Sunday, March 27, 2016

Samantha Farrell: “September Sun” (2016) CD Review

Music has always played such an important role in my life, and I love getting turned on to new artists. It’s like opening up a new section of the world that I wasn’t previously aware of. And that’s how I felt when I first heard Boston singer/songwriter Samantha Farrrell’s new album, September Sun. It’s an excellent disc, on which Samantha combines elements of folk, pop and jazz, creating a wonderful sound, with her voice at the center of these tunes. And they feature some excellent songwriting. Check out these lines from “Long Night Coming,” for example: “There's no such thing as rock bottom/That darkness knows no depth/It likes the taste of you/And wants you as its pet/Where there is a hunger/That no man or food can quell.” All tracks were written or co-written by Samantha Farrell. In addition to lead vocals, Samantha plays flute and acoustic guitar. She also has some talented Boston area musicians backing her on these tracks, including Michael Valdez, Matt Murphy, Ryan Fitzsimmons and Danielle Miraglia.

The CD opens with its title track, “September Sun,” which begins as a beautiful, sweet and intimate folk song. And then the chorus has some pop elements, with good backing vocals by Ryan Fitzsimmons and Danielle Miraglia. Ryan Fitzsimmons also plays acoustic and electric guitars on this track, and Laurence Scudder plays viola. “I see the way the light hits your face/Shadows strong enough to leave a trace/A mortal's taste of eternity/September sun.” That song is followed by “Heavy Hangs The Crown,” the title of which calls to mind a line from Shakespeare’s The Second Part Of King Henry The Fourth: “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.” In this song, Samantha sings “You don't know a thing/About the trouble that I bring/Fall without a sound/Heavy hangs the crown.” She is joined on vocals by Erik White, who also plays acoustic guitar. Keith Van Tutt II plays cello on this track, an instrument I am always happy to hear. It’s interesting that Samantha opens the first two tracks on this disc with a line about something hanging heavy. In “September Sun,” the opening line is “All the world hangs heavy on the vine.”

“Lover’s Prayer” has something of a late-night jazz feel, which works perfectly with the lyrics. “And I don't want to sleep/Because that would be easy/I don't want to dream/Because it always brings me/To you.” She is accompanied by Mario Castro on saxophone, the instrument working almost like a second voice, a lonely late-night duet. Keith Van Tutt II plays cello on this track. “Lover’s Prayer” was written by Samantha Farrell and Michael Valdez, who plays piano. It’s followed by the only other track to have been co-written, this one by Pete Durning, who plays acoustic guitar on it. “Like A Leaf” has a lighter feel, and I like these lines, which end the song: “Oh my love, been waiting/For the light to change/For my life to change.” We can all relate to that idea, can’t we?

As good as these tracks are, for me the album starts to really get going with its sixth track, “Circles.” I love the combination of jazz and folk on this track. It has such a cool vibe, due in large part to Matt Murphy’s work on upright bass, plus some nice stuff on keys. There are even finger snaps. And check out these lines: “We spend our lives thinking in lines/Progress, a forward march through time/Always losing or winning/The serpent's tale is in its mouth/There's no way in, there's no way out/You wonder why and I'll keep spinning.” I love the way Samantha delivers these lines, there being something both close and playful in her voice. And then there is an interesting change in the second half of the song. Laurence Scudder plays viola on this track. That is followed by another of my favorites, “Song For Somnus,” which again has a great jazzy groove, with Matt Murphy on upright bass. This is just absolutely wonderful, and I love the piano. “My mind is playing tricks on me/And I can't get to sleep.”

“Tuesday Night” is another with a late-night jazzy vibe. Here are some lyrics many of us can relate to: “Working late again/On a Tuesday night/And the train's running late/She'd rather walk than wait/Feeling trapped inside/An accidental life/Still behind on the bills/Is this how life's supposed to feel.” But this song is also about the positive, magical effect of music, and I love this line: “On a Tuesday night/A certain song can save your life.” Mario Castro plays saxophone on this track, and Ahmad Hassan Muhammad is on keys. Samantha Farrell concludes this CD with “Some Crazy Dream,” a pretty folk song that feels like a reaching out to the listener. “You find out the hard way down/That no one really cares/A thousand fathers of success/An orphan when you fail/An embarrassment of riches/ To have someone waiting there.”

CD Track List
  1. September Sun
  2. Heavy Hangs The Crown
  3. Lover’s Prayer
  4. Like A Leaf
  5. You Are Gonna Break My Heart
  6. Circles
  7. Song For Somnus
  8. Long Night Coming
  9. Tuesday Night
  10. For Beauty’s Sake
  11. Some Crazy Dream 
September Sun was released on January 8, 2016.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Grahams: “Rattle The Hocks” (2015) Review

Last year The Grahams released their absolutely excellent Glory Bound CD. At the same time, a recording of live tracks was released. Titled Rattle The Hocks, it mostly features songs from Glory Bound, but also a few other tunes, including a cover of “City Of New Orleans.” There is also a short documentary film titled Rattle The Hocks, about The Grahams’ 2014 cross-country train trip during which the songs that would end up on Glory Bound really came together. The film was made by Cody Dickinson, and it includes footage of The Grahams recording a version of “Mama” at Sun Studio and singing “The City Of New Orleans” on the train. This album then is basically the soundtrack to that documentary. The tracks are recorded live, but these are not concert performances. The recordings are clear and the tunes are wonderful, making this a great companion piece to Glory Bound (a deluxe edition of which was just released).

It opens with “Griggstown,” a delicious, energetic country tune driven by Alyssa Graham’s vocals. The line that always sticks out for me is “I might have been your girl once, but you’re never going to be my man.” That’s followed by a really good rendition of “Gambling Girl,” the guitar making me think at times of some of that great early 1970s Rolling Stones country rock material.  And “Glory Bound” is a song I just can’t get enough of. I love these lines: “Wish I never spent a dime on menthol cigarettes/Wish I hadn’t written my rebellion on my lung.” This song, of course, takes its inspiration from Woody Guthrie and the trains, an important component of the album of the same name and of the documentary film.

“Tender Annabelle” is the first song on this CD to not have been included on Glory Bound, though a version of it is included on the new deluxe edition of that album. The version here has a good vibe and features some nice work on keys, as well as some playful moments by Alyssa on vocals. And this rendition of “Kansas City” is a whole hell of a lot of fun, the delightful addition of horns giving it a much different feel from the original version.

The version of “Mama” here is the one recorded at Sun Studio, and includes a very brief introduction (there is a bit more to it which you can see in the documentary). There is also just a bit of banter at the end of the track. I also really like this version of “Blow Wind Blow,” one of the most powerful tracks from Glory Bound. This is such a great song, and I love the guitars here.

