Aplscruf's Music Blog

The Gift of Music, Art, and Other Holiday Cheer

Tornado Nebula

Tornado Nebula by Jacob Knight

‘Tis the season for giving. Let’s give support to good causes and to our artist friends near and far. Spread good cheer all ’round. Here are a few of my favorite things (and people!). I know I missed many, and don’t have the time to list them all. If you have other artists, charities, music, or websites in mind, feel free to comment below and include a link.

Kosmos Journal – Give the journal subscription to someone you love and help transform our world! Writers are also encouraged to submit pieces on various topics. You can also donate by purchasing a beautiful meditation bracelet, hand-crafted by the multi-talented New York artist Kari Auerbach.

Speaking of New York artists, check out Kathy Luker Hats – Support Kathy Luker’s fundraising campaign and give one of her hand-made hats to the rockstar in your life! Raspberry beret? Yep, she makes those, too!

New York is also home to the lovely actress Ms. Bernadette Quigley and of Quigley Media whose musical clientele ranges from Canadian folk singers to Austin rock stars. Check out links to her work and purchase some exciting new music from her clients.

Writers Helping Writers – Do you know someone who is writing the Next Great American Novel? This is a fabulous site with lots of tips and books available to move from writer to bestselling author! They also give to great causes on their site.

Another great way to support the writer in your life is to purchase a membership to a local writing chapter. Here in the Northwest, we have PNWA (Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association) and for romance writers of all genres, GSRWA (Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America), local chapter to the national RWA.  If you’d like to donate, there are also scholarships available to help support all writers.

Need an editor for that Great American Novel? Check out Lynne Pearson of All That Editing. She just edited my manuscript in October, and I came away with the motivation and confidence to dive into rewrites.

Want to give the gift of original abstract paintings like the one above? Check out Jacob Knight Art on FB or Instagram. Yeah, he might be my son. And he’s pretty cool.

No Depression – Looking for the quintessential roots and Americana music mag to give to friends and family? Purchase their subscription at 20% off right now. Check out the dazzling list of artists reviewed on this site, as well as their year-end readers poll, where you can vote for your favorite album, including one of our faves, Will Kimbrough and Brigitte DeMeyer’s Mockingbird Soul. Grayson Capps, also has a new album featured on the year-end poll, called Scarlett Roses. Will and Grayson are a part of the Alabama Supergroup, Willie Sugarcapps. Purchase music by following the artist links or GTS (google that stuff!).

You can also support another Will Kimbrough project with Tommy Womack and their band DADDY. I included an article of a recent fundraiser to support their album. Find ’em on Facebook for more info.

Americana Music – Another essential source for award-winning artists, and for planning your next trip to watch them perform at the Americana Music Festival in Nashville.

Paul Kerr’s Blabber ‘n’ Smoke is another excellent resource for Americana music, from a Glasgow point of view. His reviews are thoughtful and poetic, and usually include a video or song selection.

From Glasgow, take a day and head over to Kilkenny, Ireland to Rollercoaster Records, The Happiest Little Record Shop in the World. Buy some vinyl, see a show, and pay respects to the late great Willie Meighan .

Jeff Finlin – Jeff is known world-wide for his musical artistry, but is also a poet, author, and certified yoga instructor and counselor. He has recently worked as an addiction therapist in a treatment center, instructing patients how to turn their words of trauma into healing poetry. Download his music and buy his books on his website.

Willy Vlautin – This man’s on a winning streak. He’s a famous author and formerly of Portland’s world-renowned band Richmond Fontaine. Check out Willy’s websites, download some music, and purchase one of his books. His latest novel, Don’t Skip Out On Me, is due in February. Also, a film based on his novel Lean On Pete will screen in American theaters in February and stars Steve Buscemi.

Massy Ferguson – Seattle’s own American Rock band for over a decade. We’ve seen them countless times, and they never fail to entertain and rock the house. They also perform shows for good causes, and can be found rocking all over the metropolitan area–and across The Pond! Grab a loved one and go! Stream their latest, Run It Right Into The Wall on their website and purchase a disk or three.

Dusty 45’s and DESC – Not to be outdone, The Dusty 45’s have been rocking Seattle for two decades, and were the backing band for Ms. Wanda Jackson, Queen of Rockabilly! They also host the DESC(Downtown Emergency Service Center) annual fundraiser.

