Wednesday, January 31, 2018

MusicMarauders Spotify Playlist - Volume 42 (1.31.18)

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

G3 (Satriani, Petrucci, Collen) 1.24.18 (Photos)

Monday, January 29, 2018

Railroad Earth 1.12 - 1.14.18

Words by Mitch Melheim
Photos by Coleman Schwartz Media

Rounding out a tour schedule that put them on stage for eleven out of thirteen nights to begin 2018, Railroad Earth’s dedication to both their fans and their art shined through as the band’s bus was ravaged by the flu. One by one, from tour manager to bassist, nearly everyone was affected by the illness, although you would’ve never known from their performance. Six wonderful sets of music over three nights, in two cities, with zero excuses or mentions of illness. Sheer professionalism.

Friday, January 12:

Neptune Theatre
Seattle, WA

The nearly 100 year-old Neptune Theatre is a gorgeous 800-seat venue in Seattle’s University District. Marble finishes and statues of Neptune are prominent throughout the venue, just like the great sight-lines which can found in either the seated balcony or the tiered floor.

It was on that tiered floor in which my night began, with a hefty “Seven Story Mountain” getting the ball rolling on night one. Typically an emotional and pretty jam, this version of the song turned dark several minutes in as bassist Andrew Altman pulled out his bow and created a dark texture with his upright bass that led the instrumental segment down into the abyss before returning to the hopeful jam that Hobos have come to expect from the tune.

Afterwards, the vibe remained cheery with “Peace on Earth,” as the band continued through a first set which was comprised heavily of their more well-known songs, such as “Bird in a House,” “Been Down this Road,” and “Head,” the latter of which extended well-past the fifteen-minute mark and allowed for The Waterboys’ “Fisherman’s Blues” as our set-closing parachute departure following the hectic “Head.”

With that being said, it was the hauntingly beautiful “Mourning Flies” that proved to be the highlight of the set for me. The ominous instrumentation and matching narration of this song’s verses will rattle you to your core just before the buoyant chorus pulls you back up onto your feet and into a magnificent John Skehan mandolin solo.

“Lordy, Lordy” began the second set, followed by an abnormally long “Jupiter and the 119” that took a sharp left-turn following the final verse and dove into a decidedly dark segue that featured extended teases of “The Hunting Song,” eventually evolving into the band’s debut performance of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.”

The rest of the show just seemed to continue to dig deeper into the band’s history. Fan-favorite and Railroad rarity, “Butterfly and the Tree” kicked off a segment that included “Dance Around Molly,” “Dandelion Wine,” “Stillwater Getaway,” and “Elko,” before “Chasin’ a Rainbow” brought both the stretch of old songs and the set to an end.

Another oldie, this time “Old Man and the Land” from Shaeffer’s old band, From Good Homes, was the encore choice. Afterwards, it was off to Aladdin Falafel Corner for a quick U-District gyro and back to Portland to sleep in my own bed and wake up for two nights of Railroad Earth in my lovely, rain-drenched city.

Coleman's Photo Gallery

Set One: Seven Story Mountain, Peace on Earth, Bird in a House, Been Down this Road, Mourning Flies, Head, Fisherman's Blues

Set Two: Lordy, Lordy, Jupiter and the 119 > All Along the Watchtower* > Adding My Voice, Butterfly and the Tree > Dance Around Molly > Dandelion Wine > Stillwater Getaway > Elko > Chasin’ a Rainbow

Encore: Old Man and the Land

*First time played

Saturday, January 13:

Roseland Theater
Portland, OR

The hype and excitement were both high for the band’s first shows in Portland since New Year’s Eve 2016. Saturday night’s Roseland Theater show was one thing, but Sunday’s intimate billing at the 300-person Doug Fir Lounge left people counting down the days and desperately seeking tickets for weeks beforehand.

Saturday started, literally, where Friday in Seattle had left off with “The Hunting Song” opening the night after being extensively teased the night before. The energy was palpable and remained apparent throughout “Colorado” and “Bread and Water,” before climaxing during the beloved and exploratory segue between “Potter’s Field” and “Lone Croft Farewell.”

Skehan’s instrumental “Farewell to Isinglass” segued into the emotional “Grandfather Mountain” before one of my favorite tracks off of their recent EP, Captain Nowhere, “Blazin’ a Trail” closed out the set.

