Aplscruf's Music Blog

Diary of a Married Groupie

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

2016: A Year In Review

img_1899-2

Tom Petty and Mudcrutch played The Filmore in San Francisco this year.

Another year flew by. Another year of fantastic shows and new musical discoveries. This year in music took me from Seattle to England to Amsterdam to Portland to San Francisco and back. I’m grateful for the opportunities I had this year to see local bands and national legends. I also posted several online reviews to No Depression, the journal of roots music. Although we lost some musical greats, I am grateful I had the opportunity to see some of them over the years, including David Bowie and Merle Haggard. I’m also grateful for new friends and for adding lovely new branches to my musical family tree.

Now, on to the fun stuff. I thought I’d share a review in pictures, which includes shows and albums I reviewed. Check ’em out online, or find them linked on my feed to the right.

I started out 2016 with a review of Lookout from a sweet ‘n’ local indie-pop band Fine Prince.

fineprince

Seattle’s Fine Prince

Joy Mills, Cahalen Morrison, and Blackberry Bushes graced The Tractor’s stage in January.

Bizarre musical coincidences occurred all year. I was contacted by Jeff Finlin to post his video “I Killed Myself Last Night” from his 2013 album My Moby Dick, which led to an unexpected friendship and a realization that our mutual friends in music criss-crossed the globe. Jeff also had a ridiculously prolific year. He toured Europe twice, released a retrospective album called Life After Death – The Essential Jeff Finlin, published a poetry book, started a yoga for recovery organization, published 365 Days of Recovery Yoga, and will drop yet another new album soon.

1656396

Jeff Finlin

Noam Weinstein released one of my favorite albums of 2016, On Waves.

Noam Weinstein pic

Noam Weinstein

Colt Kraft brought his ganja country sound and dapper sweaters to Darrell’s Tavern in Shoreline.

img_0650

Colt Kraft and Jamie Henwood

Peter Bruntnell,who toured the U.K. and Europe with Jeff Finlin and Clive Barnes this year, also produced one of the best songs and most scathing music videos of the year called “Mr. Sunshine” from his new critically acclaimed album, Nos Da Comrade. Now, it’s December, and the nightmare of greed and power continues on our side of The Pond…

Massy Ferguson played a final show at Jet Bar in Lynnwood before it closed for good. Massy wins for most shows attended this year. I lost track of how many times we saw them.

img_0722

Massy Ferguson

New York’s Sean Rowe blew us away in Bothell inside a tiny classroom-sized listening room at McMenamins.

IMG_0799.JPG

Sean Rowe

A trip to Leavenworth for a Knight family reunion also reunited us with Alisa Milner and Ian McFeron, who played Icicle Creek Brewery. They got married later this year!

img_0809

Alisa Milner and Ian McFeron

In March, Massy Ferguson and The Dusty 45’s joined forces to support Seattle’s DESC organization.

Vaudeville Etiquette, Seattle darlings, played The Sunset and all over Seattle this year.

img_0951

Tayler Lynn and Bradley Laina of Vaudeville Etiquette

A trip overseas led to meeting promoters and musicophiles Oliver and Birgit Gray of Winchester. Their Swiss Cottage and The Railway Inn are havens for many US and UK Americana artists, including a handful that we saw this year: Richmond Fontaine, Jeff Finlin, The Believers, and Fernando.

IMG_2644

Birgit and Oliver Gray’s Swiss Cottage near Winchester, and below, Jo’s Melkweg Cafe in Amsterdam

In Amsterdam, we met Erik and Jo, Wisconsin expats and owners of Jo’s Cafe in the Melkweg music venue. We didn’t see music on that trip, but we met some beautiful people who care about quality music and esteemed musicians.

 Jeremy Nail’s gem of a new album, My Mountain, was produced by Alejandro Escovedo, who also dropped a highly acclaimed album of his own this year called Burn Something Beautiful.

Jeremy Nail stevan.alcala_JN14B

Jeremy Nail

We drove to Portland and watched Todd Snider’s triumphant return to his solo show. Rorey Carroll opened with her beautiful, biting folk songs.

