Come join in on the fun Friday, April 7 at The Triple Door in Seattle for Massy Ferguson and Sweet Kiss Momma.
Massy Ferguson, Seattle’s American Rock darlings, will sell out The Triple Door again this year. You don’t want to miss their lively show, which usually involves audience participation. You might even have a chance to join them onstage during their big finale.
Lots of great music happening all over the world right now and an the near future! Here are just a few picks…
Will Kimbrough and Brigitte DeMeyer’s tour moves across The Pond. Paul Kerr of Blabber ‘n’ Smoke added his two cents to the stack of glowing reviews on this duo: https://paulkerr.wordpress.com/2017/03/01/brigitte-demeyer-will-kimbrough-mockingbird-soul/ See Tour Dates for a show near you.
Japandroids, a Vancouver-based punk band, invaded the West Coast, including a stop in Seattle this past weekend. They’ll head to Europe mid-April with a gig at Melkweg in Amsterdam before continuing the tour in UK into the first week of May. They return to Europe in June to play a few more gigs including Spain and Italy.
Oliver Gray , Americana music promoter (I hereby dub him Americana’s Duke of Winchester), is visiting SXSW. I’m looking forward to his take on the scene. Here is last year’s post: http://olivergray.com/south-by-south-west-festival-2016/
Jesse Dayton is heading West after SXSW to Seattle’s Tractor Tavern. The man is a beast on guitar and puts on an incredible, entertaining show. Jesse has a new album out called The Revealer. Here’s my review of his show with John Doe a few years ago: http://nodepression.com/live-review/john-doe-reigns-triple-door-seattle-wa. Dayton was featured in No Depression in October: http://nodepression.com/article/unsung-heroes-americana-music-jesse-dayton-real-country-music
John Doe will also tour this summer with a few stops up north.
Jeremy Nail was also featured in ND this month: http://nodepression.com/article/jeremy-nail%E2%80%99s-new-album-climbs-above-health-struggles
Dean Owens, a man from Leith–a Celtic Americana artist via Nashville–has a new album, a movie in the works, and a new single called “Julie’s Moon” on iTunes with a chance to donate through Marie Curie.Check Dean’s Facebook Page for more info and make a purchase to support this favorite Americana artist.
Kilkenny Roots Festival happens 28 April – 1 May in Kilkenny, Ireland. Always a quality lineup, many artists from America. Western Centuries, a top-notch country band from Seattle, will attend this year.
Massy Ferguson’s April show at The Triple Door in Seattle will be a sell-out event. The annual show is a must-see for Ferguson fans. We just saw them play a lively set in a suburban venue called Capps Club, just blocks from home. It’s nice to finally have some quality music venues outside of the city limits.
Speaking of suburban venues, McMenamins offers a variety of music throughout its Oregon and Washington properties. We are lucky to be minutes away from Anderson School where Fernando, McDougal, Jesse Dayton, Massy Ferguson, Ian McFeron, Sean Rowe, and Aaron Lee Tasjan have played–just to name a few artists since its grand opening over a year ago.
Jeff Finlin’s brilliant new album The Guru in the Girl is due in May, and I’m giddy with anticipation for the rest of the world to hear it. The album is a perfect balance of darkness and light; of regeneration; of love and loss. It embodies poppy folk songs to naked, soul-baring blues. The haunting title track stirs and elevates my soul.
A Massy Ferguson show always turns into one big audience-participation party, but this night was even more festive because each guest received a copy of their new album, Run It Right Into The Wall with the purchase of their ticket. Hence the official name for the evening: The “Everyone Gets An Album” Release Party.
A few weeks before the show, Massy Ferguson hyped it up online, blasting us with Facebook and Twitter posts, videos, teasers, pictures, and album review links. Paul Kerr, prolific writer of the music blog Blabber ‘n’ Smoke recently gave a thumbs up to Massy’s new album, calling it a “solid slice of gritty roots rock”. Check out his lively review here: https://paulkerr.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/massy-ferguson-run-it-right-into-the-wall-at-the-helm-records/
By showtime, The Triple Door was nearly sold out, with only a few empty seats scattered about the venue. People who purchased VIP tickets (a mere $16 more than regular admission) were also treated to a pre-show party and meet ‘n’ greet in The Green Room which included food, signed CD’s, and a cassette (yes, an actual audio cassette) of the new album. Dig out the boom boxes and find a pencil!