The vivacious Saturday night vibe continued through the second set, opening with the rock & roll “Monkey” and exploding into a monstrous “Warhead Boogie” > “Mighty River” segment.

Another Skehan instrumental, this time the relatively new “The Berkeley Flash” segued into “The Forecast,” a favorite from the very first time I found this band that still rings true to this day.

After they finally slowed things down for a second with “Captain Nowhere,” Andy Goessling’s saxophone came back out for a cover of Muddy Waters’ “I Just Want to Make Love to You” featuring Fruition’s Mimi Naja on vocals.

One of the band’s heavy-hitters, “Like a Buddha,” closed out the second set and was the most impressive jam of a very impressive set. “Storms,” one of the best songs Shaeffer has written in my opinion, popped up in the encore slot and most folks left either ecstatic for what the next night may hold or devising a plan on how the hell they were going to get a ticket.

Coleman's Photo Gallery

Set One: The Hunting Song, Colorado, Bread and Water, Potter's Field > Lone Croft Farewell, Any Road, Farewell to Isinglass > Grandfather Mountain, Blazin' a Trail

Set Two: Monkey > Warhead Boogie > Mighty River, Happy Song, The Berkeley Flash, The Forecast > Captain Nowhere, I Just Wanna Make Love to You*, New Lee Highway Blues > Fiddlee, Like a Buddha

Encore: Storms

* First time played, written by Willie Dixon, lead vocals by Mimi Naja.

Sunday, January 14:

Doug Fir Lounge
Portland, OR

By this point it’s day three and the effects are beginning to show. People are passed out throughout my house, most of whom I know, and some are still alive from night one. Those people shall remain nameless. All in all, things are in good shape and it’s nothing some brunch and a mimosa or few won’t fix.

Sunday’s show was earlier than the rest, and paired with the fact that Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day and most had the day off, the crowd was in weekend form. The venue was surprisingly roomy for a long sold-out show and proved to be even more enjoyable than already expected for the award-winning space.

“Cold Water” kicked off the music and as a friend said, “Any night that starts with Todd on harmonica is going to be a good night.” The harmonica was then one-upped by Goessling pulling out the double-saxophone look from his repertoire for the rare “Donkey for Sale.”

Andrew Altman’s “Only by the Light,” another of my favorites off of the new EP, initiated what was my favorite segment of the first set as the instrumental “Carrying Coal to Newcastle” led into the old-school fan-favorite “Black Bear.” While that may have been my favorite segment, my favorite moment of the set was hearing all 300 people in the tiny bar sing along at the top of their lungs during the set-closing “Long Way to Go,” even louder than Shaeffer’s vocals at points.

After a fairly mellow first set, fitting for the venue and situation, things ramped up a bit more in the second. “Magic Foot” > Emmylou Harris’s “Luxury Liner,” one of the band’s longest-paired duos, delivered as usual, followed by Robert Earl Keen’s “For Love” and one of the prettiest songs they perform, “The Cuckoo.”

It was at this point that the show set itself apart from the rest. Bob Dylan’s “Rambling, Gambling Willie” (played once before), two energetic jams in “Black Elk Speaks” and “Birds of America,” the wild and elusive “I am a Mess” (played eleven times since 2011), “Peggy-O” (played fifteen times ever), and an even more unexpected encore of “Waggin’ the Dog” (played once since 2010) rounded out the remainder of what became one for the books to any knowledgeable Hobo.

“I am a Mess” brought the funky, twangy explosion I’ve always wanted to hear from that song and featured, once again, Mimi Naja, this time on guitar as she dueled at times with both Shaeffer and violinist Tim Carbone. The “Peggy-O” was without a doubt the most beautiful moment of the weekend and to follow it up with a “Waggin’ the Dog” encore, well, I just couldn’t have asked for much more to close out one of the most hyped up shows I remember around the Portland jam scene in a long time.

Coleman's Photo Gallery

Monday, January 15 (Bonus Round):

White Eagle Saloon
Portland, OR

What has become a Portland tradition, Todd Shaeffer once again followed up the city’s Railroad Earth run with an even more intimate affair at a 113 year-old bar called the White Eagle. While most are haggard by this point in the run, this show requires no more than finding your seat, sitting down, and waiting for the meal you ordered as Shaeffer serenades you.