IMG_1593

Todd Snider at Aladdin Theater in Portland

Richmond Fontaine–another beautiful coincidence. As we were touring Europe, Willy Vlautin and crew were just days behind us. They also visited Oliver and Birgit in Winchester–they were one of the first American bands to ever play The Railway and Swiss Cottage as one of Oliver’s promotional acts years ago. We finally converged in Portland and witnessed Richmond Fontaine’s swan song. The band was breaking up. They’ve taken the rest of the year to do so, with a final tour in Europe just wrapping up in October.

Flight To Mars – Seattle’s UFO tribute band gets together annually for a great cause – Crohn’s and Collitis Foundation.

IMG_1783 (2)

Mike McCready and Tim DiJulio of Flight To Mars

Greg Townson was busy with a new solo album and tour with Los Straitjackets as well as a Hi-Risers reunion.

myfriendthenight380-333

Will Kimbrough, Nashville’s prolific singer-songwriter-producer-session artist had a very busy year doing all that. Live At Coast was finally released; and Willie Sugarcapps, his Lower Alabama supergroup, also dropped a new album, Paradise Right Here.

live-at-coast_front-300x266

David Corley came back from the dead (literally) to release his sophomore album Lights Out and tour Europe again.

RNB-30-04-16-2006-36-2633-Knelis

David Corley in The Netherlands. Photo by Niels Knelis Meijer

Aaron Lee Tasjan, another acclaimed Nashville artist who just dropped a new album called Silver Tears, played a free show at McMenamins in Bothell to maybe 50 people. His clear vox and bluesy guitar licks sold us. The talented Brian Wright shared the spotlight and backed him. Where the hell was everyone?

IMG_1838

Brian Wright and Aaron Lee Tasjan

John Doe — a new album, a new book on LA punk, a new video, and a new tour, including a stop in Ballard’s Tractor Tavern. A thrill to meet him. Always keeping things fresh and remembering his punk roots at the same time. Opening and backing him was Texan Jesse Dayton, guitarist extraordinaire, who also came back and played a duo show at McMenamins and dropped a new album.Click on individual pics for a closer look…

Ted Leo (of The Pharmacists) and Aimee Mann played Barboza, the tiny club in the basement of Capitol Hill’s Neumos. It was a Pharmacists Acoustic Greatest Hits Night, as well as a splash of new music with Aimee from The Both.

theboth_photo_gal_39683_photo_926348106_lr

Fernando, who shares lead guitarist Dan Eccles with Richmond Fontaine, came to Hotel Albatross for a lovely solo performance. Two greats, Austin Lucas and Adam Faucett played sets later that night. Later in the summer, Fernando played an outdoor show with Dan at McMenamins in Bothell.

img_1855

Fernando Viciconte played Hotel Albatross in Ballard with Austin Lucas and Adam Faucett

fernando-at-mcmenamins

Fernando and Dan at McMenamins in Bothell, late summer

Massy Ferguson released Run It Right Into The Wall, another fantastic rock album. Ethan Anderson of Massy would later bond with Pete Bruntnell in England at the Maverick Music Fest. You’re welcome!

massycd-runitrightintothewall-cover-square-72dpi

13439112_10154104255820412_8515150025232662569_n

Pete Bruntnell with Ethan Anderson at Maverick Music Festival, England

Massy Ferguson’s CD Release Party took place at The Triple Door, the day before we flew out to see Tom Petty with Mudcrutch…

06-Massy_Ferguson

Massy Ferguson and most of the audience. Photo by Rich Zollner

Tom Petty reunited with his old band Mudcrutch and dropped a “2“! Better than the first album, with each artist getting his chance to shine, and more Petty-esque songs. He played The Filmore in San Francisco, and we had to go. Click on individual pics for a closer look. Tom’s also gearing up for a massive 2017 tour, celebrating The Heartbreakers’ 40th year anniversary!

The Swearengens, a favorite Ballard alt-country band, played The Sunset Tavern in July. I’m excited to see them perform once more at The Tractor’s holiday bash with Massy Ferguson and Jackrabbit on December 23.

img_2164

Fredd Luongo of The Swearengens

The very next day, we came back to Ballard to rock out with surf instrumentalists Los Straitjackets at The Tractor. El Vez joined them on stage!

