Music

Burlap to Cashmere at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2

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Burlap to Cashmere headlined a set at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2 last night. We only discovered them exactly one week earlier, when they played the Next Charity Concert Series at Paulies in Pleasantville, NY.

BurlapToCashmere

Since that was my first time seeing them, it doesn’t make sense to repeat everything I said so recently, so if you don’t know them, please read last week’s post.

We were extremely excited to get a second helping of Burlap to Cashmere (B2C) so soon. There were some differences (as there usually are), and I’ll mention those. First, just a quick recap of the players, one of whom accounted for one of the differences.

Steven Delopoulos on acoustic guitar and lead vocals. In the last post I noted that his voice is very special. Last night it hit me, on many songs, there’s a Van Morrison quality to it that just hits my ears perfectly.

StevenDelopoulosStevenDelopoulosSinging

John Philippidis on acoustic guitar and harmony. Another outstanding performance on both the guitar (he’s crazy good) and excellent vocals. That said, given our specific seats, right up at the stage but as far left as can be (I was actually looking at the keyboards from behind them!), John’s guitar was the only instrument that was severely under-mic’ed. It might have sounded loud and proud elsewhere in Rockwood, but not at my seat.

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On the other hand, we were just a few feet from him, and the neck of the guitar was in full view throughout (before the show, I was worried that we might be staring at his back), so I was easily able to match up the weak volume of the guitar with his flying fingers, enhancing the sound in my head. Smile

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Theodore Pagano on drums. Another stellar performance.

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Chris Anderson on electric and upright bass and background vocals. Even though I couldn’t see Chris from my seat, I could hear every single bass note on both the electric and the upright. Outstanding! Lois had an occasional view and also got up to get some photos of Chris.

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Todd Caldwell on electronic keyboards and background vocals. Todd has been the regular keyboard player for B2C for the past year and half. We didn’t get to see him last week because he was rehearsing for an upcoming tour with Crosby, Stills and Nash. He was back in the saddle last night, and all of one foot away from me. He was fantastic, as he’s been every time we’ve seen him supporting Rebecca Haviland. He’s more familiar and intimate with the B2C material and I found his performance to be an upgrade from the previous week.

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So, in recapping the players, I highlighted the two most significant differences: 1) Johnny’s guitar was way too low volume for me (and it’s one of the biggest highlights of a B2C set) and 2) Todd Caldwell was a wonderful upgrade to the entire set.

In general, the sound at Paulies was way better. That night the system was brought in by BNK Productions. I noted that it was a system built for a larger place than Paulies, but they didn’t blast us out, so the sound engineer knew what he was doing. They were kind enough to comment on the post (about The Callen Sisters, who opened for B2C that night), so I now know who they are.

It’s quite possible (even probable) that it was purely my vantage point that caused the sound dropoff. On the other hand, I could hear the bass and keyboards perfectly, every note, so I just don’t know.

Another difference was that we got to bring our godchildren along. When I posted last week, I heard from both of our goddaughters that they were each big fans of B2C before their long hiatus. It was fun to take one of them, with her husband, to see B2C all these years later. A few notes into one of the songs, before any of the vocals came on, she leaned over to me and said “That’s the title track from their first album, Anybody Out There”. Indeed, she was correct. Smile

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Finally, this was a shorter set than the week before. Rockwood 2 had an unusual lineup of back-to-back ticketed one-hour sets. Amazingly, they accomplished the turnover more cleanly than I would have guessed, but largely because the band that was on before B2C seemed to play an exceptionally short set (unless they started much earlier than the listed time).

I really enjoyed seeing B2C again, and sharing the experience with our godchildren, but given the guitar sound issues, and our particular vantage point (not seeing Chris at all, for example), made the set less magical than the week before. No matter, the next time they play anywhere that I can get to, you can bet we’ll be there!

ChrisLaura

The set list was identical to last week, except that songs #1 and #10 are struck through, because of the shorter set. I wouldn’t swear that they got through 11 songs either, but this is the best I can do. Smile

SetList

Jesse Ruben at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2

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Jesse Ruben headlined a set at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2 last night. It’s been seven months since we’ve seen Jesse perform. The last time was also at Stage 2, covered here.

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The last show included a full band. Last night was (nearly) 100% solo. I was surprised, as Rockwood 2 tends to feature bigger sounds (many exceptions) and the one solo set that I saw of Jesse’s was at Rockwood 1.

Surprise aside, Jesse was great and the entire set was a joy to listen to. It’s nice to know that I won’t spend a second in the future thinking about whether to attend one of Jesse’s shows based on whether he’s solo or complemented by a band. Smile

Jesse opened the show with a comment that reflected the sentiment that he tweeted earlier in the day:

Jesse Ruben ? @jesseruben

twitter makes me forget that there are in fact other things happening on earth besides sxsw.

Amen brother. When you follow as many musicians as I do, your timeline blows up during the week of SXSW. In fact, since I follow a bunch of tech people too, the problem is even larger.

Jesse declared this set to be the Anti-SXSW show. Well, I would have accepted that, except that the single most important piece of information that I’ve gleaned from the billions of SXSW tweets is that there are more beards in Austin at the moment than there are in all other cities in the world, combined.

Jesse was sporting quite the beard himself last night. If he truly intended this to be the Anti-SXSW show, he should have shaved. Winking smile

The point of telling you all that (aside from having an excuse to praise Jesse’s beard) was to highlight Jesse’s stage presence, something I’ve written about glowingly twice before. He’s warm, funny, quick, without overdoing any of it. It flows and works.

So, I already told you that Jesse was great. In a few words, all of which are repetition from past posts, the reasons are:

  • He’s an excellent songwriter
  • He sings beautifully (at times really quietly, at times with intense emotion and volume)
  • He plays the guitar beautifully (most of the time rhythm, occasionally wonderful finger-picking)
  • He keeps the audience laughing (and thinking) between songs

JesseRubenSinging

In addition to playing a string of his hits (his word, delivered with sarcastic humility, though they should be hits), he invited one guest up to join him for a cover of Don’t Think Twice by Bob Dylan.

Alexis Babini joined Jesse and played the harmonica between verses. During each chorus, he looked like he was going to sing harmony as well, but he stayed just far enough away from the mic for that not have really happened from my perspective. That’s the only reason I added “(nearly)” when describing the show as 100% solo.

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There was a really nice crowd at Rockwood, so not every music lover ran to Austin this week. We’re very glad that we were part of it as well.

