Aplscruf's Music Blog

Diary of a Married Groupie

Stay Tuned for Interview with David Corley on No Depression

I was just offered a chance to interview David Corley for No Depression this week. Stay tuned for more details. His debut album, Available Light is brilliant, so I’m looking forward to spreading the news.  Meanwhile, check out his new video of his single, “Easy Mistake”, listen to his album on Bandcamp and purchase your own copy.  Support this talented artist!

March 22, 2015 Posted by | Americana, Concert Season 2015, David Corley | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

David Corley. Available Light.

aplscruf:

I can’t stop listening to this album called Available Light by David Corley. Please see the review by Blabber’n’Smoke and take a listen. Just ordered the CD via Bandcamp today.

Originally posted on Blabber 'n' Smoke:


It’s not often that one comes across a debut album from a 53 year old. It’s even rarer for that album to be a stone cold cracker, an instant classic (if such a thing exists), an album that immediately rewards and then gets better on repeated listens. Well, David Corley has achieved this with Available Light, ten songs of experience and at 53 Corley has a lot of experience under his belt. Raised in Lafayette, Indiana, Corley attended the University of Georgia leaving at the age of 20 after a series of “ecstatic visionary and mystical experiences” if we are to believe the biography. There followed 30 years of wanderlust and odd jobs coupled with a voracious reading and writing habit. Following cardiac problems he returned to Lafayette which brings us up to date and to the album.
Produced by Canadian Hugh Christopher Brown Available Light is an album that…

View original 375 more words

March 19, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Doug Seegers Inspires at Tractor Tavern

I just posted a blog on No Depression regarding Doug Seegers’ show on February 22. Authentic Country. Check it out here:

http://nodepression.com/live-review/doug-seegers-inspirational-authentic-country-tractor-tavern-seattle

March 4, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Will Kimbrough and Brigitte DeMeyer Hang Out in Portland and Seattle Feb 4-6, 2015

Will Kimbrough and Brigitte DeMeyer at Doug Fir Lounge, Portland

Will Kimbrough and Brigitte DeMeyer at Doug Fir Lounge, Portland

I’m tired. It’s Deja Vu all over again. Didn’t we just do this last year?  Will Kimbrough brought Brigitte DeMeyer along to The Northwest this time to promote her new album, Savannah Road. Will and Brigitte collaborated on this soulful collection of 13 songs. Will’s backing vocals and harmonies blend so well with her sultry voice.

The week before, they toured California with other gigs scheduled in Oregon and Washington; a cancellation sent them home to Nashville for a few days before resuming their tour in Portland and Seattle. Pat and I were tasked with driving them back up to Seattle after their Portland gig at The Doug Fir Lounge. Of course, when I say “task”, I mean it was truly our pleasure to transport our musical heroes around Portland and Seattle.

Brigitte DeMeyer

Brigitte DeMeyer

The audience at Doug Fir was supportive and enthusiastic. We were thankful that quite a few people showed up on this Wednesday night; the show didn’t start until 9:00.

Unfortunately, Brigitte caught a bug on her way over from Nashville and started to lose her voice. She sang a few beautiful songs from Savannah Road and Rose of Jericho, but yielded to Will to finish out the show. They usually take turns showcasing their own music and playing duets.

Will Kimbrough

Will Kimbrough

Will’s setlist included songs from Sideshow Love and Willie Sugarcapps as well as songs from older albums (not in order–I wanted to sit back and enjoy the show this time around and not scribble in my journal):

Sideshow Love / Mr. Lee / Mud Bottom / Trouble / Let The Big World Spin / I Want Too Much / Diamond in A Garbage Can / Goodnight Moon / Godsend / Another Train / Wash and Fold / Horseshoe Lake / Piece of Work

I’m sure there are some I missed, but that gives an idea of the liveliness of the set.

