Aplscruf's Music Blog

2016: A Year In Review


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.


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.


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.


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.


Massy Ferguson

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


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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?


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.


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.


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


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!



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…


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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

Past Shows, Future Shows, and Cool Projects

I can’t keep up with the shows we’ve attended, nor do I have time to write full reviews, so I thought I’d do a brief summary of some artists to keep in your radar.

Vaudeville Etiquette, psych-Americana sweethearts from Seattle, threw a helluva CD release party on Saturday, May 7, at Neumos. What an absolute party it was. Their sophomore album, entitled Aura Vista Motel represents the polished versions of songs they’ve been playing live for months now.

Although I’ve seen them play several times, the energy they brought to the party was palpable. Their five-person band, co-fronted by Bradley Laina and Tayler Lynn, expanded to eight and exploded with sonic and visual delights.

Check tour dates for tons of shows coming up in June and July here: http://www.vaudevilleetiquette.com/#!tour/ck0q



Last weekend, we saw Ted Leo (sans The Pharmacists) in a solo show at Barboza, the intimate space in the basement of Neumos.


Aimee Mann and Ted Leo of The Both

It was fantastic to see Ted Leo in such a small venue. We saw the full band at The Showbox back in 2007,  but due to events beyond our control, we had to leave early. It was super loud, too, almost unbearably so. At this solo event, he politely asked the audience if he should turn down the amp on his electric guitar. It was a Greatest Hits Night, but he also showcased a recent project called The Both with Aimee Mann, who was also a surprise guest on a few songs. Their harmonies were gorgeous. In between songs, and even during some, Ted kept us in stitches with little anecdotes and forgotten lines. Afterward, he graciously allowed us to have a few words, even going as far as telling us to tell our college-aged son to do well on his finals and stay in school. Sweet!

Coming up this Thursday, June 9, is a show at Hotel Albatross in Ballard with Portland’s Fernando, Austin Lucas and Adam Faucett . Looking forward to their unique styles, blending alt-country, folk, and Americana.

Next week: Newlyweds Ian McFeron and Alisa Milner will play an outdoor set of their lovely Americana music on the grounds of McMenamins/Anderson School in Bothell on Thursday, June 16.


On June 17 we will attend Massy Ferguson’s release party! Super excited for this show. They always bring the fun. See my previous links or their website for more info. Also, their June UK tour dates are up!


Tom Petty and his band Mudcrutch play The Fillmore in San Francisco Sunday and Monday, celebrating their second album in 8 years, properly titled, 2. No Seattle dates, unfortunately.


We saw Mudcrutch in 2008 at The Troubadour in Hollywood: https://aplscruf.wordpress.com/2010/01/27/tom-petty-with-mudcrutch-at-the-troubadour-05-02-2008/

More fun at the end of June when John Doe, Jesse Dayton, DJ Bonebrake, and Cindy Wasserman “Brang It” to The Tractor Tavern June 29! This one should sell out.


Thee John Doe. Photo by Jim Herrington

See my review of John Doe’s show at The Triple Door here: https://aplscruf.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/john-doe-reigns-at-the-triple-door-seattle-june-19-2015/

In July, a few shows to start off the Independence Day weekend with a Bang, including The Paperboys , the MexiCanadiAmericanaIrishFolk band, who will play The Tractor July 1.

The Swearengens, another Ballard Americana staple, will also play The Sunset July 1. If you time it right, you might see both the same night. Just hoof it up or down Ballard Ave.

On Sunday, July 3, those La Lucha-wearing surf rockers, Los Straitjackets will sell out The Tractor.

Down South and other far away lands, more great news:

Austin darling Jeremy Nail’s tour hits Nashville and NYC, among other cities. Fantastic Press keeps rolling in for this talented singer-songwriter.

Jeff Finlin’s new book of prose, The Seduction of Radha is now available. Check his website often for more good news, including new albums, books, and his new organization, Recover.Yoga.

Willie Sugarcapps keeps moving up the Americana charts and is getting great press for their new release, Paradise Right Here.