After the show, Lois asked Jesse for his set list. In fact, she just wanted to take a photo and return it to him. Before she could explain that, he ripped the page out of an actual book that he had written the set list in. The page ripped at the top left corner. Lois tried to paste a blank piece of paper in and fill in the missing piece of the first song title, but it came out worse/unreadable (in my opinion). The first song was Unbreakable, an absolutely fantastic song.

Here’s the set list:

SetList

Bryan Dunn Sweetheart of the Music Hall

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Bryan Dunn is releasing a new CD on April 6th, 2012. He’s performing a CD Release Show at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2 at 7pm. I’ll be there, you should be too.

It’s rare that I review CDs (before or after they are released). Mostly because I’m not a trained music critic/theoretician, nor a musician either. When I read reviews, they’re usually covering things I wouldn’t think to say, nor would I necessarily feel comfortable saying them even if I thought of it. Winking smile

So why bother reviewing this as-yet-unreleased CD? Because it’s worth it! Last Thursday we saw Jesse Terry play a show at Rockwood. Bryan happened to be in the audience and happened to bring a CD to give to Jesse. When Lois asked him whether he had some more on him, he did one and we bought it.

The last two lines of the post about Jesse’s show were:

Lois already listened to the CD and was blown away. I’ll be getting to it over the weekend.

Now that I’ve listened to it five times, I concur. End of review. Winking smile

Well, perhaps I could be coaxed to say a few more words…

The overall umbrella genre/feel of the CD is straight up Rock. By that, I mean no artificial DJ-like sounds to show off techno-wizardry, just excellent musicians making music.

That said, there is quite a variety of rock styles across the songs, including Classic Rock, Country Rock, Jazz/Swing Rock and perhaps a hint of Bluesy Rock thrown in to fool you. A couple of the songs could easily be in America’s Country Countdown, in my opinion.

All of that is actually secondary though, seriously. What separates Bryan from the pack are his (apparently) effortless lyrical masterpieces (song after song).

The lyrics are simultaneously sophisticated and simple. Huh? What I really mean are they are sophisticated but simultaneously accessible. Big words aren’t used to impress (and force us to look them up), they’re words that are more unexpected that paint a vivid image.

Since Lois and I are drawn to great lyricists, we know a lot of them. One problem that occasionally arises is that the songwriter will fall in love with a phrase, but can’t quite fit it in smoothly with the current melody and beat. The truly greats rework one or the other to make everything feel so natural that you wonder what came first, the lyrics or music. It’s like a marriage made in heaven.

If you couldn’t tell from the above paragraph, Bryan is in the latter category. The lyrics are so perfectly intertwined with the music that you can easily listen to every word while still getting completely lost in the music. Nothing jars you out of the trance with a phrasing that clearly doesn’t fit, no matter how clever it is.

I hesitate to pull out any specific lyrics. First, songs are contextual. Second, as specifically noted above, these lyrics are delivered married to the music (not that they aren’t also poetic in the stand-alone sense). Still, I’ll do it (under protest). This is the last verse in the song 3 Years On:

I have murdered minutes
But still there’s so much precious time to kill
The boy that she left waiting
I do believe he’s waiting for her still
I wrote her a letter on a stone
I don’t think I’m ever coming home

I’ve murdered minutes too…

One of the advantages of buying a physical CD is getting the liner notes (when an artist bothers to include them). We have all of the lyrics written out and Lois listened over and over with the lyrics in her hands and she continued to interrupt me while I was writing about Jesse, to tell me this line or that line that kept getting to her. Now I understand.

I’ll wrap up by saying that this CD was produced by Chris Cubeta. I only saw Chris perform for the first time last Wed night, but I’ve heard about what a great producer he is for a while (specifically with regard to the upcoming The Vanity Belles CD), and now I hear his work first hand.

For example, on Marlene, which has a lot of Swing elements to it, the use of the clarinet (Hideaki Aomori) fits perfectly. On other numbers he employs a trumpet or accordion (Michael Leonhart and JP Schlegelmilch respectively).

OK, I’m drifting into the territory that makes me uncomfortable, so I’ll just stop here. Come to Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2 at 7pm on April 6th and judge for yourself. Bryan will have physical CDs for sale there, so you can then experience what we’ve been enjoying for the past five days! Smile

Ceili Rain at Good Shepherd Church in Rhinebeck

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Ceili Rain performed at Good Shepherd Church in Rhinebeck, NY last night. This is the second night in a row that we’ve seen a group that most consider Christian music. There’s no doubt that the label is accurate (if you analyze their lyrics and message), but both groups are so much more, that compartmentalizing them is a mistake.

Here’s the difference between the two nights for us. When we saw Burlap to Cashmere, we had no idea what we were in for (nor did I remember that they flew at/near the top of the Christian Music scene). We attended because we love their bass player and discovered what we had been missing all these years.

With Ceili Rain, we’ve been fans for over 11 years, even though we’ve only seen them perform live twice before last night. We have a rule: if Ceili Rain has a show within a 2-hour drive of NYC, we’ll move Earth (and try to influence Heaven) to get there. Rhinebeck qualified, as it was roughly a 90-minute drive from our Westchester base. If you have a lot of patience, and any interest, you can read about how we discovered Ceili Rain in this post from nearly four years ago.

Neither group should be pigeon-holed. Aside from their message (which is as beautiful as you could want to listen to and embrace), they make music that is amazing on every level.

Bob Halligan Jr. is in a category that even the greatest songwriters rarely achieve. He’s prolific. For starters, here’s a 14-year-old article detailing his early career (he was already prolific then). He followed that up by penning 8+ additional CD’s after he formed Ceili Rain (Bob writes all of the songs). He continued to write for other groups as well. I believe that Bob has roughly 1,000 songs to his credit.

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You say, Hadar, why do you insist that I read so much? Can’t you make it easier for me to understand the magnitude of Bob’s songwriting achievements? OK, since you asked, just take a quick peek at this list of CD’s crediting Bob as a songwriter.

So he writes good songs, big deal. Why should you buy their CD’s? Because every musician on every song is exceptional on their respective instruments (yes, plural) and the production quality is outstanding. If you buy them, you’ll hear amazing musicians performing incredible songs (whether you buy into the message or not).

OK, so the CDs are good, big deal. Why should you drive two hours to see a show? Because Ceili Rain delivers a live performance that can only be described by one word: Joyous. Every time, every venue, no matter what they may have to overcome (last night’s performance was in a Church gym!, who cares, it was fantastic!).

