Friday, April 30, 2010

Chicago Spotlight: May, 2010

Permanent Residencies
Jerry's, 1938 W. Division, 773-235-1006
No cover, every Tuesday night at around 10:15
***Chicago's resident Bluegrass destroyers***

Mr. Blotto
Reggie's Music Joint, 2105 S. State St, 312-949-0120
$5, show at 9 every Tuesday night, usually 1 opener

May 1
The Glitch Mob
Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160
$18, show at 9:00, 3 openers

May 6
Kinetic Playground, 1113 W Lawrence, 773-769-5483
$25, show at 9:00, 5 openers

Reggie's Music Joint, 2105 S. State St, 312-949-0120
$7, show at 8:30, 2 openers

May 8
30db (Brendan Bayliss and Jeff Austin)
Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln, 773-525,2501
$25, show at 10:00, 1 opener

May 14
Marco Benevento Trio
Martyr's, 3855 N. Lincoln Ave, 773-404-9494
$12, show at 9:00, 1 opener (Spare Parts)

May 15
Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160
$20, show at 9:00, no openers listed... I don't believe that
***super shreddy jamtronic explosions***

Alex B
Kinetic Playground, 1113 W Lawrence, 773-769-5483
$20, show at 9:00, 5 openers

May 18
Them Crooked Vultures
Aragon Ballroom, 1106 W Lawrence, 773-561-9500
$46.75, not sure if it's doors or show at 7:00, no openers listed but I expect at least 1

May 19
Sage Francis
Bottom Lounge, 1375 W Lake, 312-666-6675
$20, show at 8:00, 2 openers
***kickass hip-hop lyricist with a live backing band***

May 21
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
The Vic Theater, 3145 N. Sheffield, 773-472-0449
$22, not sure if it's doors or show at 8:00, no openers listed but I expect at least 1

May 26
LCD Soundsystem
Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203
$25, show at 9:00, 1 opener

Martyr's, 3855 N. Lincoln Ave, 773-404-9494
$12, show at 8:00, no openers listed

May 28-30
Summercamp Music Festival
Chillicothe, IL
3-day camping ticket is $170, Thursday Pre-Party $20, Late Nite Shows also extra
moe., Umphrey's McGee, STS9, Gov't Mule, Yonder Mountain String Band, Keller Williams, Victor Wooten, Pretty Lights, Zappa Plays Zappa, EOTO, Cornmeal, Railroad Earth, Dumpstaphunk, The New Mastersounds, Future Rock, Kyle Hollingsworth Band, That 1 Guy, Zach Deputy, Papadosio, Big Gigantic, The Twin Cats... among many others
***amazing, relatively small festival less than 4 hours from Chicago... you better be there***
Summercamp Music Festival Website

May 31
Broken Bells
The Vic Theater, 3145 N. Sheffield, 773-472-0449
$34, show at 7:30, no openers listed but I expect at least 1


Chicago Jam Scene: Sexfist 4.20.10

Sexfist switching venues after such a long & successful run at Red Line Tap is something I had to cover. Going out on weeknights is difficult but the gravitational pull of my new favorite bluegrass band was too much to resist. So I snagged a cab and buzzed down to Wicker Park for a few hours of awesome music. When I arrived at Jerry's, I found Chuck Oakton sitting outside, enjoying the crisp night air. We spoke for a minute about Springfest then he told me that we needed go inside to see the opening band, The Ben Miller Band. He didn't tell me much about them, but it didn't take long to realize that he wasn't kidding.

I was planning to only drink 2 beers so that getting up at 7am wouldn't be so brutal the next day. However, I was stoked to find that Jerry's had root beer on tap, perfect for a show on a Tuesday. But even if you don't have to go to school at the butt crack of dawn, Jerry's has you covered. They have an extensive beer selection and a wild menu of sandwiches to nosh on. Not only is the consumable fare kicked up, but the entire atmosphere & ambiance of Jerry's is a world apart from Red Line Tap. It is a very classy joint with a clean & sophisticated crowd. I definitely love small bars with tons of character (as evidenced by my previous Sexfist review), but Jerry's is a notch up the ladder of venues and will really suit Sexfist's classic & refined style.

The Ben Miller Band hit the stage and I was immediately excited to see that there was a washboard in the band. This instrument is a rare one to see and is only one of this band's unique characteristics. Not only does Doug Dicharry play the washboard, but he also played a trombone, a mandolin, a drumkit, and the electric spoons. He pretty much had the entire musical galaxy on stage and played like a wizard on all of them. Dicharry played the most instruments, but not the weirdest one. Scott Leeper took that title by playing a single-stringed washtub bass. This might be the most simply-constructed instrument I've ever seen at a real show, but the way Leeper played this thing was like it was an artisan-crafted double bass. And to top off this eclectic musical emsemble was Ben Miller, who only played the simple acoustic guitar/harmonica combo... while he had one foot on a drum pedal and the other with a tambourine attached to it! It goes without saying that this is one of the most unique acts I've covered thus far for CJS.

The music was every bit as wild as the collection of instruments would lead you to believe. Leeper was unbelievable on the washtub bass and could produce a deepening shift in pitch that felt like an uppercut to the belly. He would bend his sounds just by moving the handle/neck back and forth a few centimeters, giving tremendous life to his deep, thumping basslines. His plopping bass notes had an amazing rollercoaster quality to them that was incredible to experience.

Dicharry attacked the washboard like a natural disaster and produced percussion that sounded like extreme tap dancing. Then he would grab the trombone and he would add a very colorful, almost macabre feel to the music. Or he'd grab his mandolin pick like a fiend with Miller battling along side. When he busted out the electric spoons I was stoked to learn that they sound just like coconut shells and reminded me of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Then he would hop on the drums and kick out a very eccentric drumming style that included what looked like a school bell that he would hit with this odd, backhanded stroke. Dicharry was a madman with every instrument he touched and really blew me away with his musical abilities. But he was equaled in sheer musical genius by Ben Miller, who would play whimsical acoustic & hormonica tunes then bust out some filthy, bluesy slide guitar where he'd drop his capo far down the neck to create a sharp & snappy sound all while stomping out a rhythm with his kick drum & tambourine. These guys flew out of the womb ready to make music-- straight natural talent on a crazy high level.

They played a number of original songs that were extremely well composed and threw down a couple of amazing covers as well. They mellowed out the vibe of Nirvana's "Heart Shaped Box", dropped a dirty slide guitar version of Ram Jam's "Black Betty" and gave me the tingles with an amazing & electrifying version of The Beatles' "Come Together". These songs whipped the crowd into a healthy froth, so when they closed the set with a blistering washboard song, the buttoned-down crowd busted open an uproarious applause. This band is definitely special and I'd love to see them again soon.