The next morning, we packed up the truck with gear and the five of us, including our friend Lori (whose birthday party Will played last year).  We headed to Bellevue, Washington.  They were scheduled to appear on a radio show 3:00 at Bellevue College.  Traffic and a slow draw bridge increased our drive time by about a half hour.  We barely made it, but the program directors quickly got them ready for broadcasting.  Check out the audio here, about 26:40 min into the broadcast. http://kbcsweb.bellevuecollege.edu/playlist/player/?code=201502051500&hidesel=true

Will and Brigitte at KBCS Radio, Bellevue College

Will and Brigitte at KBCS Radio, Bellevue College

I am so impressed by the way they both can just go with the flow in these crazy, stressful situations. The whole trip seemed down to the minute everywhere we went. Will and Brigitte just sat right down, plugged in and started the show. Amazing. When they warmed up with a quick sound check, Will belted out “Trouble” and I watched the radio crew’s faces light up and their jaws drop to the floor.  Yeah. We know.

Will was on point and played comic relief to Brigitte, whose voice was now a whisper.  She spoke a little about her new album and let Will lead with three songs: Trouble, (Willie Sugarcapps), Mud Bottom (Willie Sugarcapps) and Emotion Sickness (Sideshow Love). They were going to end the show there, but had a little more time. Brigitte helped him as he read lyrics off his phone for Mud and Moss, his Birthday song for Lori last year. We had a blast watching them and trying to keep from laughing aloud in the studio’s living room (it was located in a small house). Ethan Anderson from Massy Ferguson is also an instructor at the college. He joined us briefly, but had to get back to class. We were happy he showed up to support this fantastic duo.

We then headed out across I-90 to Seattle where, after a snafu at the Hilton with reservations, we had about 15 minutes to stuff Will and Brigitte into a taxi and get them to the Royal Room in Columbia City for sound check. We finished getting ready while we waited for another friend, Kenny, to join us. We took Uber in to the Royal Room and were pleased to walk in and see lots of people we knew and a full dining room.

Will and Brigitte at The Royal Room - Columbia City (Seattle)

Will and Brigitte at The Royal Room – Columbia City (Seattle)

Brigitte allowed Will to run the show this night, as she needed to rest her voice. She did join him for a few songs and backed with her guitar and sang for a few minutes.

Will was the funny man tonight and kept us entertained with stories about his dad, growing up a Democrat in Alabama (he and his friends who moved away are lovingly referred to as escapees) and other anecdotes from his full and fascinating life.

Will

Will

But the music was foremost, and once again he blew us away. He uses a little Regal guitar from the 1930’s, which is small enough to take with him on the plane. He made that thing sing, and he raked over the frets with his copper slide to whoops and applause from the crowd.

Brigitte accompanying Will as he flies into a solo

Brigitte accompanying Will as he flies into a solo

Besides playing tunes from Willie Sugarcapps and Sideshow Love as he did the previous night, Will dove deep into his prolific catalog and tested some new songs for a future record:

Philadelphia, MS / Diamond in a Garbage Can / Goodnight Moon / Godsend / Horseshoe Lake / Glory Be / Big Sister / I Don’t Like It / Star / another about his dad called I Hear Your Voice, and an improvised Gotta Pee song for Lori and Kenny when they stepped out for a few minutes. He also made another attempt at a few verses of Mud and Moss which cracked everyone up. Here are the original lyrics to the version he played in Bellingham last year:

Lyrics for "Mud and Moss" written that afternoon!

Lyrics for “Mud and Moss” written that afternoon!

Will at Royal Room

Will at Royal Room

Will played for almost three hours to an elated audience.  It was the best show I’ve ever seen him play.

We were honored to be a part of this short tour.  Now, it’s time to rest and recover before heading out to another show.

February 7, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Will Kimbrough and Brigitte DeMeyer tour California, Oregon and Washington!

Will Kimbrough at Slims, San Francisco.  Photo Credit: Jacob Knight

Will Kimbrough at Slims, San Francisco. Photo Credit: Jacob Knight

I’m so happy to announce that Nashville singer/songwriter Will Kimbrough is coming back to The West Coast, for the third time in just over a year.  Last time, he came in June with Rodney Crowell and Jedd Hughes.  This time, he’ll bring Brigitte DeMeyer, another Nashville-based singer/songwriter whose sultry voice and genre-crossing Americana songs soothe the soul.

Take a listen:

Check the links above for tour dates–California end of January, Oregon and Washington early Feb.