Hadar, you’re finally going to describe last night’s show, right? Sure, but one last detail.

Lois called to find out if this show was open to the public. Yes, but she was told that it was part of a Youth Retreat. Cool, we like youths. Winking smile

Ceili Rain hit the stage (a very large one) exactly on time (8pm). They played for 2.5 hours with a 15-minute break. Their set list (not written down) was a great selection of their songs through the years, including my personal favorite (All the Lumber) and Lois’ (Love Travels, the closing number).

They played a medley of Irish/Celtic tunes (instrumental) two different times. When they did, step dancers (both professionals and extremely talented local amateurs) performed to everyone’s delight. The professionals were sisters, Christy and Leighann Kowalski. Their feet and legs moved so fast (and in perfect unison), that I don’t know how to adequately describe it.

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StepDancers

They played parts of three different classic rock songs, again showing their raw musician chops, breaking the stereotype that people may have of them. But mostly, it was Heavenly Ceili Rain music (figuratively and literally).

Each member of the band deserves as much praise as I can muster, so I’ll start with Bob, (who is mostly center stage), then I’ll cover the rest, left-to-right:

Bob Halligan Jr. Up top, I praised Bob’s songwriting. Obviously, he doesn’t come on stage and read his songs like they were poems. Bob is an excellent musician. Last night he played exclusively on the acoustic guitar, but we’ve also seen him tear up the keyboards. Still, what makes Bob special is his voice and his energy.

BobHalliganJrGuitar

Bob has a wonderful voice that can smoothly and seamlessly hit high notes that infuse the music right into you. He dances on stage and generally doesn’t let up for a minute. I consider Bob a music delivery system, that comes across live as well (actually, perhaps even better) than it does on the CDs.

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Because this was specifically a show put on as part of a Youth Retreat, Bob also paused a number of times to deliver very inspirational messages and guidance.

Burt Mitchell on penny whistle, flute, bagpipes, harmonica and light vocals. Basically, if you can blow on or in it, Burt can make it sound gorgeous. Burt kicks the show off accompanied only by a drum, getting the crowd worked up as he walks through the audience leading a procession which ends up with the full band on the stage.

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While every member of Ceilli Rain is a top musician, it’s Burt’s instruments (and his skill at every one of them) that really gives Ceili Rain their unique sound (that, plus Bob’s voice!).

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The fact that Burt wore a kilt only added to the authenticity whenever he played the pipes. Smile

Joe Davoli on fiddle. Joe is masterful on the fiddle (we own some of his music apart from his work in Ceili Rain, he’s that good). While you can easily pick out Joe’s work during any Ceili Rain song, when he and Burt combine for the long Irish medleys, their interplay is mesmerizing.

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Bill Bleistine on drums and vocals. I could easily copy/paste what I said about Bill the first time I saw him play (nearly three years ago). While every word I wrote then still applies (and was evident last night), since then, we’ve immersed ourselves in the NYC indie music scene (drowned is a better description than immersed). That has led us to discover a slew of NYC-based drummers that we simply can’t get enough of. And still, seeing Bill last night brought back the realization that Bill is in a rarified class of drummers.

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Rather than quote the entire rave from that first show, let me quote my closing line:

Whew. Magic, magic, magic, magic (and then some more magic).

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We had a lot of time to bask in the show’s afterglow on our long ride home. One of the many things we discussed was Bill’s drum play. I noted that Ceili Rain music, with it’s non-stop joyous (there’s that word again) beat, is about as perfect a set of music for a great drummer to let loose on. The corollary is that said drummer better be as good as can be, or the music will no longer feel joyous and perfect. Obviously, Bill is as good as can be.

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Kevin de Souza on electric bass. I fell in love with Kevin’s bass play (and energy) the first time we saw him. All of that was repeated last night, including another amazing bass solo that started out super slow and built to a masterpiece that any lover of a great jazz bass solo would be thrilled to have seen. As he was building, the rest of the band was joining in, making Kevin the focal point (essentially like a lead electric guitar).

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Raymond Arias on electric guitar and heavy vocals. Ray provides exceptional harmony with Bob on every song. At the same time, he’s ripping it up on the electric guitar, playing a number of styles and delivering high-speed leads when called upon.

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One of the highlights of a Ceili Rain show is when Bob interrupts the very long Irish medley to give every band member a turn at a solo (going across the stage in the order that I’m describing each of them). When their solo (an actual solo, with no one else playing) is over, the rest of the band joins in, with them still being the highlight (as I described with Kevin above). Then, whatever they were playing morphs back into the Irish medley. After a few more bars of the Irish tunes, the next soloist is called upon (by Bob pointing the neck of his guitar at them).

When it was Raymond’s turn (last in line), he mashed up two rock classics, the first of which was Wild Thing. While the others soloed on their instruments, Ray added fantastic vocals on both numbers, while wowing us with his guitar play.

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About 2/3’s of the way through the show, Bob called up a special guest.

Daniel Grimsland was recruited from Rhinebeck (or the surrounding area) to be one of the earlier bassists in Ceili Rain (I think he was with them from 2002-2005). He’s now part of a band called 3 (or so I discovered from Googling). He joined Ceili Rain for one song (I believe it was 40 Shades of Green), and of course, held his own, even though he’s been away from the group for seven years. Smile

Unfortunately, all of the photos of Daniel came out too poorly to post. In fact, apologies for the quality of a number of the photos. The gym lighting wasn’t the most conducive for Lois’ tiny point-and-shoot.

One of things that warmed our hearts last night was the audience. Aside from this being a Youth Retreat, it was really a family and community affair. There were little kids (dancing their hearts out!), all the way through to grandparents, enjoying and celebrating the music and their faith, together (that’s the key folks, none of us can have a meaningful life alone!).

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It didn’t take Ceili Rain to give them that spirit of family and community, but there’s no better way to come together than over a Ceili Rain show. Let’s think of them as a legal performance enhancing drug, for whatever you might otherwise enjoy doing!

After the show, we said a few hellos and goodbyes and hit the road. We got back around 12:35am (or actually 1:35am since I reset all the clocks before we hit the sack). Smile

BobHalliganJrHadar

Burlap to Cashmere at Next Charity Concert at Paulies

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Burlap to Cashmere headlined the Next Charity Concert Series show last night at Paulies in Pleasantville, NY.

StevenDelopoulosTheodorePaganoStevenDelopoulos

I’ve been hearing about Burlap to Cashmere (B2C) for a while now, all from the same person, all raves. I finally got to see them and only had to drive five miles to do it, discovering a wonderful local bar, Paulies, in the process.

