Sunday, September 28, 2014

2014 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion - Another Successful Musical Experience

A week has already past since attending the 2014 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion and I've been humming new songs I've heard the entire time. Bristol hosts one cool festival, with venues hosting music in both Virginia and Tennessee along State Street. We started the festival at O' Mainnin's for a quick Wolf Hills Brewing Company, after a 5+ hour drive, with The Whiskey Incident onstage. My Dad wanted to check out The Lonetones so we headed to Borderline Billiards and that was a good call. Good songwriting, nice array of instruments - including a cello, and another Wolf Hills. I very good start to the festival. Afterwards we hurried to the The Paramount Center for the Arts  for Willie Watson of Old Crow Medicine Show and found a very packed theater. Only the last rooms in the back. And Watson delivered with the old timers act playing some old public domain songs as well as a couple originals.  Watson also played a set afterwards at the 620 State stage to an even larger crowd. He is quite the popular act. After a quick bite it was time for Emmylou Harris and this was the largest crowd I've seen for any artist at this event. After a couple songs in the way back we too a side street for a spot adjacent to the stage that provided obscured views, but a good listen. And she was the ultimate Emmylou - graceful - but with a powerful backing band. Despite the great sound we left a tad early for the highlight of the night: Sturgill Simpson. His last two releases High Top Mountain and Metamodern Sounds In Country Music found a permanent residence on my phone. And Simpson showed why he's a rising star - great voice, songwriting, and backing band. Once again, the highlight of the evening and perhaps the festival.

Saturday started with Fiddlin Carson Peters, a master fiddler and showman at ten years old. Keep an eye on that kid. This was followed by a new tradition, a Starr Hill Brewing Grateful Pale Ale at the Piedmont stage - this day listening to Virginia based Bryan Elijah Smith and the roots rocking Wild Heart Revival band.  The band was incredible and I look forward to listening to their new release These American Hearts. Holy Ghost Tent Revival followed on the same stage and rocked the festival playing their new release, Right State of Mind, as well as a very cool cover of Joplin's Piece of My Heart.  Lunchtime brought us to Quaker Steak & Lube and hometown girl The Annie Robinette Band, but I snuck out to see Alligator recording artist Jarekus Singleton. This was the find of the festival - funky blues, classic blues guitar, and a great backing band. His Refuse to Lose is on my playlist right now. My Father, being on a Shel Silverstein kick, recommended The Giving Tree Band, and what a recommendation. This Illinois band is talented - check out their gospel finale. We saw two of their sets - great compositions and musicianship. Eventually it was time again for another set by Sturgill Simpson followed by another new treat, St. Paul and The Broken Bones. Motown soul meets Muscle Shoals; this is one entertaining bunch. Saturday's finale was the legendary Ray Wylie Hubbard and he played his top arsenal Snake Farm, Mother's Blues, Redneck Mothers, Choctaw Bingo - among others. What a night.

Holy Ghost Tent Revival had recommended Oregon's The Quiet Life, so Sunday started off again at the Piedmont stage with another Grateful Pale Ale and more good music.  This is a band to put on your radar. With football Sunday we staked out barstools at the State Line Bar & Grille and listened to Todd Day Wait's Pigpen a three piece folk band from New Orleans. Good enough to purchase their CD. Next up was Arkansas native Adam Faucett who has it all, a mesmerizing voice, plays a good guitar, and nice songwriting. Look at Gypsy Sally's in November. We had to depart his set early for Shaver, Sunday's headliner and my favorite Texas outlaw artist. He's up there, only sings, but his voice remains true. I Want to Live Forever. After autographs, we were able to hit the tail end of Dale Watson and his Lone Star show. A classic. The festival finished where it all started, O' Mainnin's,with King Super and the Excellents singing Del Shannon. Pretty cool. Another great festival.

