Posts Tagged ‘Americana’

LIVE: Winterpills @ Valentine’s, 6/18

Friday, June 19th, 2009

What do you when you’re a band on the road rolling into a new town, and the members of the band nearly outnumber the members of the audience? It happens all of the time, of course. It’s just that nobody likes to talk about it.

Off on a tangent –

I remember being as sad and embarrassed as hell when I went to Valentine’s to see Jeff Buckley’s Nippertown debut back in June, 1994. There were no more than two dozen people in the audience. Despite the lack of an audience, Buckley and his band delivered a totally mesmerizing performance.

Chatting with him at the downstairs bar afterward, I apologized for the lack of a crowd. He signed a photo for me that’s still hanging on my home office wall, inscribed, “Thank you for the write-up, Greg. The crowd is just right. No foolin’. Sincerely, Jeff Buckley.”

Back to the story at hand –

Northampton’s Winterpills approached a similar-sized crowd at Valentine’s on Thursday with a similar attitude, despite the fact that they’d played the Palace Theatre as the opening act for Cake just a few months earlier. They delivered a marvelous performance at Valentine’s, even after attendance dropped into the single digits and stayed there.

Winterpills were undaunted. Part marvelous Americana folk quintet, part swirling dream-pop band, part flat-out rockers, they charged ahead with a deliciously well-rounded 70-minute show that ranged from finger-picking folk ballads (Flora Reed’s exquisite delivery of “Burning Hearts”) to pure-pop delight (the almost Association-esque vocal fuguing of “Cranky”) to the full bore rockin’ of “Threshing Machine.”

But in order to amuse themselves, the band was working with a secret game plan, which vocalist-guitarist Philip Price revealed before their third song. “We’ve decided to change our setlist tonight and play all of our songs alphabetically,’ he said. “We’ve finished the A’s and we’re venturing into the B’s.”

No joke. Winterpills paraded through the alphabet song-by-song.

Here’s the setlist:

A Benediction
And Then (Miracle Legion cover)
Beesting
Broken Arm
Burning Hearts
Cranky
Folded Cloth
Gentleman Farmer
June Eyes
Laughing
Threshing Machine
Want the Want
We’ll Bring You Down
You Don’t Love Me Yet

Matthew Loiacono joined in on backing vocals for “Beesting,” as well as the rest of the show.

Matthew also served up a tantalizing nine-song solo set, his first public performance utilizing a sampler. He had a solid grip on his new technology, though. From the opening volley of “I Would Keep You” (from his new album of musical miniatures, “Penny Riddle”) through to his closer, “Only Memory” (from his previous album, “Kentucky”), he showcased a broad range of dynamics, building elements of funk, prog-rock and unadorned feedback into his mandolin workouts.

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BUDDY AND JULIE MILLER’s “Written in Chalk”

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

chalk
(New West, 2009):
They’ve been making great music individually for more than two decades, but surprisingly enough, this is only the second collaborative effort from the king and queen of the Americana prom. They channel the Band on the nostalgic, opening “Ellis County” and then branch out to the dangerous blues rumble of “Gasoline and Matches,” the heartbroken balladry of Don’t Say Goodbye and much, much more – all of which is simply first rate. Guest vocalists by an A-list of fans and friends including Emmylou Harris, Robert Plant and Patty Griffin.

Buddy and Julie Miller: Written In Chalk

Be Here Now: Rhythm on the Ridge

Friday, June 12th, 2009

It’s difficult to come by a better bargain than the Rhythm on the Ridge summer music festival at the Maple Ski Ridge in Rotterdam on Saturday, June 13.

Organized by J. Peter Yakel of the band Flood Road, the acoustic-roots-bluegrass-Americana-folk fest features sixteen local and regional musical acts from nine different counties on two different stages. It lasts for eight hours – 10am-6pm. Admission is just $10 – with two dollars off if you bring along a canned good or two. Children under 12 are admitted free.

And it all goes to help benefit the Regional Food Bank.

Here’s the schedule:

THE RIDGE STAGE
10am: Happy Balky and the Good Livin’
11am: The Stoddard Hollow String Band
12noon: Ramblin Jug Stompers
1pm: Three Quarter North
2pm: Fairview Avenue
3pm: The Sweet Cider Trio
4pm: The Hill Hollow Band
5pm: Flood Road

THE LODGE STAGE
10:15am: Roland “The Bard” Vinyard
11:15am: Kevin Wayne
12:15pm: Emerald Dawn
1:15pm: Technicolor Trailer Park
2:15pm: Cavanaugh & Kavanaugh
3:15pm: Tom Keller
4:15pm: Larry Meyerhoff & Bailey Quinn
5:15pm: The Bentwood Rockers

In addition, the fest also hosts several workshop sessions including a songwriters’ workshop headed up by Deb Cavanaugh at 11am and a mandolin session with Mr. Eck and Dan Johnson at 2pm.

ROB JONAS’ “Take Me Anywhere”

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

No, he’s not one of the long-lost Jonas Brothers.

Americana singer-songwriter Rob Jonas is about to uncork his sophomore CD, “Take Me Anywhere,” with a release party at Valentine’s on Saturday, June 13. Sharing the bill with Jonas will be Sumac and Jo Henley.

While Jonas is best known around Nippertown as a solo acoustic performer, he’s gathered a strong collection of musicians in support on this 12-song disc. Bassist Frank Moscowitz, drummer Steve Candlen, vocalist Katie Haverly, as well as guitarists Albie, Troy Pohl and J.V. Abbey lent their considerable skills to these recordings and the results are impressive.

All but one of the tunes are Jonas originals (the other, “Calm Before the Storm,” was penned by Candlen), and they’re all pretty solid works, often echoing the John Mellencamp brand of heartland rock laced with a bit more shuffle ‘n’ twang. If there’s a drawback to the album, it’s that Jonas’ vocal efforts don’t always live up to his songs and the arrangements.

At the CD release party, Jonas will actually be pulling double-duty. In addition to leading his own band (Moscowitz, the Black Fuel’s Albie and Vox Celeste drummer Pete Sheehan), Jonas will also be playing keyboards in Jeff Burger’s band Sumac.

Admission to Saturday’s celebratory bash is $10, which includes a copy of Jonas’ new disc.

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