Rattle The Hocks concludes with two songs not from Glory Bound. First they take “City Of New Orleans” and give it more of a New Orleans jazz flavor with horns and with the rhythm, which works wonderfully. It’s a joyful rendition. This song was written by Steve Goodman, but made famous by Arlo Guthrie. There is a bit of banter at the end. (I do wish the other version from the film was included also, the one that Doug and Alyssa sang on the train itself.) And then they do a rendition of “Big John” performed a cappella with several guest singers.

Track List
  1. Griggstown
  2. Gambling Girl
  3. Glory Bound
  4. Lay Me Down
  5. Tender Annabelle
  6. Kansas City
  7. Mama
  8. Biscuits
  9. Blow Wind Blow
  10. The Spinner
  11. City Of New Orleans
  12. Big John
Rattle The Hocks was released digitally on May 19, 2015, at the same time as the original edition of Glory Bound.

The Grahams: “Glory Bound Deluxe Edition” (2016) Review

So many albums are released each year, and sometimes something excellent manages to escape my attention. Such was the case with The Grahams’ Glory Bound, which came out last May and which I somehow never quite got around to. Well, no matter now, because I’m getting a second chance with the release of the new Glory Bound Deluxe Edition. And let me just say this is a phenomenal recording from a remarkable band. The Grahams are the duo of Alyssa Graham and Doug Graham, and on this CD are joined by folks like Ryan Engleman, Gabe Pearson, John Fullbright, Byron Berline and Dan Walker. So, if like me, you missed out on this CD last year, make a point of checking out the deluxe edition now. You will not be disappointed. It includes five new tracks, featuring some great guest artists. But since I neglected to review this disc last year, let me start at the beginning…

Glory Bound opens with its title track, and when this song kicks in, it’s like a speeding train of country glory and joy, featuring excellent vocals delivered with strength and abandon. “Wish I never majored in caffeine and solitude/Wish I never let them see my nasty attitude/Wish I could revoke all the insults that I flung/Lord, I wish I’d never done the things I did when I was young.” And the main line is “This train is glory bound,” referring to Woody Guthrie, a very good choice of people from whom to take inspiration. By the way, if you haven’t seen Hal Ashby’s 1976 film Bound For Glory, you should check it out.

“Glory Bound” is followed by “Gambling Girl,” a bluesy country gem that lets us know “You can’t trust a gambling girl.” I love the way they belt out the lyrics; there is no holding back. These guys will burst from your speakers into your room, so don’t listen to this one through some tiny computer speaker – it demands size. Also, I love the harmonica on this track.

“Blow Wind Blow” is a powerful track that in some ways is like a classic folk song, creating a compelling character and telling a great tale, with all the sincerity of the best of the genre. But it also has something of a modern feel, obvious in lyrics like “In 2003 he left for Iraq/I still feel him placing his hand on my back.” I love these lines, which open the song: “And I look in the mirror, it’s mother I see/All the worry and pain of raising me/Don’t know how I wound up where I used to be/But I look in the mirror, mother’s looking at me.” Plus, this song has a great reference to The Tragedy Of King Lear: they sing, “Blow wind blow, crack your cheek.” The line as Lear says it in the play is “Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!” (I go back and forth on this, but at the moment I’m of the mind that King Lear is the greatest work of literature, even better than Hamlet. What do you think?)

“Lay Me Down” begins with a mellow and sweet sound, which comes as a surprise after the previous track. Of course, Alyssa doesn’t completely hold back vocally, picking the moments to explode, and the moments to whisper. This is a wonderful song. “Take me out along the brink/Where I don’t need to think.” And then “Kansas City” comes on as a frantic, delicious country tune with a classic feel, and I love each moment when it pauses then kicks back in. There is some nice work on fiddle and guitar, and so much joy in this music. Grab anything within reach and spin it around the floor. Then “Mama” has a sweet country gospel feel.

“Biscuits” has kind of a cute sound right from the start, a relaxed folk vibe. This is a playful and fun tune. “If you’re tired of fishing, come on in my kitchen.” On my way! The original CD ends with a song about “Going home, going home, going home to the promised land,” which seems just about right. “Promised Land” is a wonderful tune. There is such joy and excitement in the music and especially in the vocal delivery. The energy contained on these tracks is amazing, and makes me think The Grahams must put on a damn good live performance.

And now onto the new bonus material from this deluxe edition…

The bonus tracks begin with a different version of “Glory Bound,” this one featuring Sara Watkins and Sean Watkins (from Nickel Creek), with Alyssa Graham and Sara Watkins trading verses, then singing together. “This heart may bleed, but it still gets me around.” Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. That is followed by a cover of Alejandro Escovedo’s “Broken Bottle” (a song which was included on his Gravity album). This is a gorgeous, sad tune sung with commitment and heartache. Check out these lines: “Outside is outside, that’s where I’ll be/I’ll be wrapped in the morning dew/Just to find you gone/So pour me a drink from a broken bottle/Fill my glass with the dirty water/What I’ve lost is gone/What I’ve gained has no name.”

The bonus tracks contain a different version of “Mama,” this one with David Garza and Suzanna Choffel. (By the way, David Garza produced these bonus tracks.) And hearing other folks singing lead on these tracks just makes it so apparent that these songs have a good and deserved chance of becoming traditional tunes, of having long lives outside of these particular recordings.

“Tender Annabelle” is a song not included on Glory Bound, but from the album Rattle The Hocks. This new studio version features John Fullbright, and is excellent. It has a dark, haunting vibe. The bonus tracks then conclude with “The Lonely Ones,” a tender and beautiful song featuring The Milk Carton Kids. “Goodbye, my friend/What a long, long road/Will you get back before we grow old?

Track List

Original Album
  1. Glory Bound
  2. Gambling Girl
  3. Blow Wind Blow
  4. Lay Me Down
  5. Kansas City
  6. Mama
  7. The Wild One
  8. Griggstown
  9. Biscuits
  10. Borderland
  11. The Spinner
  12. Promised Land
Bonus Tracks
  1. Glory Bound
  2. Broken Bottle
  3. Mama
  4. Tender Annabelle
  5. The Lonely Ones
Glory Bound Deluxe Edition was released digitally on March 25, 2016.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Ryan Rickenbach: “Stasis EP” (2016) CD Review

The story behind Ryan Rickenbach’s debut CD, Stasis EP, is an unusual one. Ryan started with music in his teens, but then turned to acting and moved to New York to pursue it as a career. Interestingly, he got a role in a musical titled Folk City about the music scene in 1960s Greenwich Village, and his preparation for that role, which included playing at small clubs, led him back to music. A description of the character he played, Brian McNamara, reads in part (from a casting notice): “Tall, lean, handsome country-folk guitar player/singer/songwriter from Oklahoma. He is a kind, rock-solid All-American type; arrives on Village scene driven to achieve success.” Apparently, he really identified with his character, and once the show closed he continued performing. And this led to the recording of his first CD, Stasis EP, on which he (like his character) plays guitar, sings, and wrote all the songs. He also plays harmonica. Joining him on this release are Cass Dillon on guitar and bass, John Badamo on drums, Robert Damato on keys and Craig Calo on bass. Cass Dillon also produced and engineered the tracks.