Time to Give Back, Y’all.

 

 

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December 4, 2017 Posted by | 2017, Holiday Gifts, Jacob Knight Art, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Latest Happenings…

Lots of great music happening all over the world right now and an the near future! Here are just a few picks…

Will Kimbrough and Brigitte DeMeyer’s tour moves across The Pond. Paul Kerr of Blabber ‘n’ Smoke added his two cents to the stack of glowing reviews on this duo: https://paulkerr.wordpress.com/2017/03/01/brigitte-demeyer-will-kimbrough-mockingbird-soul/ See Tour Dates for a show near you.

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Japandroids

Japandroids, a Vancouver-based punk band, invaded the West Coast, including a stop in Seattle this past weekend. They’ll head to Europe mid-April with a gig at Melkweg in Amsterdam before continuing the tour in UK into the first week of May. They return to Europe in June to play a few more gigs including Spain and Italy.

Oliver Gray , Americana music promoter (I hereby dub him Americana’s Duke of Winchester), is visiting SXSW.  I’m looking forward to his take on the scene. Here is last year’s post: http://olivergray.com/south-by-south-west-festival-2016/

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Jesse Dayton is heading West after SXSW to Seattle’s Tractor Tavern. The man is a beast on guitar and puts on an incredible, entertaining show. Jesse has a new album out called The Revealer. Here’s my review of his show with John Doe a few years ago: http://nodepression.com/live-review/john-doe-reigns-triple-door-seattle-wa. Dayton was featured in No Depression in October: http://nodepression.com/article/unsung-heroes-americana-music-jesse-dayton-real-country-music

John Doe will also tour this summer with a few stops up north.

Jeremy Nail was also featured in ND this month: http://nodepression.com/article/jeremy-nail%E2%80%99s-new-album-climbs-above-health-struggles

Jenny Whiteley, Canadian folk artist, was recently nominated for a  JUNO award, Canada’s version of The Grammys for her latest album, The Original Jenny Whiteley. Awards ceremony is in April.

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Dean Owens, a man from Leith–a Celtic Americana  artist via Nashville–has a new album, a movie in the works, and a new single called “Julie’s Moon” on iTunes with a chance to donate through Marie Curie.Check  Dean’s Facebook Page for more info and make a purchase to support this favorite Americana artist.

Kilkenny Roots Festival  happens 28 April – 1 May in Kilkenny, Ireland. Always a quality lineup, many artists from America. Western Centuries, a top-notch country band from Seattle, will attend this year.

Massy Ferguson’s April show at The Triple Door in Seattle will be a sell-out event. The annual show is a must-see for Ferguson fans. We just saw them play a lively set in a suburban venue called Capps Club, just blocks from home. It’s nice to finally have some quality  music venues outside of the city limits.

Speaking of suburban venues, McMenamins offers a variety of music throughout its Oregon and Washington properties. We are lucky to be minutes away from Anderson School where Fernando, McDougal, Jesse Dayton, Massy Ferguson, Ian McFeron, Sean Rowe, and Aaron Lee Tasjan have played–just to name a few artists since its grand opening over a year ago.

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Jeff Finlin’s brilliant new album The Guru in the Girl is due in May, and I’m giddy with anticipation for the rest of the world to hear it. The album is a perfect balance of darkness and light; of regeneration; of love and loss. It embodies poppy folk songs to naked, soul-baring blues. The haunting title track stirs and elevates the soul.

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Flight to Mars

Flight To Mars is landing at The Showbox May 12-13 for two RAWK shows with Mike McCready. Proceeds support Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.

 

 

 

 

 

March 20, 2017 Posted by | 2017, Alt-Country, Americana, aplscruf, Brigitte DeMeyer, Canadiana, Flight to Mars, Folk, Japandroids, Jeff Finlin, Jenny Whiteley, Jeremy Nail, Jesse Dayton, John Doe, Kilkenny Roots Festival, Massy Ferguson, McDougall, McMenamins, Music, No Depression, Oliver Gray, Seattle Rock, The Tractor Tavern, The Triple Door, Western Centuries, Will Kimbrough | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

 

 

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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

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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.

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

Will Kimbrough – No Gimmicks on Latest Album, “Live At Coast”

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Will Kimbrough produced a brilliant live album that dropped last fall. See my No Depression review here: http://nodepression.com/album-review/will-kimbrough-and-his-guitar-no-gimmicks

Photo Credit: Tamarind Free Jones

 

March 4, 2016 Posted by | 2016, Will Kimbrough | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Will Kimbrough and Brigitte DeMeyer tour California, Oregon and Washington!

