Aplscruf's Music Blog

Diary of a Married Groupie

Heartbroken.

Advertisements

October 2, 2017 Posted by | Tom Petty, Uncategorized | | 1 Comment

Joe Smith, Jeff Finlin, Will Kimbrough, Brigitte DeMeyer, and other Cool Cats

I’m changing the format here for a bit. Life continues to bombard me; so instead of posting individual reviews, I will post several short reviews or links to artists who have caught my ear recently.

Atlanta’s Joe Smith and the Going Concern have a catchy new single out. Joe, originally from California, was heavily influenced by the punk scene, including John Doe’s X and Mike Watt. This new song, as the title suggests, has much more of a bluesy vibe. Check it below, and be sure to click on the other songs from previous albums to get the full punk flavor. Purchase their merch and check their Facebook page for upcoming events.

Will Kimbrough and Brigitte DeMeyer collaborated on a soulful new folk album called Mockingbird Soul. They will make appearances in Northern California this week, and will head to Europe this spring. Check their tour schedules on their websites. Oh, did I mention they moved up to #11 in the Americana Charts this week? Lee Zimmerman of No Depression recently gave their album a glowing review: http://nodepression.com/album-review/two-perfect-pair

Here’s a pic of the pair in Seattle a few years ago:

DSC07890

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

Jeff Finlin continues to amaze with his prolific artistry. He just finished recording a new album entitled The Guru in The Girl with Holland’s wildly talented Wild Verband. The record is now mastered–release date coming soon. I am delighted to say this may just be his finest work yet. Finlin fans will be truly blown away.

Finlin also spent most of February on a successful UK tour with Pete Bruntnell and Clive Barnes , selling out several venues along the way. I will defer, once again, to Paul Kerr of Blabber ‘n’ Smoke to wax poetic about their show in Glasgow:

https://paulkerr.wordpress.com/2017/02/21/jeff-finlin-clive-barnes-sounds-in-the-suburbs-glasgow-sunday-19th-february-2017/

Before he left for the UK, Jeff Finlin released a stunning video which brings to life his poem, “The Tantric Co-motion of Parvati on I-75” from his collection of poetry, Seduction of Radha. Finlin narrates. The video was beautifully directed by Verginia Grando.

 

 

a3765504260_16

Seattle’s Jackrabbit released the rock-driven Dead Man’s Song in December. Take a listen and catch a rare show in Ballard.

At the Tractor Tavern back in December, we met a nice fellow by the name of Mark who manages a singer-songwriter website here: http://singersongwriterslive.com/ On it, he lists Seattle-area shows at venues who cater to singer-songwriters. He includes artist links, and an easy-to-follow legend for those bands he’s seen before and recommends, to those whom he heard were worth a listen.

Support indie artists! Go see a show and be sure to purchase the merch!

 

February 21, 2017 Posted by | 2017, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

SC4M: Americana Music Festival in South Central…England!

sc4m-2016-A5-2-hi-res-for-web

SC4M Festival is an annual Americana music festival in South Central England–Winchester, to be precise. This year’s Festival will prove to be a great success. It’s a guaranteed “No Mud” event, as all shows are inside The Railway Inn in two locations: The Attic and The Barn (not a real barn–but a larger room inside the venue). The line-up alone is worth a drool, including headliner John Murry and festival mascot Peter Bruntnell. The festival begins at noon and runs into the wee hours. Check the full lineup and schedule here.

I posted a more concise article for No Depression here.

Oliver Gray, founder and promoter of SC4M, is a language instructor, author, musician, and all ’round music lover. Over the last dozen years or so, he’s been dipping his toes in that river of Americana music and its related tributaries and booking The Railway with the genre’s best artists. The annual non-profit festival is going on its seventh season at The Railway. According to Oliver, he founded SC4M “not to make money…but simply for fun, and because if we didn’t bring Americana to Winchester, no other bugger would. We had to accept from the start that this would be a hobby and not a business. Over the years, if you add everything up, we have made quite a substantial net loss, but had a huge amount of fun and satisfaction.” Oliver and his wife Birgit even offer up rooms in their home to the artists in order to keep expenses at a minimum.

I had the pleasure of meeting The Grays in April:

The rain poured down the day my husband Pat and I were supposed to meet Oliver Gray in a little village on the outskirts of Winchester. After touring Winchester Cathedral and paying my respects to beloved author Jane Austen (i.e., crying my eyes out at her grave), we hired a taxi to take us into the village.