I’ll see you in Portland on Feb 4 and Seattle Feb 5.  California and Southern Oregon friends, please clear your calendars and hit a show or two.

January 12, 2015 Posted by | Brigitte DeMeyer, Concert Season 2015, Doug Fir Lounge, The Royal Room, Will Kimbrough | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Best Show of The Year II: Los Straitjackets and Deke Dickerson at The Tractor 11.21.14

Pete Curry of Los Straitjackets

“Pedro” Pete Curry of Los Straitjackets

It was one of those Yin-Yang, bittersweet days.  Our Mexican-American friend Ralph passed away a few weeks earlier and we attended his memorial service on the afternoon before the Los Straitjackets show.  He died in the midst of doing something he loved: selling his folk art at a local art shop on the weekend of Dia De Los Muertos.  Not only did Ralph paint beautiful folk art, but painted several variations of ornate skulls and skeletons for Dia De Los Muertos that he was selling that day.

In such a perfect, almost supernatural coincidence, Los Straitjackets played The Tractor the evening after Ralph’s memorial service.  We told his loving partner Nancy about LSJ, who wear Lucha Libre Mexican wrestling masks and play instrumental surf music.  She was happy that we were going to do something so strangely appropriate after the service.  Ralph would have joined us if he could.  Maybe he did, in spirit.  The happiness and revelry of the night balanced out the somber atmosphere of the day.

On with the show…

Although I had already claimed Southern Culture on The Skids as the best show of the year, I knew I’d probably eat my words when I heard Los Straitjackets were coming to town.  The two bands even have their own collaborative album out entitled Mondo Zombie Boogaloo and toured together last year.

Los Straitjackets have been a favorite of mine ever since I saw them a few years ago in Stanwood’s Slow Foods Roots Music Festival.   They are a part of my musical family tree–artists I have grown to love that have a common ancestry in roots rock, who have either collaborated together or branched out with various cousins of that genre. LSJ have also gained a huge following in Mexico, and played to 50,000 people in Mexico City last year, two nights in a row!

To give you an idea of their musical style, here’s a fun one from their album, Jet Set:

After the memorial service, we had just enough time to change and Uber down to Ballard.  The traffic was reasonably light for a Friday, so we had plenty of time to grab some hearty food at Hattie’s Hat.  We first paid homage to Ralph with a big shot of tequila and lime.

Our friend Dean arrived earlier and saved us a spot at our favorite table, right up front, stage right.  Thanks, Dean!  Soon after, the first band set up.

Miss Mamie Lavona The Exotic Mulatta

Miss Mamie Lavona The Exotic Mulatta

Miss Mamie Lavona The Exotic Mulatta and Her White Boy Band strutted out to the stage to hearty applause. I didn’t realize this was a local Seattle band.  I’ve seen their name pop up a few times (pretty memorable!) and I believe they’ve played with LSJ in the past, but didn’t know the treat we were in for.  The band this night consisted of Miss Mamie on sultry vocals, Hugh Jardo’hon aka Eric Ray Anderson on electric ukulele, with other members on trumpet, keys, drums, upright bass, and clarinet.  Their jazzy, cabaret-style music took us way back to New Orleans. Miss Mamie’s downright sexy aura was mesmerizing.  The band was excellent, with fabulous solos on trumpet and clarinet.  They covered some old songs, but also included their own numbers, including a humorous one called “Flat Stanley”.

Hugh J'Ardon

Hugh Jardo’hon

Los Straitjackets, in their self-aggrandizing fashion, took the stage to a capacity crowd of cheering, whooping fans.  Everyone crushed forward as the band donned their matching instruments and egged on the audience with their arms raised in a plea for more noise and applause.

They wasted no time as they dove into “Pacifica”.  Here’s a video from a show last year in NYC:

Los Straitjackets performing "Casbah"!

Los Straitjackets performing “Casbah”!

“Casbah” is one of my all-time favorites, with the boys lined up bopping their heads in unison, turning sideways.

Eddie and Greg’s solos were bloody scorching.  It was so exhilarating to be that close and watch Eddie’s fingers at work.

