Jonny Lang kicks ass. It's just that simple. On October 17, 2018 Jonny and his band played a rocking set at what was the old Annapolis High school. It has since been converted into a community arts center. The remodeled theater set the stage for Jonny and his signature style. at 37, Jonny has been a serious player in the music world since his first release at 15 years old, which went platinum. With his custom made thin-line telecaster as his primary guitar, he and the band played songs spannig his 20+ year career, drawing heavily from his latest release, Signs. If you listen to the lyrics you can pick up on the spiritual nature of his songs. If you've never heard of Jonny, go familiarize yourself with his work. If you can catch him live, go.
Photos from this show here.
Lyle Lovett is a consummate performer, musician, story-teller, and poet. Whether playing acoustic guitar solo or with another top musician (such as Robert Earl Keene or John Hiatt), or leading a stage filled with top musicians with his Large Band as we saw on August 10, 2018 at Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA, Lyle Lovett always puts on a memorable show. It's been decades since first hearing Lyle's unique brand of musical poetry, and as one listens and watches him lead the Large Band, you are struck by the depth of his stories and his amazing ability to wordsmith to a melody. A touch of humor is also always evident, either just under the surface, or right out front. Lyle clearly loves what he does and his enthusiasm weaves it's way through the band and pulls the audience along for the ride as well.
The last time I saw Anders Osborne was September 7, 2018 at Rams Head On Stage. Anders put on a fantastic 1:00 matinee set. Above is a shot from that great show. The shot of a slightly gruffier, tie-dyed Anders is from the first time I saw him play; at the Mountain Jam festival in upstate New York in June of 2012. In between I have seen many Anders Osborne shows, both acoustic and electric with his full band. Each one is a special event. Anders is a poet. He even spoke about his job being to, "stare out the window." His songs are at once powerful, thought-provoking, and can be sad as well as uplifting. Anders seems to carry something with him that he translates into his music. He isn't shy about speaking of his troubles with addiction and how that molded the musician and the man. (See the interviewI did with Anders at this same venue back in 2015). Telling stories in between his musical stories, Anders is an interesting man and a talented musician.
Photos from this show here.
Each time I see Samantha Fish I am amazed at how she is able to be better each time. October 22, 2018 at The Birchmere was no exception. Samantha, as usual, brought her A game and with her band, who alone can produce a room full of sound, proceeded to rock and amaze the audience. At each of her shows I seem to run into someone who has never seen her before. The consensus from everyone they speak to is, "Oh. Just wait. You'll be blown away." and this night was no different. Touring nearly non-stop, Samantha seems to know exactly what she wants to do, and executes it with surgical precision. Gradually pulling the audience into her music and then blowing them away with her stage presence and passion, not to mention her talent. Playing music from nearly all her albums, including her most recent release, Belle Of The West, Samantha showed her varied talents from singing ballads with her acoustic guitar, to rocking the house with her white Gibson SG, and her Delaney guitars. By the time she breaks out her oil can guitar and puts that slide on her finger, she has the audience in the palm of her hand. Samantha puts on a full musical experience every time. As a long-time fan, I can only imagine where she will go next.
See all the photos of Samantha and the band here.
Bruce Katz released his brand new CD, Get Your Groove! with a celebratory concert by the Bruce Katz Band at Daryl's House in Pawling, NY. Besides Bruce, the band includes Chris Vitarello (guitar, vocals), and Ray Hangen (drums, vocals). The audience was digging it and the band was on fire.
Read our full review of this very cool event:
We saw Brandon "Taz" Niederauer three times at the end of 2018, including back-to-back shows in December. We caught up with Taz for the first time in 2018 in September when he appeared at the Brooklyn Comes Alive festival in Williamsburg. We crossed paths with Taz again on November 30 when he played at Pearl Street Warehouse in Washington, DC., and again the following afternoon, at a matinee show at Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis.
Before taking the stage at Rams Head, Taz was nice enough to set aside some time from his hectic schedule to sit down with us for a great conversation. We discussed his first prominent role; appearing in School of Rock, his current touring schedule, his writing and music development, and many insights from an extremely talented and bright young man. At only 15, Taz has already been playing seriously for years, and he can play a mean blues guitar. His passion for his music and the music of others is clear; on and off the stage. Below is the interview we did with Taz on December 1, 2018.
