Davy Knowles packed Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis, MD on January 18, 2017 - a Wednesday night. Davy brought his truly unique brand of hard rocking blues with him. Touring in support of his latest release, Three Miles From Avalon, this was the first night of his current tour. It always amazes me how, with almost no time to practice, a musician like Davy can get up with his band and sound so well rehearsed. The sign of a true professional I suppose. Prior to the show we had a chance to talk with Davy about his very first band, Back Door Slam, what he's currently working on, as well as his musical influences and much more. See the interview below. Nick Schnebelen opened for Davy with a hard driving set of music. Though Nick's voice was in rough shape due to illness, he and his band still put on a great opening set.
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Anders Osborne - solo, acoustic, matinee, and all depressingly happy! This is exactly what went down at 1:00 p.m. Sunday May 21, 2017 at Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis, MD. Apparently it was early for Anders as the crowd ate lunch, but that wasn't surprising. Anders played his music and told his stories as only he can. Raw and poetic, occasionally funny, often times sad and soul-searching, he led the audience through slices of his life, like when his daughter Rose was born. Great musicians are usually great story tellers - and Anders is wonderful at it. His talent on the guitar is instantly evident, and in a 90 minute acoustic show, you are flooded with it. Sans amplification, his instinctive talent shines clear. Add that to the powerful, slightly gruff, sweet voice and you have yourself a great show at any time of the day or night. I love Anders' electric music. His band is great, the songs are loud and rocking, which in general, I miss in most bands today, but what a treat to be a part of this small, intimate, Anders Osborne show.
See the slide show for photos from the show.
July 12, 2017
The Birchmere is one of our favorite music clubs! The line-up of musicians regularly playing the club has always been very strong since they began more than 50 years ago!
Thanks to all the staff at the Birchmere - from the ladies and gentlemen who run the box office, to the wait staff, the door men and women, and a special thanks to Dave and Buddy for handling the lights and sound and the everything.
On Saturday May 27, 2017 we, along with millions of other music fans, were saddened to learn of Gregg Allman's passing.
Known primarily for his iconic, soulful vocals, Gregg was also a cornerstone of one of the greatest and most influential bands in the history of rock 'n' roll; and along with Dickey Betts, a songwriter of many memorable songs that played a major role in defining The Allman Brothers Band. He persevered through chronic health problems both before and after his liver transplant in 2010, continuing to the final performance of The Allman Brothers Band in October of 2014, and a recording session of new songs last year at the Muscle Shoals studio where his brother Duane first caught the attention of the music world in the late 1960's. We now eagerly await his final recordings with the Gregg Allman Band titled Southern Blood.
A fitting epitaph would be:
"I ain't gonna let 'em catch me no, I ain't gonna let 'em catch the Midnight Rider".
Samantha Fish with her new custom built 512 by Delaney Guitars
On January 6, 2017, I got my dose of veggies when Lettuce played the packed 9:30 Club in Washington, DC. This was the first of two shows by the jam/funk band who've been together for close to 25 years. Lettuce is wound tight. Clearly comfortable with each other musically, they powered through tunes that spanned their long career. Diving heavily into their latest release, Crush, which is only the fourth studio album produced by the band, Lettuce put on a high energy show featuring all the members, with the noticeable exception of guitarist Eric Krasno. Drummer Adam Deitch, guitarist Adam Smirnoff, bassist Erick “Jesus” Coomes, keyboardist and vocalist Nigel Hall, saxophonist Ryan Zoidis, and trumpet player Eric Bloom found their groove early and stayed plugged in with the audience all night. Nigel Hall is a natural leader. Not only is he a top-notch keyboard player, his funky, full-range vocals shine. Having finally seen Lettuce, I now know why they have built such a loyal, grass-roots following over the decades. Their talent combined with a true passion, and their unique brand of funk, results in a full-on sensory experience.
See all the photos of Lettuce from Jan 6, 2017.
On March 22, 2017, Albert Castiglia made one of his frequent appearances at JVs Restaurant in Falls Church, VA. Any time Albert is playing near by I make a point of going. Albert is always on another plane. While clearly in his element on stage, Albert brings a raw, powerful style of playing. His latest release, Big Dog, has produced a series of blues hits. Make no mistake, Albert can play. He earned his chops playing with the legendary Junior Wells, and he has carried on the tradition of playing straight ahead blues. Albert loves interacting with the crowd, saying to the dancers on the floor, "The solid gold dancers got nothing on you!". Albert gets people's feet a-tapping and their bodies moving. It's hard to sit still at an Albert Castiglia show - even if you wanted to. On Big Dog, he collaborated with Mike Zito and did a number with Cyril Neville. All indications are that Albert is not about to slow down, in fact, he is just hitting his stride. If you get a chance to see Albert - don't pass it up!
See all the photos of Albert Castiglia from Mar 22, 2017.
See the photos of John and Lyle from this wonderful evening of music.