Eddie Angel summoning the Devil out of his guitar

Eddie Angel summoning the Devil out of his guitar

Pete was also a kick on bass and had complex runs while mugging for my camera, as evidenced in the first picture, top.

Drummer Chris Sprague, aka Sugarballs, had furious solos, especially on “Sing Sing Sing” and also played to the audience’s applause by standing, waiting to hit the last beat, etc.

Sugarballs on Drums

Sugarballs on Drums

Deke Dickerson, in a straw cowboy hat and red jacket joined them, adding some super vocals to their instrumental music.  They have an album out which is a collaboration with Deke on old instrumental favorites, such as the Hawaii Five-O theme song (actually sung by Sammy Davis, Jr. in the seventies) and to some of LSJ’s own instrumentals with new lyrics.  The LSJ album, entitled Deke Dickerson Sings the Great Instrumental Hits is a hoot.  I laughed my way through LSJ’s original first song, “Fury”, where Deke decided a big-time wrestler’s voice would be appropriate singing the lyrics.  They played this one at the show, but first Deke asked the audience to clear a path down the middle.  He growled the lyrics in his best wrestler voice, jumped off the stage and eventually picked up a hapless audience member and flung him around in his arms, wrestler-style.  It was fantastic, and really got us going. Meanwhile, the band was onstage tearing it up, with a nasty solo by Eddie halfway through the crazy song.

Deke Dickerson

Deke Dickerson

He played several songs with them, also including the 50’s version of “Miserlou” with lyrics.  He first started off playing in the familiar up-tempo version, made famous in the movie Pulp Fiction.  He stopped after shredding a few seconds on his own sparkly DiPinto guitar (LSJ’s model with Deke’s name on it) and said he would do the earlier version–which we would like 50% less than the one we all knew.  Ha

I’m just now learning more about Mr. Dickerson, and I must say he is truly a renaissance man.  Along with Los Straitjackets, he is doing his part to preserve roots rock for future generations.  Check out his website and learn more about this multi-talented fellow.

Deke left the stage to LSJ for several more songs.

Gregorio El Grande teasing the front row

Gregorio El Grande teasing the front row

Besides being expert instrumentalists, LSJ’s showmanship and faux bravado just added to the entire entertainment experience.  We were completely immersed in their performance.

LSJ Coordinating Moves

LSJ Coordinating Moves

Los Straitjackets are now in the midst of touring with the great Nick Lowe for their Quality Holiday Review. In a twist of fate, Ian McLagan, famed for the band Faces, just passed away early December.  He was supposed to join them.  They will have a bittersweet tour, I’m sure; but nonetheless it will be the show to see if they play your town. Check out their tour dates and cities on Nick Lowe’s site here: http://nicklowe.com/

A few more pics:

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No Hands! The Deke Dickerson Reach-around!

Eddie Angel

Eddie Angel

Gregorio y Eddie

Gregorio y Eddie

LSJ Setlist

LSJ Setlist

December 8, 2014 Posted by | aplscruf, Concert Season 2014, Los Straitjackets, Music, The Tractor Tavern | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Los Straitjackets Tour West Coast!

Los Straitjackets are currently touring the West Coast and are making their way to Seattle this Friday, November 21, at The Tractor Tavern!  Be there.  It will be THE BEST SHOW of THE YEAR.  Yes, I know I already said Southern Culture on The Skids was the best show, but I’m pretty sure Los Straitjackets will trump that show.

Not quite sure? Here’s a link to a previous show:

 https://aplscruf.wordpress.com/2011/09/05/viva-los-straitjackets-the-rest-of-the-story/

November 18, 2014 Posted by | aplscruf, Concert Season 2014, Los Straitjackets, The Tractor Tavern | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dusty 45’s and The Believers at a Private Club in Fremont, WA

The Believers - A former Seattle duo, now residing in Nashville

The Believers – A former Seattle duo, now residing in Nashville

On Hallowe’en, we said goodbye to a beautiful little private club in grand style.  It was one of those interesting, quirky venues that only a handful of people knew about.  We only saw a couple of other shows here, but instantly fell in love with its rustic beauty and great acoustics. It was a bittersweet evening, knowing that the place was closing for good.