Will Kimbrough at Slims, San Francisco.  Photo Credit: Jacob Knight

Will Kimbrough at Slims, San Francisco. Photo Credit: Jacob Knight

I’m so happy to announce that Nashville singer/songwriter Will Kimbrough is coming back to The West Coast, for the third time in just over a year.  Last time, he came in June with Rodney Crowell and Jedd Hughes.  This time, he’ll bring Brigitte DeMeyer, another Nashville-based singer/songwriter whose sultry voice and genre-crossing Americana songs soothe the soul.

Take a listen:

Check the links above for tour dates–California end of January, Oregon and Washington early Feb.

I’ll see you in Portland on Feb 4 and Seattle Feb 5.  California and Southern Oregon friends, please clear your calendars and hit a show or two.

January 12, 2015 Posted by | Brigitte DeMeyer, Concert Season 2015, Doug Fir Lounge, The Royal Room, Will Kimbrough | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Will Kimbrough, Rodney Crowell and Jedd Hughes Toured The West

Jedd Hughes, Rodney Crowell and Will Kimbrough played a specacular show at The Triple Door - Seattle. Photo Credits: Jacob Knight

Jedd Hughes, Rodney Crowell and Will Kimbrough played a spectacular show at The Triple Door – Seattle. Photo Credits: Jacob Knight

 

I just finished a blog for No Depression regarding our fantastic trip to California which ended with a fabulous show at Slim’s in San Francisco to see Will Kimbrough, Rodney Crowell and Jedd Hughes.  We then followed the boys to Seattle where they tore it up at The Triple Door.  Spectacular.  Here’s the link to my blog:

http://www.nodepression.com/live-review/will-kimbrough-rodney-crowell-and-jedd-hughes-gain-new-fans-san-francisco-and-seattle

June 29, 2014 Posted by | Americana, aplscruf, Concert Season 2014, Jedd Hughes, Music, Rodney Crowell, Seattle, Slim's San Francisco, The Triple Door, Will Kimbrough | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Rodney Crowell at Silver Platters, Seattle, WA 3.31.14

Rodney Crowell at Silver Platter Records in Seattle

Rodney Crowell at Silver Platters Record Store in Seattle

Read this article on No Depression: http://www.nodepression.com/article/rodney-crowell-promotes-tarpaper-sky-seattle

After a busy day at work, “Operation Rodney Crowell” commenced.  I left a little early for our home in the ‘burbs, with the hope of beating some of Seattle’s rush-hour traffic on this Monday afternoon. My son Jacob–my handler and navigator–texted that he was on his way home from the high school.  I sent a note to his track coach excusing him early, stating that Jacob had a “family event” to attend in the afternoon.  I wasn’t lying.  Jacob and I are family, and we were going to an event.

On Saturday, just two days earlier, I happened to see a Facebook post on Rodney Crowell’s page that mentioned he was performing free solo shows in Seattle and Portland to promote his new album, Tarpaper Sky.  He was scheduled to perform at Silver Platters at 6:00 Monday, March 31.

Jacob’s first concert was in Coos Bay, Oregon in 2006 where Rodney and The Outsiders (including Will Kimbrough on guitar) played at an outdoor music festival. Jacob got to meet both Rodney and Will after the show.  At ten years old, this left quite an impression on the boy.  It was time to see Mr. Crowell again.

After topping off the tank, Jacob and I headed down the road to I-405.  Slow traffic in Bellevue was expected, but we soon found ourselves speeding over the I-90 bridge across Lake Washington, cruising by Safeco Field into the fray of Opening Night (sorry, Officer, I was in the wrong lane, and no, I don’t want to park here, I just need to pass through!), and continuing several blocks down First Avenue South, also known as the SoDo district of Seattle. Jacob’s eagle eyes spotted the Silver Platters sign.

I parked near front of the record store and I felt my nerves set in.  Jacob, donning his “handler” cap, told me to calm down.  I told him I wanted to be sure to tell Mr. Crowell everything I’d rehearsed.  “What’s the problem?” he said, “Just tell him we’re big fans, we saw him in Coos Bay, we know Will, and you’re going to write a blog about the show tonight.” Sure, I’ve got it down.  I can do this!  Sometimes, though, my shyness has paralyzing effects.