Whatever I tell you about B2C won’t do them justice. There are bands that perform amazing shows. There are bands that write great songs. There are bands that integrate the two, which is where the magic happens. B2C has that, but they have more. There is a heart and soul to the songs and the performance that transcends even the magic, perhaps to something that borders mystical.

There are a number of groups who I or Lois have fallen in love with during their first song. There are even a subset of groups where we’ve both felt that way. B2C is now in that latter group, where independently, without looking at each other or discussing it, we both felt it, and knew the other did, instantly.

I encourage you to read their bio, because the story is incredible (both in the amazing sense, but also in the nearly incredulous one as well). Embedded in there is a description of their musical style on the new, self-titled CD:

On its first album in more than a decade, Burlap to Cashmere draws from all the influences that made it a touchstone band: Mediterranean and Greek rhythms, flamenco and classic American folk, to create a rich body of work that embraces the past while crystallizing its new creative vision.

I assure you that every element mentioned above existed in spades last night. We bought two copies of the CD and listened to it this morning, and I can also assure you that it all comes across fantastically on the CD as well. Get it, you’re welcome.

The truth is that the description above doesn’t really do them justice, even though it’s entirely true. At times, they play things that are reminiscent of great jazz. In fact, the guitar play reminded me a number of times of the awesome Acoustic Alchemy. Suffice it to say, it’s not necessary to categorize them, just to love and appreciate them.

Each person in the five-member band does their part so well, that the blend of sounds is far greater than the individual parts. The core band consists of three members. I’ll cover them first, then the two others.

Steven Delopoulos is the front man. He sang lead on every song and played the acoustic guitar beautifully, mixing rhythm with some fast and interesting finger-picking. I believe that he writes most (all?) of their songs. His voice is very special (and I’m thankful that I had the chance to tell him that after the show). There’s a quality that simply draws your ear to him, like a magnet.

StevenDelopoulos

John Philippidis on acoustic guitar and harmony. As special as Steven’s voice is, John’s (Johnny) guitar play is equally mesmerizing. The above-mentioned Flamenco/Mediterranean/Greek rhythms are mostly created by Johnny’s guitar play. For the most part, he’s a super fast, super interesting flat-picker. He did do a bit of finger-picking, but whatever he did, it was pure magic. Oh yeah, his harmonies with Steven are fantastic as well.

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Did you read the bio like I encouraged you to? If so, can you believe that Johnny was left for dead and was in a medically induced coma? He wakes up and can play the guitar like this? I can’t even fathom it…

Theodore Pagano on drums. He (I believe they called him Teddy) was wonderful. The type of rhythms that B2C creates calls for some very demanding drumming and Teddy certainly delivered. He also handled selling their merch, so he’s mutli-talented. Winking smile

TheodorePagano

Chris Anderson on electric and upright bass, along with background vocals. Chris was the person who has been raving about B2C to me (and I assume to anyone else who will listen). In addition to thanking him for this amazing discovery, I have to also thank him for his performance last night.

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Keeping up with Steven, Johnny and Teddy is no simple task. Chris was flawless on two electric basses and an upright one as well. He was really fast and really tasty. He also sang his heart out when the songs called for three part harmony.

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Erik Deutsch played electronic keyboards. Erik was filling in for normal keyboard player Todd Caldwell, who is touring with Crosby, Stills and Nash (no biggie, right?). Well, Erik is no slouch either. After doing his part in keeping up with the other four band members, he is jetting off to play at SXSW, followed by touring with Shooter Jennings (including an appearance on The Tonight Show).

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Here’s a shot of the full band:

BurlapToCashmere

We’ll be catching B2C again this Friday, March 16th 2012, at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2, at 9:30pm. It’s a ticketed show, so grab them now before they sell out (I already got ours, which is why I’m OK promoting it). Winking smile

Here is the set list:

SetList

The next two paragraphs are copy/pasted from my last post, about the openers from this show:

The entire evening was brought to us by Chris Bro. Chris hosts a twice-weekly radio show called NEXT on The Peak, a radio station based in White Plains, NY. He also runs the All Things Next site, which includes a regular podcast. Last night’s show was part of a series called the Next Charity Concerts.

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The show took place at Paulies. We’ve never been there before, even though we live five miles away (how convenient!). It’s a very nice local bar. The sound system was huge (I’ve never seen gear like this at a local bar), bigger than many full-time music clubs we attend. I don’t know if it’s a permanent fixture at Paulies or whether it’s brought in specifically for this series.

The Peak was represented by more than Chris Bro. Robert Bongiardino was also there. Here he is with Rebecca Haviland, whose song Collide With Me is played regularly on The Peak!

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And, just because she (and Chris) are so special to us, here’s another shot of Rebecca. Smile

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Update: Aaron Kershaw, a professional photographer, volunteers his time (and equipment) to shoot all of the Next Charity Concert shows. You can view the photos of all shows (watermarks included). You can republish the photos as long you don’t modify them in any way, including touching the watermarks. Here are the Burlap to Cashmere photos.

The Callen Sisters at Next Charity Concert at Paulies

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The Callen Sisters opened the Next Charity Concert Series show last night at Paulies in Pleasantville, NY. I’ll start with the sisters, then talk about Next and Paulies.

TheCallenSisters

We went to see the headliner (covered in my next post), so The Callen Sisters were a pleasant surprise on a few levels.

It’s not often that you walk into a bar and see a harp sitting on stage (hmmm, could be the start of a good joke!). If you do, you might think you’re about to hear classical music, or perhaps you think you’re about to have your interview at the Pearly Gates. Winking smile

Either way, I expected a very mellow opening set. Instead, the majority of the songs actually had a rock feel to them, with the harp blending in as an interesting sound. Each of the sisters sing lead and a lot of lovely harmonies together.

Beth Callen was center stage, singing and playing rhythm electric guitar.

BethCallen

Jessa Callen sang and played the harp. For all but one song, she sang at the harp (duh), which meant that she was invisible to me. On one song, she stepped to center stage, took Beth’s mic in hand (leaving the stand behind) and sang lead. That was the only song with no harmony.

JessaCallenHarpKennyShawJessaCallenBethCallenChrisAnderson

I enjoyed their set, but it wasn’t particularly special. That said, when I visited their site today, I streamed their current CD and enjoyed it. So, I encourage you to do the same and decide for yourself whether this is a group you want to follow, they may very well tickle your fancy.