The Believers, an alt-country band originally from Seattle, now reside in Nashville.  The duo (Craig Aspen and Cynthia Frazzini) opened the show and encouraged the costumed revelers to dance.  Their music was definitely dance-worthy and their beautiful, soulful harmonies filled stable-like space.

Take a listen and a peep of “Gimme Some Love”:

Heavy on harmonica, Aspen adds a dark and bluesy touch to “Let It Be What It Is”:

Dancers twirled around the wooden floor in colorful costumes and masks.  We felt out of place in our street clothes, but still felt welcome in the intimate club.  We knew and recognized a few people and met some new friends by the end of the night.

A variety of dancers, including an early appearance by Santa himself!

A variety of dancers, including an early appearance by Santa himself!

I asked Pat, “Who is tending bar tonight?”

“Snoopy.”

“Snoop Dog?”

“No, Snoopy The Dog.”

I wished I’d taken a picture of him.  You’ll just have to use your imagination.

A scary Swedish silent movie played on a wall next to the stage.  A BBQ truck fed the hungry outside in the courtyard.

During the intermission, they entertained us by inviting people to whack a cowboy boot piñata, full of tiny booze bottles:

Cowboy Boot Pinata

Cowboy Boot Pinata

The unrecognizable Johnny 7 showed up as Frank ‘n’ Furter from Rocky Horror Picture Show with his girlfriend Little Nell:

'Merica!

‘Merica!

Next up was The Dusty 45’s, a Seattle treasure. Their claim to fame, besides rocking Seattle for the past decade, includes touring with Ms. Wanda Jackson in support of her revitalized career. Billy Joe Huels, founder and lead singer/guitarist/flaming trumpeteer, also hosts an annual fundraiser concert called Gimme Shelter to support DESC (Downtown Emergency Service Center).  Other members of this amazing band have their own impressive resumes.  See their stories here: http://www.dusty45s.com/about-the-band/

More revelers packed the dance floor as The Dusty 45’s entertained us for about two hours.

The Dusty 45's: Billy Joe Huels (lead vocals), Jerry Battista (guitar), Kelly Van Camp (drums), Robin Cady (upright bass), and Arthur Migliazza (keys)

The Dusty 45’s: Billy Joe Huels (lead vocals), Jerry Battista (guitar), Kelly Van Camp (drums), Robin Cady (upright bass), and Arthur Migliazza (keys)

 

Robin Cady

Robin Cady

Jerry Battista

Jerry Battista

More Dancers!

More Dancers!

Here is a taste of their original roots rock “Chase Your Dreams” which showcases each member:

The big finish usually involves a flaming trumpet.  I’m thankful Billy Joe only figuratively burned down the house!

Big Finish!

Big Finish!

November 2, 2014 Posted by | Americana, aplscruf, Concert Season 2014, Dusty 45's, Fremont Music Scene, Music, The Believers | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Wild Feathers and Friends at The Tractor Tavern 10.24.14

Ready to Go!

I ran out of time to write a proper blog, but wanted to share some pics and videos from three terrific bands we saw on Oct. 24 at The Tractor Tavern.  Common denominator of these bands: HARMONY!

Desert Noises

Desert Noises – I like this pic because lead singer Kyle Henderson looks like a young Tom Petty

Desert Noises

Bordering on psychedelic rock, prog. rock, very edgy at times.


DSC06632 - Copy

The boys in blue

Kyle Henderson: Vocals, rhythm guitar
Patrick Boyer: Lead guitar
Tyler Osmond: Bass, vocal harmonies
Brennan Allen: Drums

Kyle Henderson of Desert Noises

Kyle Henderson of Desert Noises

The Apache Relay

Pop rock and soul, with a Shins vibe–mixed with some Nashville twang. Unfortunately, the blue stage lights washed out most of my pics and gave me a headache! Had to move to other side of the stage.  Sorry, boys.  I included a couple of fun videos below. One, “Katie Queen of Tennessee” won Nashville’s Best Video award for 2014.  We really loved their unique sound.

