Friday, November 29, 2013

On the Edge with Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen

After seeing Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen at Bristol Rhythm and seeing that banjo player Mike Munford was awarded the IBMA's Banjo Player of the Year, I decided to revisit On the Edge, released in the Spring 2013 in their Compass Records debut. Not sure why this CD got replaced in the regular cycle, it's one that should remain in close proximity to the player - all year round.  Solivan voice is much smoother in this release - displaying more emotion. This could be a result of highly passionate songs such as  Gone and On the Edge of Letting Go. And his mandolin is no slouch either. I don't know how anyone can play that instrument and Solivan is at his best. Munford shows off his talents throughout the CD, particularly in his M80 - a fast paced ride - and Bedrock.  Youngsters Dan Booth (bass) and Chris Luquette (guitar) round out the Dirty Kitchen gumbo with tight harmonies (see Wild Unknown and No Chance) as well as equilibrium and balance.  How else could the band cover The Box Tops classic The Letter and make it better than the original - and on hyperdrive. Pretty awesome stuff.  Pair with the closest winery to Solivan's Alexandria home -Paradise Springs Winery. Cheers.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Austin is Truly Weird and Blessed with The Nightowls - Good As Gold

I've been listening to several bands lately with a might horns section and another one falls in my lap courtesy of Austin based The Nightowls. In early December they are releasing Good As Gold and if you enjoy a mix of Motown and Memphis - this CD is for you. In fact, listening transports one back to the 60's and 70's where The Nightowls could easily assimilate into the great Soul and R&B bands of that time. Frontman Ryan Harkride provides that classic era's vocals along with harmonies from Tara Williamson and Ellie Carroll. But it's the band's vibe that entraps me- the encompassing of keyboards, guitar, bass, and horns that get ya bouncing in your seat - at least in the car. At a club would be much more preferable and the band will celebrate their CD release show December 7th at Stubb's BBQ.  Pair with Austin's music friendly Thirsty Planet Brewing. Cheers.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

First Look at Gypsy Sally's with Yarn & Blair Crimmins and the Hookers

A couple months back Gypsy Sally's opened in Georgetown with an incredible first month lineup. November has been no slouch either and I finally had no excuse to visit when our new friends Blair Crimmins and The Hookers  opened for old favs Yarn. We joined the hooker bandwagon in September after viewing their performance at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion and a serious listen to their latest CD Sing-a-Longs. Yarn has been a staple musical diet since Floydfest, The Festy, Firefly Vodka, and Almost Home.  Seems like many folks had the same impression as me since the venue was nicely populated - more Yarnies then Hookers, but all saw a great night of music from both. The Hookers were tight, entertaining horns, some serious banjo and guitar work by Crimmins, and lyrics that won over the crowd. I heard one onlooker exclaim that "they've been transported to the French Quarter".   Yarn seamlessly opened bringing a stampede of diners to the dance floor where they remained the night dancing and singing to Yarn's now classic alt-country. A typical great set, this time, I believe, inspired by Andrew Hendryx's mandolin.   Looking forward to listening more to Shine The Light On with songs such as Angel Place That Halo, Bobby Weeks, and Take Me First. Cheers and pair with Breuckelen Distilling or New York Distilling Company Gin and Whisky.  Oh yea, I'll be a frequent visitor to Gypsy Sally's - great food; decent beer list; and solid lineups.

Blair Crimmins and the Hookers

Friday, November 8, 2013

Dom Flemons is the "American Songster" and our National Musical Historian

We were fortunate to have Grace & Tony (check out their new CD November) invite us to Jammin' Java to hear them open for the very talented Dom Flemons of the Carolina Chocolate Drops.  Flemons bills himself as " the 'American Songster,' pulling from traditions of old-time folk music to create new sounds". I have no argument with that description; all it takes is attending one performance or listening to American Songster. In fact he is our National Musical Historian. Who else has mastered the banjo, guitar, harmonica, fife, bones, bass drum, snare drum and quills? Who else covers lost musicians from the first half of the 19th century like Flemons and brings them to life as his own. Who else can get my son's undivided attention for an entire hour - now that's talent. (Truth be told, The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band can as well). Pair with Music Maker Relief Foundation and brews from Mystery Brewing Company.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Album Review: Grace and Tony - November

This past Saturday I was invited to my local music joint Jammin' Java to hear husband and wife duo Grace & Tony as they opened for Dom Flemons (Carolina Chocolate Drops). The bio for Grace Shultz and Tony White suggests Punkgrass (She played bluegrass. He played punk..) to describe their music, but I think that undersells their wide repertoire of sound - gospel, bluegrass, folk, even Spanish styled guitar. That's how they started out the evening and unfortunately after a few songs they had to close out their set because of extremely tight time constraints.

Thus I revisited their upcoming CD November, that's due for a November 12th release. With the opening track Hey Grace, Hey Tony, you first notice the vocal harmonies, complete balance between sweet and earthy.  The title track and The Chamleon are my favorite songs, both interesting with plenty of finger picking, harmonies, and in the later, a surprise gospel styled sing-a-long.  Grassephomy and La Camera are other cool tracks - listen to the end.  Paired with DC Brau The Public™.