We walked into Silver Platters and I expected to see a big crowd, especially since Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris just won a GRAMMY for their Americana album Old Yellow Moon.  Both Rodney and Emmylou have churned out country hits for almost 40 years.  Although there wasn’t much of an advanced notice about the show, I believed the true fans would get their fannies down to SoDo to see him up close. Surprisingly, the store was almost empty except for rows and rows of new and vintage vinyl.  About a dozen people strolled the aisles, and a few more gathered near the little stage in the back.  I was almost relieved it wasn’t packed because I knew we’d have a great view of the stage and a greater chance to meet him afterward.  Selfish, yes.  Out of respect for Mr. Crowell, though, fans should have been lined up around the block.  Where were they? I felt privileged to be one of the few to witness this intimate solo performance, and I was a little indignant that more people didn’t make the drive to the show.

With our successful scheduling and navigation, we had enough time before the show to purchase an advance copy of Tarpaper Sky and receive a free poster.  I fidgeted for several minutes and pulled out my camera, checked my phone, assigned Jacob to book and poster duty and readied my journal and pen.

Just after 6 pm, Rodney sauntered up to the stage and strapped on his guitar amid hearty claps and whoops from the sparse crowd.  I noticed more people pushed in a little later.  I’m sure the increasing Seattle traffic hindered many people from attending the show on time.

Mr. Crowell’s a little shy, too, I suspect.  He acknowledged the audience, and with head bowed down toward the mic, quietly mentioned he wanted to play a few other songs first before diving in to Tarpaper Sky. He started with two songs from Townes Van Zandt, including a tender version of “Pancho and Lefty”, also famously covered by Emmylou Harris and the Willie Nelson/Merle Haggard duo.  With eyes closed, he tilted his head back to hit the higher notes.

He loosened up and and smiled as he started a third song that he said will be on his next album, as he’s trying to stay ahead of the curve.  I believe the upbeat song was called “Miss Claudia”.

A train horn sighed  in the background.  SoDo is an industrial area, and the tracks nearby run to and from the shipping docks, north and south to parts unknown. “I feel like I should play a freight train song,” Rodney chuckled, and the audience followed suit.  In fact, he said he just recorded a train song with Emmylou two weeks ago.  “Let’s see if I can remember it.” He plunked away at a soft melody for a few seconds, then sang “The Weight of The World” as the train blew past.  I’m looking forward to another album from the legendary pair.

He then moved on to a handful of Tarpaper Sky songs.

“Famous Last Words of a Fool in Love” was prefaced with the unseemly custom of older men trading in their spouses for younger women.  Rodney also quipped that his second wife left him for a younger man and a better producer, although he said he is a better producer in other ways.  Love is love, and he’s not here to judge, he disclaimed; he’s just here to observe and write songs:

Younger woman/Older man/Can we make this work?/Ah, you know we can/Famous last words of a fool in love

“God I’m Missing You”- Rodney shares writing credits on this song with his collaborator Mary Karr.  I found myself shaking my head in awe as the ache in his voice and mournful lyrics grabbed my heart:

You’re every curled rosebud/Enchanting my eye/Each turned up coat collar/And your gaze slides by/There’s a sanded down moon/In a tarpaper sky/God I’m missing you

“Frankie Please”- Rodney switched gears to roots rock. Lord, have mercy! I loved the playful rasp and yelp in his voice. I want to see him perform this with a full band sometime and include that rollicking Jerry Lee Lewis piano style so prominent on the album’s version:

You tore through my life like a tornado looking for a trailer park/And your white trash mishmash short of cash culture clash hit the mark
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGK55BNCuFg
“Fever on the Bayou” -Collaborating with Will Jennings (of Titanic’s “My Heart Will Go On” fame), this song was twenty years in the making.  Jennings gave him the chord progression and melody, but Rodney struggled with the last verse.  He didn’t want the song to become some “Cajun cliche shit”.  Instead, he added some Cajun French lyrics in his own way, and finally produced this lively mixed-breed love song, which I cannot remove from my head.