The Apache Relay

The Apache Relay

Good article here from Huffington Post’s Paul R. Byrne

The Wild Feathers

The Wild Feathers

The Wild Feathers : Ricky Young, Joel King, Taylor Burns, Preston Wimberly, and Ben Dumas

Vocal harmonies are king with this talented group.  Genre-crossing rock, alt-country, Americana sounds.

We saw them for the first time last year when they opened for Willie Nelson.  Instant LOVE.   I was surprised to see them in such a small venue this time ’round. Their energy onstage is infectious, and almost too big for this little Tractor.  They packed the house. Such a rare treat to see this band up close.

“Left My Woman” shows off the impressive vocal styles of each singer/guitarist:

The Wild Feathers

The Wild Feathers

 

The Wild Feathers

The Wild Feathers

 

 

The Wild Feathers joined by the other bands for "The Weight" Singalong

The Wild Feathers joined by the other bands for “The Weight” Singalong

November 2, 2014 Posted by | aplscruf, Concert Season 2014, Music, Rock, The Tractor Tavern, The Wild Feathers | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Macefield Music Festival October 3-4, 2014

The Swearengens played Conor Byrne Saturday, Oct. 4.

The Swearengens played Conor Byrne Saturday, Oct. 4.

Day 1: Friday, October 3

Massy Ferguson and Star Anna at The Sunset

It was an unusually warm October evening, with temperatures hovering around 70 degrees.  We were excited to get down to Ballard on this first night of the Macefield Music Festival, a two-day celebration of northwest music, art and comedy. Check out their website for more information about the festival, venues, and artist lineup.

The first band on our schedule was Massy Ferguson, playing The Sunset at 7:00. The show time was a bit early, considering it was a Friday.  Lots of people don’t get out of work until at least 6, so I knew the crowd would be a bit thin this first night of the festival. For us old peeps, though, it was like getting the Early Bird Special.

This is how Massy Ferguson got to Macefield:

The Sunset was in the midst of remodeling. I hardly recognized the place.  Instead of the Chinese restaurant red velvet wall paper, the walls were adorned with shiny wood paneling.  A new wall broke up the long, rectangular space, separating the future bar from the stage. A makeshift bar on a folding table held a bucket of bottles, ice and a few hard liquor choices.

Massy Ferguson with Dave Goedde on drums, Ethan Anderson on bass and Adam Monda on guitar

And Then There Were Three: Massy Ferguson with Dave Goedde on drums, Ethan Anderson on bass, and Adam Monda on guitar

The three members of Massy Ferguson (Ethan Anderson, Adam Monda, and Dave Goedde) loaded in while a paucity of people took their places around the stage. Tony Mann, keyboardist, was visibly absent; stage right, where he usually played, was left empty. Tony is currently hanging out in a Costa Rican cantina enjoying a tall cool one, most likely with a little umbrella in it and a wedge of tropical fruit attached to the rim.

Massy Ferguson opened with the rocker “Long Time No See” from Hard Water and hit two songs off their new EP, Backwoods, including the title track “90’s Darlin'” that has some cool Seattle references. They also included a couple of nameless new tunes, which was a pleasant surprise.  More fans arrived as the band moved through the short, 45-minute time slot.

The trio was energized and really upbeat tonight, filling in that empty space with lots of great rock solos from Adam and blasting rock drum beats from Dave.

Ethan and Adam

Ethan and Adam

Ethan’s powerful vocals and bassline punched through the amps, encouraging more people to peek around the wall and join the fun.  His borrowed Rickenbacker bass shone in the blue lights.  Pat asked me if he could have one.  “No.”

Check out the downsized Massy Ferguson at a venue near you and “Like” them on Facebook.

After the show we saw Jay Kardong, pedal steel player for a few local bands, including Massy Ferguson from time to time. We chatted with Jay, Adam and Ethan for a bit before going to dinner. Jay’s grandpa, Dr. Kardong, always comes up in conversation. Dr. K. brought Pat into this world and was their family doctor for years.  Jay has made his own path in music and is famous for a couple of firsts: We are 99.99% certain he is the only person to ever do “The Worm” on the stage of Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, original home of The Grand Ole Opry; He was also part of the first band to ever play the top of The Space Needle (Outside! On top!) with Sera Cahoone for SubPop’s anniversary special.  Yes, Mudhoney played there, too, but Sera and Jay played before them. They also spoke of their adventures touring with their bands and going to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland during a big music festival there a few years ago.  After hearing their stories, I will not be sticking one toe in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland.

