Friday, December 19, 2008

Brad Payne

We were deeply saddened to hear today that Brad Payne passed away Wednesday the 17th due to complications from pneumonia. From our first fortunate encounter on a Sunday morning to traveling explicitly to St. Augustine just to watch him perform, we loved hearing his voice and talking about his love of dogs. As a musician, we were such fans that Brad was the initial MyJoog artist we profiled on this blog. Here is the news as reported by Old City Music News:

"It is with a very heavy heart that I begin this week’s Music News by sharing some very sad news with you. Another bright star in St. Augustine’s music community has flickered out with the untimely passing of BRAD PAYNE this past Wednesday, December 17th. I am still reeling from the news of this terrible loss. Brad was an amazing talent – singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, recording guru – a true artist in the purest sense of the word. He leaves behind an impressive body of work, created at thousands of live performances and in his Gypsy Moon Studios. He also leaves behind a loving family – his parents, a sister, two children and two grandchildren - and many friends, as well as legions of fans who I know will miss him deeply. I am fortunate to have had Brad as a friend, as well as a collaborator on a number of projects over the years. In addition to his musical gifts, Brad had an extraordinary understanding off all things technical. I will miss his quick wit, kind heart, and incredible hair : ), not to mention his remarkable talent. Most of all, I will miss his true gypsy spirit, perfectly articulated in his personal motto, “Have guitar, will travel.” Your travels have now taken you from this world, my friend, and onto the next . . . I feel certain your new venue will gently welcome you into its peaceful and loving embrace."

We will miss Brad tremendously.

Friday, December 12, 2008

For the Troops II

We learned today that John Ondrasik of Five For Fighting has released For the Troops II. “I’ve heard from service members who, before going on missions or upon returning, listen to songs for inspiration, motivation, reflection or simply to be distracted from a reality few of us could ever imagine,” said John Ondrasik, who writes and sings under the pseudonym band name Five for Fighting and spearheaded the CD’s development. “I hope that my song and the other hits from artists who generously contributed to this project stir those same emotions in our service members. We greatly appreciate the sacrifices the military has made for our country.”

This CD is free to download for U.S. active duty service members and veterans world wide with a valid military ID at the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) Web site. In addition, TriWest Healthcare Alliance is producing and distributing 200,000 hard copies of the CD at various locations across the nation and overseas.

The complete track listing of “For the Troops II” is:

3 Doors Down – When I’m Gone
Daughtry – Home
Five For Fighting – Freedom Never Cries
Good Charlotte – I Don’t Want to Be in Love (Dance Floor Anthem)
Gretchen Wilson – California Girls
Isaac Hayes – Theme From Shaft
Joe Perry – Shakin’ My Cage
Josh Groban – Machine
Jude – I Think It’s Time (Everything’s Alright)
Keith Urban – Everybody
Maroon 5 – Won’t Go Home Without You
Roy Orbison – In Dreams
Alan Jackson – Where I Come From
Trace Adkins – Fightin’ Words.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Graham Colton, Michael Tolcher, Bryan Greenberg, and Tim Brantley @ Jammin' Java

On Wednesday December 10th we attended the above show at Jammin' Java. Like most of the audience we were interested to see actor Bryan Greenberg perform as well as witness the buzz around Graham Colton and Michael Tolcher. Since we were deviating from our standard Americana genre, we were not sure what to expect, and sure enough, the night was full of surprises. Beginning with the number of women in attendance. We're not used to attending shows with a 95% female audience - guys, if you want to meet women, these are the acts you need to follow.

The next surprise was the opening artist, Atlanta based Tim Brantley. The guy can sing, probably the best voice of the four. Even though there were brief periods of awkwardness when he addressed the crowd - we were sorry his short set ended. He started with "Working Man" from his new CD Goldtop Heights, and proceeded with "Damage" and the title track. Watch out for Brantley - next time we'd like to see him with a full band.

As Brantley left the stage, more women arrived and rushed the stage in anticipation for Bryan Greenberg. We were slightly cynical about seeing the actor as part of the tour - thinking it was just a ploy to attract an audience. We were expecting him to play a few guitar notes and croon to the crowd -- but these misconceptions were quickly dispelled during the first song. Greenberg has talent - and we were most impressed with his guitar playing. No strumming the same chord here; the guy played some complicated notes. In 2007, the artist released Waiting For Now and he played a few songs from that CD. "Someday" is the most popular, but we liked "Neverland" the best. Not surprisingly Greenberg has a strong stage presence. He looks like he's enjoying himself and is willing to poke a little fun at himself and his tour mates. He even limited playing to the sentiments of the female audience - only a few instances of sad eyed crooning. But we really enjoyed his set - and it ended with a nice duo with Colton playing "Sort Of Have a Girlfriend".