By this time I had a nice seat right near the stage and hung out while Sexfist set up. The root beer was delicious and talking with the guys from the band was a treat, as always. These dudes are seriously chilled out and they have a very appreciative attitude towards their fans and the music scene in general. The set up & sound check ended up taking quite a while, which is to be expected on their first night in a new venue. Their gear was honed to a fine science at RLT, but they were definitely still settling in to Jerry's on this festive night. They finally hit the stage right around 11 with a tasty blast of banjo-guided bluegrass. "Turn Me Loose" is a great way to begin a show and really highlights the capabilities of this incredible band. The band was definitely on-point already, but the sound was not and seemed to be changing all the time. A short hile later was a quick "Nobody's Fault But Mine" with Bradley Longwood providing some passionate vocals. "Ain't It A Shame" was up next next with a mellow, bass-driven opening that eventually landed in a sweet fiddle section courtesy of Jeffrey Chestnut.

They continued the bluegrass assault with a great "Mountain Girls Can Love" that had the dancefloor folks shredding. The entire front of the stage was filled in and the dancing was exuberant as Sexfist kept plowing along. They stayed on task even as I could tell they were unhappy with the sound. The levels seemed to be fluctuating all night and at times the crowd noise was almost overpowering the sound. Mr. Oakton kept glancing at the stage mics with suspicion as the sound was all over the map and didn't seem to be getting much better. I mean, it was alright, but definitely not dialed in the way I expected. Mr. Chestnut announced that there was a sad song coming right as I began to yawn, so I decided to head out and grabbed a t-shirt on my way out the door.

I was disappointed that I couldn't stay longer, but felt ok about it knowing that Sexfist was obviously here to stay. They are a seriously talented bluegrass band with a ceiling that seems to be rising all the time. These guys will be hitting the festival scene harder as summer kicks into gear and they spread their bluegrass love around the Midwest. Get out to Jerry's and experience Sexfist's righteousness for yourself-- they would love to kick your ass with bluegrass.


The Rise of Papadosio & Jimkata

I began my evening at a diner in Upstate, NY. The hustle and bustle of the dinner rush was in full effect. The regulars, perched in their usual spots; spoke of the local happenings as I made the final arrangements for the evening. My mind wandered on to the topic of local "jambands" and the crusade to gain a national audience. What is it that elevates music to the next level? What is it that allows some bands the desired access to a national scene? Lastly, does the end result of national attention compensate for the amount of effort, drive and actual work that goes into promoting a band on this level?

My initial inclination is to consider; variation, technical ability, energy... But what is to be said for management, promotion, time and place? Take a band like Jimkata (New York) for instance, or Papadosio (Ohio). Are these bands on the rise to the next level within the progression of "jamband" stardom or are they merely milling along the plateau of local mediocrity. Too often I have seen bands, playing their weekly gigs to undersold venues full of overwhelming/inconsiderate chatter. I hoped tonight's experience would help to uncover the answers to some of the question that I had and offer some insight on this matter.

I timed my trip so that I would be making the hour drive down to Ithaca, along the lake as the sun set. There is something majestic about watching the sun set over the rolling farmland and vineyards of this beautiful part of the American country. As I drove along the lake, bats danced in the sky, feasting on an array of nighttime offerings.

I arrived at Castaway's to a near empty parking lot. The few vehicles that were occupying the lot were fashioned into odd spots and packed with what appeared to be local heads. From my parked vehicle, I could hear the competing stereo blarings of Umphrey's McGee and Widespread Panic. There was indeed no shortage of bumper stickers. I stepped inside of the empty venue and was greeted at the door by Russ, the manager of Jimkata. Management is an intracle part of the local scene and I was pleased to not only have a positive experience in communicating prior to the show, but I was pleased to see how involved Russ was with the happenings of the event.
The venue was empty, as most are at 9:30. As a result, Sonic Spin played to an empty house. I wondered how it must feel to make a trip out to a venue, excited to play, to get set up, dialed in and play for no one. What does that do to a band's drive?

I stepped outside to enjoy some fresh air and parking lot tunes while I waited for my friend and guest for the evening, Roger. Roger is a percussionist out of the Rochester area in between projects at the moment. As I waited I noticed some extremely sloppy activity. A car parked adjacent to me me in the lot, opened it's doors to beer cans and bottles (some empty, some full) pouring out onto the dirt lot. As the young crowd filed into the venue, a young lady stayed behind to use the parking lot as her toilet. In front on several on-lookers, this intoxicated little mess struggled to stay off of the ground. The reason I bring this up is to further reiterate this young, amateur crowd (in regards to partying/respect).


Papadosio took the stage around ten o'clock sharp. Much like the initial act, they were playing to a near empty house. However, I was sucked in almost immediately. Their sound was smooth and seamless, at times somewhat digital. The light show really stood out as well, at times causing me to get lost in the music. As the music progressed I picked up on the tightness of their sound. Their danceable chops caused the crowd to move with the groove. From their first song on, it was a throwdown of wailing resolving to ambient jams. The vocals and lyrics were typical of most "jambands", where as the key/synth work stood out to as being a fiery feature of this quartet. the crowd started to strengthen in number.

Towards the middle of the set, the exploration really took hold. The band took it to space as the tension built. The peaks/climax's were well structured and executed launching the crowd into a frenzy. The music continued to progress through some glitchy sounding grooves/effects, with some dirty sounding almost dubstep style bass and back to the heavy directional space which they executed so well. Towards the end of the set the music headed for a more upbeat and simply put, happy type of sound. You could tell that the band was feeling it, smiling as they crafted their jams.

Popadosio impressed me. They were, as most "jambands" are, better live than on recording; as they create an environment... a scene. Their transitions were seamless, their playing tight, the music danceable and the beat consistent and driving. Papadosio is one of those bands that you should turn out for. To dance, to space out, to feel the the music and enjoy what it is that this rising band has to offer... Good times.

At the set break, Roger and I stepped outside onto the back deck overlooking the canal to catch some fresh air and conversation. We discussed virtuosos such as David Grisman and Bela Fleck. We also conversed about the festival environment and the changes in the scene since the heyday of the Grateful Dead. The topic then shifting to Phish's capitalizing on the opportunity that Jerry's death offered a new band. This took me back to my earlier thoughts of promotion and being in the right place, timing wise. The house music faded as the live music once again became the focus of the scene...


I glanced over; Russ was still manning the door with another gentleman. You could tell he was excited that the band that he managed was going to be taking the stage to flex their musical muscles. By this time, Castaways was comfortably crowded with a steady mix of wookies, college kids and pool sharks, almost all below the age of twenty three. The first thing Roger I noticed about the band was how young they were. Initially I jumped to conclusions about what that might mean for their show/playing. Thoughts of undeveloped jams, inexperienced playing, and youthful energy that amounts to nothing came to mind. Not from Jimkata, as they had yet to have been given a chance for an honest critique; but of other bands I had seen in the past.