The opener that night for Bruce Hornsby was the incredibly talented trio, The Wood Brothers, made up of brothers Oliver (guitar, vocals) and Chris Wood (bass, vocals), and the multi-talented Jano Rix on drums, vocals, and what seems like a dozen other instruments. On tour in support of their recent release, One Drop Of Truth, these musicians get better and better each time we've seen them. Their music is uplifting (even if sad) and is consistently filed with interesting, thoughtful lyrics and musical twists. We've seen The Wood Brothers headline recent theater shows and will go out of our way to catch these guys live whenever possible.
See the photos of The Wood Brothers here.
On November 1, 2018 Billy F. Gibbons, the face of that little ol' band from Texas, ZZ Top, brought his side project to the Pearl Street Warehouse in Washington, DC. He is touring in support of his recently released solo album, The Big Bad Blues, which focuses on his roots planted in the blues. With a heavy dose of ZZ Top tunes throughout the set, Billy and his band rocked the house with his signature rhythms and Texas growl. Having seen ZZ Top numerous times over the last 30 years, it was a unique experience to see him in a nightclub setting, up close and personal.
See the photographs from the show here.
Taz and his band rocked a packed Pearl Street Warehouse on November 30, 2018, playing a few new original tunes that will be on his upcoming release, as well as the band's take on several covers. The show the following afternoon at 1:00 p.m. was just as impressive with a slight set list adjustment. I asked him if he's ever played a matinee before, watch out interview for the answer. Taz has surrounded himself with a group of talented musicians. I was impressed by each member of the band and their ability to provide a powerful compliment to Taz's guitar playing and singing. The band is: Brandon Niederauer - Guitar/Vocals; Elise Testone - Vocals; Mat Godfrey - Guitar Matt Fox - Bass; Kendell Lentz - Drums; Mark Rechler - Keyboards/Vocals.
Bruce Katz has put out yet another stellar CD - a powerful statement by one of the premier keyboard players in the world. Read the full review of this great new release by Bruce Katz:
On July 15, 2018 we attended the final day of the four day Great South Bay Music Festival. The headliner that night was The Dickey Betts Band, re-formed with his son Duane Betts and Damon Fowler, both on guitar, Frank Lombardi (drums), Mike Keach (keys), Pedro Arevalo (bass), and Steve Camilerri (drums). Dickey was there. He was late due due to technical on-stage glitches, but he was there. Sounding pretty good, yet slightly tired. The band played a mostly familiar set of classic Dickey Betts Allman Brothers Band music. Focusing on the top tunes in Dickey's large body of work, the band sounded good and the audience was appreciative to see one of only two surviving members of the original Allman Brothers Band live again. Lead-in sets by The Devon Allman Project, Little Feat, and Electric Hot Tuna were all great, with Duane Betts cranking it out with the exuberant Devon Allman. The highlight of the evening was Hot Tuna. Jack Cassady (bass, vocals), Jorma Kaukonen (guitar, vocals), and Justin Guip on drums, the trio rolled into some deep Tunain their hour long set. Jorma's voice sounds fantastic as did his unique guitar playing. Jack Cassady is right at home on stage and was loving every minute. It's amazing to think just how long these two have been playing music together; since the pre-Jefferson Airplane days in San Francisco. Prior to the main-stage gigs we also caught a young funky band called Carrie and the Cats. They cranked out a great set of funk/soul/rock jams and the crowd loved them.
See the photos we captured at the festival here.
On June 29, 2018 we found ourselves at our favorite summer-time venue again - Wolf Trap. This time we were there to see the Wood Brothers open for Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers. Bruce Hornsby has been writing and performing rock-n-roll hits for decades now along with his stints with several bands, possibly most notably, the Grateful Dead. He and the band were tight as a drum, feeding off each other with the band intently following Bruce's lead throughout their set. Bruce led the talented group of musicians through the following songs and the audience loved it all.
1. Little Sadie>White Wheeled Limousine>The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance>Long Black Veil>White Wheeled Limousine
2. Circus on the Moon; 3. Country Doctor; 4. Blind Mice>The Way It Is; 5. Somewhere Someday; 6. Funhouse;
7. M.I.A. in M.I.A.M.I.; 8. Every Little Kiss; 9. The Black Rats of London; 10. On the Western Skyline; 11. Rainbow's Cadillac;
12. Nobody There But Me
See the photos of Bruce and the band here.