What a treat for the crowd that spanned all ages - from older couples, to young parents who brought theirs sons and daughters out to see two legends.
As I watched and listened, I realized that these two gentlemen are, perhaps, the most talented pair of singer/songwriters around - each with a long history of making wonderfully lyrical and inspiring music. I distinctly remember closing my eyes and imagining the two of them sitting around a campfire in shorts and t-shirts, instead of in suits and ties playing to almost 2,000 people in the beautiful theater. They each played songs from their vast repertoires alone as well as playing several pieces together, trading vocals and guitar solos. Their tour continues through March 10 and if you have the chance - get out and see these two iconic American musicians!
"It is official - 40 years after the release of Free Fall in 1977, the first commercially released Dixie Dregs record, the original line-up from that band, will reunite in Feb '18 to tour the US." ~Rod Morgenstein, 6/26/17.
On February 25, 2017, The Tedeschi Trucks Band set up camp at The Warner Theatre in Washington, DC. This is not the first time the band has played three nights in a row at The Warner, just as they did on this tour in several other cities. There is something special about seeing a band during a run at a venue, even if only a three day stay. There is an energy that is different than a one night show, the comfort of knowing (both the audience and the band) that they are set in one place for a bit translates an energy to the shows. It's clear to me that Derek Trucks is calmer and more relaxed, having watched him mature live on stage for several years. I was there for the third night, the one traditionally set aside for a straight-up two set show by the band. No guests, just a heavy dose of one of the hottest (if not THE hottest) band on the road today. Tedeschi Trucks is in a groove of creating new music and playing some of the most incredible live performances of their careers. And Susan - wow! Susan Tedesci Trucks is just a blues demon on stage. Her voice has grown into a one-of-a-kind instrument of its own. Her fierce guitar playing and her deeply emotional giving on stage mix with Derek's complete mastery of his 2011 Gibson SG Dickey Betts LE (his primary guitar) and his clear vsision of where he wants to lead the band, and you have a magical night of rock, roots, & blues!
My first three tunes in the first set were, "Freedom Highway", "Laugh About it", and "Don't Know What It Means"
I got to shoot "Statesboro Blues", "Don't Drift Away", and "Wah-Wah" in set two.
See all the photos of TTB from Feb 25, 2017.
Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt played the Strathmore Music & Arts Center in Bethesda, MD on January 19, 2017, and it's no surprise that the show was sold out. Clearly long-time friends, the two took the stage from opposite sides, shook hands, waved to the audience, sat down, and proceeded to catch up with one another. "Hi John. How are you?" "Fine Lyle. I'm doing good. And you?" "I'm good John. I'm still catching up to the schedule. What did you do today?" "Not much, I stayed on the bus. The mother ship! I hate hotels" This was the first of many times the audience laughed out loud with the pair, and set the tone for the show. The two wonderfully talented songwriters, vocalists, and guitar players traded tunes, stories, and were clearly having a genuinely good time.
On July 5, 2017 concert goers at one of the premier outdoor venues, Wolf trap, were treated to the powerful and dynamic Tesdschi Trucks Band, with special opening guests Hot Tuna and The Wood Brothers. Rock, Roots, & Blues - Live was there. Read our full review by Josh Brick, and see the all our photos from this fantastic night of music!
TAUK, a band I had never heard of, opened for Lettuce on January 6th and 7th, 2017 at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC. TAUK is guitarist Matt Jalbert, bassist Charlie Dolan, keyboardist/organist Alric “A.C.” Carter, and drummer Isaac Teel. Heavy on instrumental jams, TAUK proved more than capable of opening for a band of Lettuce's stature. They played a fantastic opening set. The crowd was on their feet bouncing to the infectious, intelligent jams through the entire set and you'd have thought there were more people on stage, as the four of them were able to fill the club with a full, in-depth sound. Matt Jalbert took center stage with his free-flowing guitar riffs. Isaac Teel on drums is special. He has a unique exacting style, is extremely talented, and always seemed to know right where he wanted to head without the need to pause and regroup. His solo was one of the highlights of their set. I look forward to catching TAUK's full show and I expect them to rise to the top of the jam band scene very soon.
Today we heard from our good friend, Rod Morgenstein. Rod has been the drummer for the amazing Dixie Dregs since 1973. See what Rod told us back in 2015 and confirmed officially today!