The music started off harder, with simple yet consistent percussion. The peaks were heavy, resolving to danceable moments that had the crowd eating out of their hands... ingesting their crunchy tunes. Their vocals were very "jamband"-esque, yet above average, as well as tolerable. The light work continued in a dazzling array of colors and strobing. The guitar work stood out to me, wailing as the gentleman doubled on the key/synth. Roger and I discussed the drum work. We wondered about the utilization of the electronic drum pads on parts that could have been handled on the kit. Consistent, though unimaginative; we wondered if this strategy was a part of trying to create an almost electronic sound.

Jimkata definitely had a youthful, poppy sound at times. They weaved in and out of that pop comfort into the realm of a spacey, almost Bisco style. The sound, though loose in it's vibe; was tight musically. There were a couple of points in the show where an almost dubstep style bass line crept in. Again, consistent.

The crowd eventually spread out and typical of many local shows; began talking... Loudly. As not to discredit Jimkata's playing, let me make clear that with a young band, comes a young crowd. Beyond a medium sized group assembled on the dance floor; there was loud talking, and almost two thirds of the venue was engulfed in conversation. It was at this point that I pondered about the solutions to problems such as these. Will this be one of those "diseases" that continues to plague musicians of this level?

Is the sound somewhat repetitive? Yes. But that's whats being packaged and sold. That is the desired product. With the market as saturated with bands as it is, and bands competing for recognition; I look for bands that offer something different. Were they different than other bands of this caliber? No. However, the were talented, marketable, and most of all enjoyable. I would recommend seeing them, For the overall musicianship, but especially for the cheap ticket price.

To go back to what I was talking about in regards to what elevates a band; to me, more than anything else, it's about finding a sound that's different from what else is going on. Then crafting that sound and marketing it. I feel that more so than the music, more so than the skill; making it to that next level has almost everything to do with timing. Is Jimkata's and Papadosio's timing in line with success? We'll see, Time will tell. For now they will continue play shows and festivals; looking for that "break".


Jam of The Day: Stanton Moore (4 of Us)

Stanton Moore Live at Fox Theater on December 2, 2005.

Set 1:

1) The Switch
2) Live Wire
3) Maple Plank
4) Hung Up
5) Sister Janie #
6) Kicken up Dust #
7) Rattletrap #
8) Adelita #

Set 2:

9) When the Levee Breaks
10) Little Ole Money Maker *
11) The Penske
12) Hardware
13) Chicken Lickin' #
14) Twitchie Feet #
15) Black Jack #
16) Nooksack #
17) The Greeny #
18) crowd + banter


19) Tipitina $
20) Volcanic Acne #

4 of Us is:
Stanton Moore (drums)
Robert Walter (keys)
Will Bernard (guitar)
Robert Mercurio (bass)

# Art Edmaiston (sax)
* Al Gamble (keys)
$ Henry Butler (keys,vocals)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Jam of The Day: moe. Radio City NYE 08'

moe. Live at Radio City Music Hall on December 31, 2007.

1: Recreational Chemistry > Blue Jeans Pizza > Recreational Chemistry

2: Not Coming Down > Wormwood > Wind it Up, So Long > Rebubula

3: Lazarus > New Years Countdown [banter], Raise a Glass, Brent Black > Lazarus > Brent Black, Letter Home, Spine of a Dog > Plane Crash

E: New Year's Day > George

An Interview: Jeff Bujak

After a show in Syracuse, I found myself assisting Jeff Bujak in the "load out" process of taking his equiptment out of the venue and packing it all tightly into his vehicle. Following that interesting task, we had a conversation...

J-man: Who are you listening to currently?

Bujak: Currently, I’m trying to find a new band. I’m kind of stuck in the middle of twenty different bands. Actually, regional bands. Bands like; Indobox and Jimkata, are just regional rock stars . I love watching bands build. I love watching the marketing sense of different bands. But, those two bands in particular are really good. They’re really climbing the charts, they’re excellent guys, very good, and I look for bands that know business etiquette. They return e-mails, “please” and “thank you”. There are so many managers and bands that forget “please” and “thank you” when they leave a club. Those little things; “please” and “thank you”, to the opener, have respect for the opener. Those guys really have it. So actually I look at more than just the music. But, the band’s environment and atmosphere that they portray at their shows; whether it’s positive. I love bands that do as much as they can on stage at all times. When I see a band, they can be any genre, honestly… A lot of people say “Oh, I listen to every genre…” But I listen to literally, every genre. I try to soak up, what people might like about that music, especially with country. I’m not really big into country, but I listen to it sometimes to try to find out why people like it. I understand, it’s a catchy music that’s not pop music, that’s not complicated. I guess I’m more into complicated music, so when I see and band on stage and everyone is giving it their all and none of them are standing around or clicking buttons, too much. They’re actually playing true instruments… I just love seeing that.

J-man: That actually relates to my next question; What are your thoughts on the laptop movement?

Bujak: It’s allowing a lot of people to explore a genre of music that really hasn’t been around. I mean, In the 80’s when synthesizers were first being introduced, there was a movement of synthy/new wave music. It was almost looked at as a phase. It came in and then 90’s rock just shunned it out and it was gone. Now, we’re seeing a resurgence of electronic music, and even that kind of 80’s style. With laptops, it’s just allowing people to do it that much easier. Which comes at a cost, because you don’t really have to have a lot of education in music anymore to put out good sounding music, man; using samples. There are no classes for laptops yet. Everyone is trying to find the next thing and to be able to use all of these programs, it allows you to create music that hasn’t been created before, using samples and mixing past music to make this new genre of music that we’re all still playing with.

But me personally, I started playing piano when I was five, I took twelve years of theory and I’m thirty now. So I’ve been playing for twenty five years and I still feel like I can definitely get better. There is always more areas that I want to jump into with jazz and classical study. But then, I’ve put all of this time and effort into that… and it’s hard to see someone on a laptop making a living faster than I do. Nothing against that. Nothing what so ever; but it’s hard as a musician to watch that. To say wow, “What have I been doing, when I could have just picked up a laptop a year ago, and be famous?” But I’m trying to create organic electronic music, which is very tough… But I am having fun.

J-man: Are you a pure “Solo” musician, or do you collaborate with anyone? As well do you have any other projects?