“The Flyboy and The Kid”-A tender dedication to Guy (Clark, perhaps?) on the album:

May the wind be at your back/And the world sit at your feet/May you waltz across Wyoming/With a rose clutched in your teeth/May the answers to your questions/Fall like raindrops right on queue/May you set up shop in heaven/’Fore the devil knows you’re due

The store manager gave Rodney the signal, or “the hook”, as Rodney said teasingly, and it was time to put the guitar down.  I was disappointed the show didn’t last longer.  I wanted to hear some more songs from the album, and maybe a couple of my favorites from the past, such as “This Too Will Pass”, his ode to George Harrison.

We then formed an organized line while the manager told the fans he would set up a table next to the stage so Rodney could sign autographs on our advance copy of Tarpaper Sky.  Well, Mr. Crowell was ready to go right now, no table necessary.  Clickety-clickety, he shook up his silver liquid Sharpie pen. One couple stood in front of us.  He signed their CD while I fumbled around, trying to get my CD out of my purse and out of the plastic wrapper.  I looked up.  My musical hero stood in front of me and smiled.  My mind went blank.

I did manage to tell  Mr. Crowell my name is Lisa (after he asked, so he could sign the CD), and I then told him the last time we saw him was at Coos Bay in 2006.  He remembered the lovely outdoor setting.  I failed to mention that we knew Will Kimbrough, and how our family befriended him and hosted him at our home during his tour in January.  Will’s backing vocals, guitar and accordion make a guest appearance on Tarpaper Sky.  Good Lord. I couldn’t find my words.

I also brought Marshall Chapman‘s book, They Came to Nashville.  In one of the chapters, Marshall interviews Rodney about his journey to Nashville, his struggles, and eventual rise to fame.  I marked the chapter for him to sign with my blogger business card. I clumsily switched out the CD for the book, turned to the marked page (and stuffed my card in my purse instead of handing it to him) and watched as he fiddled with his pen, trying to get it to work on the coarse paper.  I whispered, “Good ol’ Marshall…”  That’s it, Lisa?  That’s all you’re going to say?

He then looked over my head at Jacob who towered behind me while Rodney reached for our poster.  “And you are…?”

Jacob also smiled sheepishly and searched for words (See, Jacob? I told you it was not going to be easy!).  I interjected with, “Oh, this is Jacob.” I turned around and looked up at him when I said his name.  Rodney, half-hearing the name, wrote, “To Jay” on the poster.  Too late to turn back now!

“Thank you for coming, Jay!” smiled Rodney.  Jacob nodded and smiled back.  He will forever be known as Jay to Mr. Crowell. Who are we to correct him? We giggled about that later.

I glanced back and noticed the line was probably 40 people deep.  Our time was up.  Other people were waiting impatiently for their turn to meet this legendary artist. We said a quick goodbye, and I hoped I remembered to thank him for signing our things.

Oh, for ten more minutes.  I would have told him how honored we were to meet him again, how amazing the new album sounds, how dumbfounded that more people didn’t show up to this Seattle show, how I hoped he would come back to Seattle with a full band, how Jacob raved about him and how he was so glad he came with me, how I wanted to write a blog and ask him questions about the songs he sang for us and take a picture with himI’ll save it for next time.

“Anything else to add, Jacob?” I asked, after I let him read my draft.

“He was pitch-perfect.”

That just about sums it up.

 

Official Release Date of Tarpaper Sky is April 15, 2014.

 

 

 

April 3, 2014 Posted by | aplscruf, Concert Season 2014, Rodney Crowell | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Willie Sugarcapps at Eddie’s Attic, Decatur, GA February 1, 2014

Willie Sugarcapps L-R: Corky Hughes, Grayson Capps, Will Kimbrough, Savana Lee and Anthony Crawford
Photo Credit: Keith Necaise Photography

I posted the following blog on No Depression: http://www.nodepression.com/article/willie-sugarcapps-eddies-attic-decatur-ga

My husband Pat is a bona fide Willie Sugarcapps groupie.  I blame myself.   I’m seriously considering changing the name of my blog to “Diary of a Married Groupie’s WIFE.” A decade ago, I encouraged him to see some live music and get away from the TV. We started slowly, maybe a few shows a year.  Now, we go to a show every time we have a free weekend.  His enthusiasm for live music has definitely grown over the years, especially since we moved away from 10,000 seat arenas and planted ourselves firmly near the stages of small venues all over Seattle.