The CD opens with “Huck Finn,” which begins with a kind of classic, laid back country rock vibe. Seriously, you could place song this alongside some of the best of that early 1970s stuff, and it would fit well, Ryan’s voice having just the right quality as he asks, “Will I find you in the cold?” And then the louder sections have a more modern feel. “And some days I come to find/That the answers to my mind/Drift away with the snow/So it goes.” That’s followed by the title track, “Stasis,” which leans more toward rock in its energy. “I wish I knew what, I knew what to wish for/How about a reason to peel myself off the floor.”

“Solitude” has a sweet folk sound, just vocals and guitar, and is one of my personal favorites. Here is a taste of the lyrics: “Solitude/There is no other lover/You’ll carry me out of this world/You toil, you wait and waste all your time/While the eyes in the mirror say you're losing your mind.” Not bad, eh? And then “No Good Thief” is a playful, delightful, humorous song with a fun vibe. The lines “I don’t beg/I don’t borrow/I just steal” had me laughing aloud the first time I listened to this disc, and have made me smile each time since. I also really like these lines: “I will kiss your hand/And you will laugh/And then you'll know/How truly low low low/I can go.” This is another favorite of mine.

Ryan Rickenbach concludes the disc with “Faith,” which begins as folk, with guitar and vocals. Listen to the way he sings the word “Faith,” really digging into it, lifting it up, and holding on. The drums that then come in nearly two minutes into the song give it a strong, intense pulse that pulls you in farther. Ryan takes a risk near the end by reaching toward a sort of falsetto, but it works. This is a really strong track. “Shake all the hands/Of all the men/I used to be.”

CD Track List
  1. Huck Finn
  2. Stasis
  3. Solitude
  4. No Good Thief
  5. Faith 
Stasis EP is scheduled to be released April 1, 2016 on A-Frame Records.

Todd Coolman & Trifecta: “Collectables” (2016) CD Review

I was drawn to the new CD from Todd Coolman & Trifecta partly because of its title, Collectables. I am a collector. I’ve tried to deny this sometimes infuriating attribute of mine, but it’s no use. These days I collect CDs and records, DVDs and Shakespeare books. In the past I’ve collected baseball cards, Star Wars toys, Star Trek toys, rocks, coins and Red Sox memorabilia. (I’ve since divested myself of most of those items.) I also collect memories, writing and keeping set lists from concerts I’ve attended, as well as saving concert ticket stubs. These days a lot of folks don’t collect music the way I do. The physical item is still important to me, be it a CD or record. Having a physical connection to the music adds considerably to my enjoyment for some reason.

Anyway, I’m happy to add Todd Coolman & Trifecta’s Collectables to my collection. It, as you might guess, features some great leads on bass by Todd Coolman (as on “Funkallero”). And joining the jazz bassist are Bill Cunliffe on piano (you might have heard Bill Cunliffe’s work on recent releases by Lyn Stanley and Laura Perlman) and Dennis Mackrel on drums. This CD features mostly covers, but also a few originals (one written by Todd Coolman, one by Dennis Mackrel, and one by Bill Cunliffe). These tracks were recorded in July of 2015 at Skidmore College (where, incidentally, I briefly attended classes some time ago).

Todd Coolman & Trifecta kick off this CD with “New Rhumba,” a fun, high-energy tune written by Ahmad Jamal. This is one to get you tapping your toes, and it features some wonderful work on piano by Bill Cunliffe. This is one of my personal favorites. It’s followed by a mellower number, “We’ll Be Together Again,” written by Carl Fischer (this version obviously without the lyrics by Frankie Laine). This version has a more pronounced groove than I’ve heard in other renditions, and includes a good lead section on bass. The arrangement is by Bill Cunliffe.

I really like the version of Victor Feldman’s “Joshua” on this CD. It certainly doesn’t hurt that it includes two drum solos (definitely part of what makes this one of my favorite tracks). This is a tune that was first included on Miles Davis’ Seven Steps To Heaven (Miles also included it on his live album Four & More), and has been recorded by several artists in the years since then. The version here keeps moving, with all three musicians shining. That track is followed by Dennis Mackrel’s “With All My Love,” one of the CD’s originals (though written earlier). It has a mellow, Latin vibe.

“Jimmy Up, Jimmy Down” features a wonderful bass solo, as well as a drum solo, and a great swinging feel throughout. This tune was written by Renee Rosnes. And I love what this trio does with Harry Warren’s “Summer Night,” giving it a great energy (this track too has both a bass and drum solo). They then deliver a sweet rendition of the Gershwin tune “Isn’t It A Pity?” with Bill Cunliffe leading on piano.

Another highlight of this disc is “You’re My Everything,” written by Harry Warren. This is a very cool track, with some wonderful playing and a naturally delicious vibe. It is followed by “Out Of The Darkness,” an original composition by Todd Coolman, which a nice, relaxed, positive feel. The album concludes with another original composition, “Flatbush,” written by Bill Cunliffe, featuring a good lead on bass by Todd Coolman. I also like the rather unusual drum solo by Dennis Mackrel toward the end of the track.

CD Track List
  1. New Rhumba
  2. We’ll Be Together Again
  3. Joshua
  4. With All My Love
  5. Jimmy Up, Jimmy Down
  6. Summer Night
  7. Isn’t It A Pity?
  8. Funkallero
  9. Prelude To A Kiss
  10. You’re My Everything
  11. Out Of The Darkness
  12. Three And One
  13. Flatbush
Collectables is scheduled to be released May 20, 2016 through Sunnyside. The CD-release concerts are planned for May 25 and May 26, 2016 at Smoke in New York City.

PS: Speaking of collectables, I’d like to start a collection of furs. If anyone has one he or she would like to donate, I would certainly not be opposed to taking it off your hands.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Jon Svetkey, Jim Infantino and Brian Doser at Kiva House Concerts, 3-19-16 Concert Review

"Oh Massachusetts"
My appreciation for folk music and for singer/songwriters really began with four guys: Ellis Paul, Jon Svetkey, Jim Infantino and Brian Doser. They performed individually, of course, but collectively they were known as End Construction. My friends and I saw them as often as we could in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This was the time of the Old Vienna Kaffeehaus and of Coffee Kingdom. These were good times. The four musicians have done a few reunion shows over the years, but for one reason or another, I've missed them. But on March 19th, three of the four End Construction members got together for a special house concert in Billerica, Massachusetts, and I was able to attend.