Bujak: My whole music career started with a band call “Somebody’s Closet”. I moved to Arizona in 2001, right after 9/11 actually. I joined a band called “Somebody’s Closet”; they were looking for a bassist and I played keyboards. They were like “Until we get a bassist, can you cover with your left hand?” So I started learning it, and I sat there at my house for twelve hours a day just running my left hand and saying “I could actually do this. We don‘t need a bassist.” And I learned these songs and two years later, I had built myself as a bassist and a piano player in the band. That’s kind of where that started going. Then, growing up I always did these electronic pieces that everybody hears not, but a lot more… Not exactly the same but, in my basement I would do that. I never thought of a way that I could do it live. So anyways, flash back to “Somebody’s Closet”, and I started doing this left hand bass. I was like, “I could actually make my solo pieces come alive sometime.” So that was always in the back of my thought. I knew I would want to do a solo act eventually.

Somebody's Closet Live at Savannah's on March 24, 2005.

Then I toured around the country with “Somebody’s Closet” for six years, made some bucks, did my thing. Then the band started to lose a couple of members and a couple of members had families. I knew that the band wasn’t going to be all that we thought it was going to be… World famous and everything (Laughs). So I said, “I’m going to make this cost effective touring machine.” Now with all of my contacts, because I took over booking for “Somebody’s Closet”, I managed the band, I did a lot for the band except for songwriting. That was mostly everybody else’s thing. I did the business side of it and I learned the business aspect of music and made a lot of contacts. So I started cashing in those contacts and “Hey, I got this little solo thing going on. Let me show it to you.” It was hard to digest at first, but I was still working on my sound, and I am still working on my sound.

J-man: (Laughs)

Bujak: But out of playing in a band or playing solo, I completely prefer playing solo. There is no doubt… I am a selfish player. So it’s hard and sometimes I can’t play with bands. But, no I don’t play with any bands right now.

J-man: What makes you different from other solo musicians on the scene right now? What differentiates your sound, from the sound of others in regards to your “Intelligent Dance Music”?

Bujak: I have always thought of music as… Ok, I get bored of music that doesn’t change very often. I love a whirling changing song. Even a show for a band, like Umphrey’s McGee is just very intense with the way their progressive song writing is. It just moves like a wheel, that’s the way I see it. It just keeps progressing. That’s what I look for in music and I feel like with solo musicians, the looping aspect comes into it. So, this progressive thought of keeping changing, is very difficult for solo musicians using loops because; There are a lot of things you can do, But also it’s very limited. I started out looping in the very beginning and I gave it… I didn’t give it up, but I stopped looping the piano sounds and stuff because I wanted to just play it live. I wanted to learn the bass lines while I play. I wanted to do it all live…

J-man: … I think that helps with the organic sound.

Bujak: Yeah, It’s mostly live and all of the synthesized stuff is looped. I have a looper so, pretty much I try to take the organic part of it and I don’t loop any of it. So that I can do a different bass line all of the time. Like, I can run a completely different bass line and at the same time; I can completely change key if I want. I can do anything as I am controlling the bass and that. A lot of loopers, it’s very difficult. You can do it but a lot of loopers work in layers and phrases, and can’t go to far with it. I, since I don’t loop, since I preset all of my beats beforehand , it makes it a lot easier for me to make my music more my music more progressive.

J-man: Looks like you have a “cherry” spot at Rock the Resort, what are your thoughts on that set?

Bujak: Rock the Resort, I was late on submitting to the festival. I wanted on it, and I thought about it and finally asked my manager to submit it for me and they got back to us saying, “Sorry, we’re booked.” But thankfully to John, and the whole “Paper Chaser” crew. They allowed me to not only come to their festival but they gave me a two and a half hour set; late night. Which, I can not thank them enough. I didn’t go to this past Rock the Resort, but I heard a lot of good things about it. I’m really excited. But Dude, they just hooked me up and it’s great. I’m trying to give it back, I’m trying to promote festival because it looks like it’s going to be great.

J-man: The line-up is really solid. What are your plans for the summer?

Bujak: Festivals.

J-man: So, are you focusing on festivals specifically because of the larger crowds?

Bujak: I am able to set an atmosphere. In a club it’s very difficult to put people in a very open minded state, because you’re still downtown, you still have to go to your car afterwards and drive home. Reality always sets in. At festivals you’re just away from everything, so I feel like music hits you in a different way, at festivals.

J-man: It’s wide open space…

Bujak: Definitely. The amount of stuff you can do… Like, you can either sit in your tent, or you can see a bunch of different music. It’s just, at your free will, there’s no going to work. It’s wide open. So I really like to put on an atmospheric event. Lots of lights. I make it count and I love my performances at festivals. I’m just able to do so much than at a club, and it’s more accepted. And the people are already there, man. You just have to play and they come see it. Most people at a festival will give every music a chance, by walking by.

J-man: Overall you’d say the festival scene is a pretty positive environment?

Bujak: Yes. I love the festival scene. I get the best feedback after shows… Yeah, I just love rockin’ out til sun up. When I’m packing up and the sun is coming up; I know I just played a good set.

J-man: What is your goal with what you are doing? What’s the plan?

Bujak: The plan is to see how far I can push this thing. I love playing solo, so the options for me are a little bit more than for a band. I have a big bigger budget, There are less people to feed, I can tour at a lower cost and invest more into equipment. So, any new idea that I get and I see other musicians… I get a lot of inspiration for other musician’s toys they use on stage. I say “I’d like to try that, and I buy it, see how I like it. If I dig it, I keep it and learn it. Eventually I’m going to be surrounded by toys and crazy shit.

J-man: Do you go into this putting all of your eggs into one basket or do you have a backup plan?

Bujak: (Smiling) No, this is it.

J-man: How does that feel? Do you feel confident?

Bujak: Yeah, I haven’t had a full time job or anything since I was twenty one. I have been on the road since I was twenty one.

J-man: (Laughs)

Bujak: Odds and ends… I’ve gardened, I’ve bussed at a couple of restaurants when I could, I tried to get by like that. But now it’s strictly music. I am still squeaking by, but I have a wife who is very supportive. We have been together eleven years. She knows that music, sometimes; comes before anything else. She understands that sometimes that’s going to happen and I have to make choices for the family… And I make the choices wisely, but she is always behind it. She is always, always behind it. Every choice I’ve made, and I’ve made a lot of hard choices in regards to money and signing a record deal, those kind of things. Those are big decisions and she’s always behind me. So that helps; having a significant other that is definitely behind you… Plus my parents are always behind me. So, I’ve got a good team behind me. Even when I started playing piano especially, my parents really pushed me and I stopped playing for a couple of years. I picked it back up, but they were always behind me even back then… But they didn’t know that I was going to try to make a career out of it.

J-man: (Laughs) Excellent. I don’t normally do this, but I just received a Facebook alert in response to my status…

Bujak: Oh, go ahead and do what you have to do…

J-man: No, this involves you…

Bujak: Oh, nice!

J-man: I posted that I was coming out to your show tonight and a friend of mine by the name of Seanpatrick commented on my status saying, “… That’s what I call and evening. Bujak is just straight nasty.”

Bujak: Really?

J-man: What do you say to that? When you hear people talking about your music in that regard…

Bujak: (Laughs)

J-man: … Saying your music is “Straight naaasty”…?

Bujak: (Smiling) I never let a compliment go unnoticed. I get a lot of compliments and I love that and I know how to take them and I know how to show appreciation back. The words that people have chosen to… Some of the words like; “gnarly”, “nasty” and “dirty”…

J-man: Does that sum up your sound (Laughs)?

Bujak: I love to cringe my face when I play. I don’t if it’s pain or what it is, but it’s…

J-man: Emotion.

Bujak: Yeah, Dude! Maybe that’s considered dirty…

J-man: (Laughs)

Bujak: I don’t know what it is, man. But, something…

J-man: It could be your nasty-ass beats…

Bujak: Yeah, Dude! I love that… I want that. I do want people thinking my music is positive and uplifting sometimes, but I love to take my music on an emotional rollercoaster. Lately, I have been on the darker side of things. I’m a huge prog-rock fan; Tool. Even going back to bands I still listen to; there is always Tool in my player. They’re very dirty. As well as some dubstep, Eoto, stuff like that. Just the dirtier… And actually, Eoto; I have done a lot of shows with them and they’ve influenced a lot of my sound.

J-man: Really?

Bujak: Yeah, they’ve taught me to go in to areas of the unknown; the darker, darker areas.

J-man: I see…

Bujak: Yeah, I definitely see myself going there, so… I love the word “nasty!” That’s good. I think I’m doing my job if someone says my music is “nasty.”

J-man: That gentleman is actually the guy who told me to check out your music.

Bujak: Oh, really!?! Rock on! Awesome.

J-man: I appreciate you doing this. Thank you very much.

Bujak: Of course!

Interview & Photos By The J-man.

Jeff Bujak Live at Aunt Dona and Uncle Dan's Tavern on March 20, 2010.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Early Morning Jam: Signal Path

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Midwest Musings: Galactic 4.13.10

This review was as inevitable as the very seasons themselves. The genesis of my current musical focus, my current life for that matter, was made into reality by the band Galactic. Simply put, at the admonition of a friend, I went to see Galactic for the first time on the 28th of January, 1999. They were playing in a bar called Ripley's in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, with another new to me act, Keller Williams, and had been heavily recommended to me by a fellow music maven, Milo. I’ll talk about Keller and his mindblowing act some other time, cause at the moment the stage rightly belongs to Galactic. Back then they had a singer who went by the name “Houseman”, Theryl DeClouet was part of the band, and their shows followed a (unknown to me at the time) pattern. The band would come out sans vocalist for about 45 minutes of mind blowing live funk instrumentals, and then would be joined by the Houseman for about 40 some odd minutes of R&B influenced funky groovalistic styling’s. After a quick break they would come back out for a repeat of the first sets pacing, with longer jams if possible. That night in Annie’s, I was left mind blown by their first set. Utterly destroyed. Then the aforementioned Keller joined the band for a game changing 25 minute instrumental sit in, where the band relaxed in a semi circle, their guest at the far stage left, and went round the horn twice each, jamming with and soloing on the top of each other in a loose, friendly open way that warmed me to my core. Though I was quite a different person back then, I was always susceptible to a beautiful blissful moment of musical nirvana, and I was instantly transported there during their show that night.

As the show went on I went to their merch table, well within earshot of the mad funk being laid down, and purchased their two albums to date, Coolin’ Off and Crazyhorse Mongoose. Those first cd’s have had to be replaced due to wear. And I take good care of my cd’s. Seriously, I have worn out cd’s! My purchases secure, I spied an unguarded show poster on the wall. I crept up and ever so gently peeled it from the wall. MINE! I folded it up, as careful as could be, and slid it into my back pocket. And, yes, I am aware that if I had simply asked, they would have let me take it. Don’t rain on my parade here. The stealth and cunning I displayed at that point, sliding slowly down the wall, waiting in place til I was sure no one had seen me move in front of my prize. The nonchalant look I kept plastered on my face, as I raged wildly inside my brain as my arm, bent behind my back, methodically freed it from it’s gooey taped bondage. In that moment I was ninja, and all the world was mine to steal. MINE! All this thievery is unlike me, and a testament to the love already growing inside me for Galactic. A seed was planted that night, that would grow beyond my wildest imagings. As the next few weeks passed, while I ironed and flattened out the creases, went to the art store and bought colored markers to create a blend that would perfectly match the color flaked away by the process of folding it and took a thin point sharpie and stylized the letters ever so slightly that had been speedily written on it by some nameless bar employee, the cds were played in heavy rotation.

Since that night, and the magic show they put on, my side mission in life has been to get people to go see Galactic whenever possible. And I put my money where my mouth is, truly I do. There are say twenty people who I have purchased tickets to Galactic shows for, as part of my “If you don’t like it, it’s on me” Program. And there are yet more of my friends who will attest to my giving them tickets to Galctic at all times of the year, for whenever a show was coming, as their early Christmas presents. This show, at Buster’s billiards and Back Room, was not one of those however; this show was actually thanks to another music fan, like Milo before him, who informed me of a chance to see Galactic do what it is that they do. Burk, and his lovely bride Shellie, are some of the finest folks you’ll ever meet and for realsies road dogs as well. When I mentioned to Burk that I was off from work a day earlier than expected due to poor date checking on my part, he asked if I was then making it to the Galactic show in Lexington that night. At first the news of a show so close to home slipping past me scared me, then I remembered the reason The show was blocked from my mental data base, I had thought there was no way to go due to my ensuing trip to Wanee. So, as I am known to do when I can’t do some fun thing, I erased it from my memory! Shazam, off I go. Burk and Shellie kindly offer me a spare bed, and I am packed and on the road a day early to see and shoot my favorite band. A quick call to Justin puts a press request in for me, and I make the drive in record time. That’s when the trouble starts, sadly.

You see, the turn off, unfortunately named “Dick Street” (No foolsies, the road was under construction, as in gone). My google maps directions did not know of such things mind you, and in great Rex Tradition, I got a little lost. As an aside, if you ever go to a show with me, please PLEASE volunteer to navigate, and don’t let me have that job if you value your driving time. So I drove around, yelling at passerby “Hey do you know how I can find Dick Street” and various permutations thereof, till I found a car full of college guys who seemed to want to help me find Dick Street a little more than I wanted to. So, I stopped at a gas station and got actual directions that didn’t make me want to take fourteen consecutive showers and finally found the venue, Busters Billiards and Backroom, on the outskirts of Lexington, KY. With the I-65 interstate connection New Orleans and Chicago, we lucky folks who live in one of the many cities along that highway get a lot of chances to see Galactic, and they are truly beloved in the region, as they are in fact across the country and around the world. Buster had a nice layout, a smoking ordinance in Lexington kept smokers to a well lit area surrounding the building, and a spacious concert area with a sizable stage dominated the rear of the building. I arrived shortly before the opener, local overdubbing funky jamsters Goldenrod took the stage.

Goldenrod’s set was a pleasant reminder of why I love what I do, seeing bands forming and gelling into something new right before your eyes. With judicious use of samples, fleshed out by a ripping drummer and the Rev. Kirk Sunrise on organ, the band percolated along like a funky machine, an engine of music. You could hear the musical piston rise and fall while they played, and sometimes they would settle in to a low purring rumble, broken by an eruption into a showering tower of jam. Really, I was very impressed. And, as a starter for the evening goes, it’s always nice to have acts that bled thematically with the headliners. As Goldenrod evoked some of Galactic’s more groove laden roots, while second support act T-Bird and the Breaks reminded me of Galactic’s brassy splashy finest rave ups, when they would have entire other bands join them on stage!

T-Bird and the Breaks, a nine piece band that takes the full sound of a big band and makes it swing and sway in their own, dirty funky way. Must be something to do with the heat of Austin TX, like Galactic’s New Orleans home that breeds that loosey goosey beat into the backbones of all those fine players! Totally loose, and in complete control the whole time, T-Bird and the Breaks displayed a comfort on the stage that made you believe in them. Any horns in a band make me smile, but bringing a three piece section of cats blowing from their shoes made my night. I paid extra attention to the horns, as the last two shows I had checked out from the web had had the horn players joining Galactic during their main set. It was readily apparent why these guys were given the prestigious opening slot they held. The rhythm combo of Sam Patlove on drums and Cody Furr on bass kept the tempos punchy and held down the bottom in a solemn and spiritual manner when called for. But Rave ups were the order of the evening for the Breaks, as T-Bird ambled the stage, dancing with the music in an easy, second nature-y way. Stephanie Hunt and Sasha Ortiz provided a feminine spark to the stage that was a relief both visually and audibly, as their sultry voices cut through the funk as easily as the lonesome peels and breathy expressions of the horns, as the band would then easily slip into full call and response mode. With call and responses going from groups of players, horns calling out to the drums, T-Bird calling out to the siren singers on his left and the band as a whole calling out to the crowd with the song itself, and hearing the cheers of approval in return. Can’t say enough about the future I see for these fine folks, so full of the late night, emptying ballroom vibe that they put out, a wailing trance funk that holds even the tightest of hearts in thrall.

As the stage cleared and the hall filled and filled I finally let myself face the fact that I was about to see Galactic for the, oh I don’t really know, over fiftieth time, sixty, maybe? Let’s just say I have stayed true to my love of the band, and if a chance has come up to see them, I have taken it. I have seen them in more than a dozen states, mental and physical, even going so far as to see them tear their spiritual home, Tipitina’s down brick by brick, then rebuild it all at once with the sheer power of the music produced by this five piece band, and whatever family and friends have come with them at that moment. Festivals, in store appearances, radio station interviews, regular tour stops galore, you name it,I have been there. Please know that I say this not to brag, just t tell you I love this band, to a serious degree. If they aren’t my favorite live band, someone else must be having a really on day, because usually, Galactic is it. As pure a distillate of a city’s musical vibe that I have ever seen Galactic is the music of their city, and by proxy New Orleans is Galactic to me. Open, organic, human players, reaching out to each other, and the listener, with the language of song, a shiny hot brass tease. Deceptive in his stage presence, you need but open your ears to hear Jeff Raines cutting thru the heart of the live mix, insistent on keeping the song alive. Rob Mercurrio plays as if he is one with the bass lines he lays down, and to see him erupt from a trance when the music slips it’s bonds and flies into uncharted territory is always a delight to me. Playing a mighty organ, giving the band that all important majestic aspect that other funk bands lack is Richard Vogel. It amazes me the quality of this band, and the partnership they have developed onstage, the sheer trust is heartwarming.

For the last year or so Corey “Bone Money” Henry of the Rebirth Brass Band has toured with the band, and gives Ben Ellman the regular sideman for his nightly jaunts into saxophonist badassery. Their duels, and call outs to each other have added yet another facet to the body of work. Always impressed with his work on the sax, Ellman seems at to truly enjoy having a side man on the horn, and the moments of good natured smiles as they take a moments break from their wailing to catch their seventy fifth wid. The horns have always seemed the most personal instrument to me, all that focused breathing. Such an intense physical element that few other instruments require. All this talk of the generally perceived of star players, fail as usual to mention the unsung heroes of a lot of bands, the drummer. Hidden in the back, obscured by his kit, often poorly lit and ignored, the drummer in many a band is a forgotten role player. Not such a problem for the fireball of energy, the happiest to be doing what he is person in the music industry, Stanton Moore.

So many shows and so many players, and none ever looked happier than Stanton Moore. From the first show I saw, the glow he had, the maniacally joyous facial contortions, a mad mix of percussion and inspiration, crazed and rapturous at the same time. Every show, every time, he jams so hard he rises to his feet, as if unable to stop himself, just a conduit to the beat, a part of the whole in his perfect place at the perfect time. Like twelve metronomes all rolled into one, he can hold himself and the funk back, like the skies dropping rain drops at a slow steady pace. As much as Vogel’s nigh sacred bombast on the organ s Galactic’s heavenly side, Moore is the trickster god. His playing and timing twist and turn, and he never fails to amaze. Like seriously, EVER! I promise! In every fantasy best band I have ever sat and picked Moore is my drummer period. I think he is versatile enough o cover any challenge presented him, and with Galactic, he provides a rare focus on the drums and the rarely seen face behind them!

A special added guest to the show was Cyrill Neville, Joining the band to do songs from their latest release Ya-Kay-May, a tight slice of Nawlins funkroll. Henry took the mic to do some memorable turn, including the title track to their previous cd, From the Corner to the Block. Funk that will run you down like a steamroller flowed freely from the stage, and the audience rolled in response. Burk and Shellie danced happily on the far side of the club, and I walked through my own personal heaven, laughing at my good fortune as I took pictures of my favorite band, jamming away! After the show closer, I made my way back to the photo pit and peeked backstage and, sure enough, there were the horn player from the Breaks, and here they come. A fat horn fest was served, a harvest of the bounty of the seeds planted earlier in the evening coming to fruition. And then, the moment a photographer waits for, a shot of prime elegance and power! Stanton Moore rose from his stool and carried his snare with him around the kit and to the front of the stage. Mercurio held a snare drum with extended arms While Jeff Raines offered up his guitar for a percussive surface to work with. With Henry on his right gripping a cowbell in place, Stanton Moore went into a grinning flurry of motion and flow. At these moments, I try and remain respectful of the folks in the front row, and try not to obscure their view, but the stage was high and the moment was perfect. I was supposed to be there, and I was. Those moments of absolute certainty are what make my life worth living, and I slept the good sleep that night, safe at Shellie and Burk’s, snug in their lovely home, and surrounded by the most wonderful pack of doggsies! The best feeling in the world after such a successful show, it really is. So much to love in this world!