They were supported by a great band, which accounted for some of the surprises mentioned up top. Left-to-right on stage:

Dan Castellani on electronic keyboards. In addition to being excellent on the keyboards, Dan arranged and produced their current CD, which as I mentioned above, is quite good. He’s clearly a very talented guy. We hadn’t heard about Dan before, but we know him now. In addition to the profile linked to his name, he owns Galactic Music and Audio.

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Kenny Shaw on drums. This was the biggest surprise for us. Having never heard of The Callen Sisters, we didn’t know who their band is. We see (and love) Kenny all the time. We just saw him last Sunday (with Abby Payne) and Monday (with Rebecca Haviland), so even when we’re not purposely stalking him, we end up stalking him (or was it purposeful? … mwuahaha). I already mentioned that it was mostly a rock-style set, so Kenny’s drums were driving the beat, perfectly.

KennyShawKennyShawDanCastellani

Chris Anderson on electric bass and light background vocals. The only reason we were at Paulies was due to Chris. He has been raving to me about the headliners for a long time (patience, the next post will be about them), and this was going to be our first opportunity to see them. I had no idea that Chris also played with The Callen Sisters. Score! All Chris all the time is just fine with us. Smile

ChrisAnderson

Here’s the set list:

SetList

The entire evening was brought to us by Chris Bro. Chris hosts a twice-weekly radio show called NEXT on The Peak, a radio station based in White Plains, NY. He also runs the All Things Next site, which includes a regular podcast. Last night’s show was part of a series called the Next Charity Concerts.

ChrisBro

The show took place at Paulies. We’ve never been there before, even though we live five miles away (how convenient!). It’s a very nice local bar. The sound system was huge (I’ve never seen gear like this at a local bar), bigger than many full-time music clubs we attend. I don’t know if it’s a permanent fixture at Paulies or whether it’s brought in specifically for this series.

In addition to a top sound system, the sound engineer had a sophisticated sound board, that he controlled remotely on his iPad. That made the overly long sound check (each group separately) at least entertaining to watch. Apparently, while it wasn’t used yesterday, the system is capable of enabling a musician’s iPhone to control their own monitor, so that they can set the sound levels without having to holler to the sound engineer. Pretty darn cool!

I’m sure we’ll be back to Paulies to see more shows, both Next Charity Concerts and others.

Update: Aaron Kershaw, a professional photographer, volunteers his time (and equipment) to shoot all of the Next Charity Concert shows. You can view the photos of all shows (watermarks included). You can republish the photos as long you don’t modify them in any way, including touching the watermarks. Here are The Callen Sisters photos.

P.S. We sat with some great folks who insisted on buying us drinks (thank you very much). I shocked them when I asked for a Chocolate Martini (perhaps my second favorite drink behind a well-done Frozen Margarita). I had to give a backup order in case the bartender didn’t know how to make one. Not to worry, the bartender at Paulies made me a perfect Chocolate Martini. Just another reason to return there. Smile

HadarGaryChocolateMartiniRobin

Jesse Terry at Rockwood Music Hall

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Jesse Terry headlined Rockwood Music Hall last night. Amazingly, it’s been just over seven months since we’ve seen Jesse perform. I was sick the last time he played Rockwood. Sad smile

JesseTerryGuitar

Since that time, Jesse has completed a new CD called Empty Seat on a Plane. It’s not officially released yet, but we have a digital copy, because we were smart enough to contribute to his successful PledgeMusic campaign (if you want the goodies early, you gotta help get them made!). According to Twitter, Jesse is in his car as I type, driving in NJ, to pick up the physical copies of the CD, so we’re getting closer.

In the eight previous times that we’ve seen Jesse, all but one have basically been solo shows (occasionally having someone sing harmony with him). He’s never disappointed as a solo artist, because his voice is fantastic (very pure) and he accompanies himself beautifully on the acoustic guitar (I particularly love his finger picking).

The exception occurred last time, when he paired up with Greg Mayo who accompanied him on both the piano and acoustic guitar for most of Jesse’s set at The Bitter End.

This time, Jesse had a core trio, adding percussion. He also had a guest vocalist on two numbers. While I will be very happy to see him solo any time, it’s clear that Jesse has created a very nice blend with this trio (perhaps inspired by recording the new CD with many studio musicians). The most important thing to note is that Jesse has remained 100% true to his personal sound. The trio supports and enhances him (subtly), it doesn’t change the core beauty of his music.

Jesse performed songs off the new CD, some off his debut CD (The Runner) and one of our favorites, Natural (which he finger-picked, solo). Jesse is a superb songwriter, but there are many great songwriters who will never write a song as good as Natural. Jesse has another one that’s in that league, Noise. I expect more of that caliber from him, since he continues to write at a furious pace.

The other members of the trio, left-to-right:

Jeremy Goldsmith on acoustic guitar and harmony. We just discovered Jeremy the night before, at the Full Vinyl mega-show next door at Rockwood 2. That night, Jeremy was on electric guitar. It turns out he’s equally good on the acoustic. He complemented Jesse with sweet leads throughout the set, and even harmonized on the guitar with some of Jesse vocals!

JeremyGoldsmithJeremyGoldsmithGuitar

Jeremy also sang some harmony, absolutely beautifully. More would have been just fine as well. Smile

James Williams on cajon and percussion. On his Facebook page, he lists his name as James Dwntwn Williams. Extremely impressive play on the cajon, shakers, tambourines (plural, he even switched between two of them in the middle of a song), bells strapped to his ankle, etc.

JamesWilliamsJamesWilliamsCajon

He had something that looked like a giant firecracker on stage. I don’t think he used it. At least I’m still here to tell the tale, if he did… Winking smile

JamesWilliamsFirecracker

There were a couple of hysterical impromptu moments between James and the guest singer, and James and Jesse. It would lose everything in translation, so I’ll leave it there. Basically, one of the reasons to go to live shows is to experience these types of moments. You laugh hard and naturally, and it cleanses many of the ills of being human.

Michele Riganese sang harmony on two numbers. Wonderful voice that blended with Jesse perfectly. She is a singer/songwriter on her own and plays around town, so we’ll likely get to see her perform her own material in the not-too-distant future.