One of his oldest tunes, “Where Songs Begin,” started the evening and set the tone for what was a delightfully mellow set. Railroad favorites like “The Good Life,” “‘Neath the Stars,” and “Day on the Sand” were sprinkled in amongst old From Good Homes songs and covers.

Shaeffer is one of the more captivating solo singer-songwriters I’ve ever seen. I can’t recall ever having one person make two hours go by so fast and at one point, I noticed that he was playing harmonica, rhythm guitar, bass (on guitar), and percussion (also on guitar), all at once. He somehow even makes one of Railroad’s songs, “Hard Livin’,” sound better and more full by himself than it does with the band.

His storytelling proved to be just as captivating as his playing. Some funny, some sad, and all interesting. Near the end of his set, after one fan request, he noted that it seemed to go better that way than when he picked the songs so from that point on he played by request. The now fan-chosen set culminated in another version of “Jupiter and the 119,” this one even more special than the last as the crowd who had been silent and still up until then, enthralled by the music, began to stomp the drum beat to the song and stand up to sing along for a very fitting and meaningful end to an unforgettable weekend.

Setlist: Where Songs Begin, Passing Through, Mary, Don't You Weep, The Good Life, Skinny Man, What's Going On, Spacey Johnny, The Ghost of Gretna Green, Hard Livin’, Walk On By, Real Love, It's Getting Dirty, Day on the Sand, 'Neath the Stars, Bird in a house, Raindance, Jupiter and the 119

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Victor Wooten Trio 1.19.18 (Photos)

The Stanley Hotel
Estes Park, CO

Photos by Blake Barit (Direct Attention)

View Blake's Full Photo Gallery Here!

Friday, January 26, 2018

The Devil Makes Three 1.20.18 (Photos)

James Brown Dance Party & Denver Michael Jackson Allstars 1.19.18 (Photos)

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Giants In The Trees, DBST & Dark Palms 1.13.18 (Photos)

Big Brazilian Cheese, Octave Cat & Bruce Chillis 1.13.18 (Photos)

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Yonder Mountain String Band 1.13.18 (Photos)

Turkuaz & Mister Tie Dye 1.13.18 (Photos)

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Turkuaz & The Fritz 1.12.18 (Photos)

The New Mastersounds & The Runnikine 1.11.18 (Photos)

Monday, January 22, 2018

Big Brazilian Cheese 1.11.18 (Photos)

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Greensky Bluegrass 1.11.18 (Photos)

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Billy Strings 1.11.18 (Photos)

Eddie's Attic
Decatur, GA

Photos by Julie Hutchins (Tipping Point Designs)

View Julie's Full Photo Gallery Here!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Zoso 1.10.18 (Photos)

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Here Come The Mummies & Kessel Run 1.6.18 (Photos)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Bluegrass Generals & The Grant Farm 1.6.18 (Photos)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Dave Simonett (Trampled By Turtles) 1.10.18

The Parliament Room at Otus Supply
Ferndale, MI

Words & photos by Kevin Alan Lamb

Otus Supply kicked off its 1 Year Anniversary in epic fashion with a solo acoustic performance from Trampled By Turtles' front man, Dave Simonett. With a weekend of sellout shows awaiting, the universe was intent on giving each guest an experience like none previous in the Parliament Room, so silent one could hear a heavy breath. Since opening its doors in 2017, a performer has never commanded the attention of the crowd the way Simonett did on this particular January evening.

It was his second appearance at Otus Supply, with the first being a Dead Man Winter show last April. Simonett flew in from his Minnesota home for the date, wearing his Twins hat, carrying his guitar, and bearing a smile. With his harmonica around his neck he took the stage promptly at 9:00 PM where he played for the next seventy-five minutes without so much as a pin drop to compete with. Guests gazed around the room at one another in awe; most used to seeing Simonett with Trampled By Turtles in front of thousands, but not on this night. Each strum of his guitar, along with each song sung felt like a gift just for those of us lucky enough to be in the Parliament Room to kickoff the anniversary celebrating a historic year in music, that has forever changed the landscape of the Detroit music scene.

Simonett embraced the silence with a blend of Dead Man Winter and Trampled By Turtles favorites, along with hilarious storytelling of his recent adventures along the Lake Superior Trail where he was chased not once, but twice by a giant moose who placed Trampled By Turtles' manager in his cross hairs and left the group wondering whether he would make it out alive.