Ethan Anderson, bassist and frontman for MF, officially kicked off the night by reading a heartfelt speech about the conception of this album, calling it the record Massy Ferguson was born to write. He spoke of all of the steps it took to get to this point in the life of the band. He spoke of his anti-heroes–those bands who were on the fringe, who didn’t swim in the main stream, such as The Replacements, Wilco, Son Volt, and The Boss himself, back in his Nebraska days. They were his mentors, his idols–just out of reach. Some he literally just missed in a green room or on a stage. Their latest album sonically touches these anti-heroes, but as more of an homage–never an imitation. They have a signature sound, and this one hits all the marks that make them Massy Ferguson. Maybe it’s a little more rockin’ than their previous albums; but as Ethan said, “They always were at their best with rock first, twang after.”
Keeping a band together for ten years is quite a feat these days, especially when one is on the left side of the dial, trying to make ends meet–trying to make it. Roll the video…
Following the speech and video, Nick Foster Band, a seven-piece Americana ensemble, primed the audience for party time. Foster, on acoustic guitar and vocals, shared beautiful harmonies with Jazmarae Beebe. The rest of the band was equally impressive on soulful folk songs and full-bodied jams.
DJ Indica Jones kept the festivities going between sets with some great spins from 80’s and 90’s pop, rock, and hip-hop. He involved the audience in sing-alongs and let them finish choruses with songs like Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer”. He danced along, grooving to his own beat.
The curtain rose and Massy Ferguson started their long set with five new tracks from Run It Right Into The Wall. All songs on the album except one were written by Massy Ferguson. The exception is “Firewater”, written by UK rocker Dave Woodcock (Dave Woodcock and the Dead Comedians). This up-tempo, jangling rocker fired up the audience as Adam Monda fueled them with his trusty #5 Fender. A makeshift dance floor started in the aisle.
They continued with some favorites, including “Renegade” and “Backwoods”, the latter receiving help from the audience as they clapped along to the beat.
Another new one, “Dogbone” includes a Creedence-inspired riff. During the song, Rainier tallboys magically appeared on the stage. While Adam dove into a psychedelic solo, Ethan rolled over onto the stage (with his bass, which is quite a feat), grabbed a beer, took a sip, and popped back up. The stage lighting matched the colors of their new album. Bonus.
Ethan interrupted the show to mention they have two new t-shirts designed by drummer Dave Goedde in the merch booth. Dave also designed the album’s cool cover. Ethan then threw two shirts out to the cheering audience before raising his Rainier for his traditional toast, in several languages.
“Every time I say Hello, you answer…Hello!” Ethan yelled to the crowd, and they happily shouted along to this poppy tune from Victory & Ruins.
Ethan later dedicated “Set The Sun” to a friend in the crowd who was having a birthday this evening.What a perfect way to celebrate.
“Lagrande” from the EP Damaged Goods featured Tony Mann on keys, filling in for Fred Slater. Tony just recently moved back to the US from Costa Rica, and was a member of Massy Ferguson from its inception. It was great to see Tony play with the band again.
“Atlantic City”, a cover by Bruce Springsteen, reminded Ethan of driving home with Adam after a late night in Roslyn, a tiny resort town east of the mountains. The audience sang along to the somber, repetitive chorus.
Massy Ferguson blasted back from “Atlantic City” with “Front Page News”, an angry rocker, and the dance floor spread into the aisles. They kept the momentum going with “Powder Blue” –always a great song to do near the end when everyone is primed to yell “Powder Blue!” at the top of their lungs on Ethan’s cue.
The last song, “Into The Wall” allowed the crowd to breathe briefly while nodding their heads to the pensive title track.
Ethan then invited the entire audience onstage, and soon the stage was packed with happy revelers and dancers. He handed his bass to another capable musician while he brought out his almighty flute, a bittersweet sign that the rowdy night was coming to an end. They finished their high-energy set with a cover of “Can’t You See”, but the flute malfunctioned. It was missing an end piece. A roadie tried to do an emergency repair, but it didn’t hold. Ethan tore that thing apart as the dancers and revelers continued on, not caring or noticing that the flute solo was abandoned.
Ethan Anderson might have missed his anti-heroes, but tonight, he and the band hit their mark.”They exceeded the hype!” said a friend when the party was over.
A few days later, Massy Ferguson revived the party and ran it right into The UK the rest of June and into the first week of July. The tour included shows in Bath, Brighton, London, and Scheffield, among others, culminating with a grand finale at Maverick Festival in Suffolk where they shared the stage with the brilliant UK-Americana artist Peter Bruntnell.
