Posts Tagged ‘Fred Rudofsky’

LIVE: Willie Nile @ The Linda, 5/16/15

Friday, May 29th, 2015

Review by Fred Rudofsky

His songs have a deep sense of history and fervent hope for the future, but something else also is for certain: Willie Nile inhabits the world of live performance like no other. He’s dialed into the now, as his welcome return to The Linda showed on a recent Saturday night.

Old fans, some from as far away as Toronto, and the newly converted got the full depth of Nile’s canon of work, which dates back some 30-plus years. Joined his talented band of brothers – bassist Johnny Pisano, drummer Alex Alexander and guitarist Matt Hogan – Nile brought energy and passion, as well as candid stories and about many of the songs, throughout a two-hour set.

“Hear You Breathe,” from his 2010 masterwork The Innocent Ones, blended romance and a propulsive rhythm, a fine showcase for Nile and Pisano’s harmonies. The Penny Lane-like images of “Live on Bleecker Street,” punctuated by Nile’s left leg kicks, kept the mood uptempo. “You make me feel like I’m at home!” shouted Nile to the appreciative audience before dedicating an anthemic “Innocent Ones” to the people of earthquake-stricken Nepal. “Heaven Help the Lonely” from 1991′s Places I’ve Never Been got a good number in the crowd up and dancing, with Hogan channeling a blend of Richard Lloyd and The Edge in a series of chiming, melodic solos on his black Telecaster. Setting aside his Stratocaster for a weathered acoustic, Nile sent out his delicate ode to love, “She’s Got My Heart,” to his three granddaughters.

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LIVE: Hamell On Trial @ the Low Beat, 4/9/15

Monday, April 27th, 2015
Hamell On Trial

Hamell On Trial

Review by Fred Rudofsky
Photographs by Ed Conway

Hamell on Trial, the one-man dynamo, brought his arsenal of brilliant songs, disarmingly funny jokes and stream of consciousness asides, to the Low Beat for a memorable set opening for Bloodshot Bill. It was a peaceful Thursday night riot few will ever forget.

Plugging his ’37 acoustic into an amplifier stack taller than he was, Hamell introduced himself by applying a one-two squeegee wipe to the audience’s occluded third eye with “A Little Concerned, That’s All” (a wild metaphysical ride, for certain) and the grotesque but all-too-true drug stories of “When You are Young,” set to an indelible Yiddish melody and sung off the microphone to draw the audience in. “I’m velcro for some weird really shit,” quipped Hamell, before he offered up, “Seven Seas,” a vivid ode to how he found his beloved guitar in a pawn shop.

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LIVE: Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds @ Club Helsinki, 1/16/15

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015
Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds

Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds

Review and photographs by Fred Rudofsky
Additional photographs by Timothy Reidy

A chilly mid-January night in Hudson did not have a ghost of a chance of preventing a full house from throwing it down with Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds at Club Helsinki.

It was a Friday night of perpetual wow moments – grooves and solos so sneaky they could untie your shoe laces; and vocals so sultry that heatstroke was imminent. As for the songs, they ranged from deep soul and funk to holla-to-your-mama blues and hip-hop with a dash of reggae and New Orleans second line strut thrown in for good measure.

Based out of Brooklyn, the seven-piece band led by singer extraordinaire Arleigh “Sister Sparrow” Kincheloe hit it and didn’t quit for over two hours. Opening with “Crawdaddies” was a masterstroke, setting a tone that the party would not wait. Phil Rodriguez (trumpet) and Brian Graham (baritone sax) opened the tune, Jackson Kincheloe cranked up the blues harp, and Sister Sparrow was in full got-ya mode, dancing and singing with gusto. The place went nuts. Shifting gears to a slow, bluesy cadence, the band dug into “Don’t Be Jealous (Just Me and the Fellas)”, and the soul testifying had the crowd singing along. Three new songs from the forthcoming album – “Sugar,” “Catch Me If You Can” and “We Need a Love” – brought a dash of disco, some slide guitar-meets-harmonica blues, and Ann Peebles-styled soul testifying respectively.

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BEST OF 2014: Fred Rudofsky’s Top 21 Albums

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

happiest

By Fred Rudofsky

1.) Hamell on Trial: The Happiest Man in the World

2.) Ian McLagan & the Bump Band: United States

3.) Phil & Dave Alvin: Common Ground: Play and Sing the Songs of Big Bill Broonzy

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LIVE: Nick Lowe’s Quality Holiday Revue @ The Egg, 12/19/14

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015
Nick Lowe and Los Straitjackets (photo by Ed Conway)

Nick Lowe and Los Straitjackets (photo by Ed Conway)

Review by Fred Rudofsky
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk, Ed Conway

Fittingly, the concert of 2014 – Nick Lowe’s Quality Holiday Revue – closed out a year filled with tremendous live music events in Nippertown. The sold-out night was tinged with a bittersweet vibe, though.