As Greenberg left we were predicting an exodus as people had seen the most popular act. To our surprise the crowd grew larger; all waiting for Michael Tolcher. These were serious music fans that became more evident as Tolcher performed. Most of the crowd new the lyrics of his songs. Interesting. Michael Tolcher has an extensive array of influences as he was comfortable covering the Beatles as easily as eminem. His original music combines elements of rock and funk that are apparently very popular. It seems everyone knew "Speed Feels Better". Afterward I listened to an old CD, I Am. There's some good music there: "Taxi Ride Kinda Night", "Kiss and Tell", and the immensely popular "Sooner or Later". Now we know why many fans came just to see him.

The crowd dissipated slightly before the last act, Graham Colton, but only slightly. Sometime ago we listened to his 2004 CD Drive, which is a good alt-rock album but we heard that his latest CD, Here Right Now, has a more pop sound. That is definitely the case, but tonight he played more old stuff; that meant "First Week", "Cigarette", and "Don't Know What You Got". From the new CD he played "Killing Me" and the popular "Best Days" - with its "800,000" downloads courtesy of American Idol fame; our favorite was "Cellophane Girl". Colton is talented and entertaining; his fans were not disappointed as most sung along - particularly when he covered Oasis - Champaign Supernova. Us, we wished he had rocked out more - maybe next time when there are less women in the audience. For those in New Orleans over New Years, Colton is opening for Better Than Ezra. Now that's a show to see.

The night ended as all artists came onstage to a crowd pleasing rendition of "Dancing in the Dark". Greenberg's timing was impeccable as he grabbed ladies and pulled them onstage to dance and sing along. All in all, it was a good night and we will be much less cynical in the future.

More pictures are available at the MyJoog Facebook page.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

2009 Merlefest Schedule Announced

The organizers of Merlefest have released the stage schedule for the 21st rendition of the event, which will occur April 23rd - 26th at the Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro North Carolina. Representatives from will attend in order to provide our perspective, whether its Shannon Wurst, who did such a nice job last year, or another artist. For those unfamiliar with Merlefest, it is a celebration of the life of Merle Watson - embracing a diverse spectrum of music associated with the Americana genre: bluegrass, alt-country, blues, Celtic, folk, and roots. The Music of MerleFest page provides an excellent overview with links to other interesting information such as the history of the festival and the Watsons.

Thursday April 23rd starts and ends with the celtic group Scythian. The band opens the festival at 3:00 PM and closes the day with a dance party from 10:30 PM to midnight. In between several famous artists will perform including Travis Tritt, Jerry Douglas, Tift Merritt, Dailey and Vincent, Peter Rowan, among many others. The music starts much earlier Friday, this time with Scythian leading the way at 9:30 am; little sleep for these guys. What follows is an incredible array of talent finalizing with Donna The Buffalo and the Friday night dance from 10:00 PM to Midnight. Who else performs Friday; just The Waybacks, Del McCoury, Tony Rice, Cadillac Sky, Ollabelle, and Jim Lauderdale among others. Plus numerous banjo, guitar, and picking workshops and contests. Thursday's contests feature the mandolin.

Not surprisingly, Saturday is the longest and most complex day of the four. Happy Traum welcomes attendees at 9:25 am and the day concludes with the popular Midnight Jam hosted by David Bromberg. The headliners for this day are cajun stars BeauSoleil, Emmylou Harris, Sam Bush, and Doc Watson. There is an amazing collection of talent that will force difficult decisions. For instance between 5:00 and 6:00 PM The Kruger Brothers, The Greencards, The Waybacks, Scythian, Rory Block, Missy Raines and The New Hip, The Steeldrivers, Polecat Creek, and Cadillac Sky are all scheduled within that time frame. We lean towards Rory Block, but who knows. What a lineup. There are similar quandaries throughout the day - a direct result of providing music on 14 stages. Sunday is a shortened schedule by Saturday's standard but still provides "some" music between 10:00 AM and 6:00 PM. Put The Carolina Chocolate Drops on your schedule (1:30-2:30) and try to stick it out for Martha Scanlan at 4:00 PM. If you missed BeauSoleil during Saturday's Cajun dance, then you get another opportunity Sunday at 3:00 PM. See, that's another major benefit of Merlefest. At most festivals an artist plays once, maybe twice, then they're done. But here, most artists perform multiple times during the festival providing ample opportunity to hear a set.

Merlefest is one festival we book early. If you like "traditional music of the Appalachian region", you should too. We will see you there.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Fleetwood Mac Unleashed: Hits Tour 2009

There are a number of "older" acts currently on reunion tours, but one that we eagerly await is the Fleetwood Mac Unleashed: Hits Tour 2009. The tour begins March 1st 2009 in Pittsburgh and concludes a month later. Mick Fleetwod, Stevie Nicks, John McVie, and Lindsey Buckingham will all be playing your favorite songs from their 70's rock phase: Fleetwood Mac, Rumours, and Tusk. When the tour commences the band will also release a new CD\DVD package of Rumours which contains unseen footage previously unreleased recordings. We will see you at the March 10th show.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Currently Listening To...

We just wanted to pass along some music we've been listening to that you may want to check out. Most of the songs are available at the artists' website or myspace.