See their website for news, merch, and upcoming shows here: http://massyfergusonband.com/
Support the independent artists who venture to your city and play small clubs and venues. Support quality music.
John Doe with Jesse Dayton at The Triple Door – Seattle 6/19/15
I was in junior high when John Doe’s punk band X started picking up speed. I remember a vague mention of X in high school, maybe a song or two, but they disappeared out of my radar completely as I headed for college. Seattle, although it tries to be trendy, forgot to send me the memo. They slipped right by me, along with The Fleshtones. Also, I tend to get stuck on one artist every few years and miss all the contemporaries. Musical poverty. Musical ignorance.
A John Doe Virgin.
I missed out on John Doe as a solo artist, too, until a musician friend posted some lyrics on his Facebook page:
you are the hole in my head / I am the pain in your neck / you are the lump in my throat / I am the aching in your heart
I looked up the lyrics, which led me to “Golden State” a track on the album, A Year In The Wilderness by John Doe. Thee John Doe.
I purchased A Year In The Wilderness. It didn’t leave the CD player of my car for a solid month. I fell in musical love. How did I miss him all these years? The tone of his voice, the lyrics, and the Americana style of the melodies really hits my sweet spot. I checked his website for tour dates. He mostly stays in California these days, but makes a few trips up north every year. Its seemed like every time he was up here, we were going to another show or were out of town.
Finally, this June, I was able to purchase tickets to The Triple Door, a swanky dinner theater in downtown Seattle. I secured a photo pass for my son Jacob that night, courtesy of Doe’s manager, promising to write a show review for No Depression. I was thrilled. Pat had to miss it, but at least Jacob would be there with me to enjoy the night.
After surviving terrible Friday rush-hour traffic and quickly eating before the show, Jacob and I settled in to Booth 13. The six-person booth comfortably seats four. Jacob’s shoulders alone take two spots. We were all pins and needles waiting for the show to begin. I was a proud mama watching my son, with his press pass proudly displayed on his shirt, adjust his camera settings to prepare for the shoot.
Finally, at 8:00, the lights dimmed and Jacob took his position across the theater and I readied my pen and journal, crushed between the other booth guests. I was pleasantly surprised to see several guitars, drum kit and upright bass on stage. I thought it was going to be an acoustic show, for some reason.
On with the show (the following is a copy of my post on No Depression):
John Doe Reigns at The Triple Door
John Doe brought his punk energy and some Texas twang to The Triple Door in Seattle. Doe is in the middle of a short tour to promote The Best of John Doe This Far, his multi-decade collection of greatest hits. The genre-bending performance entertained and engaged the audience from start to finish.
Opening for John this night was Austin’s Jesse Dayton, who, like Doe, is a bit of a renaissance man. He’s a top-notch session guitarist (he played on Waylon Jennings’ last two albums), a stage and screen actor, producer, zombie movie star and soundtrack artist, screenwriter and film maker (ZOMBEX), raconteur and comedian.
Dayton, who played a dark and dirty Gretsch guitar, was accompanied by Chris Rhoades on doghouse and electric bass, and Eric C. Hughes on drums. The three boys let ‘er rip with some rollicking alt-country and Americana tunes with humor and big Texas style.
Jesse was “brangin’ it” (his motto) with a screamin’ rockabilly solo on the first song, “Daddy Was a Badass” and a slappin’ bass beat. In a faux bravado move, Jesse held his hand up to his ear and begged the audience to make some noise for him. The crowd whooped and clapped heartily.
He said he was from a parallel universe called East Texas, and dedicated the song, “We Can’t Help The Way That We Are” to Waylon Jennings.
“Beautiful Thing” is a song about the creole woman from Louisiana who helped raise Dayton. When he was a boy, they spent the weekdays listening to blues artists like Lightnin’ Hopkins. On Sundays, she only allowed gospel music. “She was my best buddy,” he said. He played a soulful acoustic slide with a nod to his favorite blues guitarists. One lyric in the heartwarming ballad really stood out: The Funeral was black and white / but our tears were all the same
Not wanting to get too sentimental, Jesse kicked it up a notch and quipped, “It’s all drinkin’ and cheatin’ songs from here on out!” Sticking to his word, he introduced the next tune, “I’m At Home Getting Hammered While She’s Out Getting Nailed”, by proudly exclaiming that it has “two whopping chords in the whole song, and no bridge or chorus”.
