Greetings and welcome to this week’s Reservoir Music Notes. Well, we lost another one this week. The great blues guitarist, harp player, and vocalist, Louisiana Red, passed away February 25 at the age of 80. Red was a three time W.C. Handy Award winner, and had played and recorded with some of the immortals of the genre. Now he’s immortal. RIP Red.
Strangely enough, almost all of this week’s live music picks are in the city. The only local show I’m recommending this week is The CKS BAND at The Falcon in Marlborough, and they are strongly recommended! So I’m going to take this opportunity to profile the band, who I consider one of the most promising and exciting new bands to come along in a while! They’re not really a brand new band though, as the members have played together in other outfits for a long time. Consisting of drummer Randy Ciarlante, keyboardist Bruce Katz, and guitar player Scott Sharrard, all three are world class players who never fail to put on a great show.
Randy Ciarlante, one of my favorite drummers and an awesome singer, has been a fixture on the Hudson Valley music scene for a long time. A member of The Band in later incarnations, Randy has also played with Jim Weider’s percolator, The Honky Tonk Gurus, The Levon Helm Band, and along with Bruce, was a member of the precursor to CKS, The Organiks.
Bruce Katz, a three time W.C. Handy Award nominee for Piano Player of the Year, is a member of the Gregg Allman Band, and also plays regularly with Delbert McClinton, John Hammond,and leads his own Bruce Katz Band. Bruce is a soulful master of the keyboard!
Scott, also a member of Gregg Allman’s band, has been called “Gregg Allman’s secret weapon”.
Together, these three master musician’s can’t be anything but great, and I think they’ve finally found the right configuration of members to take it to the next level. If these guys aren’t touring nationally and opening shows for artists who are household names by this time next year, I’ll eat your lunch! Well what did you think, I’d eat a hat? Saturday, March 3 at The Falcon in Marlborough with added bonus of David Kraai and Amy Laber as opening act!
And now for the best of the rest. All of these shows are in Manhattan, except where noted.
Wednesday, February 29 – Last week’s pick, LEO KOTTKE, finishes his three night stand at City Winery. Kottke is the leading living proponent of acoustic trance guitar, in the style popularized by the late John Fahey.
Thursday, March 1 – SISTER SPARROW AND THE DIRTY BIRDS are on their way up, and to prove it, they’re making the jump out of the Hudson Valley into Manhattan at The Bowery Ballroom tonight.
Friday, March 2 – In a career spanning five decades, Jamaican born pianist MONTY ALEXANDER has performed with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Quincy Jones, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Clark Terry, Milt Jackson, and now, SLY AND ROBBIE, the best Reggae rhythm section on the planet! At The Blue Note. Also tonight, former Woodstock resident TODD RUNDGREN returns to City Winery.
Saturday, March 3 – Tonight is hoppin’ downstate! One of the great rock n roll bands of the 80’s THE DEL FUEGOS, is back together after a 21 year hiatus and playing at the Bell House in Brooklyn! Also, one of the most authentic Country voices around today, CHUCK MEAD, formerly of BR549, is at Joe’s Pub. And one of the original Stiff Records’ stable of artists that included Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe, WRECKLESS ERIC, is at Maxwell’s in Hoboken with his wife, AMY RIGBY, a fine artist in her own right. The reviews on their albums and live performances are sensational, so this is very intriguing.
Sunday, March 4 – Master of the mandolin and former Jerry Garcia collaborator, DAVID GRISMAN, at City Winery.
Monday, March 5 – Waylon’s son, SHOOTER JENNINGS, is at Hill Country Barbecue. I saw Shooter play at CBGB’s when he first started out. The audience was filled with celebrities and he was pretty damn good! But the really big show tonight is the rehearsal show for ROBERT JOHNSON AT 100 at City Winery. The actual show is tomorrow night at The Apollo and is a benefit for the Blues Hall of Fame, but tonight all the participants, who include The Roots, Living Color, Shemekia Copeland, Taj Mahal, Chuck D, Keb Mo, Todd Rundgren, Sam Moore, and Bettye Levette, will be previewing tomorrow’s show at City Winery. VIP tix at The Apollo are $300, and a barstool at City Winery is $30, so, nuff said!