Dean Owens recently recorded a haunting song called “Cotton Snow”,  about The Battle of Franklin. See Paul Kerr’s Blabber ‘n’ Smoke review which includes more information about Dean’s previous and current projects here: https://paulkerr.wordpress.com/2016/04/04/dean-owens-with-dave-coleman-cotton-snow-single-release-drumfire-records/

He also paid a heartfelt tribute to Muhammad Ali in the audio below. Watch his site or follow him on FB for upcoming projects.



Whew! I’m exhausted just thinking about it all. More fun is on the way, so it’s time to re-charge.

June 8, 2016 Posted by | 2016, Americana, Rock, Roots Rock, Seattle Rock | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Macefield Music Festival October 3-4, 2014

The Swearengens played Conor Byrne Saturday, Oct. 4.

The Swearengens played Conor Byrne Saturday, Oct. 4.

Day 1: Friday, October 3

Massy Ferguson and Star Anna at The Sunset

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

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

This is how Massy Ferguson got to Macefield:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ethan and Adam

Ethan and Adam

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s a sketch from The 206:

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

Star Anna in the blue glow of The Sunset

Star Anna in the blue glow of The Sunset

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

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

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

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

Day 2: Saturday, October 4

The Swearengens and Ole Tinder at Conor Byrne

Laff Hole Comedy at Hattie’s Back Room

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

Soren Godbersen and Fredd Luongo of The Swearengens

Soren Godbersen and Fredd Luongo of The Swearengens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aimee, Fredd and Kirsten

Aimee, Fredd and Kirsten

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Keister getting some laughs

John Keister getting some laughs

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

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

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

Concert Season 2013 Wrap-up

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

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.

Not-So-Local Bands:

Tom Petty (DUH.) And here’s the latest, if you didn’t check out our trip to Hollywood earlier this year. BEST SHOW OF THE YEAR.

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!

Willie Nelson – Hurry up if you haven’t seen him already.  He’s 80, but can still put on a class act for 90 solid minutes.  We saw him in August at Marymoor Park.  Tears in eyes.

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,

October 11, 2013 Posted by | Americana, aplscruf, Barboza, Big Sandy, Concert Season 2013, Davidson Hart Kingsbery, Dusty 45's, Gimme Shelter, Jackrabbit, Los Straitjackets, Marshall Chapman, Marymoor Park, Massy Ferguson, Music, Ole Tinder, Randomville, Roots Rock, Seattle, Shinyribs, Star Anna, Tagaris Winery, The Fonda Theatre, The Gourds, The Hi-Risers, The Rainieros, The Sunset Tavern, The Swearengens, The Tractor Tavern, The Triple Door, The Wild Feathers, Todd Snider, Tom Petty, Will Kimbrough, Willie Nelson | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Jackrabbit, Ole Tinder and The Swearengens at Darrell’s Tavern 12.29.12

Jackrabbit plays at Darrell's Tavern

Jackrabbit plays at Darrell’s Tavern

Pat and I were looking foward to hearing our favorite Seattle bands again after another dry month.  Although 2012 was a great year for music, we missed more shows than we hit; we were just too busy with other projects or weren’t around at the same time.  I’m also currently working on another writing project, so I haven’t been motivated to write about any new shows due to time constraints.  I couldn’t resist writing a little about the show at Darrell’s Tavern, though.  What a fun place to see live music!

First of all, if you want to see a great review of this show and awesome pics taken with his new camera, check out my buddy Thom’s blog here: http://liveseattlemusicintheclubs.blogspot.com/2012/12/jackrabbit-ole-tinder-and-swearengens.html

We had a busy Christmas and hosted two parties.  Pat and I were ready to let off some steam and just relax.  Darrell’s sounded like the place to be on a Saturday night, and it was just about 20 minutes from our house.  Growing up in Shoreline, I must have driven by that little tavern a million times.  It sits right next to Fred Meyer on Aurora.  After moving out of the area, I never thought of checking out the music scene there.  Ballard has been our place for music over the last several years.