We were originally going to meet Oliver at a local pub, but due to the incessant rain, he invited us over to his home instead, as he didn’t feel like venturing out. He gave us his address. That’s it? There were no numbered streets or house addresses–only names in the style of manor houses posted willy-nilly in front gardens and near doorways (think of your favorite English novel: Wuthering Heights, Thornfield Hall, Mansfield Park, etc., but in an average, residential neighborhood)–it was nearly impossible for us to find his home. Our taxi driver gave up and drove off a few minutes earlier after cruising up and down the neighborhood and checking Google Earth. We were stranded. “It’s got to be on this street, according to the GPS,” Pat said. Frustration etched his voice as the rain dripped off the hood of his jacket.

I looked up, and a familiar-looking man crossed the street and approached us. After a tentative introduction to make sure we were indeed Lisa and Pat (and he was indeed Oliver), he guided us directly across the street and up a set of stairs to his lovely home. Their house sign was posted high, near some shrubbery–we’d never looked up. He sat us down, served us tea, and said, “My wife Birgit asked me how I came to know you, and I really don’t recall. Right. So. How do I know you?” Laughter ensued as we became acquainted with each other.

As a writer and lover of music myself, I found Oliver through a Facebook group called Rollercoaster Records. I noticed we had several mutual musical friends. When I realized Oliver booked The Railway, I contacted him to inform him we’d be in town on holiday in April and hoped to meet up or go to a show. Unfortunately, our Winchester visit was on a Monday, and we missed a few shows around town by a matter of days; but we hit a home run by spending time with Oliver and Birgit that day.

Back to SC4M…

Oliver has a lively article on his SC4M page regarding the formation of SC4M, the festival, and the various mishaps of being in the booking/promotion business including flaky agents, drunken behavior, and a near murder, just to name a few. Of course, even the worst incidents are canceled out by fantastic bands, sold-out shows, and life-long friendships with artists and patrons. There is also a section dedicated to the nearly disastrous 2013 festival, and other bits of lore that took place over the last decade.

I included a snippet of Oliver’s article, which includes the birth of SC4M:

“It was at the Tower Arts Centre in Winchester and it must have been February 2000. My friend Richard had begged me to come and see a guy called Peter Bruntnell.

peter-bruntnell.jpg

“I had always had a strong prejudice against country music, with its attendant visions, in my mind, of soppy lyrics and redneck attitudes. It wasn’t rock. But Peter Bruntnell and his band did rock – like hell. The ridiculously young James Walbourne was simply one the best and wildest electric guitar players I had ever seen. There weren’t many people there, but that evening changed my life. Richard and I decided to become alt-country impresarios. Not to make money…but simply for fun, and because if we didn’t bring Americana to Winchester, no other bugger would.”

And so began Oliver’s foray into the world of promoting Americana music in Winchester.

the railway

The Railway Inn, Winchester, UK

“We also had the perfect venue, in the form of The Railway in Winchester, a cosy pub that has a back room that feels just like a Texas roadhouse, with black walls, a sticky floor and a sweaty rock and roll vibe….We certainly didn’t think we’d still be doing it [thirteen] years later.”

The Lucky Mascot Returns:

“If you look at the list of our shows, you’ll see that the first one (on May 1, 2003) featured, naturally, Peter Bruntnell. Well, it would have to. The Bruntosaurus, as he is affectionately known, has played for us over twenty times…Peter is officially designated as our lucky mascot. In our opinion, he is the UK’s premier songwriter, but far more importantly, he is an absolute legend as a person. Luckily, our audience shares our enthusiasm and any show he features in will always draw a healthy crowd.”

Recently, I asked Pete Bruntnell about his experiences playing SC4M:

“We’ve been playing in Winchester for quite a few years now thanks to Oliver and Birgit. It’s always one we look forward to what with the great atmosphere they create, and the cheese and wine back at Chez Oliver’s after. If every town had an Oliver I’d be a rich musician!

Pete’s latest video, “Mr. Sunshine” is featured on his new album Nos Da Comrade:

Per Oliver, the 2016 lineup will be smashing with John Murry’s return to the stage:

“Since he more or less demolished the place two years ago, we’ve been gagging to have John Murry back, this time in duo format with Neil Quigley. Headlining in the Attic we have one of Winchester’s greatest success stories, This Is The Kit, featuring Kate Stables and Rozi Plain. A massive bonus this year is a solo slot from our special guest Andrew Combs, whom we love to death.”

John Murry gave an emotional tribute to the Grays:

“Oliver and Birgit Gray mean more to me than I could ever fully express in words (and I’m told that I have a way with those damn things, though I’m unsure as to whether those who say that I do mean that I use them artistically or that my use of them tends to get me in trouble quite often…). Everything they do, they do out of the love; the love of music, the love of art, and the love of the artist.

“Playing SC4M and Winchester and, in earlier days, Southampton, has always felt like a brief vacation from the pressures of touring while staying with the Gray’s. I’m certain that, if shows I have done have been good, then the ones I have done in Winchester must have been some of the best I have ever done. Like playing for family I have never really had, I have always wanted to give those shows more than I have in me to give, only to see the wry excited smile that creeps across Oliver’s face as he stands in the audience that indicates I have done well. He’s the finest musical barometer I have ever met. His taste is immaculate, his understanding of the art behind it all is immense, and his love of rock and roll is insatiable. He and Birgit have seen more amazing acts perform than most of us could see in multiple lifetimes. They are heroic to me. Sincerely. Not because they ask nothing in return for the love, hard work, and money they put creating and promoting each yearly SC4M festival, but because they do it out of a sense of duty and responsibility with a dignity and humanity almost alien to the selfish world we live in today. I’ve played large festivals on a few continents, but I have yet to play a festival as superbly curated and consistently amazing to both perform at and attend as SC4M, and I doubt I ever will. It is more than an honor to headline this year’s festival, it’s a challenge. I WILL make Oliver and Birgit dance or cry or something! I have to. They’d expect nothing less. From any of us.”

Murry rocked The Railway in 2013:

Meanwhile, back at Chez Oliver’s…

Besides booking The Railway throughout the year and the annual SC4M Festival, Oliver and Birgit also host intimate shows in a beautiful pine-wrapped outbuilding on their property called Swiss Cottage. It’s quite a treat to meet a couple who love music so much that they built a place for bands to play on their property. It holds about 30-40 people, and the top-notch musicians who are invited to play at either venue are also invited to sleep in the Grays’ home, just steps from the cottage. Money collected for the shows goes directly into the artists’ hands.

The Grays support not only UK and European artists, but also American artists. Some Americans have actually enjoyed much more success overseas than in the US. There are too many bands to list, but a few who played Winchester include: John Murry, Richmond Fontaine, Jeff Finlin, The Believers, Dead Rock West, Chuck Prophet, and Fernando Viciconte.

I’ve played Swiss Cottage, too–well, okay, I played a mean round of ping-pong in Swiss Cottage on a rainy Monday afternoon.

believers oliver

Craig Aspen, Oliver Gray, and Cynthia Frazzini at Swiss Cottage

Craig Aspen of The Believers, a Seattle band currently residing in Nashville, recalls his experience of their short stay with the Grays:

“Simply put, Oliver Gray is a taste maker. The Believers included The Railway on our last tour to the UK, because Oliver was booking acts that we loved and had shared the stage with back home in the States. People like Chuck Prophet and Jesse Sykes.
“I remember Cyd [Cynthia Frazzini] and I waking up very jet-lagged and rehearsing while Oliver and Birgit cooked dinner. After we ate, Cynthia went back to bed. Oliver and I went out for pints. I don’t care what anyone says, the best beer is made in England so don’t miss a chance to get out to the pub.
“We ended up at The Railway on a double bill with our friends from LA – Dead Rock West. What a great night. And then we were ‘off’ to the next place the morning after and didn’t even get to see The Winchester Cathedral. That’s always how it goes on tour…”

_________

The rain stopped. Oliver gave us a historical walking tour through the village. We strolled across the bridges of the twin rivers and arrived at the small train station to catch our ride home. Pat and I had a lovely time, and we were so pleasantly surprised by the Grays’ hospitality to a couple of Yankee strangers who shared their love of music.

If you plan on being anywhere near the UK in September, grab some tickets to SC4M Festival and go!

Support Oliver and Birgit and their unwavering commitment to bringing quality music to Winchester. Purchase Railway Tickets for SC4M here

See the complete SC4M lineup here

SC4M’s Facebook Page

Support the independent artists who venture to your city and play in small clubs and venues. Support quality music.

 

 

 

August 10, 2016 Posted by | 2016, Oliver Gray, SC4M, The Railway, Uncategorized, Winchester Music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blabber ‘n’ Smoke Reviews David Corley’s New EP

Please check out Paul Kerr’s splendid review of David Corley’s new EP below.

David Corley erupted into view at the beginning of 2015 with his tremendous debut album Available Light. An astonishing record, his deep voice carrying years of experience (53 years in fact), the music reminiscent of Southern soul and swampy blues, Available Light was an immediate hit with the roots music community in the UK, Ireland […]

via David Corley. Lights Out. — Blabber ‘n’ Smoke

April 28, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jeremy Nail – My Mountain

Jeremy Nail stevan.alcala_JN14B

Jeremy Nail, native Texan and singer-songwriter, just released My Mountain, eleven alt-country / Americana gems set in solid gold and produced by Alejandro Escovedo. I will direct your attention to my friend Paul Kerr’s review, a work of poetic prose:https://paulkerr.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/jeremy-nail-my-mountain/

Also, Cara Gibney posted an insightful interview with Jeremy on Rocking Magpie’s site here: https://rockingmagpie.wordpress.com/2016/04/20/jeremy-nail-exclusive-interview-by-cara-gibney/

Watch the official video of the title track, “My Mountain”:

 

Photo Credit: Stevan Alcala

 

April 25, 2016 Posted by | 2016, Alejandro Escovedo, Jeremy Nail, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 3 Comments

RIP, Harper Lee

Our friend Will Kimbrough wrote this song inspired by To Kill A Mockingbird. It’s a beautiful tribute, and a fitting video to post today, after hearing of Ms. Harper Lee’s passing.