Jay also mentioned he’ll play with Ole Tinder Saturday, and things went downhill as we exchanged suggestions for what he might bring or wear to the event in order to really stand out, such as stilts (which would be a true challenge for any pedal steel player) and a kilt, or possibly a more unconventional kilt made of clear plastic wrap.  It’s always a joy spending time chatting with them. 

Pat and I walked back to The Sunset after briefly checking out The Sonics who were killing it on the KEXP mainstage to a packed crowd. Our friend Dean said they had the “same sound and raw energy that  made them the Godfathers of Punk!”

Among the local music and Seattle scene celebs walking around was John Keister of The 206 and Almost Live fame. Pat introduced us and I told Mr. Keister a story of how we’re so old that I remember my grandma making a dry remark after seeing the first episode of Almost Live, back in the mid-80’s: “You know that show, Almost Live? Well, it’s almost funny!”  I think Grandma coined the phrase. We loved that show, and it’s great to see The 206 back on TV with some of the original cast.

Here’s a sketch from The 206:

Jeff Fielder, guitarist extraordinaire walked by (check out this great interview by KEXP’s Jacob Uitti here).  He played a set at Conor Byrne Friday. I wished we had time to see him.  I recognized other artists, including Ryan Granger from The Grizzled Mighty, working the door at The Sunset.

Star Anna in the blue glow of The Sunset

Star Anna in the blue glow of The Sunset

Star Anna, whom we haven’t seen in quite some time, quietly took the stage to a growing crowd.  She played a couple of songs from her recent album entitled I Hate You and others from The Sky Is Falling, a new download-only collection. Star thanked the audience for their hearty applause after each song.  She is a little shy, but has such a powerful energy when she sings. It just crawls right into the soul and lingers well after her performance has ceased.  She asked us if we like Robyn, the Swedish pop diva, who had the big hit “Call Your Girlfriend”.  Although it was originally recorded as a pop/electronica song, Star said the lyrics are so sad; so Star took the pop song with sad lyrics and turned it into a sad song–with sad lyrics. The rest of her band stepped back and let her play it with just an acoustic guitar.  Oh, Star’s voice gave me chills. The crowd hushed up as she pulled them in.

Here is a version of “Call Your Girlfriend” that she performed on KEXP–see what I mean?

Cheers and applause followed after a short pause, akin to a collective gasp.  Her dark humor continued as she thanked the audience and said in a sing-songy voice, “This next song is about dying!”

It was getting hot; the packed room added to the stuffy atmosphere.  I needed some fresh air and water. Star’s so amazing, though, I hated to leave. Check out her website for music, videos, and show dates and GO.  She’s a local gem.

Day 2: Saturday, October 4

The Swearengens and Ole Tinder at Conor Byrne

Laff Hole Comedy at Hattie’s Back Room

We made the incorrect decision Saturday evening to drive to Ballard, park, and take Uber home at the end of the night. The festival started around noon this day, so we should have known that we would not find a place to park, as people arrived early and stayed for the duration of the festival.  We circled around Ballard Avenue and extended our search several blocks away to no avail. It was approaching 7:00, and I knew The Swearengens were loading in.

Soren Godbersen and Fredd Luongo of The Swearengens

Soren Godbersen and Fredd Luongo of The Swearengens

Forfeiting the show because we couldn’t find a place to park was unacceptable.  Pat sensed my growing anxiety and kicked me to the curb, festival wristband firmly intact.  He would meet up with me much later, after parking about half a mile away. He knew he would never hear the end of it if I missed The Swearengens again. I love this band, but bad timing and Pat’s work/travel schedule prevented us from seeing them for almost two years. Here is a 2012 review I posted for Randomville of The Swearengens at The Tractor.  We made an attempt in August, but the stars were crossed that night, as we already had plans to see Massy Ferguson (see Massy’s review and my run-in with The Swearengens here).