[Up on a scaffolding, on the side of the stage behind the curtain to most eyes, I spied a man with black-rimmed glasses looking down on Jesse’s performance. My heart skipped a little beat. It was him! I discreetly pointed and showed my neighbor, who verified that it was indeed, John Doe checking out the show.]
After a few more tunes, Jesse joked, “I hope we passed the audition tonight.” His last song was dedicated to Eddie Spaghetti of Supersuckers. Jesse first told a story regarding the beautiful time he had traveling with Eddie on tour and stopping at a Love’s Truck Stop for some duct tape. Eddie wanted to purchase some chrome girly mud flaps for his garage wall, too. In a “Shakespearean white trash epiphany,” Jesse promptly went back to his car and wrote a song called “Arkansas Chrome (Duct Tape Song)”.
John Doe is a singer / songwriter with almost four decades of songs to his name. He’s an actor (with a long list of credits), a poet, a teacher, a horseman, and punk royalty. Doe is most recognized as the bass player and vocalist with the renowned L.A. punk band X with Exene Cervenka. He was also with The Sadies, The Knitters, and participated in other collaborations.
The talented and beautiful songstress Cindy Wasserman from Dead Rock West joined Doe on vocals this night. He facetiously introduced her as the meanest woman in rock ‘n’ roll. Cindy’s harmonies blend perfectly with his clean and controlled vocals. The tone of his voice is still so powerful; he can hold a note and take it for a ride into the stratosphere.
Doe played an eclectic set, mixing X songs with his solo projects and included a few covers. Singing from the heart on moody ballads, he also balanced out the tone with politically-fueled rants and up-tempo rockers. With Jesse Dayton’s band backing him, it was high-energy rock show overall, but infused with Americana, country, roots, and blues–crossing genres without apology.
John dove into the set with “This Far” from 2002’s Dim Stars, Bright Sky , featured in his latest collection.
One of his old friends was in the audience this night. He introduced “Handsome Devil” from Keeper and warned the audience to never let a friend of a friend spend a couple of nights, because bad things might ensue. The foreboding lyrics explain:
here comes a stranger
a friend of a friend
knocking on our door
sliding it open
he talks the blues, so do you
this ring is getting tighter
my finger is falling off
this changes everything
he stole your wedding ring
this changes everything
he walked right in, sat right down
baby let your mind roll on
& roll right outta town
where’s my gun?
oh that’s right, I don’t have one
so devilishly handsome
should of known he was actually Satan
this changes everything
Another song of betrayal, “Burning House of Love” from X’s Ain’t Love Grand included Rhoades, back on upright bass, and an explosive solo by Dayton.
“The best life lesson is to hold the reigns firmly, but lightly…” Doe states in the video. He also kept the audience firmly but lightly in his grasp. He offset any angry rants with humorous anecdotes, backstory, and friendly banter with the band and the crowd. During a mishap (Jesse broke the bridge of his guitar and had to swap out with one of John’s and quickly tune it) which involved some quiet talk and scrambling around on stage, Doe stepped back up to the mic and said, “Sorry, we were just up here talking about the basketball game…” followed by some choice words about not really caring about basketball, making the audience chuckle.
“Twin Brother”, a very touching song of regret from 2005’s Forever Hasn’t Happened Yet contained haunting, beautiful harmonies from Cindy.
He introduced the Bob Dylan Cover “Pressing On” by saying, “I’m not religious, but I do have some spiritual ideas, if you care to discuss them with me at the merch table…” garnering laughter from the crowd, although they soon hushed up as he played this spiritual (or religious, depending on one’s point of view) number. Later, he also covered Johnny Cash’s “I Still Miss Someone” and a lovely, emotional version of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You”.
“4th of July” a bittersweet X song, is a perfect accompaniment to these sunny summer days, but Doe complained that he always hears someone request it in November.
John checked in with the audience: “Are you all having a good time? Excellent. It’s all going to come to an end.”
“Lucky Penny”, a cherished love song from Keeper, generated a wistful sigh from Booth 13. [Why do I find his grumpy rants so endearing? Because he can still write and sing an honest love song.]
“Who has worked in a factory?” asked John. A few people raised their hands. “Seven people? No wonder this country’s so fucked up. There are no factories here anymore!” “Giant Step Backwards” from Keeper, can also be interpreted as a song of love lost.