We walked in about 8:30 and found maybe only 10 people in the tavern.  It was very small, with a surprisingly small “stage,” which was really just a corner of the rectangular room.  We wondered how The Swearengens would fit their giant band into that corner.  Darrell’s was stuck in the  1960’s, complete with a padded, u-shaped bar and with a line of sparkly cracked glass golden globes that hung in the center.  Old beer signs hung on the carpeted walls: Heidelberg, Hamms, Rainier.  But the tavern was CLEAN.  SPOTLESS.  It felt like it had been preserved in that era.  The bar padding and bar stools were pristine, with no rips or tears.  There were a couple of pool tables in another corner and more seating by the front door and stage.  The only thing modern about it was the unique and colorful artwork that hung along the wall by the stage.  Also, the sound system was top notch, and I was later told that Scott the Sound Man was equally terrific and was well respected by the bands.  The bar staff were friendly and fast.  Pat browsed their selection of beers on tap, and I enjoyed a good cosmopolitan.

Around 9:00, more people arrived.  The bands gathered, and Jackrabbit arranged the equipment for their opening set.  We left them alone since we knew they had limited time to get ready.

P and I took our seats at the far end of the bar and just sat back and observed everyone as they walked in.    Before the show began, we got to hang with some of the band.  The guys and gals in the bands know us now.  We’re regular stalkers–er, fans.  Our discussions revolved around back injuries, MRI’s, surgery, VW bus restoration, giving birth, family doctors…you know, the usual band/groupie talk.  We had some good, hearty laughs, too.

Jackrabbit featuring Aimee Zoe Tubbs (Drums), Moe Provencher (Bass), Tony Fulgham (Vocals and Guitar), and J.B. Kardong (Pedal Steel)

Jackrabbit featuring Aimee Zoe Tubbs (Drums), Moe Provencher (Bass), Tony Fulgham (Vocals and Guitar), and J.B. Kardong (Pedal Steel)

Jackrabbit opened at 9:30 sharp, and dove into several rockin’ songs before slowing it down a bit.  Although the place wasn’t quite full, people were flowing in and making their way to the dance floor.   The Swearengens  gang showed their support and danced, and Mike Giacolino from Ole Tinder  joined them.  J.B. Kardong of Ole Tinder also helped out on pedal steel.  My favorite dancing couple was there, too, twirling away.


Heating Up the Dance Floor

Jackrabbit, with Tony Fulgham at the helm, played songs from A Better Place and their self-titled EP as well as a couple of new ones.  I enjoyed a new song with drummer Aimee Zoe on lead vocals.   Another new song had a lyric I like about how it’s good to miss someone when you’re on your way home.  I’ll have to get the title of that song.  I’m hoping it’s on their next release.  Aimee and bassist Moe Provencher were great on harmonies, as usual.   Here’s a previous review of Jackrabbit:  http://randomville.com/live-review-jackrabbit-and-kristen-ward-at-the-tractor-tavern/

Ole Tinder was up next.  Pat talked to J.B. Kardong briefly before his show.  Jay’s grandpa was an obstetrician and actually “birthed” Pat and his brothers!  He was their family doctor for years.

We also struck up a conversation with two guys who came in to watch the football game, Michigan State vs. TCU.  They were really nice and polite.  They talked about football, told us about their interesting lives and how they ended up here from Montana: by car. Ha.  One works at a salon and the other is currently in between jobs; and I really wish I could relay his hilarious story of his former position working security for a major department store, but I will keep mum about that.  He had us in stitches!  I hope we meet them again sometime.  We had a blast talking with them.  It must be the magic of Darrell’s; it felt like we’d known them a long time.

Ole Tinder: Nils Petersen (Bass), Mike Giacolino (Acoustic), Pat Schowe (Drums) and J.B. Kardong (Steel/Guitar).  My favorite dancing couple in foreground.

Ole Tinder: Nils Petersen (Bass), Mike Giacolino (Acoustic), Pat Schowe (Drums) and J.B. Kardong (Steel/Guitar). My favorite dancing couple in foreground.