Tuesday, March 6 – ROBERT JOHNSON AT 100 at The Apollo and JANE’S ADDICTION at The Wellmont Theater in Montclair, NJ.
Wednesday, March 7 – TODD RUNDGREN’s back at City Winery.
Well, that’s a damn fine week of music…IF you’re downstate. In the Hudson Valley, if you wanna rock this week, you better show up at The Falcon.
Have a great week.
Greetings and welcome to this week’s Reservoir Music Notes. Well, we all know by now that Whitney Houston died this week. I actually got the news just before my deadline last week, but I decided not to write anything about it because, well, her music just ain’t my bag! But, she did have an amazing voice and was a force to be reckoned with in music, so I decided not to let her pass without at least a mention. The girl could sing! I only wish her career had been guided by someone other than Clive Davis, so she might’ve had a real music guy in her corner. She could’ve been another Aretha, had her material not been so white bread! RIP Whitney.
“Howlin’ For Hubert,” a celebration of the musical legacy of the late Hubert Sumlin and his influence on every guitar hero of today, has been confirmed for February 24th at New York’s legendary Apollo Theater. The evening will benefit the Jazz Foundation of America. The concert will feature performances by Doyle Bramhall II, Eric Clapton, Gary Clark Jr., James Cotton, Shemekia Copeland, Billy Flynn, Barrelhouse Chuck Goering, Buddy Guy, David Johansen, Steve Jordan, Danny Kortchmar, Dr. John, Keb Mo, Todd Mohr, Ivan Neville, Robert Randolph, Keith Richards, Kenny Wayne Sheperd, Larry Taylor, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Jimmie Vaughan, Jimmy Vivino, Willie Weeks, Jody Williams, Kim Wilson, and other special surprise guests.
After playing for a lifetime and lifting the world with his blues, it is hard to believe that a legend like Hubert, who influenced so many in the music world, could die penniless. That is why this tribute to Hubert will benefit the Jazz Foundation of America, with 6000 musician emergency cases a year, saving jazz and blues one musician at a time. A fund in his honor will be created from this concert as it was his wish that no musician would ever have to go through this again.
For twenty two years the Jazz Foundation of America (JFA) has been committed to providing jazz and blues musicians with financial, medical, housing, and legal assistance as well as performance opportunities, with a special focus on the elderly and veterans who have paid their dues and find themselves in crisis due to illness, age, and/or circumstance. JFA keeps hundreds of jazz and blues legends in crisis, from eviction and homelessness by paying rents and mortgages, and finding creative dignified solutions to heal their darkest hours, as they have always been there to heal ours.
Quiet and extremely unassuming off the bandstand, Hubert Sumlin played a style of guitar incendiary enough to stand tall beside the immortal Howlin' Wolf. The Wolf was Sumlin's imposing mentor for more than two decades, and it proved a mutually beneficial relationship; Sumlin's twisting, darting, unpredictable lead guitar constantly energized the Wolf's 1960s Chess sides, even when the songs themselves were less than stellar.
A member of The Blues Hall of Fame, Hubert’s singular playing is characterized by "wrenched, shattering bursts of notes, sudden cliff-hanger silences and daring rhythmic suspensions". Listed in Rolling Stone's The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time as well as a four time Grammy nominee he is cited as a major influence by many artists, including Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Robbie Robertson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix.
Tickets are sold out, if they even were ever offered to the public, but if you can talk, buy, squirm, or otherwise gain admission into this once in a lifetime event, you’ll have a memory that will last a lifetime!
If you can’t get in to the “Howlin’ for Hubert” Concert, here’s the best of the rest for this week.
Wednesday, February 22 – ROBERT CRAY BAND is at Tarrytown Music Hall tonight. As I mentioned last week, Robert was on the bill for Stevie Ray Vaughn’s last concert, and has always been one of Eric Clapton’s, and my, favorite guitarists. He writes good songs and can wail with the best of ‘em! Recommended!