Keith Morris & the Crooked Numbers new CD, Songs From Candyapolis. This CD is very entertaining and "lyrical" - it helps to read along in the liner notes. There is also great guitar playing provided by Jeff Romano.

Charlie Poole's You Ain't Talkin' to Me: Charlie Poole and the Roots of Country Music. We never get tired of these recordings - particularly his banjo playing.

Joe Pug EP. We were sent this demo EP and it is really good; just two songs Hymn # 101 and Nation of Heat. Both are songs with meaning and available to listen from Pug's website.

Roger McGuinn's The Folk Den Project. This is a compendium of classic American songs - either from English or African heritage. We being it out every December for his Christmas carols.

Christopher Denny session. This Arkansas songwriter has talent. The four songs from the session are played consistently in our Ipods; particularly "Gypsy Into a Carpenter".

Hoots and Hellmouth session. This band from Philly has a rather unique sound. Love the bass cello and "Hom For Supper".

Basia Bulat session. What a voice. The Daytrotter recordings are excellent - particular considering that the band drove 15 hours through a nasty snowstorm to reach the recording studio. Our favorite is the untitled first song that showcases her talents.

Okkervil River session. I heard Will Sheff guest DJ on NPR's All Things Considered and immediately searched Daytrotter for any recordings. The songs have great melody and interestingly a couple are from the point of view of a female. Scroll to the end so you don't miss "You Can't Hold the Hand of a Rock and Roll Man".

Monday, December 1, 2008

Dave Mason @ Seven Springs Mountain Resort

Over the Thanksgiving weekend we ventured to Somerset, Pennsylvania in order to visit a couple Pennsylvania wineries, and to go skiing at Seven Springs Mountain Resort. As an extra benefit the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dave Mason was scheduled to play at the resort.

Dave Mason first found fame with the short lived, but legendary group Traffic in the 1960's. Think Mason, Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood. During this time he wrote the future hit "Feelin' Alright" which Joe Crocker made famous. Just before the decade ended Mason started his solo career which included performances with The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, and Jimi Hendrix. Mason also played in Fleetwood Mac for a few years in the 1990's. But its his solo albums that have been the most popular - from his debut Alone Together to the platinum Let It Flow.

Before arriving at the concert hall I was expecting an intimate crowd of maybe one hundred other fans, but had no idea this was a full blown concert with ten to twelve times that attending. Most seem to have come to here "We Just Disagree" and "Only You Know And I Know", me, I like his more blue-ish songs that complement his raspy voice. I got that when he started playing songs from his new CD, 26 Letters 12 Notes - particularly "Good 2 U" and "Let Me Go". "Ain't Your Legs Tired Baby" is another track from the CD that fits this style. This was definitely a rock concert - Mason and his full band. Mason was front and center on vocals and guitar but Gerald Johnson on bass was the obvious attraction as he grooved to the music in his distinctive style. Along the Alvino Bennett on drums, Johnne Sambataro on guitar, and Bill Mason on keyboards, the four created a huge sound - that brought back many memories of classic rock concerts.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Weekend Shows

This past weekend we were fortunate to finally get out and watch some live music. We started the weekend Thursday night at Ri Ra Arlington to see the Oneside dance party. Actually it wasn't marketed as a "dance" party - but by the end of the night 3/4 of the bar was standing and dancing to the band's originals and covers of Johnny Cash, The Band, Paul Simon, and the Rolling Stones. After seeing the band a half dozen times now, this was by far the most rockin' show. It also helps to have a young energetic crowd attending as well as members of Scythian, who just finished a mini tour with the band. We will see Oneside New Years Eve at the Ri Ra Irish Pub in Bethesda.

One Friday night we headed to Annapolis to see Loudon Wainwright III play a set at the Rams Head Tavern. Wainwright had a brief period of celebrity in the early 1970's but since he has silently built a loyal following of fans as well as film and T.V. credits in M*A*S*H, Undeclared, 28 Days, Big Fish, The 40 Year Old Virgin, and most recently Knocked Up. In fact, Knocked Up has given Wainwright a new, younger audience for his songs and allowed him to release Strange Weirdos: Music from and Inspired by the Film Knocked Up. This new generation have discovered Wainwright's completely honest and open songwriting. Basically these are songs with meaning. Some songs show that - to steal a phrase - Wainwright is the adult Raffi: The Sh*T Song, Doin' the Math, I'm Alright, The Drinking Song, and his seasonal songs - Thanksgiving and Suddenly It's Christmas. Other songs bring tears such as The Picture, White Winos, and A Father and a Son. This evening he played them all, including Daughter - from the Knocked Up soundtrack - and a song dedicated to the baggage handler for destroying his prized guitar, perhaps the most popular songs of the evening. Some of the songs he played came from his latest release, Recovery, consisting of songs he wrote and recorded in the early 1970's. A better representation of what we heard is Career Moves or our favorite So Damn Happy. In any case, Loudon Wainwright III has a heavy tour schedule this winter - both on the left and right coasts. You'll be glad you saw him.