The B-52’s at Woodland Park ZooTunes summer concert series. Pass the tanning butter! Always a great venue for summer shows. They played all the hits to a sold-out crowd.

b52s-zoo-2016

In August, Kevin “Shinyribs” Russell of Austin surprised us with a full band and backup singers, stepping up his game and into a funky groove.

img_2323

Shinyribs at The Tractor

The Believers, with Craig Aspen and Cynthia Frazzini, tore it up at Oak Harbor Music Fest Labor Day weekend to a huge crowd. They celebrated a 15-year reunion with their original band.

img_2338

The Believers with Craig Aspen, Garey Shelton, and Cynthia Frazzini

The Paperboys from Vancouver came late September to The Nectar in Fremont. They are always a joy to see, and bring a full band with brass, banjo, fiddle, and flute!

paperboys-nectar

The Paperboys – with Tom Landa

Jenny Whiteley went back to her roots on her latest album, The Original Jenny Whiteley (2016 Black Hen Music). The album was recorded on Wolfe Island, Ontario at the magical Old Post Office, and produced by multi-instrumentalist and humanitarian Hugh Christopher Brown (the man can do no wrong!).

Her father Chris and uncle Ken Whiteley joined her on the album, which includes original material interwoven with traditional folk and bluegrass songs, continuing her father’s legacy. They keep things simple, clean, and stripped down, all the while honoring the genre and letting Jenny’s rich, earthy vocals shine.

Wanda Jackson with The Dusty 45’s backing, came to the EMP (MoPop) in Seattle. It was such a thrill to finally see Ms. Jackson, the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll!

Dean Owens caught my ear this year when he released “Cotton Snow”, a song about the Civil War’s bloody Battle of Franklin. Find Dean in Nashville–or Scotland. He will release a new album soon called Southern Wind, a follow-up to 2015’s Into The Sea. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all. I’ll leave you with Dean’s latest Christmas video he produced with The Whisky Hearts. He’ll play Edinburgh 12 December.

December 10, 2016 Posted by | 2016 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Jeff Finlin: Man On Fire

Jeff-Finlin-A-Love-So-Contagious

Jeff Finlin. Photo Credit: Aidan Finlin

Jeff Finlin is on a hot streak lately, as prolific as ever. This year, he published a new book of poetry, a retrospective 20-song album dropping this month, earned certification as a Yoga-for-recovery counselor, started a RecoverYoga therapy and consultation program, has two books in the works regarding the program, and will produce a new album later in the year. Oh, and he’ll embark on a European tour, hitting The Netherlands and Ireland in November and circling back to the UK in 2017.

Aplscruf: Jeff, let’s start with your new organization, RecoverYoga, which you created to integrate the aspects of recovery from various forms of addiction or trauma with the practice of yoga. Is this something you can do from your home base in Colorado, or will you be training/counseling others off-site? Will you offer workshops? Do you have a book on the subject in the works, too?

Jeff Finlin: I can do RecoverYoga from anywhere. I’ll be doing workshops as well as counseling. There is one of two books that will be released next month called “365 Days of RecoverYoga”— It’s a 365 day reader.

The Seduction of Radha just published this summer. Please explain the meaning behind the book’s title as well as the common theme of seeking, restoring and uniting The Beloved throughout your poems.

small-cover

The Seduction Of Radha comes from yoga and life intertwined with writing and creation. In the Bhakti traditions of Hinduism that focus on Krishna, Radha is the incarnation of “the feeling of love towards Krishna”. She is considered to be his original Shakti [the female principle of divine energy]. As I’ve been practicing and reading and living, I’ve been able to become aware of how these fields of energy manifest themselves in relationship to my life, if I pay attention. The book is basically about the courtship we go through with the opening of our hearts and the dimensions of love and awareness we allow within our lives, and how that seems to work in the end. Although the story is not over.

Finlin recently produced a captivating, spoken-word video of one of the poems from The Seduction of Radha, called “A Love So Contagious”directed by Erik Lunde of Lunde Creative.