Friday, February 24 – Really good RnB band, complete with horns and chick singer, are at The Colony in Woodstock tonight. I’ve heard a lot about SISTER SPARROW AND THE DIRTY BIRDS, and the clips I checked out on the internet sounded really good. What’s better than old school RnB? Definitely worth checking out. Also tonight up in Hudson at Club Helsinki, the truly formidable ALEXIS P. SUTER will school you in The Blues and more. Veteran of about a hundred Midnight Ramble opening slots, and dozens of shows with Levon on the road, Alexis was nominated this year for a Blues Music Award in the category of Best Soul Blues Female Artist, so you know she’s gonna bring it! And all you gotta do is bring yourself (and a few friends).
Saturday, February 25 – There’re four very interesting shows tonight. HOT TUNA is at The Egg in Albany. Great venue, great band. Hope they’re playing electric. For you downstaters, the great Cajun band, BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO, is at BB King’s in Manhattan. I always liked these guys, ever since I heard their killer cover of the Derek and The Dominoes classic, “Why Does Love Have to be so Sad”. Also in Manhattan, JIMMY DESTRI, keyboard player in Blondie for many years, even into their current incarnation, seems to be out on his own and playing tonight at Joe’s Pub. I would really like to check this out, but I’ll probably wind up at The Bearsville Theater for THE KANE BROS. BLUES BAND. Formed in Woodstock in 1972, these guys broke up in 1977, but not before impressing Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and James Cotton. During their 30 year break, they conquered many worlds in music and got back together in 2002. Their audio clips sound most blueswailing, and I’m gonna make this a Pick of the Week. How d’ya like them apples? More info at www.bearsvilletheater.com
Sunday, February 26 – Today was George Harrison’s birthday and there are celebrations planned for several clubs in Manhattan. Don’t know any of the bands, so I’m not recommending any of them, just sayin’, if you dug George’s music, you’d probably have fun at any of them. More info at www.villagevoice.com
, click on Calendar section and select date. Former Woodstock resident, TODD RUNDGREN pulls into City Winery in Manhattan tonight for the first of two shows.
Monday, February 27 – Todd wraps it up at City Winery and “In Performance at The White House: Red, White, and Blues” airs on PBS tonight at 9PM. This might be a show worth Tivoing, or whatever you use to record TV shows. The show features Mick Jagger, Jeff Beck, BB King, Keb Mo, Gary Clarke, Jr., and Trombone Shorty, with Booker T as musical director. WOW! This is a Pick of the Week, my first ever TV pick! Maybe the President will join them for another round of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together”. LOL.
Tuesday, February 28 – If you missed VAN HALEN at their Café Wha? performance last month, you can catch them tonight at Madison Square Garden. Also, legendary guitarist, LEO KOTTKE, starts a two night run at City Winery in Manhattan. Kottke is the foremost living proponent of acoustic trance guitar in the style popularized (well, at least to his core cult following) by the late great John Fahey. He ain’t gonna rock out, but you will be mesmerized. Leo finishes up tomorrow night, Wednesday, February 28.
Happy Leap Year! See you next week.
Greetings, and welcome to my 50th column of Reservoir Music Notes! And baby, it’s cold outside, so come on inna my kitchen and warm yourselves up by my fire!
Last night, I braved the frigid temperatures to have a joyous time at The Fab Faux concert at UPAC in Kingston. What can I say about The Fab Faux that I haven’t already said in previous columns? Well, a lot, actually.
Racing to arrive on time so as not to miss the opening songs, I explained to my companion that the band was known to perform complete albums in each set. Therefore, as an example, I said that if they did the White Album, and opened with “Back in the USSR”, you wouldn’t want to walk in on “Dear Prudence” and kill the continuity. Well, we did manage to arrive just in time to hear the opening strains of…”Back in the USSR”! Once again, my musical instincts did not fail me!