Ole Tinder wound their way through Loways to a dancing and appreciative crowd.  I love the ole country harmonies from Nils Petersen and Mike G.  Here’s a previous review: http://randomville.com/live-review-ole-tinder-the-swearengens-and-davidson-hart-kingsbery/ which also includes props for The Swearengens.

The Swearengens started around 11:30.  The place was still packed!  They played a long set of original music off Devil Gets Her Way including one of my favorites, “Bloody Glove” as well as some covers.  Pat and I actually got out on the dance floor for a few songs!  Too bad we cannot dance.  We gave it a shot, though.  I wanted to stay for their whole set and hang out a little longer, but knew we had to get a ride soon.  We stayed as late as we could, then played it safe and taxied home before 1:00.

The Swearengens featuring Fritz Marial (Bass), Brian Ochs (Drums), Brigitt Rains (Vocals, Tambourine), Fredd Luongo (Vocals, Guitar) and Soren Godbersen (Guitar)

The Swearengens featuring Fritz Marial (Bass), Brian Ochs (Drums), Brigitt Rains (Vocals, Tambourine), Fredd Luongo (Vocals, Guitar) and Soren Godbersen (Guitar)

We will definitely go back to Darrell’s.  The atmosphere, friendly crowd and staff, great music and convenient location will bring us back again.  What a fantastic way to end our 2012 Concert Season!

January 5, 2013 Posted by | Americana, aplscruf, Concert Season 2012, Darrell's Tavern, Jackrabbit, Music, Ole Tinder, The Swearengens | , , , | 1 Comment

Ole Tinder, The Swearengens and Davidson Hart Kingsbery at The Tractor 6.30.2012

Mike Giacolino and Nils Petersen of Ole Tinder

The Tractor hosted another sold-out show June 30th.  The Swearengens and Davidson Hart Kingsbery celebrated new CD releases, and Ole Tinder opened the show to start the party.  P and I had a fantastic time, once again, but decided to leave a bit early.  I managed to take quite a few pics, and my full review just posted on Randomville!

Ole Tinder: J. Kardong, Pat Schowe, Mike Giacolino and Nils Petersen

The Swearengens: Brigitt Rains,  Fredd Luongo and Soren Godbersen

Hart Kingsbery

July 5, 2012 Posted by | Concert Season 2012, Davidson Hart Kingsbery, Music, Ole Tinder, The Swearengens, The Tractor Tavern | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Massy Ferguson and Ole Tinder at Barboza 5.19.12

Inside Barboza

It’s been a month since our last show, so I was ready to get out of the house.  We spent a frustrating hour in traffic, then trolled for parking on Capitol Hill before getting lucky.  We parked just a couple of blocks up Pike Street from our destination, Barboza, a new venue in the basement of Neumos.  I really enjoy Pike Street; there is such an eclectic mass of humanity, businesses and restaurants.

We were ready to eat by the time we parked and settled on Poquitos, an interesting Mexican restaurant.  We had some dessert there before, but wanted to try their dinner fare.  I had chicken mole enchiladas and P had a taco sampler.  Both were delicious.  I prefer the dark, spicy mole, and I had yet to find a match in flavor to that of Redmond’s El Toreador.  The Poquitos mole was definitely better tasting, spicier and richer than El Toreador.  I also had a Purist Margarita (well, make that two) and P stuck to his favorite Manny’s ale.  We were stuffed and happy.  By the way, if you ever sit at the bar and happen to notice that the bartender has an interesting European accent–he is Scottish.  NOT Irish, NOT English, NOT Australian!

We then headed across the street to Neumos/Barboza for the show.  Next door, and part of the venue, is Moe Bar.  Upstairs in Neumos, a hip-hop band was just finishing their show.  Talk about an eclectic mix at Moe!  The hip-hop audience, all dressed up in nice shirts and dresses, poured into Moe and mixed with the cowboy boot-wearin’ country folks.  I loved it.