Here’s what Folk Radio UK had to say: http://www.folkradio.co.uk/2016/08/video-premiere-jeff-finlin-love-contagious/

You have a retrospective album coming in September from Man In The Moon/Warner Records. Life After Death: The Essential Jeff Finlin is a 20-song collection from your extensive catalog. How do these 20 songs represent you, and was there meaning or a method behind picking each? Do some speak to you more than others, or represent the man you were at a certain period of time in your life?

I think in picking the songs, I was trying to be aware of the songs that stuck out as unique or different, somehow. It was also important that the record held together as a piece of work—that it had some flow and could stand up on its own rather than just being a collection of songs thrown together.

Order your copy today: https://www.amazon.com/Life-After-Death-Essential-Finlin/dp/B01I6MJE28

JeffFinlin_LifeDeath_6576_tem_en

A brand new album in the works: The Guru In The Girl. Are you still in the recording process? What is your songwriting process? What inspires you to write? How do your songs stream in? Lyrics first, and then melody? Do they flow in together?

I’m still planning on finishing The Guru In The Girl—it’s just sitting there waiting on the right time. My writing process is very disciplined. I’ve written three-and-a-half books in the last six months. Book writing is different than songwriting or poetry. The latter of the two is more of a stream of consciousness to me at this point—it’s all action and no thought—just falling back on the muse and trusting that. As soon as it becomes intellectual, it’s over. Usually lyrics [stream in] first. I tend to be limited the most musically–basically I’m a drummer. There, I said it: The D Word.

You have two tours coming up, and will be playing with BJ Baartmans of The Wild Verband throughout The Netherlands. Have you played with him before?

Me and BJ go back a long way, and I recently hooked up with him again for the last tour of Holland.

After The Netherlands, you’ll be in Ireland with Clive Barnes and Pete Bruntnell. Are you looking forward to touring with them again?

I love touring with those guys. We have more than our share of fun. I also have one date with Pete in London next February.

Check out an article on Jeff, Clive, and Peter here: http://www.nottinghampost.com/peter-bruntnell-getting-fellow-folk-singers-jeff/story-28547885-detail/whatson/story.html#SdS3ZXPASe7WIWhf.01

Check Jeff Finlin’s website for store, tour, and other news: http://jefffinlin.com

Find him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jeff-Finlin-103176566463598/

______________

Many of Finlin’s poems and lyrics cross back and forth between the earthly and the ethereal. Here is my favorite poem from The Seduction of Radha:

While In Prison

While in prison

On my pillow

In my orange jump suit

(there’s a reason the prisoner and the monk both wear orange)

I contemplate the hours and her face

In mine

Still doing time

I look for the key

To the lock

In the physical

Underneath the vulture screaming

marking my days on the bedpost

For what?

What would I do if I got out?

Talking to her behind the glass

I contemplate her body

Twisting in the loft

Of a barn

In the Midwest

In another life

this tornado of imagination loves itself

and loves love

and Venus’

mouth

in retrograde

waiting for the archer

to sling his arrow across the sky

only to penetrate

and flower as emotion

and a love that

is really just my own

incarcerated by itself

banging its love me cup

on the jail bars of life

only to discover

the key is in the lock


Another video from Jeff Finlin from his previous album, My Moby Dick, entitled “I Killed Myself Last Night”. Move past the disturbing title and discover a powerful metaphor for spiritual awakening – the killing of one’s former self. What remains is Love. Shot and directed by Jeramey Johnson, Stagwood Pictures. Find the song on Jeff Finlin’s previous album (2013), “My Moby Dick”.

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

 

 

 

 

 

August 30, 2016 Posted by | 2016, Jeff Finlin | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Mr. Sunshine” – New Video by Peter Bruntnell

Peter Bruntnell is currently touring the UK with Jeff Finlin and Clive Barnes. Peter has a new album dropping April 1 entitled Nos Da Comrade. Check his website for pre-order information, tour dates, and other news. “Mr. Sunshine” is one of the songs that will be featured on the album. I also posted it to No Depression this week. See the YouTube caption for more information and the history behind the song. Although the video is hilarious at times, the message in the lyrics is dead serious.

 

February 6, 2016 Posted by | 2016, Clive Barnes, Jeff Finlin, Peter Bruntnell | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment