Tuesday, January 29, 2008

MyJoog.com Enhancements

The MyJoog.com live music website now includes Canada. You can add Canadian venues and shows while tracking your favorite artist through the provinces. Best of all, MyJoog.com is free.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Asylum Street Spankers @ Jammin Java

The Asylum Street Spankers came to town Thursday January 24th and what a performance. From the moment they took the stage until their last hip-hop number, they had the crowd singing and enjoying each song. And that's the beauty of the Spankers, throughout the night they alternated between blues, jazz, reggae, swing, country western, and yes, hip-hop.

Their lyrics are clever and not for the politically correct. From Wammo's Beer and Winning the War on Drugs, to Charlie King's My Baby in the CIA, to Nevada Newman's Hermaphrodite - the lyrics show that the Asylum Street Spankers are probably at the forefront of the Keep Austin Weird movement. A few of the other crowd favorites were Leafblower, My Favorite Record, T.V. Party, Got My Mojo Working, and You Only Love Me for My Lunchbox - from their family friendly CD, Mommy Says No!. Add in the jazzy vocals and wit of Christina Marrs and you have a great show - only Guy Forsyth's presence would make it better. What also makes the Spankers special is that instead of hiding backstage during intermission, the band members spread out among the audience - as if they had just played in someone's living room. During the encore Scott Marcus and Josh Hoag took center stage with Scott playing a drum solo on Josh's base cello. They ended the show with the crowd standing and dancing to Skynard during HickHop.

One last comment. Before the break Christina asked the audience to take a look at the merchandise for sale in the back to help support the band. Its very expensive for any band - let alone a large band like the Spankers - to travel. Add in the higher cost in gasoline and hotel rooms and its hard for a band to profit from a tour. How can you help - go out and support live music.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Randy Waller @ JV's Restaurant

After 5 years and 18 weeks into the NFL season, I finally found the ultimate place to watch football: JV's Restaurant in Falls Church, Virginia. JV's first opened in 1947 and has been a haven for local artists since. In addition, over the years national acts such as Roy Clark, Jimmy Dean, Ricky Skaggs Seldom Scene, Country Gentlemen and Tony Rice have "passed through our doors". A couple years ago JV's won a WAMMY for the best music venue in the DC area. And I can see why. The restaurant hosts live music seven days a week with two shows Saturday and Sunday. Which leads me to Sunday football. Can you imagine a better time watching the NFL Championship games on three large screen televisions, with live music playing in the background. That's how I spent this past Sunday.

The music was provided Randy Waller, of the Country Gentlemen, and several associates including Dave Kirk (of the Country Gentlemen) and Dan Chute (of The Twangmasters) among others. Randy Waller is a native Washingtonian and learned to play touring with his father's band, Charlie Waller & the Country Gentlemen. After a successful solo career where he toured with national country acts and fronted for several country-rock bands, he replaced his father as the front man for the Country Gentlemen. Today's show was a combination country, bluegrass, gospel, and whatever someone decided to play. Randy Waller's voice is classic old school country - not the pop Nashville sound. And the music was sensational - regardless who was picking on the mandolin or trying to catch up on the acoustic guitar. The informal environment lead to several improvised songs which had the crowd laughing and clapping for more. At times it was hard to follow the football games - what a tough predicament.

This summer Randy Waller & the Country Gentlemen will be playing several festivals throughout the United States and Canada. Check myjoog.com for their schedule. JV's has a great schedule in the coming weeks, including Dave Chappel and Tom Principato. I hope to see you there. I wonder who's playing during the Super Bowl?

Friday, January 11, 2008

MyJoog Artist - Brad Payne

We are launching a new category called MyJoog Artists to highlight some of the most talented musicians that toil daily in obscurity. The first artist is Brad Payne, who plays regularly in St. Augustine, Florida. I first saw Brad outside of Jacksonville Beach on a Sunday morning, nursing a hangover from the previous night's Georgia-Florida game. We were driving along the road looking for a place to eat and saw a small restaurant overlooking a canal. Walking into the deck we bumped into a guy wearing a tank top and dark sunglasses fumbling with his guitar. My first thought was "he's not going to help our situation." Boy was I wrong.

We had stumbled upon an amazing musician, from his soulful voice to his guitar savyness. To put his guitar playing in perspective one customer requested Dueling Banjos, in which Brad immediately ripped into the song with his acoustic guitar mimicking a banjo. It was awesome. He spent the day playing a few requested covers, but trying to stick to his own material. Anyone who had traveled to the Outer Banks would appreciate his song Beach in Carolina. My Father was also a favorite, particular during a father-son trip. Then my favorite, The Paynefull Truth. A few hours later and two CDs each, we had to leave, but I promised myself to find this guy again.

Since Brad rarely updated his website this task was difficult. I had to settle to listening to my CDs (Accoustic Storm and The Paynefull Truth) over and over again. A couple years later I stumbled upon an online article that Brad Payne was playing regularly at the All Stars Sports Bar in St. Augustine. Since then, I've traveled a couple times to hear him play. Each show is the same - Brad winning people over with his music. Besides the two earlier CDs, he has a live CD with Danny Rosado, "Hippie n da Rattler" and is releasing a new CD, "Acoustic Bootleg". Time for another trip south. Oh yea, if you don't believe me, check out the posts on his guestbook.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Robbie-Noceros @ Jammin' Java

Little did I know a couple of years ago that I would be spending New Years Eve watching a kid's act - and not only that - thoroughly enjoying it. This was the case Monday as my son and I watched the second of two shows of Robbie-Noceros - a collaboration between Robbie Schaefer and Rocknoceros (my sons' favorite musical group). I've seen Rocknoceros a couple times during their usual Wednesday stint at Jammin' Java - but for today they paired with Robbie Schaefer - another well-known Washington performer (think Eddie from Ohio) - to produce the best kid's show I saw last year. And I saw a lot of acts last year.

Robbie Schaefer broke away from his solo and Eddie from Ohio performances to record a kid's CD: Songs For Kids Like Us. The songs are similar in style to his folk-roots style and complement the rock-ish tone of Rocknoceros. What made this show unique was that each act learned each other's songs - so that Schaefer played guitar and sang harmonies for the Rocknoceros' songs and vice versa. At our house we listen to the same songs from Dark Side of the Moon Bounce and Rocknoceros over and over again - so it was nice to see a little variation with the addition of Robbie Schaefer and his son. As for Songs For Kids Like Us - I liked the story of Bob - the cowboy who talks backward - and the Carp song - kids will sing along about anything.

Like most of these shows, the best part was watching my son and the other children stand and clap after each song and participate in the New Year's "toast". I really hope they perform together again - its worth it for the adults and kids. Until then, Rocknoceros plays every Wednesday at Jammin' Java and Robbie Schaefer plays with Ellis Paul at the Barns at Wolftrap in April.