Aplscruf's Music Blog

2016: A Year In Review

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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.

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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.

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Jeff Finlin

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

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Noam Weinstein

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

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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.

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Massy Ferguson

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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?

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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.

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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.

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

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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!

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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

Five…No…Ten Favorite Shows of 2011

I was lucky enough to see a show almost every month of 2011, and some months, two or three shows.  We’re winding down now, getting ready for the holidays and visiting with family and friends.  We’ll still see a couple of shows between now and the end of the year, including The Paperboys on December 23, one of my Top 10 favorite bands of all time.  Click Here For Previous Review.

So far, though, I do have a list of my Five Favorites of 2011.

5.  Screw it.  I can’t make a decision, so I’m going to go with my Ten Favorites of 2011.

10.  The B-52’s at Chateau Ste. Michelle – This show was great because The B-52’s brought the energy, the showmanship and the great songs we all love to a beautiful outdoor venue.  We were there with a large family group and danced and sang along.  Click Here For Review.

The B-52's

9.  Vicci Martinez at Big Daddy’s Place – This was a chance to see Vicci, a Tacoma, Washington local, wail her lungs out in a small suburban venue before becoming a national sensation on The Voice.  Click Here For Review.

Vicci Martinez

8.  Massy Ferguson and Brent Amaker and The Rodeo at The Tractor – Our first introduction to Massy Ferguson and Brent with The Rodeo back on a smaller stage.  Curtains For You, a poppy, energetic band opened the show, and a biker in the front knew all the words.  I love the picture of Brent Amaker smiling while the biker is in the moment.  No whiskey this time, but now that the stage performer liquor laws have changed, we’ll get to hear “Bring Me The Whiskey” at the next show!

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Massy Ferguson

Brent Amaker

7.  Star Anna at Neumos – We saw Star four times this year, but this time, even P was completely hooked by her vocal prowess.  He connected.  Click Here For Previous Review.

Star Anna

6.  Jackrabbit and Massy Ferguson at Nectar Lounge – Jackrabbit, reincarnated after North Twin’s demise, and again Tony Fulgham won me over.  Massy was celebrating their EP release, and I got to post my review of the show on
RandomvilleClick Here For Review.

Tony Fulgham of Jackrabbit

Ethan Anderson of Massy Ferguson

5.  Jackrabbit and The Gourds at The Tractor – Jackrabbit opened and rawked the set, warmed up the crowd for The Gourds, another crazy night of crossover music, from 60’s psychedelic rock to old-timey revivals.  Most memorable moment was approaching Mr. Kevin Russell at Hattie’s Hat and telling him I was going to review his show.  His response: “Oh, Shit!” I later gave him the ol’ two-fingered stink-eye when he noticed me in the audience, and I mouthed, “I’m watchin’ you!”  Click Here For Review.

Tony Fulgham of Jackrabbit

The Gourds

4.  Old 97’s at The Showbox – My first press pass!  Right up front.  I loved every minute, and sang my heart out to every song.  Click Here For Review.

Old 97's

3.  Flight To Mars at The Showbox – Another press and photo pass!  My sister-in-law joined me and took absolutely brilliant pics of the boys (Click This Link for her pics), including local Tim DiJulio (Lazy Susan and North Twin) and Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready.  Click Here For Review.

Tim DiJulio and Mike McCready of Flight to Mars

2.  Nashville (Will Kimbrough, Marshall Chapman, Minton Sparks, Slim Chance and The Can’t Hardly Playboys) – the whole Nashville experience was wonderful.  Kept to small venues and the Americana singer/songwriters.  Click Here For Review.