When leaving the Rams Head, we saw Virgil Caine in the window of Stan and Joe's, playing multiple instruments in front of a crowded bar. We stepped in for a final beer and watched Caine energize the crowd with the guitar, fiddle, and keyboards. This is one talented individual. And there's usually never a cover at his acts. He's also traveling quite extensively along the east coast, particularly around the Finger Lakes in New York.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lets Join Together To Support A Man Of Faith: Benefit for Chris Kent

We recently received word that fellow musicians have scheduled a benefit concert on December 5th for Chris Kent at the 3rd & Lindsley Bar & Grill, in Nashville Tennessee. Cash donations of at least $10 will be accepted at the door.

"Chris Kent is a local bass guitar ace, currently touring with Lorrie Morgan, but his accolades run deep and cover all genres of music. Chris is battling Myeloma, cancer of the plasma cells, and he needs a little help from his friends and community. On Friday December 5th starting at 7pm, we will have a star-studded cast of Music City’s finest joining and jamming together to celebrate and raise a little holiday support for Chris and his family. Country star Lorrie Morgan, jazz greats Denny Jiosa and Larry Carlton, drumming icons Chester Thompson and Derico Watson, and Country rebel Hal Ketchum are just a few that will join us that evening. "

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Miranda Lambert and LouViney Winery

A year or so after country singer Miranda Lambert launched her music career with her debut album, Kerosene, the Lambert family started exploring creating a private wine label on her behalf. They eventually selected LouViney Winery, a small family owned winery in Winnsboro Texas to produce the wines. According to Susann Briggs, the Lambert's visited their winery, enjoyed the taste of the wines, and was impressed with the "family oriented values upon which we built our winery". The next step required formulated the wine styles that the Lamberts were seeking. Fortunately LouViney could use existing blends to satisfy their requests, all except for one. It appears Miranda enjoys a crisp Pinot Grigio styled wine and LouViney had to create a new wine to match this style. The result was "Kerosene" - sound familiar - and is made from the Blanc Du Bois grape. Never heard of this hybrid; see the WineCompass Wine 101 section for a summary. The wine labels and tasting notes are listed below. Anyone interested in purchasing these wines can do so through the Miranda Lambert store or take a trip to Winnsboro and buy directly from LouViney Winery.

Miranda Lambert Belle
In naming our wines, we wanted to select those that would reflect the spirit of the wine as well as the attributes of Miranda. Southern Belle came to mind. In defining the word Belle we found it to be the perfect fit for this sweet wine as well as for Miranda. Simply put, it means the most beautiful. With her true southern spirit, she epitomizes southern hospitality and beauty while being a just a little bit flirty. As you might sense in looking at the beautiful label, in like manner, this light-bodied sweet, red wine is a mouthful of ripe cherry and raspberry flavors that tingle the palate. The finish is silky smooth and leaves you wanting more. It pairs well with chicken, red meats, mildly seasoned pastas and Miranda’s favorite - wild game dishes. Serve chilled.

Miranda Lambert County Road 233
Our most robust spirit is full of fruity flavor and powerful color, yet is smooth in texture and delivery. With its ripe berry essence, the aroma lingers as long as its explosive finish. This dry velvety Merlot is endowed with just the right balance of power and finesse that make it an excellent companion to steak and pastas with full-bodied red sauce or, for special treat, try it with dark chocolate. Simply decadent!

Miranda Lambert Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
An alluring radiant wine bears overtones of ripe pears, honey, and golden raisins. Lusciously aromatic it is perfect for those who prefer the sweeter things in life. It is so deliciously perfumed, it has been teased as dessert in a bottle! Just like a Crazy-Ex, you’ll be seduced over and over by this charmer. So mild it can be served with fruit, light cheeses, sorbets and other light desserts, it is also delightful with Sunday brunch on the patio, fruit-glazed chicken dishes and spicy Asian cuisines.

Miranda Lambert Electric Pink
A semi-sweet wine similar to White Zinfandel, this brilliant pink light-bodied wine has a delicious berry taste and aroma. And just like Miranda’s famous electric pink guitar, it often produces a sudden sense of thrilling excitement! Our blush is a vivid, sweet, great choice for sipping on the front porch on warm summer days. It goes well with spicy foods such as Thai, as well as cheese and other light appetizers. Serve chilled.

Miranda Lambert Kerosene
This dry, straw-colored wine is light, yet pleasingly tart with softening hints of pear and ripe apple. It is similar to Pinot Grigio. The finish is clean and crisp. It marries well with pastas in cream sauce, fish, grilled chicken, garlic-based dishes and spicy foods. It is also a good wine to compliment light appetizers or a first course. Actually this versatile white delight can pair with most any dish or be enjoyed by itself in the shade of your favorite tree. Serve chilled.