They performed in the round, but for the most part everyone played and sang on the others' songs. They started at 7:39 p.m., and Jon Svetkey kicked off the first set with an excellent new song, "Matchbox Car." Before the song, he had mentioned how Jim Infantino is always writing impressive new material, so after the song, while introducing "We Got Nothing," Jim joked, "This is a song I wrote while Jon was playing that song." What a wonderful and unexpected treat to hear a couple of new songs to begin the show. These guys continue to write great material. Brian Doser then joked, "One of the reasons I like to go third is I like to figure out what I want to play." He decided on the beautiful "Waiting For The Moon."

One of Jon Svetkey's current projects is a band called The Loomers, and he played "Oh Massachusetts" from that band's Reeling Down A Road CD. (Toward the end of the first set he also played "Paul McCartney Got It Right" from that album, with the audience singing along.) Earlier in the evening some of us were reminiscing about various End Construction shows, and of course we ended up talking about the first tour (called "de-tour" to play off the band's name), just three shows in upstate New York. The third show was at a frightening town called Piermont, where every house had a yellow ribbon and a U.S. flag proudly displayed (this was in early 1991, the time of the first Gulf War). I took several photos of the town before the show, including photos of a cannon that was dedicated to God. So of course the line "cannons on commons" in "Oh Massachusetts" again reminded us of that time. In many ways this show brought me back to my late teens, when music first felt not only important but personal.

After "Oh Massachusetts," Jim commented, "That is a tricky song to follow," then said, "I'm not choosing well; I'm just choosing." I always appreciated Jim's wit and way with words in his songs, and the song he chose was "In My Cult" (during the soundcheck he had played part of it as "In My Coat," which a friend of his actually believed was the title), and the line "Of course the end is tragic" got a big laugh from the audience. And "Stress" was totally fucking hilarious. At the end of that one, Brian asked him, "How do you keep making that new?" Seriously. I can't even guess how many times I've heard that song, and Jim always manages to crack me up.

Brian Doser has become well known lately for entertaining children, and at this show he joked, "I'm like the pied piper of the north shore." His son Timothy then joined him on ukulele for an unusual and wonderful medley of "Over The Rainbow" and "Wonderful World." Brian also did a cover of "When The Red, Red Robin (Comes Bob, Bob Bobbin' Along)." And after playing "The Ballad Of Joe And Naz," he kidded that the song doesn't go over well with three-year-olds. Jim added that it was probably the television being broken in the song that bummed them out.  I like that song a lot, but perhaps even more interesting to me was a newer original tune, "Leah's Lullaby" (and yes, he talked about the earlier lullabies he had written, one of which is on the Resume Speed CD).

Of course, they did some of the old fan favorites, including "Dead End Street," "Television," "Tonight," "Been There, Done That" and "I'm Sorry (That I'm Not Sorry)." In the verse about music school in "I'm Sorry," Brian changed the line to "No no, uh uh, I'm going to be an international children's singer." Another highlight was Jim's "Prince Charming," a song that has always appealed to me. This rendition was also notable because Jon played mandolin on it. End Construction had always chosen some interesting songs to cover (you should do your best to track down a copy of their David Bowie medley), and at this show they played Talking Heads' "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)," Peter Mayer's "Holy Now" and Richard Thompson's "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" (and actually before the Richard Thompson song, Jon sang a little of Arlo Guthrie's "The Motorcycle Song").

And yes, in case you're wondering, they did mention the fourth member of End Construction a few times during the show. At one point Brian mentioned how they all tried writing epic songs, and in particular named Ellis Paul's "This Old Car." And they ended the night with a cover of Ellis' "3,000 Miles," with Jon on lead vocals.

Set List

Set I
  1. Matchbox Car
  2. We Got Nothing
  3. Waiting For The Moon
  4. Oh Massachusetts
  5. In My Cult
  6. Over The Rainbow >
  7. Wonderful World  >
  8. Over The Rainbow
  9. Dead End Street
  10. Free
  11. The Ballad Of Joe And Naz
  12. Paul McCartney Got It Right
  13. This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)
  14. When The Red, Red Robin (Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along)
Set II
  1. Holy Now
  2. Down Here
  3. Hope
  4. Leah's Lullaby
  5. Outside Home
  6. Television >
  7. Long Train Runnin' >
  8. Television
  9. Tonight
  10. Stress
  11. Been There, Done That
  12. I'm Sorry (That I'm Not Sorry)
  13. Prince Charming
  14. Embrace The Day
  1. 1952 Vincent Black Lightning
  2. 3,000 Miles
The show ended at 10:42 p.m. Here are a few photos from the night:

"Matchbox Car"
"Over The Rainbow"/"Wonderful World"
"Dead End Street"
"Holy Now"
"Down Here"
"I'm Sorry (That I'm Not Sorry)"
"Prince Charming"
"Prince Charming"

Ellis Paul at Memorial Hall, Milford, Massachusetts 3-13-16 Concert Review

Memorial Hall, Milford, MA
Memorial Hall was built in 1884, and is one of those great old New England buildings with a lot of character. The stone wall of the staircase going to the lower level makes you think of descending into a dungeon, and names of soldiers who died in the Spanish American War adorn the walls at the entrance to the building. The concert hall is upstairs, and on the walls are paintings of various battles. The floor is wood, and a piano is on the floor next to the audience, rather than on the stage. (I'm told they hold dance classes there during the week.) Basically, it's a wonderful place to see a concert.

Ellis Paul was in great form at the show there on March 13th, and his set had a lot of energy and a very positive feel. The audience there was incredibly enthusiastic, and seemed to know nearly every song he played, singing along. But the show actually started with a three-song set by Matt Zajac, who had won a contest by covering Ellis Paul's "Blacktop Train" (you can see his video of it on the Amped Up Promotions Facebook page). He did a couple of original tunes ("Lady In White" and "Brother Judas") and a Beatles cover ("Mother Nature's Son"). And then Gay Barboza did a set, which included some songs from her most recent CD, Work In Progress (including the excellent "Unbroken" and the title track).

Ellis Paul then took the stage at 8:18 p.m., kicking his set off with "I Ain't No Jesus." After that song, he said, "This is going to be a memorable night because we're at Memorial Hall." He added, "The jokes are free." He then went into a seriously excellent rendition of "3,000 Miles." This is a song he has played... well, a whole lot. But this was one of the best versions I've heard. It had a tremendous energy, and the audience sang along without being prompted or asked. The song felt fresh again. Ellis kept the energy up with "Kick Out The Lights." This is a song with an audience participation section, with both male and female parts, and at the beginning when Ellis began showing the male part ("Kick out the lights!"), the women joined in with their part ("Johnny Cash, Johnny Cash, Johnny Cash") without being instructed. No one seemed to need any prodding to join in. This was a crowd that was more than ready to sing along, and they actually sounded quite good.