MicheleRiganeseJesseTerryJamesWilliamsMicheleRiganese

Here’s the set list. Jesse noted that he rarely has one, and I believe him. He seemed to get uncomfortable having to stick to it, so don’t rely on this as the gospel order of what was played. Winking smile

SetList

Jesse’s back at Rockwood 1 on April 19th, at 6pm. Come on down and discover him for yourself. It turns out that both Jeremy and James are touring that week, so it will be a complete surprise to see who Jesse taps to join him that night. Whoever it is, I’m excited to hear them, because I know it will be special. Smile

You might think the following photo is of Jesse’s younger sister. You’d be wrong, it’s his mom!

Patty

Bryan Dunn was in the audience and we got to buy his new (still unreleased) CD. His CD Release show is at Rockwood 2, 7pm on April 6th. We’ll be there. Lois already listened to the CD and was blown away. I’ll be getting to it over the weekend.

HadarBryanDunn

Tony Maceli Full Vinyl Tribute to Talking Heads and Alanis Morissette at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2

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That title is a mouthful. Just typing it out has taken the wind out of me. But, it’s descriptive and accurate, so I’m going with it.

Note: There are no photos in this post yet. We’re running to Rockwood now for a 6pm show and I barely finished the words. Tomorrow morning I’ll add in a ton of photos and tweet the link out again, for those that might want to revisit the post to see it in its correct glory! I’ll delete this paragraph when I update the post with the photos.

Tony Maceli is one of the top bass players in the NYC indie music scene. Some months ago, he started organizing a regular mega-show called Full Vinyl. Last night was the first one we were able to attend, so I don’t know whether we’ve missed one or two. I also don’t know whether the format is always the same (or going to be). This show was at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2.

TonyMaceli

It was such a massive (fast moving) show, that I would be doing an injustice to multiple people if I tried to cover it the way I do normal sets. Most importantly, I’d be doing myself the massive injustice of sitting here and typing for the next few days. In other words, it isn’t going to happen.

I’ll give a high-level description, call out a few people (which is no slight on anyone that doesn’t get a separate shout-out), then do my best to at least give a link to every person who was on stage. There’s little doubt that I’ll miss someone, or not be able to identify someone (or their site). No omission is intentional, and whenever someone (cough, cough, Tony?) corrects me (public corrections are fine), I’ll update the post to reflect it.

The format last night was Talking Heads first (lead singers were all boys, with one very notable exception). To close out the Talking Heads portion, all lead singers return to the stage at the same time and each sings a piece of the finale, the uber-famous Psycho Killer. Each individual number had numerous band members swapping in and out on each song.

PsychoKillerFinale

Michelle Cassilas was the sole female lead singer during this part of the evening. She’s the head of the band Ursa Minor, writing their songs, singing lead vocals and playing guitar. She can certainly rock it out, so having her in the boys portion of the evening was just fine.

Here’s the set list for the Talking Heads portion. The order wasn’t strictly maintained because a few people (Jerry Fuentes and Derek James in particular) were still playing their set next door when it would have been their turn:

SetList1

Under each song you’ll see the band members that were slated to play (at least their last names). The first name listed was the primary lead singer for that song.

One male singer couldn’t make it due to illness (if Tony said who it was, I missed it). A last minute substitute was recruited, the amazing Robbie Gil. He’s not listed on the set list, because I think Tony already knew about the illness before he printed the sheets. I might be remembering this incorrectly, but I think that Robbie sang Burning Down the House, which has Greg Mayo listed as lead singer (which would have been a second lead for Mayo).

Tony Maceli opened the show. I missed most of his song because I was next door watching Jerry Fuentes and Derek James (I already posted about that show). A friend texted me when this show began and I waited until Jerry and Derek finished their current song to scoot over. I caught the last full verse of Tony singing.

TonyMaceliSinging

I then heard Tony sing a full verse during Psycho Killer. Folks, I’ve heard Tony sing before (rarely) and I praised him. Those previous times were nothing compared to last night. He really opened up his vocals and did a fantastic job. Perhaps he decided to put on these shows just to give himself a vehicle to sing for the rest of us. If that’s the case, I approve. Smile

On to the second half of the show. This time, the ladies were in control and the subject matter was Alanis Morissette. The format was the same, including all of the lads joining for the finale, Ironic, but you’ll notice that three of the woman sang two different songs on the lead. Here’s the set list for the ladies:

SetList2

I was never a Talking Heads fan, though songs like Psycho Killer are burned in my memory (was anything else played on the radio when that first came out?). Watching these people playing those 11 songs did not change that. For the most part, those songs don’t do it for me at all. But, watching these people play those songs (or practically anything), was truly thrilling. I don’t say that just because I love most of them (as people as well as musicians), but because the performance was simply that good. I still wouldn’t want to listen to any of it at home, without the energy in the room.

The Alanis Morissette portion, totally different story. Even though my eyes were droopy and I was yawning,  the second half was amazing, each song. It wasn’t that the women performed it any better than the men (they didn’t, both groups nailed their parts). It’s just that Alanis Morissette is a dramatically better songwriter for my taste.

Here’s the photo of the ladies’ finale:

IronicFinale

We left Rockwood at 2am (sheesh). Not for one second did I consider leaving early.

Before listing out as many people as I can find, I want to write out some incredibly subjective, almost silly thoughts. Not because I want to (or believe I can) sway anyone’s opinion. I just want to remember exactly how I felt and this is the best way. One more caveat. There wasn’t a single weak performance last night (seriously, I’m not sparing anyone’s feelings, you just have to trust me on that). So, by calling out anyone, it would be a major mistake on your part to assume that there was a vast difference between the people I’m mentioning and the people I’m not.

Last time, the following observations are entirely my personal opinions. I’m not casting them as facts. If these people delivered a level-10 performance, then the worst of the rest delivered a 9, with the average being 9.5+.

Josh Dion was the most thrilling male performer. When his song was done, I turned to anyone in my vicinity and said “Josh can only be described by one word: Excitement”.

JoshDion

Misty Boyce was mind-boggling in her lead, but she was also the primary harmony vocalist with both the males and females. She also played keyboards and melodica. I’ve seen Misty sing background with Bess Rogers before, and I’ve wanted to see her own sets (and came really close twice, including earlier this week), but this was my first time seeing her take center stage. She grabbed it and didn’t let go until we were all reduced to a puddle.

MistyBoyce

When her song was over, my friend leaned over and said: “Hard to imagine that she isn’t going to blow up one of these days!” (my friends and I are obviously gangsta, holla, in case you mistook that for being a bad thing!). Winking smile

Finally, let’s try to get everyone’s full name (with links if I can find them). I’ll do the male leads first, then the female leads, then the band members. And…… GO:

Tony Maceli, already covered. He also played bass on many of the songs, always his forte.