Miranda Lambert Red 55
Wineries have found Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blends are star performers, and perhaps that’s why our friends and family selected this wine as the front-runner in our inaugural tasting. Named after Miranda’s prized first pickup, a candy apple red 1955 Chevy step-side, this beautiful cherry-colored wine is smooth and medium bodied with a mellow berry aroma. This slightly juicy blend dodges over-oaking. Just like Miranda’s vintage ‘55, our Red 55 is sure to be a classic. Pair this best-all-around wine with almost any kind of food, from fancy fare dinners to picnics and BBQs.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sirius XM Radio Channel Merger

Subscribers to XM Radio should have noticed several programming changes this week as XM and Sirius Satellite Radio merged channels. We primarily listened to three stations Bluegrass Junction (14), Bluesville (76) and X Country (12). Fortunately there has been no change to the first two and we can still here Bill Wax, Kyle Cantrell, and Marty Fitzpatrick play their favorites. However, we are sad to report that X Country has been replaced by Sirius' Alt-Country channel Outlaw Country. The new channel includes shows hosted by several well known artists: Elizabeth Cook's Apron Strings; The Loon In The Afternoon - Mojo Nixon; Marty Stuart's American Odyssey; and Steve Earle: Hardcore Troubadour Radio. We listened to Ms. Cook's broadcast this week and liked what we heard. But we will miss the X Country personalities, particularly Jessie Scott, Robert Earl Keen, Jack Ingram, Texas Fred, and Dave Alvin.

On other channels, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan's shows are still available and we got our first listen to Jimmy Buffett's Radio Margaritaville. Besides Buffett, we heard John Prine and John Hiatt this morning. We are also looking forward to hearing the Elvis Channel - all Elvis all the time - and Bruce Springsteen's show. So everything is not all bad.

For more information visit Orbit Cast and give us your thoughts of the lineup changes.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Actors on Tour

While scanning events at we noticed that several actors are flaunting their musical abilities and touring across the United States. Perhaps the most known as a musical performer is Kevin Bacon, who with brother Michael, record as The Bacon Brothers. Michael Bacon began his musical career when Kevin was still a teen and is an acclaimed composer of musical scores and musician. Over the years, the two collaborated together and eventually the duo performed onstage together in 1994. Soon after their debut CD, Forosoco, was released, followed by several recordings: Getting There, Can't Complain, and White Knuckles. Their current Tour is in support of New Years Day, available at any moment. We really like the reggae infused Bunch of Words available from their myspace page.

We had heard rumors that Kevin Costner dabbled in music and it was confirmed with the release of Untold Truths. Kevin Costner & Modern West is supporting this CD by taking their Americana sound through Nashville, the Baltimore\Washington D.C. area, and New York City. Samples of the CD are available on their myspace page. Let us know what you think. Modern West includes several accomplished musicians John Coinman, Blair Forward, Teddy Morgan, Larry Cobb, Park Chisholm, and Bobby Yang.

The biggest surprise was seeing Bryan Greenberg on tour. We had no idea, that the star of
October Road was a musician, but he released his debut album, Waiting For Now, last year. He's spending the remainder of 2008 playing shows with Graham Colton, Michael Tolcher, and Tim Brantley. We've listened to Colton and Tolcher before and they can carry their weight. It will be nice to see if Greenberg can perform at that level. See you at Jammin' Java.

Monday, November 3, 2008

MyJoog Venue: Dogfish Head Alehouse

One of our favorite breweries is Delaware's Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. Sam Calagione and brewmaster Andy Tveekrem craft truly historic beers - that is - along with their standard line of excellent I.P.A., Pale Ales, and Pilsners the winery produces several beers replicated from ancient recipes. This past Saturday, at the Falls Church, Virginia Dogfish Head Alehouse, we listened to rockin' blues from Bad Influence Band and sipped several sifters of their Midas Touch Golden Elixir. The "actual oldest-known fermented beverage in the world!" In the 1957 an archaeological expedition uncovered the possible burial chamber of King Midus in central Turkey. Inside the chamber were over 150 drinking vessels that contained chemical residues of barley, grapes, honey and saffron. Using these ingredients as a base, Dogfish Head re-created the ancient recipe blending one of the oldest grape varieties, Muscat, with barley, honey and saffron. The "Phrygian cocktail" is awesome and powerful (9.0% abv), which explains the sifter. It tastes more like a brandy - with the floral aroma and flavors of the Muscat up front.

At the same time that "Phrygian cocktail" was being fermented in the Middle East 9,000 years ago, the early Chinese were fermenting a concoction of rice, honey and fruit. Molecular Archeologist Dr. Patrick McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania, who analyzed the King Midus drinking vessels, found similar residue in the preserved Chinese pottery jars. He passed this information along to Dogfish Head, resulting in Chateau Jiahu. In trying to remain historically accurate the brewery uses pre-gelatinized rice flakes, Wildflower honey, Muscat grapes, barley malt, hawthorn fruit, and Chrysanthemum flowers. The rice and barley malt are fermented together with the remaining ingredients added to the wort. The result is a refreshing beer - or at least that's what we remember from the Washington D.C. Wine Festival.