We made our way through the crowd and downstairs to Barboza.  We oohed and aahed at the beautiful, clean little venue.  It’s a long rectangle with a low stage at one end and a small dance floor, beautiful, plush booths on one side, and a bar wrapped in shiny, varnished wood along the other side.  There was room in the back to mingle, too.  Low lighting in reds and blues, large, thick curtains along the back of the stage and along the walls completed the picture.  It was nearly vacant when we arrived, so we were able to get a seat at the bar closest to the stage.

Ole Tinder

Minutes later the opening band Ole Tinder took the stage, complete with country swag.  Their motto: “We play songs so you don’t have to.”  Ole Tinder are Mike Giacolino (singer/songwriter, guitar/harmonica), Nils Peterson (bass/vocals), J. Kardong (pedal steel/electric guitar) and Pat Schowe (drums/percussion).  They played good, clean old-time country, complete with the mournful whine of pedal steel and the occasional harmonica.  I found myself tapping my boots in time to most songs.  Their sound and vocals reminded me somewhat of Psychedelic Cowboys.  Check out ReverbNation or Facebook for a couple of their songs included in their set: “Our Hope” and “Aurora Bridge”.  Also, they just dropped a new EP entitled Loways, which can be purchased on iTunes.  Their last song of the evening, “Welcome Home” was especially energetic–a perfect closer.  Their next performance is at Noise for The Needy on Friday, June 1 at The Comet.

Mike Giacolino of Ole Tinder

Fredd Luongo from The Swearengens was at the show.  We introduced ourselves and I told Fredd I’d written the review of his show with Jackrabbit at The High Dive a few months ago.  The Swearengens are playing Thursday, May 24 at Blue Moon joined by Zoe Muth and Joy Mills.   We’re hoping to make the show, since we enjoyed their set at The High Dive.

Massy Ferguson

Massy Ferguson opened their short, lively set with a brand new song called “Breathin’ In” then dove right in to their more familiar songs including “Pretty Plain Jane” and “Wenatchee Eyes”.  Ole Tinder’s J. Kardong joined in on pedal steel.  Other favorites included the shout-along “Powder Blue” and the joyful closer, “Bum Drunk,” joined by a couple of female volunteers,  Horse-Head Guy and My Little Pony.  Rumor has it that Horse-Head Guy ate My Little Pony (that sounded dirty…).

We always enjoy Massy Ferguson’s quality shows and the ensuing silliness.  Previous shows have included several “guest female vocalists” to help(?) with the chorus (actually, one girl could really wail at their Nectar show last fall), cowbell and tambourine players, two-steppers, drunk air guitarists, as well as Hall and Oates covers and serious flute playing by Ethan Anderson.  Unfortunately, there was no flute this time, but there was plenty of horsing around.

My Little Pony Guarding The Setlist

MF Setlist (My Little Pony in silhouette!)

Massy Ferguson were scheduled to play Sunday afternoon at Redhook in Woodinville.  We were ambitious last night and thought we’d ride our bikes down to the show, but changed our minds when we awoke to rain.

Their next gig will be at Three Rivers Winery on June 1.  Check out Massy Ferguson’s website for more dates.

More Pics:

Ole Tinder’s J. Kardong with Pat Schowe on Drums

Ole Tinder’s Nils Petersen on Bass

Ole Tinder

Mike G.

J.  switching to guitar

Ole Tinder

Ole Tinder band

Massy Ferguson’s Tony Mann, Proud New Daddy!  Congrats!

Ethan Anderson

Ethan with J. and Adam

MF Band

MF Band

Dave Goedde

Ethan and Adam Monda

J. Kardong on Pedal Steel


Horsing Around: Horse-Head Guy, Guest Female Vocalists/Tambourine Operators

Horsing Around!

Did the Horse-Head Guy Eat My Little Pony?

To the Glue Factory!

May 22, 2012 Posted by | Americana, Barboza, Concert Season 2012, Massy Ferguson, Music, Neumos, Ole Tinder, The Swearengens | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Jackrabbit, The Swearengens and The Outlaws at The High Dive 1.28.12

Jackrabbit at The High Dive

P and I finally enjoyed an overnighter in Seattle this weekend.  We made our escape about 4:30 and headed to Hotel Deca, in the heart of Huskyland, near the UW campus.  As Cougs, we normally steer clear of all things UW, but this little art deco hotel suits us.  It’s small, clean, and the price is right.  It’s also close to Fremont, our destination for a great night of country rock, Americana and some old school outlaw country.

After we settled in to our discounted junior suite with a mountain view (if it weren’t 45 and cloudy, we could have seen them), we took a taxi to Fremont and found a restaurant.  We tried El Camino again, since we usually get right in without waiting.  It was just down the block from The High Dive, too.  We walked in and were served almost immediately.  Their food is not typical Mexican.  They incorporate more traditional spices in dishes like enchiladas mole and serve it up with wilted chard and an order of fried plantains on a bed of fresh guacamole instead of the usual chips.

We headed over to Simply Desserts for a mouth-watering piece of fudge chocolate cake and espresso.  We still had time to kill, so we went Brouwers for some ale and whiskey.

The High Dive is another favorite small club to see quality music.  It’s a smidge cleaner than The Tractor in Ballard, and has more seating and larger bar area.  The sound system is clean and crisp.  A variety of genres play there, but tonight it was all about the Country.  Tony Fulgham was out to celebrate his birthday and brought along a few friends.  The place was absolutely packed by the time he hit the stage.  When we first arrived just after 9:00, there were only a couple of seats available and groups of people standing around the floor in front of the stage and bar area.  We weighed our options and decided to ask a couple if we could join them at their table.  They had the bench against the wall, but there were two stools opposite them.  The politely agreed, and we were thankful we had a place to rest, since it was going to be a long night.

After a shy introduction with our new table mates, we quickly bonded when we learned we had similar tastes in music.  The woman, C, was a huge Tom Petty fan, so we spent many minutes comparing shows and our love for Tom.  T was also into lots of music, and we all had a laugh reminiscing about the Bob Dylan show at The Paramount several years ago, and how opener Merle Haggard was such a class act.

The Swearengens

The Swearengens soon took the stage.  They borrowed a few people for the live act, including Jason Montgomery from Jackrabbit on pedal steel.  I knew it was going to be a great night when they started the set with a Ryan Adams/Whiskeytown cover: “Dancing With The Women At The Bar”.  It sounded so nice with the whine of the pedal steel and backup vocals.  They followed with a humorous country heartbreaker called “You Pissed on My Heart” and “Devil’s Gonna Get Her Own Way.”

I didn’t get a setlist, but here’s a rundown of either the titles or partial lyrics of songs they played in their rich and energetic opening set:

A local song, listing things he’s seen in the lyrics, including Cascade Pass and Shi Shi Beach

If I Remain

For A While – which included a nice fiddle solo

Eyes of Angels

Bloody Gloves

Always Get the Woman Off First – Yes, a little dirty, and a lot of fun

The last song was about Seattle and included the lyric, “If you come around here/we’ll drive you away”

The Swearengens

By this time, the packed audience was shoulder to shoulder throughout the venue.  It was tough to just work over to the other side to use the restroom.  I did manage to get a few pictures from the left side of the stage.

The Swearengens

The Swearengens

After a short break and more bonding with our neighbors, Jackrabbit performed to the roar of many friends, family and fans.  Tony Fulgham, founder of Jackrabbit, celebrated his birthday by hosting this party and invited all of us to join him.  Being big fans, we gladly obliged.  This is the third time we’ve seen Jackrabbit in the past 6 months or so; they included many more great new songs in addition to their  current EP.  See a previous review of their show on Randomville.  P and I agreed they sounded better than ever.  I’m excited to see what their next album has in store.  The show was energized, and got me off my feet and over to the side of the stage to take pictures.

The Outlaws, a Waylon Jennings tribute band, played last; by that time, we were wiped out.  We hung around for three or for songs then split for the hotel.


The Outlaws

February 26, 2012 Posted by | Americana, Concert Season 2012, High Dive, Jackrabbit, Music, The Outlaws, The Swearengens | , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments