" all.
By: Tom Pragliola
North Mississippi Allstars at Brooklyn Bowl - 11/2/19:
On their Up and Rolling tour (some great videos we took at the show - links below)
A bit of background on the new recording from the NMA website:
A forgotten roll of film was found. Shot back in 1996, the photographs resonate with music. The images inspired an accompanying soundtrack. The music is full of stories. Wyatt McSpadden found an old roll of film and tracked down members of North Mississippi Allstars to share his forgotten photographs. The images were so profound and so beautiful that they would come to inspire the latest recording, Up And Rolling. The North Mississippi Allstars would return to the famous Zebra Ranch to record Up And Rolling, inspired by Wyatt's images. They gathered together, trimmed back the wisteria, and swept out the converted barn recording studio. The fired up the tube amps and old computers and began conjuring up modern Mississippi music, ancient and futuristic all at once. Telling it how it was and how they think it should be.
While inspired by the community and music of that Sunday more than 20 years ago, Up and Rolling is the sound of modern Mississippi. Luther hopes, “the music is rooted, but spreads evasively from the kudzu jungle grown over Junior’s concrete slab and Otha’s porch boards thru the Zebra Ranch’s razor wire chain link fence. Transcending time and space, music reaches out into the dark of night like the wisteria vine, looking for free-hearted souls to latch onto and wedge into the foundations of hate, slowly tearing down walls a generation at a time.” - www.nmallstars.com!
Eric Krasno Trio at The Blue Note in NYC - 9/27/19. "Curse Lifter":
We are very lucky, and for some reason, Tab Benoit plays in the DC/VA/MD area often. On , August 20, 2019 Tab made Rams Head On Stage home for the evening. It's been a while now, but Tab is branching out. After producing music for Anders Osborne and others, Tab has started his own label - Whiskey Bayou Records. Seems like a natural extension for someone as talented and experienced as Tab. One of the artists on his label, Eric Johanson, has been tourng with Tab. Eric opens the shows with Corey Duplechin (Tab's bass player) and the man himself on drums. For those who may not know, Tab started out as a drummer and as a kid, seemed destined to be behind a kit. We know how that turned out - Tab has become one of those guitar players that true guitar junkies go to see. His style is straight ahead - take no prisoners - hell, take nobody - but just crank out his unique brand of Louisiana swamp rock/blues. Eric Johanson played a great opening set of his own music, drawing heavily from his 2017 release (on Whiskey Bayou), Burn It Down. Eric has his own unique style - and with the band he had behind him, he sounded great. It's fun to watch Tab play the drums, he is very into it, and from talking to him about it, he really loves when he can do that.
Tab's set started out blazing and rarely slowed down. His sound is driven by his pure talent combined with his love of his thin-line Telecasters plugged directly into his Cat 5 amps. No toys. No effects. No illusions. What you see and hear from Tab is what you get, and personally, I really dig that sound. Note that several guitar players play by plugging directly in. Springing to mind is Derek Trucks. There's just something about this set-up produces an unadulterated sound that just grabs the listener. Whether wanting to or not, it didn't take long for Tab to begin fielding requests. If you ask him to play something, do yourself a favor and have the song title right and male sure that Tab actually wrote or recorded it. With his usual knack for knowing when to bring things down and play one of his slower songs or a straight up ballad, Tab puts on a complete show. Even without his usually hilarious stand-up comedy bits, Tab's shows are an experience. The comedy only adds yet another layer to an already smoking show.
~ See all the photos ~
Now - add legendary guitar player and musician Dave Mason to the show as the opener and you have a concert you circle on your calendar. Best known for his ground breaking work with Traffic and his recordings with everyone from Paul McCartney to Michael Jackson to recording the acoustic opening to Jimi Hendrix's version of "All Along The Watchtower", Dave Mason has been there. He has had hits with the iconic "Feelin' Alright", recorded by numerous artist's including Joe Cocker singing it at Woodstock all the way through to his soft-rock FM hit "We Just Disagree". Dave and the band put on a great set. Hearing Dave Mason sing these songs brings back many fond memories (mostly of hearing the tunes in my the car as a kid). Dave was in great spirits, and seemed genuinely happy at the reception he received. Here is the song list courtesy of setlist.fm:
1. World in Changes; 2. Pearly Queen; 3. Rock and Roll Stew; 4. The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys;
5. Dear Mr. Fantasy; 6. Can't Find My Way Home; 7. We Just Disagree; 8. Look at You Look at Me;
9. Shouldn't Have Took More Than You Gave; 10. Only You Know and I Know; 11. Fellin' Alright;
12. All Along the Watchtower
Our first time seeing Christone "Kingfish" Ingram - and he more than lived up to the hype! 9/15/19 at The Cutting Room in NYC:
June 8: Lake Street Dive and The Wood Brothers. Great, fun show. The wood Brothers are so super talented. Fisrt time seeing Lake Street Dive - and I'd see them again. Tight, great set.