Words and pictures by Rex Thomson

Keel Family Function: April 2nd-4th, 2010

Like The J-man, I had been looking forward to Wanee kicking off my festy season for quite some time. That is, until I headed to a poorly attended Larry Keel & Natural Bridge show in mid-February. Despite the low turnout, Larry and company hit the lucky few with nearly two hours of their wicked brand of newgrass. Post-show drunken thoughts led me to reminisce about how great last year’s Family Function was and wonder why I hadn’t heard anything about the 2010 version. After a quick chat with Natural Bridge mando-slayer, Mark Schimock; I discovered that the Function would indeed go on this year. I got to go home excited about moving the festival season opener up two weeks.

Flash forward to Thursday, April 1st. Around noon, just before my three hour drive to Atlanta, I get a call from J-man confirming my press pass plus one. Having been to the first Keel Family function last spring, I was fully willing and expecting to pay full price for this small, family-friendly festival. None the less, this call was a great surprise. Arriving in Atlanta I headed straight to the brewery where a friend was working for the evening tasting. After a few hours of free beer and music, I responsibly left my car at the brewery and caught I ride home with said friend. After a failed attempt at trying to rest up for the beautiful weekend ahead of me, we ended up playing Rock Band until 3 am. I woke like a kid on Christmas morning, at 7 am... uncontrollably excited.

Just another short two hour drive to Lafayette and Cherokee Farms would be home for the weekend. I picked up my car and stopped at the ridiculously huge Dekalb Farmer’s Market (yes, the same one Alton Brown frequents) to get some last minute munchies. I had a vague memory of how to get to the place once in Lafayette, mostly because of the super-convenient and out-of-place Walmart just down the road. As I approached the festival grounds I noticed it was set up much like the previous year. Maybe 20 vendors selling the usual various goods: clothes, jewelry, hippie trinkets, food, drinks.

I picked up my wristband at a table near the entrance and was told to camp where I pleased. I’m pretty sure there was a special section for family camping but I didn’t waste any time looking for that. I went straight to the spot I had last year up on a grassy hill by the tree line, then decided to go a bit further into the woods for shade, privacy and the like. There was another huge hill, covered in tents and cars, facing the stage. Once I settled in, I took off through the woods towards the music. I passed by several campsites strewn throughout the woods and a small pond right next to the stage. Everything was so laid back there was even someone camping ten feet from the stage.

I caught the end of Uri & Friends opening song, a standard but raunchy 12 bar blues. Uri turned out to be one of the best new finds of the weekend. A raw blend of blues, soul, funk and rap delivered via bass thumping front man, backed with guitar, trumpet, keys and drums. I was pleasantly surprised.

One of the aspects that usually come along with the smaller fests is the ability to bring a cooler or pockets of beer directly to the stage, and it was no exception with this fest. I definitely appreciated the Sweetwater tent and purchased a few of their fresh, local, Atlanta brews. Making me feel even better about my fancy microbrew purchase was the fact that all Sweetwater proceeds from the weekend went to Pepperland Farm Camp. This big positive brought on a big negative though. There was only one recycling barrel. I didn’t even notice it until Saturday as it wasn’t too well-labeled or in the best location. This minor green set-back was easily made up for by bringing in Tree Leaf Music and Tree Leaf Studios to power both stages with sun and wind. The good people at Tree Leaf even brought a bio-fuel powered generator for further greening of the festival.

While soaking up the beautiful scenery and wonderful family vibe of Cherokee Farms I got loosened up with Lefty Williams and readied myself to witness “The Godfather of Psychedelic Parlor Room Jazz”. I had not seen Col. Bruce since the previous year’s Family Function and had never seen him with the Quark Alliance. As if this wasn’t enough, the Alliance was joined by the one and only DJ Logic for the duration of the set. After an enthusiastic introduction from Cleveland, a friend and Chattanooga NPR DJ, Bruce and band slipped into the funky smooth beat of James Brown’s “There Was a Time”. Being a James Brown freak and Augusta native, this opener only further enhanced my good mood for the evening. DJ Logic clicked with the band from the start and they group went straight into the up-tempo inspirational number “Feeling Good”.
The rest of the set blazed on with a psychedelic mix of bluesy jazz and funk. Closing the set with an epic "Time is Free" and a fourteen minute version of Sun Ra's “Space is the Place” really sealed the deal. The point I’m trying to make is, do not miss a Col. Bruce Hampton show if he is in your area.

After Bruce, Logic and the Alliance left me with third degree burns from the shoulders up, it was hard not to go back to camp and chill out. However, I knew this was not a possibility as my friend Cleveland had warned me of the rocking roots reggae that the Josh Phillips Folk Festival was about to crank out. I made a quick trip to camp, stuffed my pockets with cans of beer and chilling supplies and headed back to the show. After experiencing some well-written originals alongside reggae renditions of Taj Mahal’s “Queen Bee” and John Hartford’s “Steam Powered Aereoplane”, I walked away with a thoroughly rocked soul.

I woke up Saturday morning to the sound of a drizzling rain. This was somewhat expected, but with only a ten percent chance of precipitation, the rain only fell for about 10 minutes. The first thing on the schedule was “egg decoration and art creation”. While I’m sure many parents and kids enjoyed this event, this festivarian did not make it. I did attend the next portion of the weekend, the Pepperland Kids Jam with Donna Hopkins and Caroline Pond. In support of the Pepperland Farm and music camps, Donna and Caroline invited any and all children up on stage to dance, sing and play along with the set.

After a sweet-ass “I Saw The Light” into “The Hokey Pokey” I was ready for the big kids jam. At about 12:15, Slim Pickins hit the stage and jumped right into “Wheel Hoss”. The young-looking band from Chattanooga then broke into grassed up version of Billy Joe Shaver’s “Georgia on a Fast Train” and gained a new fan. The next band up, Bobby Miller and The Virginia Daredevils, delivered a little more traditional brand of bluegrass. With a style that was very mando/twin fiddle driven; Bobby and The Daredevils cranked out classics like “John Henry”, “Reuben’s Train”, “Sally Goodin” and “Ain’t Gonna Work Tomorrow” with a few originals mixed in for good measure.