Doe flew into another Keeper tune, “Never Enough”, which rants about our materialistic society, or as John put it, the “fucked-up-edness of our country” and lists all the junk we have–and how it’s never enough. Although the lyrics are scornful, the upbeat tempo is undeniably danceable.
“This May Be the Last Time” from Dead Rock West’s second album, Bright Morning Stars was introduced by John with, “Nothing is as fearsome as an unhappy partner!” He let Cindy take the lead, and Jesse backed her with lots of bluesy reverb.
Exene wrote the next song on her last record, called “Alone in Arizona” and Doe loved it, so he played it this night. Jesse accompanied with a mood-altering solo to a somber audience. The lyrics are dark and heavy: My heart is blue with losing you / My soul is still losing you / The road is rough, I’m losing you / The sun beats down, I’m losing you
Doe didn’t leave the crowd hanging in the dark for long, and picked up speed again with “Telephone By The Bed” from Freedom Is…with Jesse taking a Billy Zoom punk stance and tight, thumping drums from Eric Hughes.
“The Have Nots”, his ode to the dive bar, was prefaced with the plea, “Take the dive bars back from the fucking hipsters!”
“Golden State” from A Year in The Wilderness was another crowd favorite, made even more special with Cindy Wasserman sharing vocals with Doe. They ended the regular set to more cheers and applause.
They soon returned to the stage as the clapping continued and played the quietly moving “Darling Underdog”, also from A Year in The Wilderness and co-written with Exene.
After the show, John invited the audience to visit with him at the merch table, along with Jesse and Cindy. Jacob and I gathered our things and headed over there immediately. There was only a short line, so we quickly queued up while I pulled out a couple of business cards. I introduced myself to Cindy, who was in charge of merch. She recognized my name from my daily video posts of Doe on Facebook over the last week, and I told her I saw her at Neumos a few years ago with Dead Rock West. She was so friendly and sweet. I also spent a little time chatting with Jesse, who was also charming, and handed him my card. I purchased three CD’s, including John’s 2011 gem, Keeper, another copy of The Best of John Doe This Far (his latest and greatest collection) for a friend, and Jesse’s Tall Texas Tales. Support the independent artists who venture to your city and play small clubs and venues. Support quality music.
John was busy talking to an older gentleman, a few steps away from the merch table. Another woman was awaiting a turn for his signature on a CD. I could feel my nerves set in, but as he patiently listened to the man, he looked up and smiled at me. I’m not sure if that helped settle my nerves or made them worse. Finally, it was my turn. I felt immediately humbled among punk royalty. I was shaking a little, and my shyness seems to paralyze my ability to speak. I’d rehearsed a few lines, but they all went away. Below is what I remember of our brief conversation:
“Hi, I’m with…well, I’m not with anyone, but I am writing about the show tonight for No Depression. I’m Lisa.”
While I said this, I handed him my card, and he shook my hand and said, “Oh, that’s ok, you don’t have to be with anyone. Oh good…Nice to meet you.”
“This is my son, Jacob. He took pictures tonight.” John shook his hand as Jacob smiled.
“Have you been to an X show before?”
“No, I’m a little late to the game, here, but I’ve been studying up, bought some CD’s…” Of course, I failed to mention I’ve been a fan these last four years or so, but also ashamed I haven’t been a fan for the last four decades.
“Well that’s ok, always good to have new people at our shows. A good night tonight. Nice to play in a club with a great acoustics.”
I did ask to get his pic before the other fans came over, and he said, “Sure, come on over here,” and motioned me to step close so he could put his arm around me. It all happened so quickly. It was over in a matter of seconds. Jake took one pic on his phone. Me, all crazy eyed, pointing at him, saying to myself, “Holy shit, I’m getting my pic with John Doe!” I was humbled and thrilled to meet him.
I woke up Saturday morning feeling cooler, somehow, having met John Doe. Thee John Doe. “The best hair in Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Punk Royalty.