It was a special evening and Simonett's volunteered vulnerability and philosophical wonderings were at the center of it. He reminded us all that the path behind us, will not seal the fate of what's to come; and we must all learn to adjust, let go, and continue to build upon the foundation of love. The show was the conclusion of a Spirited Benefit dinner & concert for the South Oakland Shelter, who for over 30 years has been ending homelessness for individuals and families in crisis.

The evening came to its conclusion while most of us had only began to process the lightning that just so happened to be captured in a bottle. Simonett graciously signed Otus Supply 1 Year Anniversary screen prints, gathered his things, and head back to the hotel airport where he would be heading home to see his kids in the morning.

Kevin's Photo Gallery

Monday, January 15, 2018

Umphrey’s McGee & Aqueous 12.29.17

Fillmore Auditorium
Denver, CO

Words by Coleman Schwartz Media
Photos by Doug Fondriest Photography

To close out 2017, jam stalwarts Umphrey’s McGee again descended upon Denver for their 3rd New Year’s run at the Fillmore Auditorium. For the first night of the 3-night run, the band tapped up-and-coming jammers Aqueous for support. This tasteful pairing meant that the evening began with a delightfully proggy Aqueous set, filled with bold improvisation and creative reinterpretations of their composed material. After watching this, the members of Umphrey’s responded in-kind with a blistering first set of progressive material, before masterfully dialing back the tempo with a second set that tended more towards groovy jazz.

In order to make sure they had an entire hour to work with for their set, Aqueous took the stage early at 7:45 p.m. to a sparse crowd in the enormous venue. A steady flow of fans trickled past the security inspection throughout their set. As they began, the crowd chattered idly with a typical disregard for the opening band, until guitarist Mike Gantzer stepped up for his first solo of the evening. His soulful approach to the instrument rapidly quieted and captivated the uninitiated listeners, retaining their attention as the group moved forward into their set. Four diverse originals comprised the hour-long block, which is a typical breakdown for an AQ set.

During this entire set, I was particularly impressed with how comfortable the band was switching from composed sections to improv and back, and by how frequently they did so. While most jambands will generally have one or two large improv sections in the middle of a composed song, Aqueous seems to prefer to hop in and out of the composition at will, splitting the jam into several smaller sections that still build off each other. Bassist Evan McPhaden tastefully nudges the band from section to section, with drummer Rob Houk never a step behind. Dave Loss playing keys and guitar really helps to open up sonic options for the quartet, with his additions on clavs and synth serving as nice breaks in the more typical dual-lead guitar action. It’s pretty amazing to hear Umphrey’s and moe. inspired dual-lead guitars with the innate tightness and trust of a smaller ensemble. I think that, while all of these bands can flat-out jam, this aspect of their sound is what really sets them apart from contemporaries like Dopapod, Twiddle and Spafford.

Aqueous Setlist: Skyway > Strange Times, Uncle Phil's Parachute, Origami

Umphrey’s took the stage and their first set was just the type of barn-burner you always know will fall somewhere in a run like this. Listening to Aqueous seemed to inspire the band to go heavy right off the bat. The rarely played “Padgett’s Profile” really got things going early with some fun industrial prog licks, and it led nicely into the explosive instrumental section of “Walletsworth.” These two were light on improv, but the subsequent “Sociable Jimmy” was another story entirely.

This jam saw the band blur the lines between composition and improvisation by utilizing a composed song structure with A and B sections. At the time, my mind was blown by their confident sound during this section. Later, everything made a bit more sense when keyboardist Joel Cummins and bassist Ryan Stasik used Twitter to explain the pre-composed aspect of the jam. Although using composed song elements in jams removes some of the improv/risk-taking element, I have trouble arguing with the results of this one. With tasteful application, these structures can serve as a scaffolding for unique sonic explorations, and this jam is a concise testament to that.

Keeping the energy high, the band worked their way into their classic instrumental, “The Fussy Dutchman.” I always love a chance to see guitarists Jake Cinninger and Brendan Bayliss chasing each other up and down the fretboard during this blissfully shreddy section of the show. After slowing things down for the next two songs, they picked that vibe back up again, this time with the explosive metal riffs of “Bridgeless” closing the set.