June 23: Buddy Guy, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Samantha Fish. The best triple bill I've seen in years. I've been covering Samantha Fish for years now, and she and her band are the real deal. Honing her style, still killing it on her many guitars, and definitely is making her mark on the music world. Kenny Wayne Shpherd is a powerhouse and a damn fine guitar player. High energy, rock and roll set. Closed with Voodoo Chile. Mr. Buddy Guy! What is left to say...? A true blues legend. Sounded great, was seriously happy and several times really dug in and played that strat like in days gone by. Have to mention Ric Jaz - always on fire and getting better and better. Awesome set. Awesome concert. Fantastic fit of bands.
July 3: Jackson Browne. Inventing his own completely unique style in the 1970s, Jackson Browne produced numerous hits and FM staples, beginning with "Doctor My Eyes" from his 1972 debut album to the iconic, partially live album, "Running On Empty", containing the classic song of the same name. He sounded fantastic. Even considering just how long ago he hit the music scene, Jackson and his band sounded great. His voice still spot on with his unique melodic expression. He did all the hits and much more in a great, purely fun concert.
~ Photos:Jackson Browne ~
July 17: The Wheels of Soul Tour with The Tedeschi Trucks Band, Blackberry Smoke, and Shovels and Rope. What can you say about the Tedeschi Trucks band that hasn't already been said? Solid, driven, super-talented true band members. Evry time I see Derek he is either so good, it makes forget the last time I saw him play, or he truly gets better with each concert. Maybe it's both? Susan's mighty vocal lead and her own soulful, gritty, rocking guitar work is surely the anchor. Each member show their talent alone, and as part of the ensemble. It is a true aural pleasure to see these guys & gals live. Unfortunately I missed the opener, Shovels and Rope, but Blackberry Smoke put on a great set. Seeming maybe a tad out of place with TTB, they were still able to grab the audience and make fans out of hem, if they weren't already. Lots of energy and raw talent from these guys.
July 24: Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers & Amos Lee. Bruce Hornsby runs a super tight band. They follow his every lead and played his music flawlessly and with plenty of their own flair. Hit after hit. I had forgotten just how many FM hits Mr. Hornsby is responsible for. Bruce is prolific as well, just releasing his 21st album titled, Absolute Zero. Live, all his influences, from bluegrass to country to pop are on display. His voice sounds as good as ever, and he has fun on stage in front of he audience. The opener, Amos Lee, has a powerful voice that was the centerpiece of his set. Singing and playing contemporary music, of which I know little about, Amos Lee put on an uplifting, enjoyable set of music.