Robert Cray - Guitar, Vocals
Richard Cousins - Bass
Terence F Clark - Drums , vocals
Dover Weinberg - Keyboards
Robert Cray is one of the smoothest blues musicians there is and he brought his ultra-tight band to The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA on May 22, 2017. Featuring music from his latest release, Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm, Mr. Cray showcased his silky, singular vocals that mesh seamlessly with his multi-layered guitar playing. He and his band are deceptively good. They are so fluid and in sync with each other, you almost forget you are watching a live performance. Graceful and organic, the band slid into one song after another, some, instantly recognizable hits like, "Strong Persuader" from the album of the same name (it's been 31 years since the release of that album!). Mr. Cray's guitar playing and vocals are essentially one "voice" - one message, and it is something appreciate, something to sit back and revel in. Rarely will you see a live performance of this caliber. Each time I've seen Robert Cray, a little part of me hopes he will take an unscheduled ten minute guitar solo - the kind we know he is capable of, the kind of playing that would leave your jaw on the ground. Make no mistake though - there is no disappointment here - his show is a thing of beauty, something other artists strive to achieve. His long-time bass player Richard Cousins is extremely talented and sets the beat, working in magical runs on his bass. Dover Weinberg on keys seems to always be having fun. When his solos come up - they are happy blues - joyous jams that add to the story. Terrence Clark and Mr. Cousins work wonderfully off each other while Mr. Clark lends his vocals to several songs. The Robert Cray Band is playing next week at The Maryland Hall For The Creative Arts - check them out if you can.
See photos from the show.
Frank Bang and the Cook County Kings
The Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival has become an annual ritual for blues lovers in the Maryland, DC, Virginia area since 1998. This year's lineup was filled with well known musicians as well as up and coming acts. I went to the first day of the festival, Saturday May 20, 2017. The headliner that day was The Mavericks, but I went to catch Samantha Fish, Walter Trout, and for the first time, Toronzo Cannon . The festival supports several charitable organizations each year. This year, We Care And Friends and Special Love were the recipients of the festival's efforts.
I arrived as Sweet Leda was finishing their set with Ron Holloway sitting in on sax. She was followed by a band called Frank Bang and the Cook County Kings. Though I had never heard of them, they showcased a hard-driving set of guitar based blues. Frank “Bang” Blinkal was in Buddy Guy's band for five years backing up the legendary blues man and toured with the great B.B. King. They put on an impressive set of edgy blues. Following Frank, the audience was treated to a fantastic set of Chicago-based blues from Mr. Toronzo Cannon. I was impressed with his stage presence and showmanship but mostly with his distinctive hard-driving guitar playing and vocals. All his material is his own, and he has no problem getting the crowd's attention and making them part of his set. I will be seeing Mr. Cannon again very soon. Samantha Fish and her brand new band hit the stage at 2:45, right on schedule. I've seen Miss Fish numerous times with her trio, and while I was skeptical, I was impressed by the powerful sound of her new band. They feature a two-piece horn section and a keyboard player, as well as drummer, long-time bass player Christopher Alexander, and of course, Samantha on guitar. Not only does the new music from her recently released album Chills and Fever sound great live, she has reworked her older tunes to fit with the energy of the new band. There was a real rock-n-roll feeling to the band. They had the crowd cheering, dancing, and appreciating the passion on stage. This passion feeds directly from Samantha Fish, who is in total command of the band, her guitar playing, her stronger than ever vocals, and right now - her career. Miss Fish is a rock star. Legendary blues man Walter Trout came on next. While technical difficulties plagued the first few tunes, once Walter hit his groove, there was no turning back! Walter Trout has recorded numerous albums and has been playing live for decades. After nearly loosing his life prior to receiving a liver transplant, Walter Trout is enjoying every minute on stage, and it shows. Each time I see him play I am amazed by the level of energy he has! It's as if he could play all night and not loose a step.
This was my first time at the Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival, but it will not be my last. A special nod to the organizers of the festival, especially Mr. Don Hooker. It is a very well run event with fantastic lineups year after year.
See all the photos of from the first day of the festival.
See all the photos of of TAUK's opening set from Jan 6, 2017.
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Davy Knowles Interview
2016 Was A Very Funky Summer!
Come along with us and check out a small sampling of the video we took this summer:
"Too Sweet" - NIGEL HALL at The Blue Note Nigel Hall at The Blue Note - 6/27/16
"Goin' Down To Mexico" - TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND - with guest Luther Dickerson at Levitate Music Festival - 7/9/16
"That Ole Mississippi Boll Weevil" - North Mississippi Allstars - 7/9/16
"O.I.L. (Can't Get Enough of That Sticky)" - JEFF BECK - 7/20/16
"Window Seat" - Erykah Badu - 8/3/16 at Coney Island Amphitheater
"Night Train" - Tab Benoit - 8/6/16 - The Birchmere
"Jessica" - The Allman Brothers Family Incident at Peach Festival - 8/12/16
"Anyday" - LES BRERS at Peach Festival - 8/12/16
"Been Better To You" - TORONZO CANNON in NYC - 7/14/16
"Flower Box" - ANDERS OSBORNE - 9/03/16 at Blues Views & BBQ Festival
"Ain't Nothing Wrong With That" - Marcus King Band
"Torture" - ERIC KRASNO BAND at Brooklyn Bowl
See the photos of Davy and Nick Schnebelen from the show
Robin Trower released his brand new album, the powerful Time And Emotion, on May 5, 2017.
See our full review of this amazing new album by one of the blues guitar legends here.