Following Bobby Miller were the Mosier Brothers featuring David Blackmon. I don’t understand why all of the Blueground Undergrass members were not there, but Jeff Mosier and David Blackmon were enough for me. All I knew was Jeff is the man who taught Phish the way of the grass in 1994 and Blackmon is the man who sat in with Widespread Panic for many a show throughout the 90’s. The set started off with an interesting, ten minute, up-tempo “White Dove” but the rest was pretty mellow. The Mosier Brother's songs had a very Peter Rowan-esque vibe to them and they closed with a beautiful “Gentle On My Mind” » “Blue and Lonesome”.

Next on the schedule was the Eye of the Dawg Showcase. A little on the cheesy side, this was still a good idea and perfectly placed in the schedule. The showcase featured a representative from most of the bands present for the weekend. Larry Keel, Col. Bruce, Jeff Mosier, Donna Hopkins, Grayson Capps, Bobby Miller, Ralph Roddenberry, Lefty Williams and a few others. I believe this was called the songwriter’s showcase the previous year. It was a nice, relaxing set for the overcast afternoon. Not many people can rage 100% from 11 am to 5 am and the organizer, Thomas Helland i.e. T-Dawg, took this into consideration. The rest of the evening was filled with sets from The Ragbirds, Ralph Roddenberry and The Side Effects, and Grayson Capps. The clouds slowly moved on as darkness fell on the hills and a cool breeze crept in.

Somewhere along the way, the schedule got a little backed up. Instead of going on at 9:30, Larry and Natural Bridge took the stage at 11:35. But not before we got an announcement from the stage warning us of a roadblock on the road leading directly to Cherokee Farms. This was not the best news but it shouldn’t have concerned most of the festival patrons as there was really no need to leave all weekend. It was very cool of the T-Dawg to step up and make the announcement and he may have saved a few people a lot of unnecessary trouble.

As the shine jar made it's way around the stage, the band made some last minute tune-ups and T-Dawg introduced Larry Keel and Natural Bridge. They started off with a slow spacey intro and quickly built into the main theme of what I've only seen labeled in taper's setlists as "Miles Voodoo". It was an excellent free-form jam causing the members to come together for the main theme and then seem to completely fall apart, each going their own separate direction, only to come together again for the single-lined theme. This nine minute intro jam blended seamlessly into the second tune, a new one with the potential to be yet another Natural Bridge staple. "Open my eyes before the sun, hit the road at a steady run...". Great first lyrics to kick off a show. One of my favorite aspects of this band is the cover selections. If it's not a traditional bluegrass number or a songwriting buddy's song, it's probably a reggae or old-school soul cover. This time it was "O Me-O, My-O" by Lee Dorsey/Allen Toussaint. This one is great to sing along with Larry's gnarly voice. The spaced-out grass jams continued on with the aggressive flat-picking attack of ";Fishin' Reel" and "Ruby", which showed off Mark Schimock's powerful bluegrass vocals. Quickly becoming another Natural Bridge hit, the band played a tune written by a war vet friend, "Baghdad Blues". As Larry mentioned, the song has a traditional Jimmy Martin feel to it. Of course this meant they'd have to play an actual Jimmy Martin tune and "Sunny Side of the Mountain" is what they pulled out next.

After ripping through another three-and-half minute instrumental at a blistering pace, Larry brought up Chris Spies on the keys and John Milham and Jeff Sipe on drums...yes, two full drum kits and keys for the remainder of the set. The first song from this conglomeration was ";Ko Ko Joe", an old Jerry Reed swamp-funk tune that Larry recorded for his Journey album. From here the audience was taken straight to deep space with a seven minute "Trance" into dueling drums and back to "Trance".

Coming way too soon, Larry makes the 'one more' announcement, inviting up Grayson Capps and Ralph Roddenberry for "Columbus Stockade Blues" and "Liza Jane". It was 1am and once again, Larry, Jenny, Mark and Jason had blown my mind and left me wanting more. The Natural Bridge set brought up my only other complaint of the festival. I want more Larry Keel and Natural Bridge at my next Keel Family Function. I'm thinking they could do an hour and half set each night. I got to hear 15 great tunes, but I know they've got a lot more in their repertoire.

I hung out for a late-night jam with Donna Hopkins, Col. Bruce, Jeff Mosier, Jason Flournoy and others. This went on for about an hour and then I found myself next to the massive fire pit trying to keep warm with the rest of the late-night freaks. Mostly waiting around to hear what Zoogma with DJ Logic was gonna sound like, I forced myself to listen to Digital Butter. I say forced because I'm not much into drum machines and space blips and Digital Butter turned out to be a DJ accompanied by a hot-chick singer. It wasn't bad for what it was, and I may have even enjoyed the way they chopped up Aretha's "Soul Serenade". At about 4am I drug myself back to camp for one last night cap, satisfied with the day of music I'd just experienced. As I played big spoon to a lady-friend and drifted off to sleep, I think I heard Zoogma warming up.

I woke up Easter morning feeling pretty good for not getting much sleep. After fully waking I realized the tree shade had let me sleep in until 12. Too late for the Easter service at the stage, I made it down in time catch a little gospel music. It was a humble little guitar/harmonica duet singing their hearts out. Slightly disappointed that I wasn't watching a traditional bluegrass gospel quartet, I had a seat in the grass and reflected on the first festival of the season. It was damn good. The grand Easter egg hunt that followed the gospel set was my cue to hit the road. All in all, it was a near-perfect fest that I'll be convincing friends and family to attend in 2011.

-Danny Johnson

Keel Family Function 2010 Compilation

Bobby Miller & The Virginia Daredevils
El Ti Manchero (420 Polka)
Reuben's Train

Col. Bruce & The Quark Alliance w/ DJ Logic
Feeling Good
Space Is The Place

Josh Phillips Folk Festival
It's All About Your Breathin'
Steam Powered Aereoplane
Queen Bee

Larry Keel and Natural Bridge
Miles Voodoo
new song?
Baghdad Blues
Trance >
drums >

Mosier Brothers w/ David Blackmon
Blue and Lonesome

Pond Farm Pickers
Stepping Razor

Slim Pickins
Georgia On A Fast Train
Take Me Back To Chattanooga

Uri & Friends
My Woman Is Crazy
The Chicken Hawk
Half Man, Half Amazing

Download Compilation Here.

Headtronics Podcast: Molitz, Logic, Freekbass

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Jam of The Night: Jimkata

Jimkata Live at Castaways on March 5, 2010.

Disc 1
1. Rainfall >
2. Ping Pong >
3. One to Ten
4. Baby Put It On Me >
5. Ghosts and Killers >
6. When The Day Comes
7. Concrete Beatdown
8. Soap >
9. Roll With The Punches
10. Gimme
11. Burn My Money
12. Devils and Details >
13. Mind Crossing
14. Drums Won't Guide >
15. Soap
16. Place of Dreams