February 19, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jeff Finlin’s New Video – “I Killed Myself Last Night” Posted on No Depression

1656396

My musical family tree is showing signs of an early spring. New blossoms formed this week. I met two new friends–both have been around for years, but we finally connected. One friend will be featured in a separate post and video, once tour dates are announced. The other, as it turns out, was someone who, all things considered, I should have met a decade ago. Jeff Finlin is his name. We have several mutual friends in the music world. He’s also collaborated with Will Kimbrough and spent many moons in the Nashville scene before settling in Colorado.

His current album, My Moby Dick was released in 2013. “I Killed Myself Last Night” from the album, was just released as a video. The song has a powerful message of spiritual awakening. I just posted it on No Depression. Here is the link:  http://nodepression.com/video/jeff-finlin-i-killed-myself-last-night

Here is the video:

As I explore Finlin’s music, I wonder why I didn’t find him sooner. My music purchases are sporadic, though. I think I missed a whole decade at one point. Life gets in the way. Distractions galore. I heard him for the first time singing “Sugar Blue” in his distinct, drawn-out vocals, a favorite song featured on Cameron Crowe’s Elizabethtown 2002 soundtrack. But since then, I hadn’t ordered his albums. After he contacted me regarding posting the video, I hopped online and purchased My Moby Dick and an accompanying book of prose called Time Less Travel. I like the play on words.

He is also working on a retrospective album that will be released through a European label and another new album entitled The Guru in The Girl  to be released later in the year. Check his website for more details and updates.

Join him on his UK tour in February. Show dates here: http://jefffinlin.com/shows

1656383

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 30, 2016 Posted by | 2016, Jeff Finlin, No Depression, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fine Prince “Nostalgia” Premieres on No Depression!

fineprince

“Nostalgia” off Fine Prince‘s new EP Lookout premiered on No Depression this week. Check my article and take a listen here: http://nodepression.com/article/exclusive-premiere-nostalgia-fine-prince

Their EP will drop January 22. Join this happy bunch at their EP Release Party on January 23 at The Sunset Tavern in Ballard.

Check their website to order the EP, get more info, and track upcoming shows.

January 13, 2016 Posted by | 2016, Fine Prince, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

David Bowie Earthling Tour September, 1997

1997_earthling_cvr_fix_800sq

In Remembrance of David Bowie…one of my first concert journals. 1997, Paramount Theatre. Fantastic.

Also, Bowie left this earth with a bang. Check out his newly released video, posted just a few days ago:

https://youtu.be/y-JqH1M4Ya8

Aplscruf's Music Blog

I dug deep this weekend, down into the archives (i.e., an old file cabinet in the corner of our garage) and found my journal on David Bowie’s Earthling Tour at The Paramount Theatre in Seattle, circa 1997.  I added a few things in brackets, and scanned the old article from The Seattle Times, as well as my tickets and a link to Bowie’s tours at the bottom of the blog.

September 8, 1997

I am a lucky person.  I was one of 3,000 people lucky enough to purchase tickets to the David Bowie concert held in The Paramount Theatre on Sunday [1997].  A few weeks ago I heard an announcement on my favorite radio station, The Mountain, that a big star was coming to play at a small venue.  I listened later that day to find out David Bowie was that star.  I wanted to see him back in 1983…

View original post 2,502 more words

January 11, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Selah” by David Corley is Released by Prisoners

 

pandc21

An anonymous piece of artwork from one of the prisoners at Pittsburgh Institution

David Corley wrote a song and gave it to his friend and producer, Hugh Christopher Brown. Chris took the song to the prisoners that he mentors at Pittsburgh Institution in Canada in a program called Pros and Cons Program.  The result, along with an entire album of other songs, is a powerful reminder of humanity at its finest, regardless of prison walls.

See my No Depression Article below for more information, and take a listen:

http://nodepression.com/article/selah-performed-and-recorded-prisoners-pittsburgh-institution

 

Check out Brown’s Tedx Talk for more information regarding the Pros and Cons Program:

December 29, 2015 Posted by | David Corley, Hugh Christopher Brown, Selah, Uncategorized | , , , , | 3 Comments