The second set saw the band dial back the intensity in a way that only they could pull off. After a proggy, even metal-tinged first set, they fell back into a downtempo groove with more jazz-inspired songs that provided just the variety that the evening needed. The turning point of the entire show was the drop into “Night Nurse,” which relaxed the vibes considerably and got me grooving, rather than thrashing. This was a recurring theme, with tunes like “Yoga Pants,” “Syncopated Strangers” and “Draconian” pushing things further in the direction of jazz-funk downtempo grooves. This stark contrast with the first set brought a nice wrinkle of depth to the performance.

The band encored with a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb,” with lighting designer Jefferson Waful throwing out a curveball with his use of a full complement of lasers onstage. While standalone cover encores aren’t typically my preference, this one knocked it out of the park. The delivery of the song was good, but Jake’s delivery of the song’s guitar solo was truly special. He stood alone at center stage, surrounded on all sides by lasers, and ripped David Gilmour’s most iconic solo. True to form, he nailed it by adding lots of flourishes and extra notes, and even a few mistakes because of this. It was an endearingly ‘rock n’ roll’ ending to a quality show to start off the New Year’s run.

Doug's Photo Gallery

Set One: Bathing Digits > Padgett's Profile > Walletsworth, Sociable Jimmy > The Fussy Dutchman > The Linear[1], Susanah[2], Bridgeless

Set Two: JaJunk[3] > Night Nurse -> Mail Package, Resolution > Yoga Pants > Syncopated Strangers > Draconian

Encore: Comfortably Numb


[1] with Carol Of the Bells (Mykola Leontovych) jam and Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy (Tchaikovsky) teases
[2] with Cody Dickinson replacing Kris on drums
[3] unfinished

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Abbey Road Live 1.6.18 (Photos)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Bluegrass Generals & The Grant Farm 1.5 & 1.6.18 (Photos)

Friday, January 12, 2018

Cascade Crescendo 1.5.18 (Photos)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Umphrey's McGee 12.31.17 (Photos)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Railroad Earth 12.31.17 (Photos)

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Decadence 12.30.17 (Photos)

Monday, January 8, 2018

Umphrey's McGee & Eminence Ensemble 12.30.17 (Photos)

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Railroad Earth 12.30.17 (Photos)

The Fox Theatre
Boulder, CO

Photos by Blake Barit (Direct Attention)

View Blake's Full Photo Gallery Here!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

A Conversation with Christina Holmes

By Kevin Alan Lamb

The funny thing about dreams is that they’re rarely realized in the way they were conceived; as a result we may find ourselves living in a dream we always had, but don’t take the time to recognize and be grateful for its fruition. Fortunately, for East Coast native Christina Holmes, she’s well aware of the fortune space, time, and commitment have granted her, as she finds herself in the middle of a tour with one of her heroes, Nahko, where she supports his latest release - My Name Is Bear.

Despite our inclination to let the cold and desperate ways of evil-spirited humans to discourage us, Christina Holmes is a sign of the mass-spiritual-awakening upon us, and offers hope in the form of sentimental songs sung from the soul, medicine for terminal patients in the hospital who haven't spoke in months, and a fresh dose of organic optimism to insist we “Dig a Little Bit More” even after our shovel breaks, and love seems to be fleeting when we try to cling to it tightest.

KAL: I’ve had a chance to work with Nahko and Trevor a lot. I caught a little bit of your set when you were here in Detroit. First off how did you connect with Nahko?

CH: Just through a lot of the other connections that I’ve made over the years especially with Trevor and through my manager and stuff like that. We just reached out to their management and had said “this is who I have opened for” and it was kind of a two year process in the making. We started contacting them about two years ago and we just had to prove our way to be able to get onto the tour.

KAL: That’s awesome, what do you recall most distinctly from the amateur night at the Apollo?

CH: I’d say right before I had to walk on stage was the most distinct moment. I was just standing there, right before you go out you’re standing there and they tell you to go out and touch the Tree of Hope and then you go and sing, then thank Apollo. I was so nervous standing on the side of the stage waiting to touch the tree. I was thinking, “All I have to do is touch the tree, go to the mic stand, and sing.” It’s funny because you don’t think that’s something on my mind, but once they tell you you have to touch the Tree of Hope, people will boo you off the stage before you even sing. Like touch the Tree of Hope and go do your thing.

KAL: That’s wild, but now that you’ve had many more performances are there any mechanisms that you practice to kind of calm yourself if you’re ever nervous?