Another historic brew is their Theobroma ("Food of the Dods"), based upon residue from pottery fragments found in Honduras. The chemical analysis discovered an alcoholic chocolate drink used over three thousand years ago - probably in special ceremonies. Dogfish Head version contains Aztec cocoa powder and cocoa nibs, honey, chilies, and annatto - a fragrant tree seed.

Finally we have to note some of our other favorite beers from Dogfish Head - particularly their Raison D'Etre, Palo Santo Marron, and Olde School Barleywine. The Raison D'Etre is brewed with beet sugar, green raisins, and Belgian-style yeast - producing a great slightly sweet malty ale. The Palo Santo Marron is an unfiltered brown ale aged in handmade wooden tanks. The Paraguayan Palo Santo wood add caramel and vanilla flavors to the beer. The Olde School Barleywine is malty and hoppy with an interesting flavor due to fermenting with dates and figs. Another sifter for this beer.

The best place to enjoy these beers are at the brewery itself, either the Rehoboth Beach Brewpub or the Alehouses in Falls Church, Virginia and Gaithersburg, Maryland. Each venue hosts free Saturday night music, with the Rehoboth Beach location landing some national\regional acts and the Alehouses providing a setting for local artists. In November the Rehoboth lineup consists of Nothin But Trouble, Dexter Romweber Duo, Brian McGee and the Hollow Speed,Leaving Texas, Whiskey Rebellion, and Nate Myers & The Aces. At the Alehouses look for Marshall Artz, Evan Bliss & the Welchers, Cletus Kennelly, and One Eyed Pug.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Two Nights with The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band

On Wednesday October 22nd and Thursday October 23rd we were able to see two shows from
The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, the first at the The 8X10 in Baltimore and the second at the Gravity Lounge in Charlottesville. Both shows were awesome and solidified the Big Damn Band's top ranking as one of the best live acts in the country. Reverend Peyton's guitar playing was inspiring and Breezy and Jayme were completely in sync, slowing down with the Rev and then exploding simultaneously as soon as the Reverend changed pace.

Both nights they played many of the same songs, starting with "Aberdeen" and My Old Man Boogie" from the Big Damn Nation. They transitioned quickly into their new CD, The Whole Fam Damnily, by playing "Your Cousins on Cops" and DT's Or The Devil". Eventually they also got to "Can't Pay The Bill", "Mama's Fried Potatoes", "Persimmon Song", "The Creeks Are All Bad", and our favorite "Worn Out Shoe" sometime in the performance. What a great CD. "Worn Out Show" is a great song, their self-called Ike & Tina song, only because its starts out nice and ends rough. Each night they played two songs from The Gospel Album, with crowd favorite "Glory Glory Hallelujah" each night and "I Shall Not Be Moved" in Baltimore and "Let Your Light Shine" in Charlottesville - obliging a special request. Thanks Reverend. The Charlottesville show also was unique in that it was an all ages show. A few parents brought their children who danced near the stage the entire evening. Even the band's sometimes menacing stage presence did not deter the kids. And thanks Gravity Lounge. Of the two shows, the Charlottesville seemed a little better, the band seemed more at easy - telling more stories than the previous night. Maybe they were relaxed because the last time they played at this venue only 10 people showed. This night, close to 75 attended, bringing more energy to the stage. Regardless The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band is a must see. If a venue isn't within reach - we recommend each of their CDs. They only get better.

We also want to mention the opening acts at these shows. At the The 8X10 Junior League started the night with a bluegrass feel and we were quickly impressed with this Washington D.C. based band. Fronted by Lissy Rosemont sweet vocals, the band has a unique sound in particular when they covered Robert Johnson's Crossroad Blues - starting off extremely slow and bluesy and finishing with a string bluegrass flavor. The band also covered Levon Helm with another strong performance. They just released a new CD, "Mitchell Williams Fo Govena" and we enjoyed several songs that we hope are included: South Carolina Blues and Kiss You in the Morning. Afterward we learned that this is not simply a regional band. They have a strong national following, especially in the Midwest. We hope to see them at the IOTA Club on Halloween.

Keith Morris & the Crooked Numbers opened for the the Big Damn Band in Charlottesville with a set that was part Appalachia, part Gospel, part Bluegrass. Morris is accompanied by several Charlottesville area musicians who played songs from their new much acclaimed CD, Songs From Candyapolis. We liked what we heard. The band also hosts several children shows which fits in nicely to the Gravity Lounge's all ages concept. We look forward to their next show.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

JJ Grey & Mofro @ The State Theatre

On October 15th, we watched one of our favorite bands, JJ Grey & Mofro, perform at the The State Theatre in Falls Church Virginia. We were first exposed to the band at the Austin City Limits festival, maybe in 2004. Since then we’ve listened to the band evolve from a bluesy folk style in Blackwater– to a full blown funk, soul, and R&B sound in Country Ghetto. The band’s core is JJ Grey on vocals, guitar, harmonica, and keyboards and Daryl Hance on the slide guitar. At least that’s how we first heard them. The current lineup includes Adam Scone on bass and organ, Anthony Cole on drums, Art Edmaiston on the sax, and Dennis Marion on trumpet. The songs reflect Grey’s life growing up in the swamp lands of Northeast Florida. In fact, during shows he often sites how it wasn’t until he was living in London attempting to become the next Elvis Costello – when he had a prophecy to return to his roots.Lochloosa , both the song and CD, reflects these roots. Currently, the band is touring in support of Orange Blossoms – with the title song describing the magnificent birth of spring in north Florida.