I entered Conor Byrne solo, which felt a little weird, but I immediately saw familiar faces in the audience.  I grabbed a pint of red and snaked my way to the front where I ran into Moe Provencer, and noticed that her Jackrabbit partner Aimee Zoe was setting up her drums. Aimee was drumming for The Swearengens, and both would be playing with Ole Tinder after that. Fantastic! The pair can also be found jamming with Jealous Dogs: Seattle’s Only Pretenders Tribute Band.

Meanwhile, Fredd Luongo, lead singer/songwriter for The Swearengens was onstage plugging in his acoustic guitar. I pointed at him with both hands and exclaimed triumphantly, “I made it!  I made it!”

Fredd smiled and said, “I better not f*ck up!”

He had nothing to fear.  If they played air guitars, covered Swedish rap (yes, it’s a thing), or [reader: please insert optional colorful phrase here], I wouldn’t have cared. I was just happy I finally made it to the show.

Friday’s setlist included songs from their 2012 EP Devil Gets Her Way, their latest album Waiting on the Sunrise, and other songs that I hope will show up on a future album, including this song, “‘Merican Woman”:

Another orphan song,”You Pissed on My Heart” is one of my favorites.  It got my attention the first time I saw them at The High Dive a few years ago.  The bitter song flows with acidic lyrics and splashes of dark humor (groan–sorry, I couldn’t resist).

The Swearengens definitely rocked the country songs tonight and got back to basics with a streamlined, four-person band. Aimee Zoe was smiling and spirited on drums. Soren Godbersen had some searing country-rock guitar solos. Fredd backed him on acoustic and sang his heart out tonight. Bassist Kirsten Ballweg is a former member of The Black Crabs and the founding member of The Dee Dees, an all female Ramones cover band. Kirsten had her Ramones stance going all night. We need to get to a Dee Dees show one of these days.  Check out their website for show times. 

Aimee, Fredd and Kirsten

Aimee, Fredd and Kirsten

Lots of dancing ensued throughout the lively set, and the house was packed.  They finished big with the blues-soaked rocker “Bleeding Blue” from Waiting on the Sunrise.

The Swearengens are back in the studio recording a new EP, due early next year. Catch them at The Green Frog in Bellingham November 8th, and at The Sunset with Massy Ferguson and Deception Past in Ballard November 15th.

Ole Tinder featuring Jay Kardong, Mike Giacolino, Aimee Zoe, and Moe Provencer

Ole Tinder featuring Jay Kardong, Mike Giacolino, Aimee Zoe, and Moe Provencer

Ole Tinder was up next. Aimee, Moe and Jay backed Mike Giacolino, who also played a solo set that afternoon. Ole Tinder has that classic country sound.  People continued to dance as Ole Tinder wound through their set with a couple of songs from Loways and many new ones I hadn’t heard before. I hope a new album will be out soon. Here’s a review of Ole Tinder from 2012, the first time I saw them.

“Labor” was a great song with a powerful message. Mike Giacolino plays a solo version here:

Tony Fulgham, singer/songwriter for Jackrabbit and  wife Daisy joined in on the fun. Wes Amundsen, bass player for The Black Crabs, also showed up and gave support to his musical compadres.

After the show, we said goodbye to the boys and girls and hugged it out, with hopes of seeing them again soon. It felt like a musical family reunion.

John Keister getting some laughs

John Keister getting some laughs

We hoofed it to Hattie’s Hat for the Laff Hole Comedy Night in Hattie’s Back Room.  The lineup included comedy shorts on video screens by Black Daisy, several local comedians, a Last Comic Standing contestant, and headliner John Keister. About 30 people crammed in booths and tables around the makeshift stage (consisting of a piece of rug on the floor and a cardboard sign on the wall).  We enjoyed hearty laughs, knowing smiles, and occasionally suffered a few eye-rolling groans.  It was all good fun, though, and we definitely got our entertainment value this night.

I hope Macefield returns next year.  The lineup was superb; the energy of the artists and crowd was truly invigorating.  We enjoyed the two-day event, and only wish we had time to see more artists.

October 11, 2014 Posted by | Americana, aplscruf, Concert Season 2014, Massy Ferguson, Ole Tinder, Star Anna, The Swearengens | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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