CH: To be honest, since that day I haven’t really been nervous. I’ve got that anxious excited nervous, but it’s never really gotten to the point where I feel like I did before that moment. Before that moment I had really bad stage fright, then once I performed at the Apollo it was something that was like, "If you can perform at the Apollo you can perform anywhere." I don’t know if you know the premise of the show, but if they don’t like you they can boo you off the stage. So I feel like once I did that there, it gave me the confidence that I don’t think I would have gotten anywhere else.

KAL: Well, we can both agree that there is a healing or medicinal power of music. Can you give me some memories where you have experienced this directly?

CH: I work a lot with Musicians On Call, which is an organization where you go into the hospitals and sing for patients and stuff like that. I would have to say probably the most profound thing I’ve had through healing with music is basically when you work with this organization, you don’t necessarily know what’s wrong with the patient unless you’re in a certain part of the hospital and we just happened to be in a terminal wing and this kid had been told three months before I met him that he was going to pass away. When you go and work with these people it’s not just for the patients, but it’s for the nurses, the families, and the sponsor that had walked around with me had said, “You know he won’t listen to you, he hasn’t talked to a single person in three months, just let him be and sing to his mom.” So I went in there and you always kind of pick the song with the tone of the room when you walk in and for some reason I sang “No One” by Alicia Keys. Normally I do more upbeat songs and this song was a more slower version. The kid not only gave me his full attention, but he sang the entire song with me. Me, the nurses, and every single person that was in the entire room basically started hysterically crying because this kid hasn’t talked for three months. Just opening my mouth singing a song that I’ve never sang in a hospital, he literally sang every single word with me and got a spark in his eye and a smile that he hadn’t had in forever. His mom gave me a big hug and she was like, “You have no idea what you just did.” Really, all I did was sing from my heart with my guitar. So it was a pretty incredible moment.

KAL: That’s remarkable! Have you kept working there?

CH: Yeah, they’re based in bigger cities and trying to expand now so I solely work out of the New York City branch. They’re trying to open up a Boston one and I currently live in Rhode Island so whenever I’m down visiting family or on tour I go into the city to go work with them. I hope to kind of expand to different branches with them as well.

KAL: Awesome, kind of along the same line - Peace, Love, and C. Holmes. Can you talk about the power of positivity that is portrayed throughout this album?

CH: I feel like basically just through my life experiences, the songs on the album in particular kind of came from negative moments, which is kind of crazy. Most people would not think that. There’s a song called “Dig a Little Bit More” and it was inspired by a friend of mine who basically after I had struggled with some health problems, when I was in the hospital I kind of ended up learning her true colors through that situation. The chores of that song is “give a little bit more, take a little bit less” because I had learned through that situation that she only would take things from me, she never gave anything and I always give my heart to the fullest. Sometimes that’s not always the best thing, but I got a song out of it and turned it into a positive situation that taught me that no matter where your life takes you, you just have to learn to give a little bit more than just taking from people and you’ll see a better side of life.

KAL: That’s beautiful, some of the ones that are more capable of giving are the ones that, in reality, are the ones that have to continue giving.

CH: Yeah for sure and that’s how I was raised by my parents. So I’ve always had that mindset, that you have to set out to do things for others and not expect something in return. Unfortunately, she was one of those people that only would do things if you did something for them. It was funny because my mom was like, “How did you write such a positive song about such a negative thing?” Because obliviously that was upsetting, she was a really close friend of mine and I realized that she wasn’t as close of a friend as I thought she was. But some of the most negative situations will allow you to see some of the most positive things in a different light. I learned about myself and other people, but the biggest things that I learned was just to stay true to myself no matter what other people say about me, and as long as I know my own truth that’s all that really matters.

KAL: That’s wonderful. Some of the greatest growth in my life happened as I became aware. Every struggle I had, I had an opportunity to grow and there was something I could look for. I would always identify it. The quicker you turn that negative into a positive. Can you walk me through your legendary jam with Narada at his Tarpan Studios?

CH: Well, it was incredible. Him and his entire team are pretty amazing and Narada was the biggest loving soul ever. Our creativity kind of just flowed together. When I had first met him and I went out to his studio after he had heard my music and all we did was jam. He played the drums and I played the guitar and sang. It had nothing to do with any kind of business, it was just, “I want to play with you, I want to see if we vibe and if we do we can make something, but if we don’t, we don’t”. We literally just vibed and played music for hours before we even decided to work with each other professionally. It was kind of one of those amazing moments where you hope that you can find somebody that you can jam with and have those vibes with instead of it being forced. It was so effortless it was incredible. We still to this day are really good friends.