Willie Sugarcapps, a band that sprouted organically down in the muddy waters of Lower Alabama, is garnering some national attention.  Their self-titled debut album is hitting the Americana charts and showed up on many must-have lists of 2013, including #7 on No Depression’s Top 50 of 2013. Their song “Gypsy Train” landed a spot on the Grammy consideration list.  Every song on the album is a jewel, and each member is given an opportunity to shine.

Will Kimbrough, singer/songwriter and founding member of Willie Sugarcapps, toured the Northwest as a solo artist in January, and also played songs from the Willie Sugarcapps album at his shows.  My husband and I were honored to be a part of his road crew.  It was definitely a highlight of my life, driving hundreds of miles up and down Washington State and spending quality time with one of my musical heroes.

Will Kimbrough at Adrift Hotel

Will Kimbrough at Adrift Hotel, Long Beach, WA

Kimbrough’s excellent solo album, Sideshow Love is also getting respect on the AMA charts and moved up to #31 this week.   The album will be officially released on February 14–a fitting day for this collection of love and lust. Join him at Nashville’s Basement for the party.  When he’s not touring solo, he’s playing with Willie Sugarcapps, mostly in the Southern states, and keeping close to home.

Back to my groupie husband…

Pat flew to Alabama on business last Friday and called me on Saturday, February 1, the day after he arrived.  I could hear traffic noise and chatter in the background, and knew he was driving somewhere with his work buddy Gary.

“Guess where we’re going?” he asked, in a teasing manner.  It was Twenty Questions time.

“I dunno,” I said, in my bored voice, “BBQ? Chick Fil-A? White Castle?”  No to all three.

“We’re going to Decatur, Georgia!” he exclaimed.  I could hear the excitement in his loud voice.  My heart skipped a beat, but I kept a nonchalant attitude.

“Oh? And why are you going to Decatur, Georgia?”

“We rented a car, a hotel room, and we bought tickets to see  Willie Sugarcapps at Eddie’s Attic tonight!”

“Holy Crap!” I yelled.  “You are officially a bigger groupie than I am! I cannot believe you’re driving to Decatur!”

Decatur, a suburb outside of Atlanta, was about 200 miles away from Huntsville–almost a four-hour drive.  They just spent all day flying to Alabama via Atlanta the day before.  Well, they didn’t have anything else to do today, so why not?

I asked Pat if Will knew they were coming.

“NO!  And don’t say a word to him or post anything on Facebook.  I want to surprise him.”

They still had a couple of hours driving ahead of them, but I told him to check in with me once in a while. Meanwhile, I was on pins and needles waiting to hear if they made it to the show and if they surprised Will.  I took a walk, wrote a couple of emails and washed the dishes.  Purple dish gloves on, hands on hips.  Hurry up, already.

Finally, I received a text:  “So sorry you missed this!  Playing Mr. Lee.”  Later, “Oh, Colorado! Two words: Holy Sh*t!!!!!”

My husband never gets overly excited.  Is not in his quiet nature to exclaim anything, unless maybe while watching a closely matched football game, but certainly not at a concert.  Even at The Troubadour, where we were so lucky to see Tom Petty, Pat only smiled and nodded once in a while; he let me do the screaming and cussing.  For him to frantically text me during the show (which is a no-no, by the way, but I let is pass this time since I had to live vicariously) I could only imagine how magical the Willie Sugarcapps show must have been.

After about a half hour into the performance, Pat stepped outside and called me.  He gushed and repeated, “Oh, Lisa, I’m so sorry you’re missing this.  Oh, my god, they’re so amazing!  Their harmonies and solos are just perfect. Everyone is blown away.  It’s the best show I’ve ever seen–better than Tom Petty! It’s such a small theater, the acoustics are incredible, and it’s packed with people!”

On and on he spouted.  I could only listen with tears in my eyes, so happy he was having such a moving experience. I thought back to a decade ago when he had little interest in seeing live music.  And now, he’s become “One Of Us”.

He also mentioned that they surprised Will.  Pat walked right up to him before the show, just like he imagined. Will turned around, and with a perplexed and surprised look said, “Pat?!”  and proceeded to give Pat a big hug. Awesome. Pat, the stalker-groupie.

The video below does not compare to the enchanting experience of the live show; but at least it paints a picture of some of the magic moments, like when Corky Hughes goes crazy on that lap steel and when Will shreds on his mandolin. I could tell they were having a fantastic time together.  I grieved that I wasn’t there, but was so happy that Pat and Gary made the trip.