TonyMaceliBass

Greg Mayo, in addition to singing lead, Greg played electric and acoustic guitars on a majority of the numbers. He sang the most harmony by a male (even on the Alanis set). Even when he wasn’t singing in the mic, Greg was silently singing every word of every Alanis Morissette song. He’s clearly a big fan!

GregMayoSingingGregMayoElectricGuitarGregMayoAcousticGuitar

Scott Chasolen, in addition to singing lead, played the electronic keyboards on that song. He was great!

ScottChasolen

Jerry Fuentes, already discussed above, sang and played smoking lead guitar.

Derek James sang with Jerry Fuentes as part of Jerry’s number.

JerryFuentesDerekJamesMasonIngram

Michelle Casillas, also mentioned above. Great! (I’m going to stick with great, so no one reads into me trying to simply mix up my superlatives.)

MichelleCasillas

Chris Cubeta, I’ve heard about Chris for a while now, mostly as a producer (he produced the upcoming The Vanity Belles CD). This was my first time laying eyes on him and I was very impressed with his voice and guitar play. Misty Boyce sang harmony with him in near-lockstep. They sounded great together.

ChrisCubeta

Update:

Daniel Lanzetta was not listed on either set list, so I missed him the first time I posted this. When I added the photos, I realized my error. He joined Chris Cubeta and did the spoken parts of Once in a Lifetime (of which there are many).

DanielLanzetta

End Update.

Zach Jones, in addition to singing lead, also drummed for a good bit of each set. This is the first time we’ve ever seen Zach hatless. It turns out, that contrary to popular belief, he doesn’t get his superpowers from his hat, because he was great without it yesterday, both singing and drumming. Smile

ZachJonesSingingZachJonesDrumsZachJonesGuitar

Josh Dion. Already asked and answered! I’ll just mention that he was drumming while he was singing, but if you’ve heard of Josh Dion, then you probably guessed that already (you couldn’t have been sure, because he’s great on the keyboards too!).

JoshDionPaulAmorese

Robbie Gil, also mentioned above. Great!

RobbieGilSpencerCohen

Casey Shea not only was great (see, I’m not varying my adjectives in this section), but he also came off the stage, laid down on a table in front of it, and serenaded a woman within inches of her face. Let me think who that was… Oh yeah, it was Lois! Smile

CaseySheaCaseySheaJamieAlegreMattBasilePatrickFirthMistyBoyceCaseyShea

On to the female leads (remember, three of them sang twice, so their list will be shorter):

Jamie Rae, sang lead on two songs. She’s listed as Raeya on Tony’s set list. I think she recently started a new solo project under that moniker. Great!

JamieRae

Misty Boyce, I want to repeat what I said above, but I’ll restrain myself.

MistyBoyceMelodica

Lelia Broussard, sang lead on two songs. She also danced around a bunch and raised the already high energy level higher as a result. Great!

LeliaBroussard

Charlene Kaye, in addition to singing lead, also sang harmony with a few others. Great!

CharleneKaye

Emily Long, sang lead, and was one of the people that Charlene Kay sang with. The two of them are in a Guns N’ Roses cover band called Guns N’ Hoses. Emily was great!

EmilyLong

Mighty Kate (Katy Pfaffl), sang lead on one song. What a change-up from her own music which we saw just this past Monday (here’s my post raving about her). Great!

MightyKateMightyKateMistyBoyce

Julia Haltigan, sang lead on one song. She too was great! She was recently at Rockwood for her own set, and will be again next week, but beside that, she’s performing soon at The Kennedy Center in Washington. No biggie, I’m sure. Winking smile

JuliaHaltiganJuliaHaltiganSteveWilliams

Dallin Applebaum, sang lead on two songs. Great!

DallinApplebaumDallinApplebaumZachJones

Onward, to the unsung (get it?) folks who supported the above, in the most amazing fashion (I’m not going to repeat the ones who sang, but separately played an instrument on many other songs):

Patrick Firth on electronic keyboards and light vocals. He really wailed on the synth/organ sounds. Great!

PatrickFirth

Jeremy Goldsmith on electric guitar. We’re about to see him in a couple of hours, supporting Jesse Terry at Rockwood. I’m looking forward to seeing him again, because, wait for it, he was great last night! Smile

JeremyGoldsmith

Brian Killeen on electric bass. I had just seen Brian Killeen kill it on an earlier set supporting John Schmitt (post is here) and got to watch him do it again with this group. Great!

BrianKilleen

Ben Zwerin on electric bass. Great!

BenZwerin

Paul Amorese on drums. Great!

PaulAmorese

Matt Simons on electronic keyboards and light vocals. I just saw Matt Simons on the same set with Brian Killeen, supporting John Schmitt. Great!

MattSimons

Mason Ingram on drums. I’ve seen Mason once before, supporting Alec Gross. He was impressive that night. The music was radically different last night, with Mason being equally impressive. Great!

MasonIngram

Steven Elliot on electric guitar. Great!

StevenElliot

Rob Jost on electric bass. Great!

RobJost

Robert DiPietro on drums. I’m pretty sure they called him Rob last night, but the link says Robert, so I’ll stick with that. Great!

RobDiPietro

Both Robs (Jost and DiPietro) are in Ursa Minor with Michelle Casillas and they supported her when she sang lead.

Matt Aranoff on electric bass. Great!

MattAranoff

Ryan Vaughn on drums. Great! I ran into Ryan at John Schmitt’s set and told him that I personally blamed him for keeping us up way past our bedtime. Meaning, we really like catching sets when Ryan is drumming.

RyanVaughn

Spencer Cohen on drums and cowbell. Yes, Spencer is a master percussionist, including playing a naked cowbell, center stage! Great!

SpencerCohenCowbell

John Kengla on electric bass. Great!

Update: I just looked through the photos and not only can’t I find one with John Kengla, the song he was supposed to play on, Heaven, sung by Zach Jones, has Tony Maceli playing on it. So, no photo, and he might not even have been there. Oops.

Rob Heath on drums. Great!

RobHeath

Dan Tirer on electric guitar. Also great, but I’ll add that this was my first time seeing him, and I was particularly impressed. In fact, Lois, who doesn’t pay as much attention to certain instruments as I do, turned to me and commented on how good she thought he was.

DanTirer

Matt Basile on electric bass. Matt always delivers, great!

MattBasile

Jamie Alegre on drums. Great!

JamieAlegre

Steve Williams on drums. I saw Steve once before, supporting Julia Haltigan. He was great that night and again last night!