KAL: That's awesome, if you had one lyric tattooed on you what would it be and why?

CH: If I had one lyric tattooed on me….If I had to pick my own I would say, “All we can do is try to love before we die.” It’s from my song "Message For the People" because since I was a little kid my parents always taught me to just always love even in the situations where you feel like you can’t give any love. Then if I had to pick a quote from somebody else….that’s hard on the spot. I’d say, "Be the change you wish to say in the world," which is a Ghandi quote, not really a song lyric. If I would put a song lyric on me, it’s a Trevor Hall song called "Indigo," where he talks about owl medicine in that song so I would either get an owl or owl medicine written on me because it is said that owl medicine is supposed to keep your head and not be fooled by your own mind. I have a very hard time getting out of my mind sometimes. Like talking negatively to myself about things that aren’t even happening in life, but everyone does that, they get stuck in their own head. That song is pretty incredible because it’s talking about trying to find your owl medicine.

KAL: That's awesome. You’re on a pretty special tour right now, but what do you miss most about home?

CH: My family I’d say. I have a soon to be wife and three step kids that are home and I also have two English bulldogs and then her family has two more dogs, so we have a pretty big family of kids and doggies that I miss at home for sure.

KAL: Well, I’ll tell you what I’m looking at right now, my roommate has a Miniature English Bull Dog named Rocco. We live in Michigan so he has his little red lumberjack flannel on. I actually work at a music venue called Otus Supply and it’s right next door so we call our place Chateau Rocco because a lot of the musicians spend the night here. I think I’ve got one more for you then I’ll let you go. It’s getting pretty cold here, when you’re back home and it’s getting colder and we turn more inward, what is some music that you’re listening to that really helps you find your own medicine.

CH: It’s all the people I tour with. It’s Nahko, Trevor Hall, Xavier Rudd and I’m a huge Bob Marley fan, since I was a little kid. It’s pretty crazy. I am extremely blessed to be able to tour and work with the people who inspire me most. So I get to not only listen to their music when I’m home, but when I’m living my dream. It doesn’t change too much when I’m on the road or off the road, but one thing is I get to see one of the people that I love, so it’s pretty cool.

KAL: That’s perfect. Personality wise between Nahko and Trevor, what are some of their biggest differences that you’ve observed?

CH: I mean they both are just really down to earth guys. I’d say Nahko is definitely more goofy for sure. Trevor can be a big goof, but can definitely be more to himself sometimes and he needs his space and he chills. But Nahko will just come out sometimes and say the craziest things and we both say that we remind each other of each other. We kind of have a weird humor about being a goof all the time. But yeah they’re both super humble, super loving, but I’d say that Nahko is definitely goofier.

KAL: Dive into your daily dose of Christina Holmes and listen to her latest Peace Love & C. Holmes. Just in case you were listening for one, This is a Good Sound.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Rebirth Brass Band 12.22.17

The Bluebird Theater
Denver, CO

Words by Kristin Zachman (Direct Attention)
Photos by Blake Barit (Direct Attention)

The Rebirth Brass Band got beaucoup crasseux at the Bluebird Theater. This New Orleans institution brought the Creole flavor to Colorado. In 1983, brothers Keith and Philip Frazier (on the bass drum and tuba respectively) founded the company. Their ensemble is composed of marching band peers and family members, giving the company a vibrant and local NOLA history. The group is considered one of the foremost revivalists of the brass band movement and is known as one of the best brass bands in the world.

Regardless of Rebirth's widely recognized, Grammy-winning status; their set-up was notably DIY. The lineup currently consists of the before mentioned brothers, along with Derrick Tabb on the snare, Glenn Hall on trumpet, Vincent Broussard on saxophone, and Stafford Agee and Gregory Veals on trombones. Each player prepped their areas and sound checked their instruments, ensuring the tuning was just right. The attention to detail demonstrates the love, care, and precision that goes into each concert.

Immediately after coming on stage, the players filled the auditorium with a bright, joyful sound. Even the grouchiest of grinches couldn’t help but get into the holiday spirit as the sound of happiness exuded from the brass. The two drummers casually kept time supporting a framework of beautiful, funky fusion that Rebirth steadily delivers. Though Coloradans remain blessed with a steady diet of top-shelf musicians, this soulful serving was a treat. It may have been a brisk night in Denver, but inside the Bluebird, Rebirth Brass Band was giving off plenty of heat.