Here is “Mr. Lee” at Eddie’s Attic from that night:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnB2LJakG28

Pat also said he got to speak with Brigitte DeMeyer, with whom Will has collaborated.  She opened the show, and Pat was very impressed by her sultry voice.  She later gave Pat and Gary a CD for helping her walk to her car.  I can’t wait to hear it.

Later, I told Will how moved Pat was by the show, and how there is something magical about that band.

“Atlanta, in particular, felt like a step up and forward for WSC,” said Will. “The band is just trying to survive growing pains—mainly, that people want to hear us but we can’t really afford to go play for them.  I feel like if we could get out and hit all the cities, 2015 would be a big festival year for us.  But you know what?  It will happen in its own time.  This is no longer the world where you get record company backing when you have a great band.  You do it yourself as best you can.  You do Kickstarter, or whatever, and you try to step it up a notch.  I’m ok with things going along and going well.”

In other words, don’t expect a sweeping national tour anytime soon. If you do have a chance to see Willie Sugarcapps or any of the members of this band, please go and support them.  Become a groupie.  Check the flight schedules and plan a vacation around their show. Go spend some family time in beautiful Gulf Shores, Alabama and run over to see them play at The Frog Pond in Silverhill. You will not regret it.  In the meantime, be sure to pick up their self-titled album and a buy a few for your friends.

February 7, 2014 Posted by | Americana, aplscruf, Concert Season 2014, Eddie's Attic, Music in Atlanta, Will Kimbrough, Willie Sugarcapps | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Will Kimbrough – Mud and Moss Tour – Day 3: Friday, Jan10, 2014 Lori Gras!

Will Kimbrough Plays Lori Gras! Bellingham, WA

Will Kimbrough Plays Lori Gras! Bellingham, WA

Day 3: Lori Gras! – Bellingham, WA Friday, January 10

Click [here] and [here] for Days 1 and 2 of the big tour!

We were all up and ready to head out of the house at 6:45 to meet Lori and Kenny.  First, we ate breakfast at a local diner before they showed up to make the exchange.  After many attempts to load all of Will and Sara’s luggage into Kenny’s car, it finally fit like a game of Tetris.  Off they went to Bellingham, the final tour destination in Washington.

Pat and I came home and collapsed for a few hours.  I tried to sleep, but I had way too many thoughts running through my head. I’m a perpetual list-maker.  I checked and re-checked my lists, making sure I had everything ready for this final leg of the tour.  I lay down, but kept popping up to add something to a list, make a phone call or send an email.  No sleeping for me.  Time to get up and re-pack.

Our son was also joining us for the show, so we waited for his return from school before heading north to Bellingham, about two hours away.  We didn’t leave until 3:00, and ran into heavy traffic through Everett and Marysville.  It finally cleared out just north of Marysville, and we checked in to our roadside motel around 5:00.

We were supposed to go to a wine tasting in Lori’s honor at Purple Space, an events space related to Purple Smile Wines, where Lori works.  We had to hurry and change; the theme of the night was all black with colorful beads and decorations to celebrate Lori Gras! (like Marti Gras, get it?).  It was party time.  After showing up a bit late, we ordered some delicious Mexican food from a local food truck called Jalepeno stationed outside Purple Space.  The two-story space was cool, with dark wood and iron railings.  Upstairs, the hosts served wine and ale, with a special porter brewed just for Lori with her picture displayed on the Lori Gras! label.

Jacob met up with Will again and spent some time talking music with him.  He enjoyed that.  I wasn’t really sure how to handle this weekend with the boy.  His birthday was the next day, the 11th.   I knew he would have preferred a sleep-over birthday party with his best pals rather than hanging out with his parents in Bellingham.  But the fact that he got to meet Will and talk shop changed his tune.  It made for a very special 18th birthday.

After mingling at the Space for about and hour or so, we drove over to the big party at Bellingham Yacht Club, a few blocks away. The downstairs room was set up for a bash with streamers, palm trees, a beer and wine bar and a hot food buffet. Will’s stage was in one corner, ready to go.  Couches and chairs surrounded the stage.  We milled around and found other people we knew. There is something familial about the music world.  Someone runs into someone else at a show.  They become best friends, meet other people at another show, and it becomes one big happy family.  I first met Lori, Tim and Kenny at a Todd Snider show in Sparks, NV.  Will played guitar for Todd as part of his band, The Nervous Wrecks.  After the second night, we met them in the hotel bar where they invited us to their after-party.  Will showed up that night with drummer Paul Griffith [see my blog of that show here].  I have since run into Lori and more friends at other shows, including Tom Petty and Willie Nelson.  The family tree keeps growing and thriving!

