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Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Lil’ Smokies 4.13.18

Aladdin Theater
Portland, OR

Words by Emily White
Photos by Coleman Schwartz Media

On Friday the 13th, the Lil’ Smokies treated us to one killer set at the Aladdin Theater in Portland, OR. They opened the show with “The City” off their latest album, Changing Shades. A song that you can’t help belt out at the top of your lungs – and I did. It was appropriate that their next song was “Winded” because I sure was from all the dancing and singing. Matt Rieger (guitar) and Jake Simpson (fiddle) really blew me away with their solos. From there we were taken on a Tom Petty journey when they covered “Learning to Fly.” It was a crowd pleaser and quite the sing-along. You would think the last show of a two-month winter tour the boys would be tired (I’m sure they were), but the energy on stage made it feel like we were at the tour opener.

After some covers and new songs “Cheating Kind of Life,” “Irish Goodbye,” “Feathers,” and ”Fortunes,” the band started playing “The Toothfairy” from their first album and jammed into the classic “Paint It Black” by the Rolling Stones. This jam particularly slayed when Andy Dunnigan (Dobro) and Jake Simpson were feeding off each others solos and had every person up dancing and especially during Matt Cornette’s banjo solo, my feet would not stop moving!

Towards the middle-end of their set we were blessed with my favorite three Smokies songs in a row – “California, “Might as Well,” and “Miss Marie.” As a recent transplant from California, this toe-tapping, hip-shaking song always makes me nostalgic for home, especially during these cold and damp months in Oregon. If the show had ended after “California” I would have been happy but once I heard Jake Simpson play the first note on his fiddle, I knew we were about to enjoy a melodious, “Might As Well.” This song should be every human’s mantra; take chances, go out and follow your dreams because you never know what is going to happen. The Lil’ Smokies incredible harmonies are what really grabbed my attention when I first discovered them. When I finally heard the harmonies of “Miss Marie” live, it sent goosebumps up my spine and caused me to have to catch my breath.

Throughout the whole show they perfectly blended their originals that we all know and love, new tunes that have yet to be recorded and plenty of covers everyone could get into. After “Miss Marie,” Matt Rieger took over on lead vocals and sang “Run to You” before Jake Simpson took a turn on “Dust in a Baggie,” by Billy Strings. With the way he plays it’s hard to believe that he’s only been a part of this band for a little over two years. During the cover, Scott Parker’s bass breakdown was one the best things I witnessed that night.

Ending the set with a new unrecorded tune, “Rabbit Hole,” you could tell the energy was high and that no one was ready for the show to end, including the band members. They came back on stage, popped a bottle of champagne in celebration of tour being over, and came at us with three banging encore songs. Starting with a Zeppelin cover, “Going to California,” into another fan favorite, their own “Decades,” and finally ending with “Gone at Last,” by Paul Simon. I could not have asked for a better night of music from The Lil’ Smokies.

I’ve fallen in love with not only The Lil’ Smokies music, but their charismatic charm onstage and witty banter. My favorite part of the whole show is that Matt Rieger (or the Beyonce of Bluegrass as Andy Dunnigan likes to call him) sings every word to every song with his hair blowing in the wind, even when he was standing away from the mic. He looks like he genuinely loves every moment onstage. It's moments like this that separate the Lil’ Smokies from other bands. They take you on a journey and make you feel like you are a part of their family. You could feel and see the love and energy exchanging from the band to the fans and vice versa. The Lil Smokies are smoking hot right now and definitely should not be missed!

Coleman's Photo Gallery


Setlist: The City, Winded, Cheating Kind of Life, Irish Goodbye, Feathers, Fortunes, The Toothfairy>Paint It Black, The Sequence, California, Might as Well, Miss Marie, Run to You, Dust in a Baggie, Rabbit Hole

Encore: Going to California, Decades, Gone at Last

Monday, April 16, 2018

MusicMarauders Spotify Playlist - Volume 44 (4.16.18)

Thursday, April 12, 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Roosevelt Collier's Exit 16

Words by Kevin Hahn (Split Open & Shoot)

Roosevelt Collier’s recently released Exit 16 is more than just something you should listen to. Respect it. Love it. Listen to it really loud. Definitely repeat Track 3, “Make It Alright” because Bobby Sparks completely destroys his keyboard solo. Make sure you have room to move your feet when The Dr. Roosevelt Collier brings the heat with his slide magic on “Supernatural Encounters.” And do not hesitate to call League a funky white boy when “That Could’ve Been Bad” and League’s heavy bass bombs come blasting through your speaker system. I personally requested to review this album because of how awesome I knew it could be and Rosie absolutely crushed it.

Produced (and contributed to) by bassist Michael League of the three time Grammy Award Winning Snarky Puppy and released on their GroundUp Music label, Exit 16 has numerous genres incorporated with Roosevelt’s mastery of the pedal steel guitar giving any listener a wide range of reasons to love this album. Beginning with Collier’s well-known church playing background, the initial track “Sun up Sun Down” has a definitive organ-led undertone with Bobby Sparks again proving why he was a great addition to this recording. “Happy Feet” brings the mighty Jason Thomas into the forefront, showing off his drumming skills that have made him a major contributor to Snarky Puppy, Marcus Miller, and many other celebrated jazz/soul musicians. “Exit 16,” the title track and album namesake is a rowdy steel pedal guitar shred-fest with Thomas plus Sparks again backing up Collier with funky pocket grooves and high-pitched organ chords. But, if I were to pick a favorite track off of this awesome first album (and hopefully not the last) from The Dr. Roosevelt Collier it would have to be the Jimi Hendrix infused head-banger “Spike.”

Rosie was kind enough to provide us with two versions of “Spike” on his inaugural album, and the twelve minute extended bonus track is a must listen. The quartet of Collier, League, Sparks, and Thomas comes together in a fiery jam-filled track where each member plays a distinctive role and layers over each other in a truly beautiful way. Utilizing numerous effects/pedals, Collier brings Hendrix back to life with intense chord changes and some ridiculous slide playing that in my opinion is unmatched in our musical world today. This is not your typical bluegrass dobro my friends. This is Hendrix-esque shredding; with a funky ass bass/drum beat behind it and an organ solo that would make Melvin Seals a very happy man. I can’t get enough of this song. There is so much going on with Michael League holding down the foundational bass line and the three others feeling themselves on top of it. Again, I remind you to play this album loud and have room to dance.

I was lucky enough to see Collier live for the first time on Jam Cruise 2013 sitting-in with Greensky Bluegrass on the Allman Brother’s classic “Midnight Rider.” I had no idea who he was, had never heard of the Lee Boys, and was very much so a baby-wook. But something happened in the purple theater that brings me full circle to my previously mentioned want to get back to purely just being present and enjoying the live music in front of me. Forgetting my reviews, and putting down my camera I was introduced to one of the biggest smiles you will ever see on any stage across the country. Rosie, you made me cry tears of pure enjoyment that night and it’s quite possible that you have done so a few other times in the last four years. You are an amazing musician, person, and friend with one of the very best hearts. Not only are you one of my favorites, but I can firmly say/believe you are one of the absolute best pedal steel guitar players in this world and I cannot wait to see what comes next for you.

All in all, I cannot be more pleased and happier for Roosevelt with Exit 16's release and when the likely supporting tour comes to our amazing state of Colorado, I will be first in line to grab a front row ticket. Do not miss this my friends. I will be there loving, respecting, and for damn sure dancing every moment Collier graces us with his presence in the Rocky Mountains and I hope you come along with me.


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Papadosio & Higher Learning 4.7.18 (Photos)

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Eminence Ensemble & Legato 4.6.18 (Photos)

Travelin' McCourys & Jeff Austin 4.6.18 (Photos)

Monday, April 9, 2018

Boris Garcia Feat. Tim Carbone & Henhouse Prowlers 4.6.18 (Photos)

Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Sweet Lillies - Album Listening Party 3.31.18 (Photos)

Roosevelt Collier w/ Special Guests & Dandu 3.31.18 (Photos)

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Flash Mountain Flood, Cycles & Dave A'Bear 3.30.18 (Photos)

Friday, April 6, 2018

The Drunken Hearts & Todd Sheaffer 3.30.18 (Photos)