The last we heard JJ Grey & Mofro was on a road trip to Raleigh over a year ago – in support of Country Ghetto. This was our first exposure to the funkier R&B sound accentuated with the new horn section. We were pleased to see the lineup intact tonight and that Orange Blossom continues the same path set the previous year. Basically, the show was awesome – they intertwined songs from their last three CDs – and we particularly enjoyed the horn section on the more original bluesy songs from Lochloosa. But most of the songs were from Country Ghetto: "War", "Mississippi", "Country Ghetto", "Circles", "A Woman" to name a few. Grey was simultaneously ornery and playful – with a constant smile throughout the night. The band complements each other and Grey often stepped aside to allow other members take center stage. It seems we spent half of the show concentrating to hear Hance on the slide guitar. His chords are soft and his minimalist approach gets overshadowed by his band mates. But if you concentrate you can listen how his notes blend with the song. But the stage is Grey’s and he is most powerful singing one of his slower songs, such as "Fireflies", "The Sun is Shining Down", "A Woman", or "Circles". His voice seems tailored for this style – giving the lyrics meaning and more “authenticy”. Of the songs from the new CD, the title track is clearly our favorite - but we look forward to listening to the entire compilation in more detail.

Opening for Mofro was another blues act, the newly formed, Hill Country Revue. This band formed when Luther Dickinson took time off from the The North Mississippi Allstars in order to tour with The Black Crowes. Brother Cody Dickinson and band mate bassists Chris Chew needed new work so they assembled together a few friends: singer/harp player Dan Coburn, guitarist Kirk Smithhart, and guitarist Garry Burnside. This evening Cody took center stage on the guitar and washboard – starting the evening on the washboard and ending it with a tremendous washboard solo - something you don't see everyday. In between - the music was contemprary hard driving blues - with great guitar playing - even when Smithhart broke a string - he didn't miss a beat - staying in rhythm with the band. Perhaps the best performance was the guitar duel between Smithhart and Dickinson - each trying to out perform the other. Eventually the The North Mississippi Allstars will regroup - but in the meantime the Hill Country Revue is a worthy alternative.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Live Music Blues

Today we received an email from The Lantern, in Blacksburg Virginia which stated that if the low turnout at recent shows continues, then they will have to close their doors come springtime. This news comes after several other well known venues have already closed this year. It also raises a few questions. Are people getting tired of seeing live music? Is the quality of music declining? Are ticket prices too high? We see exorbitant ticket prices at large arenas for aging rock stars - but high ticket prices can't be what's causing the Lantern troubles. Let us know your thoughts.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

MyJoog Artist: The Reverend Peyton and His Big Damn Band

This past July at FloydFest, we had the fortune to “discover” a new artist: The Reverend Peyton and His Big Damn Band. The band is actually quite small in number, Reverend Peyton on guitar, his wife Breezy on the washboard, and his brother Jayme on the drums. But their sound is big – and intense. And yes, The Reverend is legally ordained in the 50 states.

Their music is a unique combination of old Americana, blues, and some zyedco – inspired from the likes of Charley Patton, Furry Lewis, Mississippi John Hurt, Bukka White, Son House, and Leadbelly. Their instruments also contribute to the unique sound. The Reverend plays an old National and a Flat top Gibson guitar – the later was purchased “off the wall at one of those stupid restaurants that put all kinds of crap on the walls!” Since there isn’t a bass player in the band, the Reverend mimics it use by playing a bass rhythm with his thumb and the melody with his fingers. He was able to accomplish this feat only after having hand surgery to recover normal use of his hands. It is an incredible sight seeing how he takes his standard tuned guitar – and glides back and forth on the stem, playing minimal chords, all the while picking a bass rhythm with the other hand. On most songs, Jayme Peyton plays the drums, but he is most effective when hammering away on a pickle bucket – evidently no other five gallon bucket makes the same sound. He can really generate a range of sounds from the bucket – as evident from “Tell All the World John” from The Gospel Album. And Breezy plays a similar “improvised” instrument – a washboard - after The Reverend purchased her one as a gift. She is one smooth performer – able to drift slowly along with a song – and then suddenly – well, you need to see a show to see how intense and aggressive she can get.