Sadly, after “Dear Prudence”, they moved to a program of greatest hits. And I say “sadly” simply because it’s so nice to hear those albums in their entirety in the song order that has been imprinted on your mind for, like, ever! But it wasn’t really “sadly”. It was actually an ecstatic celebration of a certain time in our history when anything seemed possible and the future looked bright, and, of course, a celebration of the greatest success story in entertainment history, i.e. The Beatles!
When the band launched into “I Saw her Standing There”, it was an in your face reminder of how much fun The Beatles were when they first appeared on the scene. Just a simple rock n roll song with a cool guitar solo. So simple, yet so profound! But mostly, fun, fun, fun (to quote The Beach Boys).
Fab Faux really hit their stride with “I am the Walrus”, John Lennon’s psychedelic anthem with some of the most complex production values and audio effects ever, which the band somehow managed to duplicate perfectly! From there on out, it was just one moment of joy after the other!
Guitarist Jimmy Vivino shone on “While my Guitar Gently Weeps”. Guitarist and keyboard multi-instrumentalist, Jack Petruzelli blew everybody’s mind with his tour de force vocal on “Oh Darling”. Drummer Rich Pagano channeled Ringo to an amazing degree, right down to his body language and drum tunings, both of which captured the absolute essence of the Beatle drummer! Guitarist Frank Agnello sang a beautiful “Something”, and of course, the visual centerpiece was always the tall, pale, blond, rail thin bass player, Will Lee, with his chalk stripe pants, outrageous stage moves, and note perfect bass musings, who closed the show with “I’m Down”!
To make a point about The Fab Faux that I’ve made before and will probably make again, when Jack sang “Oh Darling”, as I said, it was a tour de force, and Jack sang it so powerfully that everyone in attendance HAD to take notice (Jack received a standing ovation for his performance), but what it drove home, at least to me, was what a truly amazing job Paul McCartney did on the original record! As great as Jack was on this song, it made you realize that Sir Paul’s take on it was even more powerful, and it made you appreciate, once again, how good The Beatles really were! This is something that The Fab Faux do over and over again. They give the listener deeper insight into the music of The Beatles, and that may be their greatest accomplishment, even greater than playing these timeless classic songs perfectly. Like a fine musician who tailors what he plays to the song he’s playing, The Fab Faux serve The Beatles music, and IMHO, do it better than any “tribute” band. “It’s not a tribute. It’s a recreation”! After a Fab Faux show at The Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan a few years ago, a fan walked up to Jimmy Vivino and blurted out, “Wow Jimmy! I don’t usually like cover bands, but you guys were great”. To which Jimmy replied quizzically, “Cover band? Do you consider The New York Philharmonic a cover band”? Pretty much says it all! This is the classical music of my generation, and every generation to come after rediscovers and loves The Beatles, and that’s why they are the best band ever! And the funny thing is, when I was younger, I was a Rolling Stones fan. I loved The Beatles too, but The Stones were my favorite band for twenty years. Ironically, The Stones had the bad boy image, while The Beatles were thought of as cute and cuddly. The real truth is that the two bands switched realities for images. The Beatles were juvenile delinquents, where The Stones were mostly middle class kids! And as time has gone on, I’ve grown to appreciate The Beatles more and more. I doubt that any artist will ever equal them, in either creative or financial success. And while The Stones are rock royalty, The Beatles, and people forget this, were Gods! My heartfelt thanks to The Fab Faux for doing what they do and bringing so much joy to so many people, and to Chris Silva at The Bardavon/UPAC for making this review possible by graciously hooking me up to attend this concert. A splendid time was guaranteed, and had, by all!
After The Fab Faux, this week’s naturally gonna be a little bit of a letdown, but there’s always some cool stuff to do, and this week’s no exception, so here we go with this week’s live music picks.