The gregarious spirit of Ian McLagan, who passed away on the eve of the tour earlier in the month, was present in conversations in The Egg’s lobby. (In October, McLagan told me after his remarkable set at The Linda about how much he was looking forward to a tour with his Yep Roc label mates: “Can you believe it? Nick Lowe! Los Straitjackets! Me! What a revue it’ll be! Albany’s in for a treat!”).

Minutes before the show, Eddie Angel lamented, “I never got a chance to meet Mac, but I loved his music and what he meant to so many bands.”

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LIVE: Peter Case @ the Low Beat, 9/12/14

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014
Peter Case

Peter Case

Review by Fred Rudofsky
Photographs by Al Goldberg

Peter Case wowed a small but fervent crowd on a recent Friday night at the Low Beat in Albany, but you weren’t there. What gives?!

In a 100-minute performance, Case would have weened you from a pathetic addiction to an iPhone and/or reality television, cured your blues, and whet your thirst for the many robust beverages the intimate Low Beat offers that put your squeaky clean fridge-full of light beers to shame. You, however, chose a night in. (And it wasn’t even a school night, which is, by the way, the ultimate cliched cop-out for not going out to support live music). You should have sprinted over to this one, because, as Case put it so well in his opening song, “Who’s gonna walk your crooked mile?”

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LIVE: Hamell On Trial @ the Low Beat, 9/6/14

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Review by Fred Rudofsky

Armed with a trove of songs, paintings for sale, and bawdy jokes (including a couple told by his son, Detroit) unlike those of anyone else on the planet, Hamell On Trial put on a dynamic Saturday night show at the Low Beat.

An extended break-neck rhythm pattern established the tension of a shaken universe in “A Little Concerned, That’s All,” a key song from Tough Love. Next, Hamell joked that he would be featuring a 45-minute interpretive dance number, but chose instead to sing off-microphone the bizarre yet true trio of drug-related tales of “When You Are Young,” set to an indelibly bouncy Yiddish folk melody. “Seven Seas,” a staple of his live show for many years, offered newcomers to Hamell On Trial a chance to hear the story of the vintage acoustic guitar he bought one day from Buzzy on Lark Street. Some of Hamell’s most beloved songs -”Blood of the Wolf,” “Hail,” “Inquiring Minds” and “Bill Hicks” (the latter by request, thank you) were written on it and featured in the set.

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LIVE: Jeffery Broussard & the Creole Cowboys @ the Music Haven, 8/3/14

Friday, August 15th, 2014
Jeffrey Broussard & The Creole Cowboys

Jeffery Broussard (photo by Stanley Johnson)

Review by Fred Rudofsky
Photographs by Rudy Lu and Stanley Johnson

A recent Sunday evening crowd with an affinity for roots music got a double-dose of the good stuff at the Music Haven in Schenectady’s Central Park.

Ramblin Jug Stompers, local heroes of traditional jug-band music, got the feet tapping and hands clapping with their fine opener, “Mountain Dew.” Mister Eck’s lively mandolin propelled “Jug Band Music,” coaxing percussionist Will Bill to sing (and even whisper) like a mercurial carnival barker. Bowtie and Mister Eck played five-string and four-string banjos (“a patented duel banjo attack,” mused the latter) for a spirited “Pistol Packin’ Mama,” which was followed by guitarist Cousin Clyde’s mournful “A Man of Constant Sorrow.”

A delicate, swinging instrumental, “Frypan Jack Enters into Heaven” (from Hobo Nickel) was a fine showcase for Bowtie’s banjo and Cousin Clyde’s synchrony. Will Bill put aside his various percussion instruments for some soulful country harmonica during “Blues in the Bottle,” a showcase as well for Mister Eck’s robust vocals and resonator ukelele playing. No doubt hearing the freight train to their next destination, RJS closed their set with tight harmonies on crowd-pleaser “Old Plank Road,” a touchstone of the band’s live performances since its formation in 2006.

Jeffery Broussard & the Creole Cowboys brought the exuberant sounds and rhythms of zydeco from Louisiana for over an hour and a half. With a toothpick lodged in the right corner of his mouth, Broussard sang with a hearty voice in English and French and played his blue, white and red accordion masterfully. The crowd’s lack of familiarity with many of the songs – very few titles were announced – did not matter given the energy levels on the faster ones and the glorious ache of romance on the slow waltzes and two-steps. People young and old began dancing; by the end of the show, the area in front of the stage was crowded with happy dancers. Good will and good times never sounded so natural.

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