Monday, June 29, 2009

The Guggenheim Grotto

This Wednesday, July 1st, we are deviating from our standard Americana, alt-county, bluegrass, blues tendencies and planning to watch The Guggenheim Grotto perform at our local club, Jammin' Java. The Guggenheim Grotto is an Irish "alt-pop" duo, consisting of Kevin May and Mick Lynch. We are not exactly sure what alt-pop refers to, but that is how they are labeled in a recent press release. They emerged from their native Ireland a few years ago after releasing their debut album ...Waltzing Alone, which spent considerable time at the No. 1 spot on the iTunes Folk Chart. Earlier this year, they released their second album, Happy the Man, which also hit No. 1 on the U.S. iTunes Folk Chart soon after its release. The Guggenheim Grotto conducted a national tour in support of that album and is just starting a summer tour of several American cities - starting in Vienna Virginia at Jammin Java. See complete schedule below. We look forward to hearing what other iTunes listeners have already discovered.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Buddy Guy and Susan Tedeschi@ Wolf Trap

We spent Father's Day evening at our favorite summer venue taking the blues in with Buddy Guy and Susan Tedeschi. Plus, the weather was finally dry for those of us who enjoy setting camp on the lawn at Wolf Trap - Filene Center. Ms. Tedeschi opened playing with a full band including local saxophonist Ron Holloway. She played some covers, but stuck to material from her recent CD, Back To The River. Produced by Tony Joe White, this CD includes her husband, Derek Trucks
on some tracks and is worth a look - particularly "700 Houses". Ms. Tedeschi is talented - as a "bluesman", guitarist, and songwriter; and with a full band backing her - she was worth the admission herself.

Buddy Guy followed and immediately started paying tribute to the great masters with a rendition of "Hoochie Coochie Man" - all the while sarcastically encouraging the crowd to sing along - as with "while I was out, somebody snuck in". Guy was fired up and spend a portion of the show strutting through one corridor in the Filene Center. He continued mimicking the masters from Albert King, Tampa Red, to Marvin Gaye and Johnny Lee Hooker. After a long rendition of the title song from Skin Deep, Ms. Tedeschi joined him for an entertaining duet singing "It Feels Like Rain". But all things come to an end, and Mr. Guy appeared to run out of steam - retiring slightly ahead of schedule. Who can blame him, he is in his seventies. But even at this age he's touring regualrly and even heading into the studio to record a new album. His last, Skin Deep, is awesome and features Tedeschi, Trucks, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Eric Clapton, and now-10 year old guitar whiz Quinn Sullivan.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Oneside @ Flanagan's Harp & Fiddle

I didn't plan on writing about their show last night at Flanagan's Harp & Fiddle, but while watching their performance, that concept suddenly changed. Despite minor sound issues, Oneside had played a good opening set - playing songs off First to Last and some covers. But their second set was fantastic. They opened with John Prine's Paradise and after some more covers and a new song in G, they cranked into a cover of a cover. I've seen the Gourds play a dozen times live, but never heard a live version of their interpretation of Snoop Dogg's Gin & Juice. Until this evening. And Oneside had their own orchestration to the Gourd's classic cover. The audience loved it - particularly those who knew the history. And it was a special request. Who knew. See the grainy video below to see for yourself - yea, it was recorded with a cell phone video - the last time I'll be unprepared.

Oneside is really developing into a tight and fun band to watch. Their stage presence is becoming more entertaining as they interact more with the audience with some nice self-deprecating humor. They are no longer completely depend on Ned to engage the audience; everyone jumped in last night. Then there's the lineup. Where else can you hear strong percussion, electric guitar, electric bass, and an electric banjo. It was also nice to see Chris and Ned swap instruments; Chris is one talented individual. For those in the D.C. area, the band will be at McGinty’s Public House in Silver Spring on Saturday night, then back to the area in mid July. See you then.

video

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Happenings

We haven't posted in awhile - busy with other projects. Since our last post we were able to watch two excellent performances from John Prine and Steve Earle together at Wolf Trap's Filene Center. What a show; Earle played songs from his latest CD, Townes, songs by Townes Van Zandt as well as some of his more popular tunes. Plus he didn't hold back form his political views which irritated a few in the audience. As for Prine, what can you say. Great songs and his voice was a strong as ever. The night ended with Earle joining Prine's band onstage during "Paradise".

We also watched a couple local acts at the D.C. Food and Wine Festival at National Harbor. While drinking Belgium beer and Puerto Rican rum (yes it was a wine festival) we listened to the Paint Branch Ramblers and Sam’O and the band JFC. Bluegrass and raggae is really a good combination. This Saturday we are returning to National Harbor for the Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival. While sipping bourbon, we will be listening to No Second Troy and Junk Food. If we are sober enough that evening we will watch our second performance over the next three days by Oneside - this time at McGinty’s Public House in Silver Spring. On Thursday the band is playing at our favorite Irish bar, Flanagan's Harp & Fiddle. What a break. Sandwiched between these shows we hope to make it to the The State Theatre to see several local rock bands jam: NUMA, Chainsaw Baby, Dead End Dropouts, and The Dreamscapes Project. That should be a fun night.