Wednesday, February 15 – GUNS AND ROSES return to The Ritz! Now known as Webster Hall, The Ritz on 13th Street in Manhattan was the site of a legendary and historic concert by the bad boys of hair metal back in 1987. I remember it well because it was one of the few events that I actually could not get in to! And I had carte blanche at The Ritz! My friend Tommy Tully was the stage manager! Didn’t help. Now, for a mere $125, that historic night can be relived with Axl Rose and his band of hired help. I think the original ticket price was $15. Still, would like to be there. And Webster Hall is changing their name back to The Ritz, for this one night only, to commemorate the historic nature of the event! For those of you on a tighter budget, ZIGABOO MODELISTE, drummer and founding member of The Meters, and drummer for Keith Richards’ first spin off band, The New Barbarians, stops off at The Highline Ballroom in Manhattan. This is the perfect gig for Richards to pop in at. He’s probably in town because he’s doing the Hubert Sumlin Jazz Foundation benefit at The Apollo Theater next week, and it’s just like him to show up unannounced for his old bandmate’s show. No guarantees, but the last time I felt this way, it was for Dave Edmunds and Rockpile’s show at The Bottom Line, and if you know your history, you know how that worked out! In other news, guitar whiz JOHNNY LANG pops in to BB King’s and RICHARD THOMPSON continues his three day all request run at The City Winery, both in Manhattan.
Thursday, February 16 – RICHARD THOMPSON finishes up at City Winery and LUCKY PETERSON is at The Catamount in Mount Tremper for a rare, intimate acoustic show, the first of three shows in our area this week.
Friday, February 17 – Okay, fasten your seatbelts, because we’re gearing up for a great weekend! The great ARETHA FRANKLIN starts a two day run at Radio City Music Hall and LUCKY PETERSON continues his run through the Hudson Valley with a full band show at The Bearsville Theater. Hard rock band TESLA are at Irving Plaza and the most bluesworthy RONNIE EARL will be blueswailing at BB King’s, both in Manhattan. Out in Brooklyn at The Brooklyn Bowl, OTIS DAY AND THE KNIGHTS, the RnB band immortalized in “Animal House”, will be rockin’ out for the faithful. Finally, at The Bardavon in Poughkeepsie, Stanley Kubrick’s paen to the nuclear age, DOCTOR STRANGELOVE, a Perry family favorite, will have a special showing at 7:30 pm.
Saturday, February 18 – ARETHA finishes up at Radio City, PETER FRAMPTON rolls into The Beacon Theater, DAVY JONES of The Monkees is at BB King’s, it’s STRICTLY BLUEGRASS night at Banjo Jim’s, all in Manhattan, and the legendary SKATALITES, with mostly original lineup, are at The Brooklyn Bowl.
Sunday, February 19 – LUCKY PETERSON finishes up his visit to the Hudson Valley with a show at The Falcon in Marlborough, and this week’s Pick of the Week, living legend DION, performs at the 92nd Street YMCA, now known as 92Y.
Monday, February 20 – Winner of 8 Blues Music Awards and 4 time GRAMMY nominee, MARCIA BALL, brings it at City Winery. This woman can rock and get down with the best of ‘em! Opening this show will be multiple GRAMMY and Best of the Beat Award winning band, BEAUSOLEIL, a fabulous double bill that makes this my second Pick of the Week!
Tuesday, February 21 – DION ain’t done yet! Tonight, he’s at Joe’s Pub downtown. Catch him! Dion’s much more than you think, even if you’re a fan. He’s even done a blues album!
Wednesday, February 22 – ROBERT CRAY at Tarrytown Music Hall. Robert is one of Eric Clapton’s favorites, and was the third guitarist on the bill with Stevie Ray Vaughn and Eric the night of Stevie’s helicopter crash. Yeah, he’s in THAT kind of company!
Actually, it’s shaping up to be a pretty awesome week. Have a great one!
The Fab Faux rehearsing for the David Letterman Show.
Greetings and welcome to this week’s Reservoir Music Notes!