Marshall Chapman and Will Kimbrough at The Station Inn

Zach and Josh of Slim Chance and the Can't Hardly Playboys at Layla's

1.  Los Straitjackets at Slow Food Roots Music Festival – A bizarre series of events.  Marshall Chapman’s book had a chapter on Eddie Angel who once played in Marshall’s band.  Now Eddie’s fronting Los Straitjackets, and just happened to be playing in Seattle and a small fair in Stanwood within two weeks after I finished the book.  I brought the book, my son, our appetites to the festival.   We ate delicious local food, watched some pretty loco boys in Mexican wrestling masks play instrumental surf music, and were completely blown away by their skills and entertaining antics.  My son loved every minute of it.  To top off a perfect afternoon at the festival, they all signed Marshall’s book!  Click Here For Review.

Los Straitjackets

November 19, 2011 Posted by | Americana, Big Daddy's Place, Brent Amaker and the Rodeo, Chateau Ste Michelle, Concert Season 2011, Flight to Mars, Jackrabbit, Langhorne Slim, Los Straitjackets, Marshall Chapman, Massy Ferguson, Music, Nectar Lounge, Neumos, North Twin, Old 97's, Randomville, Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs, The B-52's, The Gourds, The Paperboys, The Tractor Tavern, Vicci Martinez, Will Kimbrough | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The B-52’s Came to Party at Chateau Ste. Michelle

The B-52's Photo by Joseph Cultice

The B-52’s came to party on a beautiful Saturday night at Chateau Ste. Michelle, an outdoor venue and winery in Woodinville, WA.  They looked fresh, fit and sounded terrific.  The four members, Fred Schneider, Keith Strickland, Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson strutted their stuff and added a few bandmates for the tour.   The B-52’s are getting ready to release a new live album recorded in their hometown on October 11 called With the Wild Crowd – Live in Athens, GA.  In support of the upcoming album, they showcased their greatest hits from the past 32 years, sang them with energy and punch, and partied like it was 1979.  A quick look among the aging and stiffly dancing crowd, though, reminded me otherwise.

Check out the full review of the show on Randomville!

September 17, 2011 Posted by | Chateau Ste Michelle, Concert Season 2011, Music, The B-52's | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The B-52′s July 6, 2002 Chateau Ste. Michelle

Here’s another post from the old days…This was our first time at Chateau Ste. Michelle winery to see a concert. 

The B-52’s

Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, Woodinville, WA

Saturday, July 6, 2002

Our son was very cranky this morning because he knew he was going to spend the night at Grandma and Grandpa’s.  P and I were going to the B-52’s concert at the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery in Woodinville!  I was so excited.  We saw them for the first time in 1990 at the Mercer Arena.  It was such a huge crowd;  it was really hard to get close.  We managed to squeeze our way to the front (festival-style standing on the floor) and almost got squished.  I remember feeling the air getting forced out of my lungs by the crush of the crowd.   I knew we’d have a better experience this time because we had reserved seats in the 10th row!

That evening, we taxied to Woodinville to avoid the parking mess.  We had just enough time before the show to munch down a sandwich and a couple of ales at Redhook Brewery, across the street from the winery.  I knew that in order to get P to dance or at least move to the music a little, I needed to get some alcohol in him.  We then walked over to the winery.  We went into the wine shop; I was amazed.  They let you purchase your wine, give you cups and let you drink it during the concert at your seats!  They even had little cheese and cracker plates for sale.  Wow, way better than the Gorge, where there is a designated drinking area and a two-drink maximum.  I guess with the kind of music they have at the winery they aren’t too worried about crowd control. 

We purchased a bottle of champagne and later some cheese and crackers.  It was a perfect evening.  It was about 80 degrees that day, and stayed in the 70’s at night.  We sat and drank through the first act, a blues guitarist named Erika something-or-other.  She was solo, but pretty good.  It was relaxing to sit and eat and drink before the big dance!  After Erika, there was an intermission.  Usually, the intermission is about 45 minutes, so we went to the bathrooms and looked at t-shirts.  Unfortunately, they only accepted cash.  We only had enough to get a taxi home, so I lost out on that deal.  they had some cute lobster shirts, too.  Oh, well.  I’ll have to look online.