I just finished a blog for No Depression regarding our fantastic trip to California which ended with a fabulous show at Slim’s in San Francisco to see Will Kimbrough, Rodney Crowell and Jedd Hughes. We then followed the boys to Seattle where they tore it up at The Triple Door. Spectacular. Here’s the link to my blog:
Concert Season 2013 is winding down. I thought I’d get a head start and list some highlights of the year in music. I still have a few shows I’m hoping to see before the year is up, but my busy schedule might prevent me from posting anything until 2014. I went to a few shows in the spring and summer that I never blogged about but deserve some mention here. There are also a few bands mentioned below that I didn’t get to see this year, but I’m hoping will show up in 2014. Some have new albums out, too. I’ll keep it short and will give you the basic information. It will be up to you, dear reader, to click on the links and look up these terrific bands, explore their music and purchase some CD’s for the gift-giving season. Most importantly, GET OUT THERE AND SEE A SHOW!
Local Seattle-Area Bands: (Mind you, this is an incomplete list of the enormously talented bands in Seattle)
Jackrabbit – One of our favorite little bands in Seattle. We kicked off the year seeing them at The Tractor in January. The threesome kicks ass on stage. Never a disappointment. They add new songs to the setlist quite frequently.
Massy Ferguson – A Seattle Rock-n-Roll/Country Rock Darling. We went to their CD Release Party for Victory and Ruins at The Triple Door. My Plus 1 and I had a fantastic time sitting in the front row for this performance which was also broadcast live for kids struggling with various illnesses in a local hospital. Frontman Ethan Anderson gave his all, as usual. It was the best performance by the band so far, in my opinion, and I’ve seen them play many shows over the years. We also saw them on a rainy summer evening in Duvall at an outdoor performance. They jinxed our perfect rain-free summer! A hearty group of fans braved the showers and were treated with another fine show by the boys. We picked up a cool t-shirt after the show. Massy Ferguson also frequent some of the wineries in Eastern Washington, so check ’em out in Wenatchee, Tri-Cities and Walla Walla sometime. Here’s a blog I wrote last year for No Depression.
The Swearengens – Their motto is “The Seattle alt-country band your mama warned you about.” We try to see this band as often as possible. I love their big sound. You never know what will happen at one of their shows: dancing, drinking, special guests and lots of friends joining in on the fun. Oh, and never have a whiskey drinkin’ contest with frontman Fredd Luongo. You will lose. Their latest album, Waiting on the Sunrise is a treat. Check out their link and listen or purchase some merch.
Davidson Hart Kingsbery – His self-titled new album is getting some positive, nation-wide press. We saw part of his show in January, and dug it.
The Rainieros – Another tight country band with a Western swing kicker. Their latest album, Last Call received critical acclaim and was one of the top Americana albums of 2012. We saw them open for Big Sandy in August.
The Ganges River Band – We saw them for the first time at The Sunset this summer. They opened for Shinyribs and blasted through a clean set of country. Country Dave Harmonson helped out on pedal steel and electric guitar. Always a treat.
Ole Tinder – Ole timey country. We saw them open for Massy Ferguson at Barboza and at The Tractor with Jackrabbit. Mike Giacolino also has a solo project while Nils Peterson plays in another band called Rose Windows. JB Kardong also sits in with other bands including Jackrabbit and Sera Cahoone.
The Dusty 45’s – I’ll try to finish up a blog I started of this energetic show. Billy Joe Huels is THE Frontman. No one can light a trumpet ablaze, stand on a bass and blow the way he can! We went to a benefit concert supporting the DESC and were thoroughly entertained.
Star Anna – Opened solo for The Dusty 45’s. We’ve seen her shows several times. Her voice will grab your heart and rip it out. She has a new album out right now called Go To Hell, so pick it up and prepare to be mesmerized by her haunting vocals.
The Gourds – If Tom Petty is my musical Jesus, then The Gourds are my Church. Always a religious experience. My soul runneth over at every show, including the latest in August at The Tractor. One of my Best Weekends Ever.
Shinyribs – Kevin Russell’s solo project. He has so much creative energy that one band (The Gourds) isn’t enough for him. If you’re lucky, he’ll open for The Gourds and you’ll get double the fun. Check out his bandcamp site for a little booty shakin’ music. We saw him again just two weeks after his stint at The Tractor. He came back and played at The Sunset!
The Wild Feathers – This big band opened for Willie Nelson at Marymoor and we fell in love with them. Besides their original tunes, they managed to cover Tom Petty’s “Listen To Her Heart” with my approval.
Big Sandy – Roots rock, rockabilly and Western swing. Big Sandy’s a ball of energy and the king of smooth. He plays in Southern Cal most of the year, but tours around the country and Europe, too. If he shows up with Los Straitjackets (see below), it’s a Must-See show. We saw him in August at The Tractor.