July 31: Steve Miller Band with Marty Stuart & The Fabulous Superlatives and Matt Anderson. Stevie "guitar" Miller is not only still at it, he is rocking the audiences smart enough to go catch the Steve Miller Band live. Like Bruce Hornsby, My teenage years were filled with the FM sounds of Steve Miler as well as his shows, since he seemed to pass through and play once a year for a long time. Steve's guitar playing and especialy his voice, sound fantastic. That unique tone to his voice still ever-present and right on. On tour with him Gordy Knudtson, Kenny Lee Lewis, Jacob Peterson, and Joseph Wooten provided the perfect backing band as well as the perfect, "let's push the boss a bit" band. They were great. At one point all but the drummer were at the front of the stage dancin' and jammin'! This was an excellent show and one I had a lot of fun being in the audience for. Opening the show to a sparsely filled amphitheater at 7:00 pm - with people milling about, finding their seats, eating, hitting the bathroom, or walking around the beautiful grounds, strolled out a man with an acoustic guitar. His name - Matt Anderson - and forging through what must have been a tad of a nerve-wracking situation, proceeded to put on a passionate, heart-felt set of blues. Quite an accomplished guitar player, it was Matt's booming, attention-grabbing voice that made an impression on me. Having just released his latest album, Halfway Home By Morning, in April, Matt showed no signs of stress walking out on that huge stage with only his voice and an acoustic guitar and proceeded to throw down a scorching set of music. His voice filed that amphitheater and for those luck enough to have been in their seats were treated to a fantastic opening set. Matt's voice has a wide range, from quiet and tender to rocking and forceful. I was glad i didn't mis him as I became a fan before he was done with his set. I hope to catch Matt again soon. In between Steve Miller and Matt Anderson was legendary folk/bluegrass/country legend Marty Stuart. It seemed odd to me that the band on right before Steve Miller was so vastly different, and so incredibly talented. Marty worked with Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins very early in his career and eventually found the formula to make it as the leader of his own band. He and his band put on a great set of down-home rockabilly mixed with bluegrass and several other genres. I didn't know what to expect, but Marty was very good. Putting on a truly professional show with "get-up-and-dance" music, it was a fun set of great music.
August 1: Lyle Lovett & His Large Band with Mavis Staples. I've been a long-time fan of Lyle Lovett. It is his natural ability to intertwine a interesting, sometimes odd & intriguing, sometimes straight-forward stories with his one-of-a-kind voice and his upbeat, intricate music. With his large band, the stage is nearly overwhelmed with talent. Beginning with his long-time singing partner Francine Reed, the entire large band are at the top of their musical game in their own respective areas. From Luke Bulla on fiddle and guitar to the bassist who sits and plays the "stand-up" bass and has been with Lyle for decades, Lyle has assembled a super talented full band to tour with. Playing a lot of his less recognizable songs that night, yet squeezing in songs like, "She Makes Me Feel Good", and, "That's Right (You're Not From Texas)" Lyle, Francine and the band brought the audience on a twenty-four song ourney. Lyle never sounded better. I guess he may be the type of artist you either love or hate, with probably not a lot of middle ground, the audience was clearly in the former group. What another great show by Lyle Lovett & His Large Band! The audience were all treated to a very special opening set by Ms. Mavis Staples. Her name clearly proceeds her and she brought the Wolf Trap audience to the Church of Mavis. Passion is an understatement when describing Mavis' singing. She is absolutely immersed in the music - mind, body, and I would think, soul too. Her set was fun and inspiring and you really did know you were watching and hearing a musical legend.
~ Photos: Lyle Lovett & His Large Band with Mavis Staples ~
August 10: Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band. A Beatle came to Wolf Trap! That's funny, but in 2019, it's also great to be able to say. And not only did Ringo Starr come - he played. And he played great! Ringo Starr, iconic, legendary, historic drummer for The Beatles, brought an amazingly talented group of musicians with him to the Wolf Trap stage. Gregg Rolie on keyboard and vocals. You've probably caught a few shots of Gregg from Woodstock singing with Santana. An integral part of the early Santana sound, providing vocals on Black Magic Woman and many other classic Santana tunes. Gregg also cultivated and prospered in another band you may have heard of, Journey. On guitar with the All Starrs - Steve Luthaker, front man and guitarist for Toto among his other accomplishments. On guitar and vocals, Colin Hay, best known for his work in Men At Work. Gregg Bissonette on the drums. Greg made a name for himself primarily working with Van Halen singer David Lee Roth, as well as studio recrding with some of the big names in rock. Warren Ham, who has played with the likes of Kansas, Cher and Olivia Newton John, and Hamish Stuart who played for years with the Average White Band and also Chaka Khan. He played in Paul McCartney's band as well as wrote for many of the big names in music. This band played all the hits led by the natural showman Ringo! The audience was treated to music from each member of the band. Of note was Black Magic Woman, Land Down Under, and the many hits from Ringo. In addition was a great crowd sing-along to Yellow Submarine! Wow - 2019 - singing Yellow Submarine with Ringo, live. This was a great show full of nostalgia as well as overal good vibes. My guess is Ringo's goal is to get the happy and smiling, to share a couple of hours of true "leave it all behind" and enjoy the moment.