Photos are available at the MyJoog Facebook page and videos on the MyJoogTV YouTube channel. Cheers.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Album Review: Holy Ghost Tent Revival - Right State of Mind

I always look forward to seeing Holy Ghost Tent Revival perform at the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, but this year will be even more special after listening to their just released album - Right State of Mind. The band has successfully transitioned from a horn infused jam band jazz sound to a horn infused classic rock-soulful sound. The band was tight previously, but this new sound should raise their visibility exponentially.  This album has some jam band qualities but also more subtle notes such as Sun/Shadow (my favorite track) and If I Lie. Trouble With Truth is another cool song, and check out the harmonies in Big Big World. Once again, HGTR is Stephen Murray, Matt Martin, Kevin Williams, Hank Widmer, Charlie Humphrey, and Ross Montsinger. Go out and meet these Carolina boys. And of course, you need to pair with Flying Dog Brewery.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Album Review: Lost & Nameless - When You Walked Into the Room

Not wasting any time Lost & Nameless is out with their second release of the year, this time When You Walked Into the Room (release date September 6th). We reviewed Empty Spaces this Spring and the latest is a continuation of this folk-fiddle-rockn' sound. The six songs feature Patrick Conway on vocals, guitars and banjo; Chris E. Peterson on mandolin, fiddle and vocals; Nathan Quiring on piano, organ, accordion and vocals; and Peterson’s protégé, Kimberly Zielnicki, on vocals, fiddle, bass and piano. The title track attracts your attention as Conway describes love at first sight while the next track (Say Goodbye) juxtaposes that thought by describing a relation's end. She has quite the voice and a way with melodies, doesn't she? Harmonies are the theme in Have We Lost and May I is an interesting track as it is a 2,000-year-old Buddhist prayer set to music. The EP finishes with a rousing instrumental combining “Matthew’s Reel” by Erin Shrader and “Reel a Levis Beaulieu”, a traditional French Canadian fiddle tune. Cheers to good music.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Album Review: Cahalen Morrison & Country Hammer - The Flower of Muscle Shoals

I've been following the alt-county sound of Cahalen Morrison & Eli West, for a year now, and see that Morrison has stepped out on his own with his new project:  Cahalen Morrison & Country Hammer: The Flower of Muscle Shoals. And this is a keeper. "I've Won Every Battle, But I've Lost Every War" is powerful with it's subtle guitar and tight harmonies. "Sorrow Lines the Highway of Regret" is classic honky tonk and check out the guitar in "Over and Over and Over Again". Then there's a little Tex-Mex in "San Luis" and Hobbled and Grazing". There's a lot of different sounds throughout - and lovers of the accordion and pedal steel will not be disappointed. The Country Hammer is composed of Country Dave Harmonson on pedal steel, Jim Miller n guitar and additional vocals, Robert Adesso on guitar/harmony vocals, Mary Maass on fiddle, Ethan Lawton on drums, and Michael Thomas Connolly on bass and accordion. The release was recorded at Empty Sea Studios in Seattle, which shows that the pacific Northwest is a new outpost for roots music. Pair with Seattle's Fremont Mischief. Cheers

Monday, September 1, 2014

August Shows: Enter the Haggis, Girls Guns and Glory, & Blair Crimmins and The Hookers

August was filled with family vacations but I did get a chance to see a few excellent shows starting with Enter the Haggis playing at the Nottoway Park Vienna concert series.  I've been following this Canadian Celtic Rock band for a number of years now since I first heard them at Jammin' Java. This evening they played several songs off my favorite of their releases, Gutter Anthems, as well as several new songs available from their new love CD, Live At Saint Claire.These guys are fun to listen to so take a look at their tour schedule for the remainder of '04.

Next up was Americana, Country, Rock band Girls Guns and Glory as they opened for Sarah Borges at IOTA Club. I really shouldn't write opened for because they were touring with Borges in order to support their join LP single “Mixed Messages". They performed several songs from their #1 rated release Good Luck - I'm singing All The Way Up To Heaven to myself right now - as well a a few with Ms. Borges. There's some nice chemistry with these Boston area natives. And Borges is one cool cat, when not performing with the band, she hung out in the audience dancing and singing along.

The next evening I caught Atlanta based old time jazz player Blair Crimmins and The Hookers in Georgetown's Gypsy Sally's. Last I saw Crimmins, the band was opening for Yarn at this venue, and now the main event. This is one act I highly encourage you to see. The music is fun, the band is entertaining, and multi-instrumentalist Crimmins also writes clever lyrics. Having an expanded playlist, the even turned a few covers into a gypsy jazz sound. The highlight was the band marching through the venue, over the bar, playing and dancing to Cajun Mardi Gras Song. Go see this band.