Will took his place in the corner and the audience was asked to please SHUT UP.  Thanks, Kenny! ha

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Set List for Bellingham Yacht Club Lori Gras! Celebration:

Piece of Work

Let the Big World Spin

Sideshow Love

Rocket Fuel

Trouble

Mud Bottom – INCREDIBLE SLIDE

Another Train


Mud and Moss – Will dedicated this song to Lori.  Her joyful reaction was infectious.  He actually wrote it that day!  Everyone was awestruck.  The lyrics were hilarious and very meaningful to our long and crazy road trip:

Lyrics for "Mud and Moss" written that afternoon!

Lyrics for “Mud and Moss” written that afternoon!

Wings – He wrote this for Jimmy Buffett – over the years, he’s written about a dozen songs for Jimmy

You Made Your Bed – The next four or five songs on mandolin, one blended into the next, crazy crowd dancing

Mandolin Jam!

Mandolin Jam!

I Don’t Like It

Mr. Lee

Glory Be

DSC03724

Cape Henry

Nobody From Nowhere

Horshoe Lake -before this song, Tim introduced three ladies that surprised Lori. They were old friends of hers who came to the party.

Mud and Moss -encore- people wanted to hear it again!

When Your Loving Comes Around

Leavin’ Now

Lonesome Train on a Lonesome Track

DSC03820

Magnolia Springs

He Ain’t Right

Soulfully -Jimmy Buffett also covered this

DSC03782

Get Rhythm When You Get the Blues

I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry -Hank Williams Cover

DSC03666

Everybody Wanna Go To Heaven, Nobody Wanna Die

Goodnight Moon and another segue to Wind Cries Mary

Encore – Yo Yo Ma!  – Going waay back to The bis-quits! More dancing ensued!

DSC03762

Oh, what a fantastic night and climactic ending to the Washington leg of the tour!  People danced to a solo guitar and mandolin (Jake called it Old White People Dancing: stiff arms, stiff necks, stiff backs- ha); Lori laughed and cried and danced with husband Tim and her son Kai as well as several friends; we made new friends; we saw old acquaintances; people celebrated, partied, and toasted Lori’s 50th in grand style.  What a wonderful time for all.

The next morning, we met Will, Lori and Sara for breakfast at a coffee shop near the hotel.  We wished Jacob a happy 18th birthday.  Not a bad way to spend it so far, hanging out with Will after a glorious night of music and revelry.  Jacob was a big part of the show, and was one of the photographers, videographers and reluctant dancers.

Thanks to Kenny, Will and Sara had a car waiting for them to drive down to Portland to continue the tour.  We each purchased another CD, hugged it out, and wished them a safe journey to Oregon.  Pat, Jacob and I continued northward to visit our old friend Ralph and deliver a signed CD. Lori went home to her Seahawk nest and celebrated their big win against the Saints with her friends and family surrounding her.

Will and Sara continued their tour to Portland and Cottage Grove.

Sara was kind enough to send over the set list for the first show in Portland before returning to her home in California (another successful night!):

Set List

Secret Society – Portland, OR Saturday, January 11

Trouble

Mr. Lee

Mud Bottom

I Want Too Much

When Your Loving Comes Around

Let The Big World Spin

Sideshow Love

Soulfully

Hill Country Girl

Champion of the World

Three Angels

Wash and Fold

I am still reeling from this trip. My life feels like a heartbeat. There are moments, hours, and sometimes days of intense, vertical spikes of activity followed by a need to stay horizontal and buffer myself from the rest of the world until I can fall into a normal rhythm again.

My husband asked if my soul is full. Yes–overflowing.

Another pic for The Music Wall of Fame

Another pic for The Music Wall of Fame

Willie, Willie, Willie, get yo’self on home, boy…

January 19, 2014 Posted by | Americana, aplscruf, Bellingham, Concert Season 2014, Lori Gras, Music, Will Kimbrough, Willie Sugarcapps | , , , , | 6 Comments