~ Photos:Ringo Starr & The All Starr Band ~
It seems appropriate that this year, 2019, the year of Woodstock and of remembering hippies, peace, love, and music, we
we were able to go see electric Hot Tuna - fifty years since their beginning - play to a packed house at the Warner Theatre in Washington, DC. This is the area where Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen grew up as best friends. Almost more fitting is seeing them together with Dave Mason. The rock and roll history these three men have not only lived through and seen, but helped define, has filled the pages of dozens of books and has appeared in countless documentaries and live broadcasts. Jack and Jorma have remained best friends throughout their lives, as part of Hot Tuna or as the driving force behind the music of Jefferson Airplane. The chemistry between these two is clear. It's not what you see them doing or saying to each other, it's the communication that you can't see between them, only hear, that is just so unique.
Opening the show with "Been So Long" which is also the title of Jorma's recent autobiography, Jack, Jorma, and drummer Justin Guip set out on an amazing 90+ minute journey through a small sampling of their vast music catalog. Seemingly effortless for the band, this show was plain fun to watch and hear. Jorma's guitar playing is as good or better than it's ever been and, coupled with his distinctive organic voice (occasionally reminiscent of Pete Seeger), Jorma sounded wonderful. Jack is pretty stoic as he holds down the beat while riffing off of it at the same time. He is able to match, compliment, and lead Jorma's playing, taking the perfect role in each song, even switching within songs. They actually get very close quite often and play while staring into each other's eyes. As if they are seeing the music inside each other. Deep - but true. Their current rock-and-roll drummer, Justin Guip, compliments Jack and Jorma perfectly. Bringing the songs to a harder, driving ending, or barely noticeable in the background of the quieter songs, the three have their own polished chemistry.
The audience, clearly knowledgeable and thirsty for Hot Tuna, at times were up on their feet applauding, and at other times were perfectly still and quiet as Jorma's voice filled the theater. I had been looking forward to this show all summer and it exceeded my expectations. I really do feel lucky to have seen electric Hot Tuna again, and on this, their 50th anniversary tour to boot. Here is the set list [courtesy of setlist.fm]:
1. Been So Long; 2. Hesiotation Blues; 3. Barbeque King; 4. Walkin' Blues; 5. Wolves and Lambs;
6. Trial by Fire; 7. Bowlegged Woman, Knock Kneed Man; 8. Ode for Billy Dean; 9. Sleep Song;
10. Good Shepherd; 11. Hit Single #1; 12. Funky #7; 13 [Enc]: Water Song
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Flying Colors rides again! After two primer shows, including the Morse Festival, Steve Morse took a night off from his 25 year gig with Deep Purple as they say their Long Goodbye, to rock Sony Hall in NYC. In addition to Steve, Flying Colors includes with Dave LaRue (bass, vocals), Neal Morse (keys, vocals). Mike Portnoy (drums, vocals), and Casey Mcpherson (guitar, vocals). One of Steve Morse's many projects, brainchild of Bill Evans, these five talented musicians found time to write and record a new album, Third Degree (released on October 4, 2019), and go on an abbreviated, yet intense tour with only five stateside gigs, and then several overseas shows.
Sony Hall was packed with dedicated fans and the band sounded extremely good. Playing several tunes for the first time live anywhere. As most people, I was there to see Steve Morse play the guitar. I had just seen/photographed him with Deep Purple two nights before in Washington, DC, and watching him completely change gears is pretty amazing. The tunes were pulled from all three albums. They sounded well rehearsed and were keyed in to each other. The band played: "Blue Ocean", "A Place in Your World", "More", "Kayla", "You Are Not Alone", "Forever in a Daze", "The Fury of My Love", "The Loss Inside" (live debut), "Love Letter" (live debut), "Crawl", "Peaceful Harbor", and "Infinite Fire". As of tonight, there is only one more stateside show scheduled on October 17, 2019 in St. Charles, Ill at the Arcada Theater. These guys were great and I can tell you that there is no moss on Steve Morse!
At the debut show of the Allman Betts Band! [3/27/19]:
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November 16, 2019
A shout out to the legendary 9:30 club in DC. The long-time music venue has become world famous for the quality of music the club brings in night after night.
It has certainly become on of our favorite places to catch a show here in DC. With a capacity of approximately 1,200 people, a killer sound system, cutting edge, nationally known acts, and a staff that is second to none, you can always count on a good time at a 9:30 club show!
Thank you all!