These southern gentlemen danced the crowd down to the bricks of Bourbon Street, bringing out favorites like "Feel Like Funking it Up," "Do What You Wanna," and "Move Your Body." A brief appearance by Santa, paired with a high caliber of groovy melodies had the audience moving in a jovial spirit regardless of age, race, or creed. All manner of crowd participation was encouraged as the audience clapped and sang along to these familiar, feel-good songs.

Rebirth Brass Band knows how to "Laissez les bon temps rouler," and showed Denver a great time over this holiday weekend. Friday night primed the Bluebird for an encore appearance on Saturday for those lucky enough to catch both performances, leaving the crowd more than ready to celebrate with happiness and joy. If you missed this weekend's shows, you could witness Rebirth Brass Band every Tuesday at the Maple Leaf Bar on Oak Street in NOLA, or upon their return to Colorado at Washington's in Fort Collins March 22nd.

Blake's Photo Gallery

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Steve Kimock & Friends 12.17.17

Cervantes Other Side
Denver, CO

Words by Charla Harvey
Photos by Derek Miles (Miles Photography)

Steve Kimock and Friends put on a fantastic show at Cervantes this past Saturday, the second night of their two-night run. They ended up selling out the venue right before the show went on, and for good reason. They set the mood by starting out with “Friend of the Sun,” previously known as “Sagan” – as the song includes pre-recorded excerpts of Carl Sagan dialogue. This song has a funky intergalactic groove, which was definitely appropriate for the vibe of the night.

The band for the evening included Steve Kimock (guitar), drummer John Morgan Kimock (Steve’s son), keyboardist and organ player Jeff Chimenti (Dead & Company/Further), bassist Andy Hess (Gov’t Mule), and the gorgeous singer/pianist/dancer Leslie Mendelson. This lineup differs only slightly to the band on the most recent album Satellite City of which this tour has been supporting - Bobby Vega (bass) being the only personnel change-up from the album. The show featured four of the nine tracks off the album.

The beginning of the show was delicate. After “Friend of the Sun” had gently unfolded unto us, “Point of No Return” continued on a similar path of minimalistic openness, venturing into dynamic and melodic free jazz at points. This song was played without the lyrics, yet we didn’t necessarily miss them. “Mother’s Song” came next with its somber verve and purpose. The build-up into Steve’s solo was nothing short of endorphin releasing. A euphoric last breath ends the song as the joyous roar suddenly drops into silence.

A few songs in and Mendelson takes the reins to amaze the audience with her breathtaking voice on the tender “Babe it Ain’t No Lie,” written by Elizbeth Cotton and popularized by The Dead. Everyone was paying attention now. Kimock was in proper form - he played his guitar like a gift from above to us mere mortals. He also blessed us with the sweet sounds of his lap steel tone throughout the night. He makes it look so easy. John Kimock played the drums beautifully. He even had a few brilliant solos. JMK seemed a little reserved, but he sure knew what he was doing. Chimenti seemed right at home. He played every note perfectly, and with such intention. He was all smiles the whole night. Andy Hess was very fondly recognized. Someone in the audience whispered, “Isn’t he the guy from Gov’t Mule?”. Hess was definitely feeling the music. He danced around the stage and made more than a few funk faces. This group of talented musicians melded together like it was meant to be.

The audience felt like one big, happy family. Everyone was dancing and smiling—even with people who were initially strangers. There was some chattering throughout the venue, but it was quickly followed by a unified “Shhhh,” which seemed to work pretty well as a polite STFU. The respect and admiration for Kimock and his cohorts filled the air, and it was contagious. After the second set, the audience demanded an encore. We waited under ten minutes before Kimock and friends came back out and delivered a soul stirring “Many Rivers to Cross,” truly a gospel experience.

Derek's Photo Gallery

Set One: Friend of the Sun, Point of No Return, Mothers Song, Help Slip, Babe It Ain't No Lie, Don't Let it Bring You Down, Tongue N Groove

Set Two: Satellite City, Crazy Fingers, Five B4 Funk, Don't Let Go, You're The One, Pusherman , Let it Bleed, Waiting For A Miracle, Many Rivers to Cross