ASHLEY POND BAND’s “The Warning”

June 12th, 2009, 1:20 pm by Greg


(No label listed, 2009): There was an exquisite, slowly swirling sense of mystery that permeated Ashley Pond‘s 2007 debut, “Dala” on the Rev Records.

On her new sophomore effort (with now finds her banded together with bassist Sarah Clark and drummer Scott Smith), the air remains thick and dark. And that’s a good thing.

As strong as “Dala” was as a first effort, “The Warning” is better – more confident, deeper, richer – without sacrificing the debut’s captivating charm.

At her heart, Pond is a blues singer, but she only hits you over the head with it on the album’s title track, a John Lee Hooker-styled boogie that seems a bit out of place – or perhaps just too obvious and cliched – in the midst of the rest of this hypnotic album.

Pond’s attitude sports more sway than swagger, and as a vocalist she has much more in common with Cowboy Junkies’ Margot Timmins than a classic blues shouter like the late great Koko Taylor. That’s not to say that you won’t hear ’70s-styled blues-rock mannerisms sprinkled throughout – especially on “The Dirt” and the churning “The River” – but the trio makes them distinctly their own.

The Ashley Pond Band celebrates the release of “The Warning” with a party and performance at Valentine’s on Saturday, June 13. Joining in the festivities will be Space Lounge and Ben Karis-Nix.

With Rob Jonas celebrating the release of “Take Me Anywhere” downstairs at Valentine’s, Saturday night turns into a double-barrelled party.

And violinist Meg Prokorym will likely be getting a lot of exercise running up and down the stairs – she played on both Jonas’ and Pond’s CDs.


ROB JONAS’ “Take Me Anywhere”

June 11th, 2009, 2:51 pm by Greg

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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