At the beginning of "Maria's Beautiful Mess," Ellis Paul broke the song down into its components (as he had done at the show last month at McCabe's, though this time without reference to the Rolling Stones or James Taylor). This is another audience favorite, and the energy in the room was great. After that song, Ellis said, "I wonder what I'm going to do with that one when I'm ninety," and the crowd was not at all reluctant to offer its some thoughts and responses. "Drive-In Movie" was then dedicated to one of the audience members.

Laurie MacAllister (of the band Red Molly) joined Ellis for "Home." Before the song, Ellis asked to borrow a cell phone with a flashlight because the venue has no light aimed at the piano (the piano is located next to the first couple of rows of chairs). The cell phone light didn't quite work, but that was fine. Laurie sang the chorus from the stage, and it sounded wonderful. This was a really good rendition. After that, Ellis played a new song, "You Ain't From These Parts," a fun tune about local pronunciation of various towns, and this rendition included a special new verse about Massachusetts (which apparently he wrote just that day).

Ellis recently purchased a new guitar which he has named Sprocket. And he played that guitar on "Wasted," which he performed unmiked in the audience. He then returned to the piano for "Hurricane Angel." This time the two audience members closest to the piano held up their cell phones with the lights aimed at him. He then read "Thomas Edison" from his children's book, The Hero In You. In plugging the book, he suggested that audience members buy it for their children, grandchildren, nieces or "kids you've just abducted," which totally made me laugh. He ended the set with "The World Ain't Slowin' Down," another one which the audience sang along to.

Laurie MacAllister joined Ellis on vocals for the encore, a sweet cover of Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love." The show ended at 9:33 p.m. It was kind of a short show, but was absolutely excellent. And by the smiles I saw on others there, I think everyone had the same impression. People seemed happy as they headed out into the cool Sunday night air.

Set List
  1. I Ain't No Jesus
  2. 3,000 Miles
  3. Kick Out The Lights
  4. Rose Tattoo
  5. Maria's Beautiful Mess
  6. Drive-In Movie
  7. Home
  8. You Ain't From These Parts
  9. Wasted
  10. Hurricane Angel
  11. Thomas Edison
  12. The World Ain't Slowin' Down
  1. Make You Feel My Love
This was the first of what is intended to be a series of concerts at this venue, with national acts as headliners and local artists as supporting acts. I hope it is successful. This show certainly was. The folks that are running this venue are all serious music fans and are excited about bringing music to Milford. I definitely recommend checking out shows there if you get the chance. Memorial Hall is located at 30 School St., Milford, Massachusetts. Tickets for this show were $25.

Here are a few photos from the show:

Matt Zajac playing "Brother Judas"
Gay Barboza playing "Unbroken"
Ellis Paul playing "I Ain't No Jesus"
"3,000 Miles"
Laurie MacAllister singing "Home"
"You Ain't From These Parts"
"Make You Feel My Love"
"Make You Feel My Love"

Air Traffic Controller at The Sinclair, Cambridge 3-12-16: Photos

On March 12th, Air Traffic Controller held their CD release concert for Black Box at The Sinclair in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They played songs from the new release (including "Get It Over With," "The House," "What You Do To My Soul," "Water Falls," "Creature Of The Night" and "This Is Love"), as well as some older favorites (including "The Work" and "Ready Or Not") to a very enthusiastic and packed house. Johnson & McAuley (Alexz Johnson and Bleu) opened the show, taking us back to the 1980s with their sound. This was only their third concert, but you wouldn't have guessed that without Alexz mentioning it.

Here are some photos from the show (the first four are of Johnson & McAuley; the rest are of Air Traffic Controller):

Tickets for this show were $12. The Sinclair is located at 52 Church St. in Cambridge, Massachusetts (just a few doors down from Club Passim).

The Country Pleasures at Sally O'Brien's, Somerville 3-8-16

The Country Pleasures playing "Stewball"
I was turned on to Josh Lederman many years ago when my brother gave me a Josh Lederman Y Los Diablos CD (It's A Long And Lonely Time Until The Train Will Bring You Home, an album I highly recommend). From the opening of the very first track, "Four In The Morning," I was a fan. I saw that band several times at a bar called Tir Na Nog. They were one of the three best live bands I ever saw (the other two being the Grateful Dead and The Peak Show). And since the end of Los Diablos, I have enjoyed Josh Lederman And The Cambridge-Somerville All Stars (it was at one of that band's shows that I met the love of my life), and then last year I got to see Josh's then-new project, The Be Nice Or Leave Brass Band. Well, now Josh Lederman has an even newer project, The Country Pleasures, and while I was in Boston I had the pleasure of seeing them at Sally O'Brien's, across the street from what used to be Tir Na Nog.

The Country Pleasures are the duo of Josh Lederman on vocals, guitar and percussion, and Mark Earley on harmonica, vocals and guitar. They do some wonderful old blues numbers. The name, by the way, is a play on a bawdy joke in The Tragedy Of Hamlet (Hamlet playfully asks Ophelia, "Do you think I meant country matters?"). As I understand it, Josh remembered the line as "country pleasures," and thus the name. Well, on March 8th, The Country Pleasures began just after 8 p.m., kicking off the first set with Jimmy Reed's "Baby What You Want Me To Do" (also known as "You Got Me Running"). Afterward, Mark said, "We're gonna play a lot of songs in the same key for you," and Josh added, "I hope no one's allergic to the key of F." Mark then took over lead vocal duties on "Sugar Mama." He also did lead vocals and guitar on "Rooster Crowing Blues." For "Stewball," there was no guitar. Josh sang and played some percussion, while Mark played harmonica. It sounded great. They ended the first set with "Outside Woman Blues" (which is also sometimes called "Lose Your Money"). Josh introduced it: "This song's about losing your money but not losing your mind." Perhaps a narrow line separates those two, eh?

After a twenty-minute break, they opened the second set with "Bright Lights, Big City," and kept things fun with "Cornbread, Peas And Black Molasses." Josh then joked, "That's Doctor Mark Earley on the saxophone." In introducing "Old Jim Canaan," Mark said, "This is a hard song to sing and play at the same time." And yes, there was a false start. But after that, it sounded excellent. "How Long" and "Got You On My Mind" were also second set highlights. They wrapped things up with "You Gotta Move." This was a really good evening of music. And this, for me, is the best way to see a band - in a friendly, relaxed, intimate atmosphere, with a pint of Guinness in my hand. Those in the Boston area should try to get out to see The Country Pleasures.