Los Straitjackets – Eddie Angel’s lucha libre mask-wearing band of psycho surf musicians and one of Marshall Chapman’s (see Marshall below) favorite bands. Angel was actually the guitarist in Marshall’s band back in the 80’s. They’re known world-wide for their onstage antics and surf guitar mastery. I had the pleasure of meeting them at a local show a couple of years ago. They’re currently touring the East Coast. Hoping to see them again in 2014.
Greg Townson – Solo artist, Hi-Riser (Meet the Hi-Risers Here!) and Gregorio El Grande of Los Straitjackets. He can sing a swoon-worthy love song (buy his latest album, On Your Side) or perform a face-melting guitar solo. Check him out in Rochester, NY or on the current Los Straitjackets tour. He also joins the bands overseas to Italy, Spain and other countries.
Marshall Chapman – A Nashville treasure and my musical hero. Rodney Crowell calls her “The Goddess of Tall”. The first time I saw her was in 2011 at The Station Inn , a Nashville mecca for singer/songwriters of country, Americana and bluegrass. All my preconceived notions of Nashville flew out the window that night. She was REAL. She was CANDID. She had bare feet. And she wore basketball shorts to the performance. I liked her before she ever sang a note. Here is my blog of that show (scroll down a bit to find the Nashville section). She has a new album and a couple of books that are Must-Reads for music lovers. Check her website for more info and purchase some merch!
My husband, who travels to the Nashville area often, had a chance to see her play again this year at The Bluebird Cafe, another very famous yet tiny Nashville hangout. Will Kimbrough (see below) accompanied her on guitar once again to promote her new album, Blaze of Glory, which is getting rave reviews. I was so jealous that my husband attended the show without me, but I knew he would return with her signed CD. What I missed most were the stories that accompanied the songs. My husband recounted a few stories to me when he returned. She also told the audience that this album is meant to be shared with the one you love. Play it in the bedroom with the curtains drawn and the lights low. By the fifth song, you should be ripping each other’s clothes off.
My sweet husband did bring home a signed copy of Marshall’s CD. Throughout the album, the instruments stay firmly put in the background, allowing Marshall’s vocals and lyrics to shine. Occasionally, Mr. Mike Utley, one of Jimmy Buffet’s cohorts and co-producer of this album, drops in for a visit with an organ accompaniment. The first two songs offer some good ol’ rock and roll, and one includes The Reverend Todd Snider on vocals. After that, she pulls in for a sexy slow dance. A new genre is born, says Marshall: “Torch-song Americana”. Hear some tunes here.
Will Kimbrough – Another Nashville hero whom I found through Jimmy Buffett. We’ve seen him perform several times in various locations solo, with Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris, Todd Snider and with Marshall Chapman in Nashville. He just released a solo album, Sideshow Love, and will perform in the Seattle-Bellingham area in early January 2014! More info soon!! A MUST-SEE EVENT!!!
Willie Sugarcapps – An Americana supergroup starring Will Kimbrough- also with new album out this year. They are getting outstanding press and are currently enjoying a Gulf Shores Shrimp Fest weekend in Alabama.
Todd Snider – Now, The Reverend Todd Snider. He received his license to officiate in support of gay marriage. Part folk/Americana, part country, and part rock-n-roll. He can make a political statement in a song before you know what hit you. His live shows are a stand-up comedy act with some music thrown in. He makes you think, laugh and generally just have fun. He said he isn’t trying to preach to you, either. He tells these stories because they rhyme. We also saw him at The Triple Door last year, and I wrote a review for Randomvile. We saw him at The Zoo this summer on a perfect Sunday evening. He brought along Hayes Carll, whom I coined Todd Jr. by the end of his set. He was also a storyteller, and had funny songs that accompanied the backstories. His voice was a little more country than Todd’s, more akin to Jack Ingraham. Carll also had some inappropriate songs that he couldn’t sing because of “the children” in attendance. On his website, he had a ton of videos. Shawn Mullins, , of the notorious talk-sing “Rockabye” song, was a very pleasant surprise. His guitar playing was superb, and his other songs rich and interesting. Sarah Jarosz opened Todd’s show. I really enjoyed her clear folk vocals accompanied by a fiddler and a cellist, who plucked his instrument like a bass. She did a Bob Dylan cover of “Ring Them Bells” and it was wonderful. She only played about a half-hour set, but kept the audience’s attention the entire time.