Well, the week I’ve been waiting for has finally arrived! The Fab Faux will be making their first appearance in the Hudson Valley this week! If you don’t know who The Fab Faux are, taking a look at last week’s column will give you a good idea. In short, The Fab Faux are the best Beatles band on the planet! Rather than try to write something new, I’m going to reprint what I wrote about the band last week, because I think that said it all pretty well. On Saturday, February 11, The Fab Faux, make their first trip to the Hudson Valley, with an appearance at UPAC in Kingston. If you don’t know them, The Fab Faux is a band that performs the music of The Beatles. They’re not a tribute band though, and make no attempt to look or dress like The Fab Four. What they do do, is to play the music, note perfect. As they say on their website, “It’s not a tribute. It’s a recreation.” And it is! When they do “Within You, Without You”, guitarist Jimmy Vivino plays the part on sitar! When they do “Savoy Truffle” or “Got to Get You into my Life”, a horn section appears. For “She’s Leaving Home” or “Eleanor Rigby” a string quartet walks onstage. They even have additional singers for a double tracked vocal! These guys are so good that when listening to them, they have at times, actually made the music of The Beatles clearer! What I mean is, you can hear the musical parts being played better than on The Beatles’ records! Not always, but often! The Fab Faux actually give the listener new insight into what The Beatles were playing on their records! And the musicians are top notch! The bass player is Will Lee from The Late Show Band, whom no less than Paul McCartney praised as one of the world’s best bassists, and the guitar player is Jimmy Vivino from Conan O’Brian’s Band, who also spends time in The Levon Helm Band, as well as numerous other projects, all first rate! This is the closest you’ll get to the Fab Four today! They often do a complete Beatles album in each set. I’ve seen them do “Sgt. Pepper”, “Rubber Soul”, “Revolver” Magical Mystery Tour”, “The White Album”, and “Abbey Road” as well as the psychedelic singles “All you Need is Love”, “I am the Walrus”, “Strawberry Fields”, “Penny Lane” and “Hey Jude”. The Beatles themselves never performed these songs live, but The Fab Faux do, and they do them perfectly! I’ve never before written about a live show in the main body of this column, but this is really special, so I’ve broken with tradition for The Fab Faux (and The Fab Four)! If you like The Beatles, (and who doesn’t), I strongly suggest you catch this show! If you only go to one show this Winter, make it this one! I guarantee you will be amazed and fascinated. Obviously, it’s this week’s Pick of the Week!
And now on to the best of the rest!
Wednesday, February 8 – As mentioned last week, THE YARDBIRDS and VANILLA FUDGE are touring together. The new Yardbirds have two original members who have done a great job replacing Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck! The new band is quite good and faithfully reproduce all of their immortal hits of the 60’s! Vanilla Fudge should be bringing back their unique semi-heavy metal take on classics like “You Keep me Hangin’ On”, their biggest hit from the 60’s. Last stop in our area is at the Tarrytown Music Hall. Very recommended!
For those of you downstate, there are three fine shows tonight. GEORGE CLINTON AND THE P-FUNK ALL STARS will be funking it up at BB King’s and BERNARD FOWLER, backup singer for The Rolling Stones for the past two decades, will be at The Highline Ballroom, both in Manhattan. Out in Brooklyn, PRIMUS rolls into The Music Hall of Williamsburg.
Thursday, February 9 – THE JACK GRACE BAND brings their old school, rockin’, wry brand of Country music to Keegan Ales in Kingston. This is my second Pick of the Week. These guys are great! And it’s free!
Friday, February 10 – Downstate – AL KOOPER at BB King’s and GUNS AND ROSES at Roseland Ballroom. Upstate – JERRY MAROTTA’S Birthday Party at Keegan’s. Further upstate – PETER FRAMPTON at The Palace Theater in Albany. Comments – Al Kooper has been on the charts for over a half century. Starting with The Royal Teens, then as a founding member of The Blues Project and Blood Sweat and Tears, in his spare time finding the time to play on records by Bob Dylan, BB King, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Alice Cooper, Cream, and The Rolling Stones, discovering, signing, producing, and playing on the first three records by Lynrd Skynrd, producing the first Tubes record, and writing the hit song, “This Diamond Ring” for vastly underated pop bubblegum star, Gary Lewis and The Playboys. Mister Kooper continues his illustrious career to this day with various assemblages like The ReKooperators and The Funky Faculty. I’d say his resume speaks for itself, wouldn’t you? Guns and Roses today is Axl Rose and whoever he hires. As such, much of the subtleties are bound to be lost, but I’d still love to check this out. Jerry Marotta was the drummer for Peter Gabriel, The Indigo Girls, and on countless records. There will be many special guests here tonight. Peter Frampton is best known for his pop records of the 70’s, but before that, he was in the first version of Humble Pie, and is said to be an excellent guitarist, so this could possibly be good.