Reverend Peyton writes songs about his family, friends, or experiences in life. Many of these involve life in southern Indiana – a rural area with rolling hills of hardwood trees and farms – “my favorite place on the planet” according to the Reverend. But, like most communities, them old days are changing. Their latest CD, The Whole Fam Damnily, contains a nostalgic look at this area through “Them Old Days Are Gone”, Mama’s Fried Potatoes”, and “Persimmon Song” as well as current problems in “The Creeks are All Bad” and “Wal-mart Killed The Country Store”. These songs contain some classic lines such as “They never build up they always build out” and “4 football fields of Chinese crap”. We will let economists argue whether strip malls and Wal-marts add value to an area, but boy do we love country stores. The band also wrestles with contemporary themes such as “Can’t Pay the Bill” which describes the band’s difficult in paying medical bills without health insurance. And on the humorous side there's “Your Cousin’s On Cops”, “What’s Mine is Yours”, and our favorites, “Worn Out Shoe” and "DT's or the Devil".

This is a great CD - part roots, blues, and even bluegrass - thirteen songs of singing and dancing music - and loved by all ages in our household. For many of you on the East Coast, you can listen to these songs live as the band finishes their present tour. Starting October 9th they travel from Buffalo New York, through Rochester, Burlington, New York City, Wilmington, Baltimore, Charlottesville, Richmond, Virginia Beach, and ultimately Orlando Florida on November 1st. We hope to catch a couple shows during this period and even fly out to Indiana and see the band at the Lafayette Brewing Company on November 15th. More information about these shows can be found at Still undecided? Then check out the many videos on UTube – our favorite is the video of the the Reverend Peyton teaching blues at The Kansas City Academy.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

October 2008 Music Festivals

Here is our list of major music festivals for October 2008. Please check back often, since the list will be updated when new festivals are added to
  • 29th Annual American Royal Barbecue - American Royal; Kansas City, Missouri: October 3, 2008
  • 39th Annual Texas Rice Festival - Texas Rice Festival; Winnie, Texas: October 3-4, 2008
  • 2008 Harvest Festival - Starks; Starks, Maine: October 3-4, 2008
  • Fall Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music - Shakori Hills; Pittsboro, North Carolina: October 9-12, 2008
  • 1st Annual Fall Palatka Bluegrass Festival - Rodeheaver Boys Ranch; Palatka, Florida: October 10-11, 2008
  • Chicago Country Music Festival - Soldier Field; Chicago, Illinois: October 10-11, 2008
  • Loki Music Festival - Deerfields; Horse Shoe, North Carolina: October 10-12, 2008
  • 36th Annual Cuero Turkeyfest - City Park Pavillion; Cuero, Texas: October 11, 2008
  • The Taylor County Throwdown '08 - Taylor County Expo Center; Abilene, Texas: October 18, 2008
  • Joshua Tree Roots Music Festival - The Joshua Tree Lake Campground; Joshua Tree, California: October 18-19, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Chris Knight @ The Evening Muse

This weekend we took a rode trip to Charlotte in order to see Chris Knight at the The Evening Muse on the 13th. For those unfamiliar with Chris Knight, he is an Americana singer/songwriter who writes tales about men - either those that we are trying to be or those we are trying not to be. He grew up in a small mining community of Slaughters, Kentucky and eventually graduated from Western Kentucky University studying agriculture. Based on this experience, most of his work reflects life in either a small town or on a farm. And most of his songs were written in his trailer in Slaughters - don't miss The Trailer Tapes for some raw renditions. After moving to Nashville and playing regularly at the Bluebird Cafe, Knight was able to sign a record deal and released the self titled, Chris Knight. This CD contains two of his most famous songs: "It Ain't Easy Being Me" and "Framed". He followed that CD a few years later with A Pretty Good Guy and in 2003 with one of our favorite CDs period: The Jealous Kind. In 2006 he released Enough Rope and he is currently touring in support of his latest release: Heart of Stone.

It was a jammed house at the Evening Muse and we had to set pickets at the back of the venue. This is an interesting venue - long and narrow with a small stage in front. We had no complaints standing in the back as long as we had easy access to the great beer selection at the bar. Knight started on time and was accompanied by Chris Clark. Both times we've seen the artist, he allows his partner to take center stage during instrumental sections of each song. And Clark displayed his talents on the acoustic guitar, mandolin, and even accordion. What initially attracted us to Chris Knight is that his voice is an authentic reflection of the song's topic; immediately one can imagine the song's hero singing the exact tone and accent as Knight. And as much as we enjoy his songs, the beauty of seeing Knight perform in Charlotte is that we were able to witness the show with a group of guys who actually live these songs. When Knight says, "I'm going to play a song about killing the guy who killed my brother", its not difficult to see that some may relate stronger than others to this theme. The same holds for "Devil Behind The Wheel", "Dirt", "House And 90 Acres", and mostly every song in his repertoire. It may also explain the crowd favorites: "Oil Patch Town", "It Ain't Easy Being Me", "Enough Rope", and "Down The River". He also played several new songs from Heart of Stone; we particularly enjoyed "Maria", "Danville", "Another Dollar", "Crooked Road", "Go On Home", "Almost There" - practically half the CD.

Throughout the evening, each song was authentic Knight - sung honestly and with effective instrumentals. A great show. We have read many reviews comparing Knight to Steve Earle and John Prine - but for us, Chris Knight is his own man - writing and playing songs about real men.