Brandon “Taz” Neiderauer Band
September 29, 2018
By now a veteran of the Roots Rock Revival Music Camp, and returning for his second year as instructor/facilitator, Brandon “Taz” Neiderauer brought along his new band, and, sometime around mid-week, they took to the Pavilion stage to play an afternoon set. Aside from covering the very funky "People Say", it was all Taz originals.
To first see him as a 9 year old guitar wiz, and witness him now as a mature musician at age 15 has been a privilege and a quick ride. Below is “Taz” performing one of his original tunes, “Let Your Soul Be Free”.
Chicago blues guitarist Toronzo Cannon is a relatively new find for me. I first saw him opening for the great Sonny Landreth in July of last year. Since that fantastic set, I've been a fan. Toronzo has a special passion about his playing. He is in the moment and yet, you can tell he is leading up to something as he plays. Heavy and hard, delicate and soulful, Toronzo does it all. On August 15, 2018, Toronzo headlined The Hamilton in Washington, DC. Blazing hot from the start, there is nothing in his playing that isn't a notch above your usual blues guitarist. Always smiling and seemingly perpetually happy, Toronzo clearly loves playing, especially in front of an audience. Go see Mr. Cannon if at all possible. You may find something new and that sticks with you.
A Conversation with Walter Trout
On Monday, January 21, 2019 I spoke with Walter Trout about his brand new Album, Survivor Blues, which was released on January 25, 2019. Survivor Blues is Walter Trout’s 28th album since 1989 and it’s an amazing collection of music and artistry. The album consists completely of covers of older, less well-known blues songs featuring Walter’s take on music from Jimmy Dawkins and Sunnyland Slim, to John Mayall, Luther Johnson, and Mississippi Fred McDowell, to name a few. “This is something I’ve thought about doing for a long time” Walter told me. “I’ve often wondered why people seem to be covering the same twenty songs quite a bit, and I’m thinking that this incredible history, rich with artists and music and songs that go so far back, there’s this massive catalog of beautiful stuff out there. What I did when I started to do the research is, I went back to Charlie Patton who is kind of considered the beginning of this stuff. I went back to the Lomax field recordings and the Muddy Waters Stonewall Plantation recordings. I went back to all the old stuff and I worked my way forward. There are so many artists who really have not been heard and are rather obscure but they have done some amazing work. I had a great time. It was journey through the blues.”
[RRB] How long did the album take?
Read the rest of our discussion with Walter Trout here --> WALTER TROUT INTERVIEW
Legendary guitarist Jeff Beck brought his current band to Wolf Trap on August 20, 2018. The band included long-time Beck bassist Rhonda Smith, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, Jimmy Hall singing, and a relatively new addition, Vanessa Freebairn-Smith on the cello. Always amazing and rarely predictable, Beck didn't play a single song from his most recent release, Loud Hailer, instead he drew heavily from covers of classics like "Little Wing", "A day In The Life", and "A Change Is Gonna Come". He also played a few of his older tunes like "Brush with the Blues" appearing on Wired, and "Big Block" appearing on Jeff Beck's Guitar Shop. No matter what song he was playing, Jeff Beck's pure mastery of the guitar was on full display. Nearly impossible to describe, his fluidity and supreme confidence in his abilities must only be able to be achieved after decades of honing his talent. Nearly four months later, I'm still struck with a sense of awe and thankfulness that Mr. Beck is still healthy and still touring, sharing his gift with audiences around the world.
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Sonny Landreth is a pure musical craftsman. Apparent from the first notes of the show, his concentration and intensity immediately grab you and keeps the listener on the edge of the seat throughout his performance. Such was the night he spent educating and entertaining the audience at The Hamilton in Washington, DC.
See the photographs from the show here.
January 26, 2019
Wolf Trap has become our favorite summer-time venue for concerts! The line-up of musicians regularly playing the venue is stellar!
Thanks to all the staff at Wolf Trap - from the ladies and gentlemen who run the box office, to the ushers, medical staff, and especially our friends in the PR/Media department.
Thank you all!