Saturday, February 11 – As previously mentioned, if you’re in the Hudson Valley, it’s THE FAB FAUX at UPAC in Kingston. Pick of the Week! See above! Further upstate it’s PETER WOLF at The Egg in Albany. Peter is the former lead singer for the J. Geils Band. His solo records have been sort of pop-ish, but the J. Geils Band was one of the rockin’-est blues bands ever to live, especially their first two albums, “The J. Geils Band” and “The Morning After”, both of which I highly recommend, and both of which you should pick up, or load down, or whatever it is you kids do! In the City, one of the best jam bands, TEA LEAF GREEN will be holding forth at The Brooklyn Bowl. These guys are really great musicians, very innovative and very creative and original. And check out THE KILLS at Terminal 5 in Manhattan. Don’t know much about this mixed sex duo, but my girlfriend digs ‘em, and that’s good enough for me!
Sunday, February 12 – The immortal DOCTOR RALPH STANLEY AND THE CLINCH MOUNTAIN BOYS make a rare stop in Manhattan at BB King’s. You gotta check these guys out! Doctor Stanley is probably the last living original Bluegrass artist. Even if you don’t dig Bluegrass, good music is good music! And this is good music! GUNS AND ROSES reprise Friday night’s show, this time at Terminal 5. Up in the Hudson Valley, country-rock royalty POCO rides into The Towne Crier in Pauling. Don’t know if this will be the full band or just the trio they’ve been touring as lately, but if you like ‘em, you’ll love ‘em!
Tuesday, February 14 – Downstate, RICHARD THOMPSON begins the first of three nights doing all request shows at the City Winery in Manhattan. Upstate, it’s Tuesday, so it’s BEN ROUNDS’ Open Mic Night at The Catamount in Mount Tremper.
Wednesday, February 15 – RICHARD THOMPSON, Night 2.
Thursday, February 16 – Downstate – RICHARD THOMPSON, Night 3. Upstate – LUCKY PETERSON at The Catamount. Catch this great artist in the most intimate venue you’re ever likely to see him in. Highly recommended!
That’s it for now! See this space next week for my review of the Fab Faux show and other musings on the state of music and the music business. Until then, Vaya con Dios!
Greetings! And welcome to this week’s Reservoir Music Notes. They announced the preliminary lineup for Mountain Jam this week. The usual suspects are back (Warren Haynes, Michael Franti), but this year’s festival will be headlined by Stevie Winwood! Also new to the Jam this year will be The Word, a new band consisting of sacred steel ace, Robert Randolph, John Medeski, and The North Mississippi Allstars! They should have called it The Wow! Other new acts added this year will be Lukas Nelson ( Willie’s son), The Carolina Chocolate Drops, and local bands, Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds and Connor Kennedy. AND Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue will return for the third time. Sounds like they’ve done it again!
Friday night, I took my own advice and went over to The Bearsville Theater for the Jonny Monster Band, and they were even more impressive than the first time I saw them! Jon opened their set solo acoustic with a resonator guitar, doing a short set of old school blues. Not as comfortable onstage without his band and electric guitar, he nevertheless managed to pull off a very competent set. Gotta give him props just for doin’ it, ya know! Then the band came on, and you could tell immediately that they were all at home now! Roaring into their set, I was struck by how good the rest of the band were. At my first exposure to Jonny, the guitar playing was so mindblowing that I barely noticed the rhythm section! Chalk it up to the element of surprise! This time, knowing what to expect, I had the room to relax and listen to the whole band. Drummer Roger LaRochelle is a dynamic powerhouse who never loses sight of the groove and fits Jonny’s guitar playing perfectly! Bassist Pete Newman just stands there playing the exact right notes. This is a band of equals! But, of course, the focus is always on Jonny, as it should be. He’s the one who’s making you sit there thinking, “Can this kid really be as good as I think he is?”. Over and over again, Jonny Monster answered that question with a resounding “Yes!”. I’m telling you, catch them once and you’ll be hooked!