Tommy Womack – Another favorite Nashville/Kentucky solo artist, a Daddy with Will Kimbrough, and collaborator with many others including Todd Snider. He has an album out (several, actually), and plays regularly at The Station Inn with Will and Marshall. He also wrote a humorous and heartbreaking tell-all about his life in the band Government Cheese called Cheese Chronicles. A very entertaining read. Visit with him on YouTube every Monday Morning for a cup of coffee (see his website or FB for more info) and pick up your own coffee mug on his website. “Don’t let the bastards get you down!” I have yet to meet Tommy, but P got to meet him at The Station Inn last year. I’m hoping to make it back to Nashville in 2014.
Have I missed anyone here? I’m sure I have. It’s been a tough year to find time to get out there, so we’ve been very picky about our show dates. We try to see our regulars first and foremost. Once in a blue moon we see a new band or enjoy an opening set; it’s always a nice surprise to add one to our “favorite band” list,
Todd Snider played The Triple Door in Seattle on Friday, April 20, the second of a two-night event. Although it was 4/20, Todd was under heavy instruction (threats) by the management not to smoke anything green in the green room. Okay, so what did the managers at The Triple Door expect when they decide to book a show on 4/20? Not that Snider smokes dope; he just needed a word that rhymed with “Pope” in his song, “Alright Guy”.
A Nashville transplant (make that East Nashville) originally from Oregon, Snider is most widely known in Seattle for his deliciously funny take on 90’s grunge with a song called “Talkin’ Seattle Grunge Rock Blues”, although this song was missing from Friday’s set. He made up for its absence with a fine set of old favorites, other songs that appealed to the local crowd, new ones from Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables as well as a few surprises.
See the full review on Randomville!
After six years of seeing his show throughout the Seattle area and a pilgrimage to Sparks, Nevada in 2009, I am blessed to say I have finally met the Elusive, self-proclaimed Evangelical Agnostic, Mr. Todd Snider. There is a god!
Prelude to a Heart Attack
The Devil You Know
If Tomorrow Never Comes
Story of Tony Bennett, not THE Tony Bennett, but a homeless guy at the car wash
Tillamook County Jail
A couple of songs I haven’t heard of before
Tension (gay weddin’s, Michael Phelps)
I’m sure there were more songs…Todd was ok, but not the best I’d seen. I think his show in Reno was much more polished. Seeing him play with a full band was much more energizing and just plain fun. He seemed a bit tired. He goofed on one song, seemed to forget his place. He warmed up as the crowd warmed up to him, though. It was a big place, and with everyone seated and eating dinner, it was much different from in Reno and certainly different from the Tractor, which is such a rowdy, dirty place. [I do remember at one point just standing there soaking everything in. It might not have been the best show, but here we were, in the moment, watching one of our favorite musicians play in a beautiful theatre, with the crowd laughing and singing along. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Everything else went away at that moment. No annoying distractions, no worries, no past, no future; just right now. Listening and enjoying.] There’s really no comparison to a full band show. The solo show just didn’t have the same energy. But overall, he was funny and sly.
We also had a good time talking to our new friend before and after the show. He kept telling us he’d send us some CD’s of live shows he and his buddies had recorded, and that he wasn’t a flake! I knew he wasn’t; I told him it was a Todd Snider thing! He actually did stop by P’s office and dropped off some CD’s.
We also met up with L from Bellingham at the t-shirt stand and talked to her for a little bit. It was a little hard to hear in there. Hopefully we’ll catch up to them in Bellingham sometime if Todd gets up there this summer.
After the show, we walked out to find something to eat. We were hungry! We walked a block or so out and around, and finally settled for Rock Bottom, which was the only place around serving food after 11:00. We had some yummy chicken quesadillas and water.
Got back to the hotel and crashed.
Next morning we had to get the hell out and go pick up the dog before 10:00 as well as the boy. Dog puked in the car a block from the house. Had to clean up the mess, then go pick up boy in Maltby. Talked to his daycare mom for a while, then had to go pick up the truck in Ballard, since we forgot to stop by there on the way home. How does one forget a truck?! Drove all the way from Maltby to Ballard, lost P on the way home, and ended up taking a different route, while he waited for us to pull out of parking lot. It was a miscommunication nightmare. We were both so forgetful. Just tired, I guess.
So that’s the end of the crazy week. It went by too quickly. Now I’m bored again. Hoping to schedule another show soon!
- Aaron Lee Tasjan
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