SteveWilliams

Jeff Litman on acoustic guitar. Great!

JeffLitman

Wow, can’t believe I got through the list, with or without mistakes. Yay me! Smile

Jerry Fuentes and Derek James at Rockwood Music Hall

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Jerry Fuentes headlined a set at Rockwood Music Hall. We’ve seen Jerry headline only once, over a year ago, so this was a show I’ve been looking forward to for a while.

Jerry’s finalizing a new CD as I type this. In fact, if you agree with me that Jerry’s talent should be shared with a wider audience, you can help by pledging on his PledgeMusic campaign.

What’s Jerry’s secret sauce? Amazing guitar player, excellent voice, unreal energy on stage, catchy songs. Not bad, right?

Jerry played the entire set (or rather the part that I was able to attend, more on that below) on an acoustic guitar. This was the first time I’ve seen him handle one, and it was putty in his hands. Not all lead electric guitarists can make similar magic happen on an acoustic, Jerry can.

JerryFuentes

He played songs from his upcoming CD. I’ve already pledged, so I’m tapping my fingers waiting for it to arrive.

I mentioned above that I’ve only seen Jerry headline once. That doesn’t mean that I’ve only seen him play once. He’s been the lead guitarist for another favorite of mine twice, each time delivering the goods.

Derek James is that person, and Jerry returned the favor by inviting Derek to join him, turning it into a duo show, but still Jerry’s songs.

DerekJames

Derek sang harmony (wonderfully), played the guitar (12-string acoustic) and a synth. I overheard someone in the audience saying the synth was preloaded with Chad Vaccarino’s voice, and only because I heard that, did I believe it to be true when Derek played it. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me.

DerekJamesSetup

I’m Derek James’ self-anointed #1 fan (whether he, or any of his other fans like it!), so it’s always a special treat to go to someone else’s show and get a taste of Derek in the process.

As much as I was enjoying the set, I had posted on the event page in advance that I wouldn’t be able to stay until the end. That’s because there was a blow-out show next door that I wanted to attend. Given the nature of the show, missing a single song meant missing one local superstar or another (and I wouldn’t know who in advance). To make matters worse, Jerry’s set started 30 minutes late.

I still got four full songs in (all excellent) before I got the text that the show next door had begun (thanks to my unpaid spy).

The super extra good news? Jerry and Derek came next door after their set and sang the lead on one of the songs in the blow-out show, with Jerry back on electric guitar. Jerry also accompanied others on the electric on a few additional numbers. Sweet!

John Schmitt at Rockwood Music Hall

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John Schmitt headlined a set at Rockwood Music Hall last night. We used to see John frequently. I knew it’s been a while (with a couple of near misses recently), but I was actually shocked when I looked it up and saw that it was seven months ago. That’s just crazy talk. Glad to have corrected that.

Let’s the get the important stuff out of the way first. Either someone stole John Schmitt’s beard, and a sizable portion of his girth, or we actually saw an impersonator last night (a pretty darn good one if so). Now we can get on with more mundane things, like the music…

JohnSchmitt

Since it’s been so long, let’s recap the three things that the real John Schmitt has in spades:

  • Great voice
  • Fantastic songwriter
  • Excellent guitar player

(that’s how I was able to judge the potential impersonator, since he possessed two of those qualities. Clearly, if he was stealing John’s songs, I don’t know if he himself is a good songwriter.) Winking smile

There were a number of firsts (for us) in last night’s set:

John introduced his brand new banjitar (that’s a six-string banjo, tuned like a guitar, that sounds like a banjo). It’s a great idea. Lots of excellent guitar players don’t have the time or inclination to study the banjo, but have a few songs that might benefit from that sound. That’s exactly what John did, to perfection.

John birthed two songs publicly (first live performance). Both songs were great. We look forward to hearing them more often and embedding them in our brains like we have the rest of his set list.

John played a solo cover of Cat Stevens’ How Can I Tell You. Wow! He was choked up introducing the song, because he’s currently in a long-distance relationship and singing this song is all too close to home.

John had a full band plus one guest. I knew it would be a full band show, but I admit to being surprised to see two of the members, as in super-delighted-happy surprised. Left-to-right on stage, followed by the guest:

Matt Simons on grand piano, electronic keyboards, and harmony. Surprise #1. We love Matt and we’ll be back at Rockwood on March 31st to see him perform his own stuff, but I didn’t know he’d be supporting John. In addition to being wonderful on the keys (as always), Matt sang a bunch of harmony with John, in particular on Going Back, since Lissa Farquhar (John’s regular singing partner) was very ill and couldn’t make it.

MattSimons

Quick commercial break (someone has to pay the bills here!). Winking smile

Matt just finished recording a new CD in Nashville. He told me last night that it won’t be available until June. But, in the meantime, he’s sharing bits of it with the world. On his Birthday, he tweeted the following:

Matt Simons ? @matt_simons

As promised, here’s some reverse birthday love! It’s link to download a free song from my new album! Hope you enjoy it!noisetrade.com/mattsimons

If I heard him correctly, next week he’ll be doing the same thing with a second song. I’ve already seen a few musicians tweet that they’ve heard the new CD and are in love with it. I can’t confirm or deny whether I’ve had a sneak peek at it, but if I did, I’m sure it’s fantastic. If I didn’t, then I completely trust the folks that said the same thing. Smile

MattSimonsJohnSchmitt

Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Brian Killeen on electric bass. Brian was surprise #2, also an awesome one. Even though Brian (one of our favorite bassists) played with John the last time we saw him, that too was a fill in job for John’s regular bass player, Pasquale Chieffalo. Brian was great at that last show, but he was even better last night. Buttery smooth and constantly laying down sophisticated bass lines throughout.

BrianKilleen

Mike Sutton on drums (still can’t find a good individual link). Mike is John’s regular drummer and he’s done a great job at every show that we’ve seen him play. Clearly, he knows John’s music cold and it shows.

MikeSutton

Scott Tofte came up to sing harmony and shake some shakers on two numbers. Beautiful job. He had to consult the lyrics on his iPhone, because he joined John for one of the brand new songs.

ScottTofteScottTofteShakersJohnSmittBanjitar

Here’s the set list:

SetList

I couldn’t stop laughing throughout 7 Drunken Nights.

Lots of familiar faces in the audience, which Lois couldn’t help but document for our memories (and now yours). Smile

JohnSchmittChadVaccarinoLinaIanAxelLeivParton