This year is the 50th anniversary of The Rolling Stones! While still waiting for an official announcement, rumours abound! One is that Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor will be back on board! Do it to me one more time baby!
GRAMMY awards are next week. Should be the usual snooze fest, but maybe there’ll be some good performances. One can only hope.
Almost all of this week’s live music picks are in the city, or at least downstate.
Friday, February 3 – Okay! You’ve got THE YARDBIRDS and VANILLA FUDGE at Irving Plaza and THE CANNABIS CUP BAND in a BOB MARLEY BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION at BB King’s, both in Manhattan. Over at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, THURSTON MOORE of Sonic Youth continues his trek through the Northeast. And at The Towne Crier in Pauling, GARLAND JEFFREYS alternately rocks and punks it up for his fans.
Saturday, February 4 – MARSHALL CRENSHAW joins the aforementioned Mister GARLAND JEFFREYS at Maxwell’s in Hoboken and if it’s the first Saturday in the month, it’s the BLUEGRASS JAM at Banjo Jim’s in Manhattan. This one starts early, so be forewarned. Call for showtimes.
Monday, February 6 – It’s the last night of STEVE EARLE’S residency at City Winery in Manhattan, so if you haven’t caught his act yet, don’t miss this one.
Tuesday, February 7 – Well if it isn’t the Pick of the Week! MARK LANEGAN, of the sadly overlooked and very underrated Seattle grunge band, Screaming Trees, stops by at the Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan. I love Screaming Trees and if there’s any way I can make it to this, I will!
Wednesday, February 8 – THE YARDBIRDS and VANILLA FUDGE reprise Friday’s show, but tonight it’s at the Tarrytown Music Hall.
Here’s a heads up for next week. On Saturday, February 11, The Fab Faux, make their first trip to the Hudson Valley, with an appearance at UPAC in Kingston. If you don’t know them, The Fab Faux is a band that performs the music of The Beatles. They’re not a tribute band though, and make no attempt to look or dress like The Fab Four. What they do do, is to play the music, note perfect. As they say on their website, “It’s not a tribute. It’s a recreation.” And it is! When they do “Within You, Without You”, guitarist Jimmy Vivino plays the part on sitar! When they do “Savoy Truffle” or “Got to Get You into my Life”, a horn section appears. For “She’s Leaving Home” or “Eleanor Rigby” a string quartet walks onstage. These guys are so good that when listening to them, they have at times, actually made the music of The Beatles clearer! What I mean is, you can hear the musical parts being played better than on The Beatles’ records! Not always, but often! And the musicians are top notch! The bass player is Will Lee from The Late Show Band, whom no less than Paul McCartney praised as one of the world’s best bassists, and the guitar player is Jimmy Vivino from Conan O’Brian’s Band, who also spends time in The Levon Helm Band, as well as numerous other projects, all first rate! This is the closest you’ll get to the Fab Four today! They often do a complete Beatles album in each set. I’ve seen them do “Sgt. Pepper”, “Rubber Soul”, “Revolver” Magical Mystery Tour”, “The White Album”, and “Abbey Road” as well as the psychedelic singles “All you Need is Love”, “I am the Walrus”, “Strawberry Fields”, “Penny Lane” and “Hey Jude”. The Beatles themselves never performed these songs live, so this is really special! I’ll be on this again in my next column, and I can tell you right now, this will be my Pick of the Week next week!
See you then!
The Jonny Monster Band at The Bearsville Theater, 1/27/12.