We turned around to go do some more shopping, and we heard the audience yelling.  Oh, there they were!  We ran back to the stage.  We got to walk right in front of the stage to get to our seats.  It was soooooo cool!  I was 5 feet away from my musical heroes!  I have listened to The B-52’s since I was 14!  So much fun! 

They opened with Whammy, which got everyone (less the row directly behind us, for godsakes!) on their feet.  We stayed on our feet for the rest of the concert.  They played a variety of songs from all of their albums including: Mesopotamia, Give Me Back My Man, Love Shack, Strobe Light, Volcano, Private Idaho, Roam, and more.  

The remaining members (Ricky Wilson passed away from AIDS-related illness sometime before Bouncing off the Satellites was released) still looked great, although noticeably older, considering it’s been over 20 years since their first album was released!  Keith still looked exactly the same.  P thought he still looked in his mid-twenties!  He was still skinny and fit.  Fred looked even smaller and skinnier, but older.  I guess they’d all be pushing at least 50.  He was the most energetic.  He looked like he was having a lot of fun up there.  Cindy Wilson had a big blonde bouffant hairdo and a blue velvet top that fit loose at the bottom.  She was pretty heavy.  Kate had a big auburn wig that went down her back.  She was in purple and covered with rhinestones.  Both girls sang their hearts out, but were a little raspy at times and quite stiff.  It made me feel old, until P pointed out that everyone here is old, except for the girl in front of us and some of the kids who brought their parents!

While we were dancing and singing along, I noticed there was a pretty blonde girl in front of us.  She kept turning around and offering us more champagne!  She was younger than anyone around us.  I then started wondering who she looked like.  Then I realized she could be Mena Suvari from American Pie and American Beauty!  I kept asking P, “Is that her?  Is that her?”  He thought so at first, but then wasn’t so sure.  She was definitely one of those perfectly sculpted people who tend to stand out in a crowd.  She seemed confident, but also very nice and friendly to all of the people around her. 

She then started  stacking all of the white patio chairs so she and her 40-something boyfriend could have more room to dance.  She kept motioning us to come up closer to dance in her area.  It was so cool!  Although, I still don’t know for sure if it was Ms. Suvari. 

Pat left to get some more champagne, but the wine shop was closed for the evening.  While he was gone, she asked me if I was from around here.  I told her yes, just north of Woodinville.  That was the deciding factor for me.  She wasn’t from around here!  She must be visiting from out-of-state–possibly California?  I then screwed up my courage and told her I loved her in American Beauty.  She looked confused, and said, “What?” I repeated myself, louder, trying to compete with the loud music.  She smiled, but I don’t think she said anything.  I felt awkward, not knowing if she understood me.  I immediately changed the subject and pointed to the hot air balloons that were flying just behind the stage, up several hundred feet.  She was impressed by that, and showed the person on her left. 

Her boyfriend had moved, and noticed he was on the end of the aisle.  She went to join him, and they later moved their way up to the second row to dance.  They pushed more chairs out of the way.  Now everyone around us moved their chairs and it became a festival dancing area. 

I danced and sang every word of every song.  P was semi-dancing, and at least mouthing the words, too!  [I have later come to realize I need to let him do his own thing and be thankful that he enjoys going to shows with me!]  Somewhere during a slower song, we hit the restrooms again.  It was so fun to run next to the stage and look up at the band.  I later asked P why there wasn’t more security by the stage.  He said, “Well, judging from the age of the crowd, I don’t think they’re too worried about some drunk 40-year-old woman trying to climb up on the stage!”  He had a point there. 

The only disappointment was the length of the concert.  They started at 8:00 and ended at 9:00 sharp.  I couldn’t believe it!  Over twenty years of songs and they only played for one hour.  We did manage to cheer them back for an encore.  They played Rock Lobster and Modine.  I saw the Mena look-alike on the way out.  I thanked her for the alcohol.  She smiled and said, “Oh, you’re welcome!”  Who knows…

August 7, 2010 Posted by | 2002, Chateau Ste Michelle, Music, The B-52's | , | Leave a comment