Set List

Set I
  1. Baby What You Want Me To Do
  2. Sittin' On Top Of The World
  3. Death Letter
  4. Sugar Mama
  5. You'd Better Mind
  6. Step It Up And Go
  7. Long Way From Home
  8. Dark Road
  9. Stewball
  10. Walk On
  11. Rooster Crowing Blues
  12. Outside Woman Blues
Set II
  1. Bright Lights, Big City
  2. Cornbread, Peas And Black Molasses
  3. Rest Your Saddle
  4. She's Going To Her Lonesome Grave
  5. Trouble In Mind
  6. Old Jim Canaan
  7. That's No Way To Get Along
  8. How Long
  9. Little Children's Blues
  10. Got You On My Mind
  11. 'Fraid To Trust 'Em
  12. Crow Jane
  13. You Gotta Move
There was no encore. The show ended at 10:07 p.m. Sally O'Brien's is located at 335 Somerville Ave., in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Here are a few photos from the show:

"Sitting On Top Of The World"
"You'd Better Mind"
"You'd Better Mind"

Thursday, March 3, 2016

James Houlahan: “Multitudes” (2016) CD Review

Originally based in Boston, James Houlahan was a member of The Jody Grind and Dogs On Television. He released his first solo album in 2009, and soon after that made the move from Boston to Los Angeles. His new album, Multitudes, is his third solo release and it includes all original material, showcasing his impressive songwriting. There are some fantastic songs here, and in addition to vocals and guitar, James Houlahan plays Omnichord on several tracks. On this CD he is backed by Fernando Perdomo on bass, Mike Gattshall on drums and Esther Clark on backing vocals, with several wonderful guests, including Danny Frankel on percussion, Kaitlin Wolfberg on violin and viola, Danny T. Levin on horns, and Erik Kristiansen on pedal steel guitar. Check out the instrumental sections of “Mystery Earth Song” for a great example of what this group can do.

James Houlahan kicks off the new CD with “Fires Of Mercy,” a song with a very cool vibe, like a twisted, dark, personal carnival populated by ghosts, by apparitions. It’s a carnival where we are both barker and mark, and sounds like a delightful, lonesome waltz into hell. “Well, the moonlight tonight is like fire/Upon the dark face of the lake/Where I held you and drowned you and left you for dead.” This is one of my favorite tracks. It’s followed by “Delta Heart,” which has a much different feel, more positive and kind of sweet, kind of happy. It has a vibe that is part nostalgic, part celebratory. And the song takes on a groove you can dance to, with lyrics you might find yourself singing before too long (especially when Esther Clark joins in): “Out on the river, out on the sea/I dream of home, I dream of thee/And though my travels are far and wide/I carry you deep down inside.” And I love the horns! Oh yes, there is certainly a New Orleans flavor here that is wonderful. This is another favorite (and yeah, this is only the second track).

Then “The Rogue Song” is more in the country rock realm, with a bluesy edge. There is something really fun about this track, partly because of James Houlahan’s playful vocal delivery at times. It is from this song that the CD gets its title, and it’s actually a reference to Walt Whitman’s “Song Of Myself,” in which Walt writes: “Do I contradict myself?/Very well then I contradict myself,/(I am large, I contain multitudes.)” Here James Houlahan sings, “Do I contradict myself/Well, so let it be/Like the angels in the heavens I’ve got symmetry/Multitudes pouring out from every side/There’s a rumbling in the earth, there’s a music in the sky.”

Another highlight is “See Me Through,” a love song and road song that has a kind of sweet tone over a steady pulse and groove. “But she danced and smiled in my weary head all the way/She helped to pass the time, yes she did/Like a stowaway in my lonely heart where she slept.” “Morning Sun” is also a love song, a truly pretty song in the folk realm. I love the blending of male and female vocals here, giving the tune a less lonely feel than I think it would otherwise have. And “I hope that you don’t run from the darker side of me” is one of the best and truest lines of any song I’ve heard in a while.

I’ve mentioned this a couple of times before, but I really need to make a mix CD of songs titled “Home.” There are lots of them, and I still haven’t heard a bad one. James Houlahan’s “Home” is a sweet folk/country song, with some nice work on pedal steel. “And I finally knew when I saw you/That home is wherever you are tonight.” (If you want to hear some other good songs titled “Home,” check out tunes by Ellis Paul, Erica Blinn, Michelle Malone, The Evangenitals, The Spongetones, The Ides Of March, Joe Walsh, Iggy Pop and Anton Fig.) The album then concludes with “Joyful Circuit,” another beautiful love song.

CD Track List
  1. Fires Of Mercy
  2. Delta Heart
  3. The Rogue Song
  4. See Me Through
  5. Mystery Earth Song
  6. Morning Sun
  7. Marcy’s Lament
  8. Rock Star (Dedicated To The Ruined Heroes Of The Sunset Strip)
  9. Home
  10. Joyful Circuit
Multitudes is scheduled to be released on April 15, 2016.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Jerry Joseph: “By The Time Your Rocket Gets To Mars” (2016) CD Review

Singer and songwriter Jerry Joseph is having a pretty decent career. He’s put out quite a large number of albums, under his name as well as with The Jackmormons and Stockholm Syndrome. A lot of his songs, including “Climb To Safety,” “North” and “Second Skin,” have been performed by Widespread Panic. Last year he was inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame. And he seems to be constantly on tour. His new CD, By The Time Your Rocket Gets To Mars, features all original music, written or co-written by Jerry Joseph. These songs were begun while Jerry Joseph was teaching music in Afghanistan. He has excellent musicians backing him, folks like Mookie Siegel on keys, Jeff Crosby on guitar, Jason Crosby on keys, Steve Drizos on drums and Steven James Wright on bass. Steve Kimock (a founding member of Zero) joins him on one track.

The album opens with “Cosmic,” a rock song that begins slowly and builds to something quite good, a song about our connection to everything past and present and future, with the resulting message that you are not alone. “Interstellar music of the spheres/Running through your bones today/You are not alone today.” It ends on a very positive note, and is followed by “Giraffe,” which begins with drums, a good groove. This song really caught me by surprise. The line, “You said, ‘Quit your complaining, boy, become a giraffe’” made me laugh the first time I put this disc on, and made me pay more attention (I had been trying to take care of some things round my apartment while listening). This is an excellent song, one of my favorites, and it features Sikiru Adepoju on talking drum. You might know Sikiru Adepoju from his work with Mickey Hart. I got to see him perform with the Grateful Dead a couple of times in Oakland during the “Drums” segment.

Another of my favorites is “Supernatural.” It has a kind of easygoing groove, which I really like, with the vibe of a love song. There is a great emotional delivery to the vocals, particularly on the chorus, which is one of the things that make this track a highlight. That is followed by “Mars,” the song that gives the album its title, a title which I love, by the way. I thought it was a great title even before I learned its origin. But after reading how Jerry Joseph got the title, I appreciate it even more. His five-year-old son said he wanted to travel to Mars, and Jerry expressed some reluctance to see him go. His son then said, “You’ll be in heaven a long time before I get to Mars.” And that led to lyrics like, “And I’ll be long gone to heaven/By the time your rocket gets to Mars/Yeah, I’ll be circling in heaven/While you’re up there circling the stars to Mars.” This is the track that features Steve Kimock on square neck guitar.

“Run To Me” is for me another highlight, in large part because of its lyrics. This song’s opening lines grabbed me: “This isn’t the first time I’ve been told I was to blame/Everybody’s got a demon, at least yours has got a name.” Not bad, eh? I also like the feel of this song, and there is some nice work on guitar and keys during the instrumental section partway through. And check out these lines: “Somewhere on the left bank you told me to choose/But you decided for me, I see you wore your running shoes/Well, I don’t want to be the monster that makes you run away/I want to be the one you run to when you need to feel okay.” Then “One World At A Time” has a really good energy. Steven James Wright is on slide guitar, and Scott Law joins Jerry Joseph on guitar on that track.

The album concludes with “Fog Of War,” a sixteen-minute tune (hey, it’s almost exactly the length of the album version of “Terrapin Station”) that was also included on Jerry Joseph’s previous release, Istanbul/Fog Of War (it seems to be the same version). Scott Law plays guitar on this track, and Michael Lewis provides some vocals. It’s a good, bluesy jam, with lots of great work on guitar. “You say our love is an open door/You say our love is blind/But we stumble around in a fog of war tonight.”

CD Track List
  1. Cosmic
  2. Giraffe
  3. A Really Heavy Feather
  4. Supernatural
  5. Mars
  6. Light Of Stones
  7. Run To Me
  8. One World At A Time
  9. Brother Number One
  10. Fog Of War
By The Time Your Rocket Gets To Mars is scheduled to be released on April 15, 2016 through Cosmo Sex School.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

March 2016 Concert Calendar

I started this blog to let people know about all the good music that's out there. I only review CDs that I like. (The rest I leave to everyone else.) In addition, I try to keep track of where those artists are performing. So here is a list of a few concerts you might be interested in for the month of March, 2016. Most of these are artists that I've reviewed. I will try to add to this calendar whenever I can throughout the month.

March 1, 2016  (Tuesday)
Gaelic Storm  -  Birchmere, Alexandria, VA

March 2, 2016  (Wednesday)
Judy Collins  -  Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, MA
Gaelic Storm  -   Ram's Annapolis, MD
Popa Chubby  -  Iridium, New York, NY

March 3, 2016  (Thursday)
Judy Collins  -  Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, MA
Gaelic Storm  -   Ram's Annapolis, MD
Popa Chubby  -  Iridium, New York, NY
Keller Williams  -   Beachland, Cleveland, OH

March 4, 2016  (Friday)
Ruthie Foster  -   Ronnie Scott's, London, UK
Gaelic Storm  -    The Colonial Theatre, Phoenixville, PA
Brett Harris  -  Cat's Cradle, Carrboro, NC
Heartwatch  -  Rickshaw Stop, San Francisco, CA
Ellis Paul  -  Oklahoma Territorial Plaza, 780 N Main St., Perkins, OK  -  6:15 p.m.
Martin Sexton  -   Blue Ocean Music Hall, Salisbury, MA
Keller Williams  -  Newport Music Hall, Columbus, OH

March 5, 2016  (Saturday)
Dressy Bessy  -   Off Broadway, St. Louis, MO
Ruthie Foster  -   Ronnie Scott's, London, UK
Gaelic Storm  -    State Theater, Ithaca, NY
Brett Harris  -   Krankies, Winston-Salem, NC
Heartwatch  -   The Echo, Echo Park, CA
Rebecca Loebe  -   Red And Shorty's Acoustic Music Room, Dover, NH
Willie Nile  -  Club Passim, Cambridge, MA  -  6 p.m.
Willie Nile  -  Club Passim, Cambridge, MA  -  9 p.m.
Patrolled By Radar  -  Seven Bar, 224 Helena Ave., Santa Barbara, CA
Ellis Paul  -  Crystal Theatre, 401 W Broadway Street, Okemah, OK  -  8:00 p.m.
Martin Sexton  -   Ridgefield Playhouse, Ridgefield, CT
Keller Williams  -   Mercury Ballroom, Louisville, KY

March 6, 2016  (Sunday)
Heartwatch  -   The Casbah, San Diego, CA
Ellis Paul The Performing Arts Studio in the Norman Depot, 200 S. Jones Avenue, Norman, OK  -  7:00 p.m.

March 7, 2016  (Monday)
Antje Duvekot  -  Straz Center, Tampa, FL  -  7:30 p.m.
Gaelic Storm  -    Taft Theatre, Cincinnati, OH

March 8, 2016  (Tuesday)
Marshall Crenshaw  -  Tin Angel, Philadelphia, PA
Ruthie Foster  -    Salle J. Brel, Montigny-Le-Bretonneux, France
Heartwatch  -   Lowbrau, Sacramento, CA

March 9, 2016  (Wednesday)
Marshall Crenshaw  -   Stoltz Listening Room, Easton, MD
Gaelic Storm  -    Meyer Theatre, Green Bay, WI
Heartwatch  -   G Street Bar, Grants Pass, OR
Richard Shindell  -  Club Passim, Cambridge, MA
Svetlana And The Delancey Five  -   9th Note, Stamford, CT

March 10, 2016  (Thursday)
Buzzcocks  -  The Triffid, Brisbane, Australia
Steve Forbert  -  Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, MA
Ruthie Foster  -    La Bouche d'Air, Nantes, France
Gaelic Storm  -    Dubuque County Fairgrounds, Dubuque, IA
Heartwatch  -   Holocene, Portland, OR
Richard Shindell  -  Club Passim, Cambridge, MA
Melvern Taylor And His Fabulous Meltones  -  Toad, Cambridge, MA  -  7:30 p.m.
Keller Williams  -   Belly Up, Aspen, CO

March 11, 2016  (Friday)
Buzzcocks  -   The Factory Theatre, Sydney, Australia
Gaelic Storm  -    House Of Blues, Chicago, IL
Skylar Gudasz  -   Rock And Roll Hotel, Washington, D.C.
Brett Harris  -   WDVX Blue Plate Special, Knoxville, TN
Willie Nile  -  Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, MA
Keller Williams  -   Animas City Theatre, Durango, CO

March 12, 2016  (Saturday)
Air Traffic Controller  -  The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
Buzzcocks  -   Golden Plains, Meredith, Victoria, Australia
Cloud Cult  -   State Theater, Minneapolis, MN
Marshall Crenshaw  -   The Tin Pan, Richmond, VA
Gaelic Storm  -    House Of Blues, Chicago, IL
Skylar Gudasz  -   The Boot And Saddle, Philadelphia, PA
Brett Harris  -   Blue Canoe, Tupelo, MS
Heartwatch  -   Neumos, Seattle, WA
Willie Nile  -   The Linda, Albany, NY
Ellis Paul  -  Unitarian Universalist Church of Brunswick, 15 Pleasant St, Brunswick, ME  -  7:30 p.m.
Chris Trapper  -   Pittsburgh Winery, Pittsburgh, PA
Keller Williams  -   Vilar Center, Beaver Creek, CO

March 13, 2016  (Sunday)
Buzzcocks  -   Corner Hotel, Melbourne, Australia
Marshall Crenshaw  -   Tikvat Israel Congregation Synagogue, Rockville, MD
Glengarry Bhoys  -  Tupelo Music Hall, Londonderry, NH
Skylar Gudasz  -   Rough Trade, Brooklyn, NY
Ellis Paul  -   Memorial Hall, 30 School Street, Milford, MA  -  7:00 p.m.
The String Cheese Incident  -  Arlington Theater, Santa Barbara, CA

March 14, 2016  (Monday)

March 15, 2016  (Tuesday)
Gaelic Storm  -   The Palace Theatre, Greensburg, PA
Skylar Gudasz  -  The Middle East (Upstairs), Cambridge, MA  -  8:00 p.m.
Yonder Mountain String Band  - Pink Garter Theatre, Jackson Hole, WY

March 16, 2016  (Wednesday)
Buzzcocks  - Bodega, Wellington, NZ
Gaelic Storm  -   St. Andrew's Hall, Detroit, MI
Yonder Mountain String Band  -   Wilma Theatre, Missoula, MT

March 17, 2016  (Thursday)
Dressy Bessy  -   SXSW Showcase, Austin, TX
Gaelic Storm  -   Pabst Theater, Milwaukee, WI
The String Cheese Incident  -   Shrine Expo Hall, Los Angeles, CA
They Might Be Giants  -   Ram's Head Live, Baltimore, MD
Yonder Mountain String Band  -   Neptune Theatre, Seattle, WA

March 18, 2016  (Friday)
Marshall Crenshaw  -   Birchmere, Alexandria, VA
Antje Duvekot  -   Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, NY
Gaelic Storm  -   Wild Rose Casino And Resort, Jefferson, IA
Ellis Paul  Motorco Music Hall, 723 Rigsbee Ave., Durham, NC  -  8:00 p.m.
They Might Be Giants  -   Madison Theater, Covington, KY
Christopher Williams  -  Club Passim, Cambridge, MA 
Yonder Mountain String Band  -   Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR

March 19, 2016  (Saturday)
Antje Duvekot  -   Buffalo Friends Of Folk Music, Williamsville, NY
Gaelic Storm  -   Effingham Performing Arts Center, Effingham, IL
Jim Infantino, Jon Svetkey and Brian Doser  -  Kiva House Concerts, Billerica, MA -  7:30 p.m.
Josh Lederman And The Cambridge-Somerville All-Stars  -  The Plough And Stars, Cambridge, Ma  -  4:00 p.m. 
Rebecca Loebe  -   Gazebo House Concert, Austin, TX
Ellis Paul The Evening Muse, 3227 N Davidson St., Charlotte, NC  -  8:00 p.m.
They Might Be Giants  -   Turner Hall, Milwaukee, WI
Yonder Mountain String Band  -   McDonald Theater, Eugene, OR

March 20, 2016  (Sunday)
Marshall Crenshaw  -   Culture Center Theater, Charleston, WV
They Might Be Giants  -   Vic Theatre, Chicago, IL

March 21, 2016  (Monday)

March 22, 2016  (Tuesday)
Brett Harris  -   High Dive, Seattle, WA
They Might Be Giants  -   Slowdown, Omaha, NE
Yonder Mountain String Band  -   Van Duzer Theatre, Arcata, CA

March 23, 2016  (Wednesday)
Antje Duvekot  -  Club Passim, Cambridge, MA  -  7:00 p.m.
Antje Duvekot  -  Club Passim, Cambridge, MA  -  9:30 p.m.
Robben Ford  -  Tupelo Music Hall, Londonderry, NH
Brett Harris  -   Hotel Utah, San Francisco, CA
Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen  -  Hult Center, Eugene, OR
They Might Be Giants  -   Gothic Theatre, Englewood, CO
Yonder Mountain String Band  -   The Catalyst, Santa Cruz, CA

March 24, 2016  (Thursday)
Robben Ford  -  Tupelo Music Hall, Londonderry, NH
James McMurtry  -   Manship Theatre, Baton Rouge, LA
Ellis Paul The Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, 300 Main Street, Old Saybrook, CT  -  7:30 p.m.
Yonder Mountain String Band  -   The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA

March 25, 2016  (Friday)
Brett Harris  -   McCabe's, Santa Monica, CA
James McMurtry  - Sheldon Concert Hall, Saint Louis, MO
Willie Nile  -   Lee's Palace, Toronto, ON, Canada
Yonder Mountain String Band  -   Crystal Bay Club Casino, Incline Village Crystal Bay, NV

March 26, 2016  (Saturday)
Antje Duvekot  -   Red And Shorty's, Dover, NH  -  8:00 p.m.
The Howlin' Brothers  -   Bluegrass Underground, Cumberland Caverns, McMinnville, TN  -  1:00 p.m.
Josh Lederman And The Cambridge-Somerville All-Stars  -  The Plough And Stars, Cambridge, Ma  -  4:00 p.m. 
James McMurtry  - Kentucky Country Day Theater, Louisville, KY
The Nields  -  All Souls Unitarian Church, Brattleboro, VT
Willie Nile  -   Lee's Palace, Toronto, ON, Canada
Patrolled By Radar  -   Cinema Bar, Culver City, CA
Ellis Paul  -  Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, MA
They Might Be Giants  -   El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
Yonder Mountain String Band  -   Belly Up, Solana Beach, CA

March 27, 2016  (Sunday)
They Might Be Giants  -  Belly Up, Solana Beach, CA

March 28, 2016  (Monday)

March 29, 2016  (Tuesday)
They Might Be Giants  -  Rialto Theatre, Tucson, AZ

March 30, 2016  (Wednesday)
Yonder Mountain String Band  -   George's Majestic Lounge, Fayetteville, AR

March 31, 2016  (Thursday)
Svetlana And The Delancey Five  -    Club Bonafide, New York, NY
They Might Be Giants  -  Stubb's Outdoors, Austin, TX  
Yonder Mountain String Band  -  Cain's Ballroom, Tulsa, OK