LIVE: Mother Falcon & Ben Sollee @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, 10/22/15

November 4th, 2015, 4:00 pm by Greg


Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
Video by Tim Reidy

It started out with an unaccompanied accordion introduction by Tamir Kalifa. A handful of other instruments gradually crept in, and then Matt Krolick uncorked a high-flying trumpet fanfare that heralded the proper kick-off of the song “Naked and Alive.” Up front, mandolinist Claire Puckett and bandleader/12-string guitarist Nick Gregg strummed hard and sang the chorus that included the lyric “We do what we want ’cause we look like we should.”

Indeed, the mega-talented indie-orchestral band Mother Falcon can do whatever they want. And the lush dance-pop of “Naked and Alive” – think ’80s bands like ABC or maybe Spandau Ballet, but with real strings rather than synthesizers – summed up only one facet of what they can do.

Making their Local 518 debut at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall before a small but enthusiastic crowd, the sprawling, 14-piece Austin-based collective was a seamless fusion of rock and classical music that defied definition. Terms like “chamber pop” or “symphonic rock” just don’t do them justice. They’re really in a league all their own.

Mother Falcon has teamed up with Kentucky-born singer-songwriter-cellist Ben Sollee for the Fall Migration Tour, pulling selections from both of their catalogs, and their joint Troy concert confounded whatever expectation you may have brought into the hall. There was no opening act, as Sollee the the Falcon folks played together for most of the two-hour performance, although each had their own spotlight numbers.

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LIVE: Ben Sollee & Daniel Martin Moore @ The Linda, 3/9/10

March 15th, 2010, 4:30 pm by Greg

Cheyenne Marie, Daniel Martin Moore, Dan Dorff and Ben Sollee

Cheyenne Marie, Daniel Martin Moore, Dan Dorff and Ben Sollee

Ben Sollee is a musical monster, and, of course, I mean that in the best of all possible ways. He’s a classically trained cellist, who in recent years teamed up with the eccentric, utterly charming banjo-gal Abigail Washburn. Together they’ve made several Nippertown appearances at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (opening for Doc Watson) and The Egg (opening for Abigail’s band Uncle Earl).

He’s also a member of the Sparrow Quartet – which includes Washburn, fiddler Casey Driessen and a banjo player by the name of Bela Fleck – who have played at The Egg and the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival.

His latest project is a collaboration with fellow Kentuckian singer-songwriter Daniel Martin Moore, who made his debut in 2008 with “Stray Age” on the venerable indie rock label Sub Pop.

Together, Sollee and Moore recorded the album “Dear Companion” – with Jim James of My Morning Jacket handling the production chores – in an effort to raise awareness about the mountaintop removal process of extracting coal that continues to this day in the Appalachian Mountains.

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