4.19.2019

Show Tonight: Charley Crockett & Joshua Ray Walker @ The Granada

One of the most promising songwriters in country music today is Joshua Ray Walker. Not since John Moreland have I heard an artist whose songs and lyrics immediately affected me like Walker. Just listen to the lead track off his new album, Wish You Were Here, called 'Canyon'. It's a fantastic songs and just touches on how good he is once you listen to the whole album. Walker will be at The Granada tonight opening for Charlie Crockett.


I don't know as much about Crockett but I've been digging into his catalog since finding out Joshua Ray was opening up for him. His music moves back and forth between blues and country and I have to admit, the country stuff is pretty damn good. Just check out his really solid cover of the famous country tune 'That's How I Got To Memphis' below.





-Matt

4.15.2019

Columbia's Roots, Blues & BBQ Festival Announces Lineup

I'm getting a little too old for the festivals I use to try and attend with some regularity in my 20's. However, after attending the 2018 festival, I'll definitely be trying to make a yearly pilgrimage to Columbia, Missouri at the end of September for the Roots, Blues & BBQ festival.

They announced the 2019 lineup on Friday and it's a really good one. There's plenty to like from the headliners all the way down to the smallest row of local acts. I'm always excited to see Jason Isbell, The New Pornographers, Amanda Shires and Ben Harper again but I'm most excited for the acts I've never seen before. John Prine, Lukas Nelson, Patty Griffin, and Doug Kershaw are all at the top of that list for me.

I reviewed the three day festival last year and raved about how much we enjoyed it, so don't miss out!

-Matt

4.09.2019

Show Review: Durand Jones & The Indications at Record Bar

On Saturday night the folks that packed the sold out Record Bar were treated to one of the best shows they're likely to see all year. Durand Jones & The Indications are touring behind their fantastic sophomore album, American Love Call, and they showed what an impressive live force they are. The Indications are a really tight band that provide a fantastic background for Durand Jones and drummer Aaron Frazer to shine on vocals. Durand is a true band leader and puts on a frontman show reminiscent of James Brown or Marvin Gaye. At numerous points in time Jones was singing from his knees, flat on his back, or sitting off to the side and letting his band shine. The secret weapon of The Indications though is Frazer. Not only does he absolutely kill it on the drums but his falsetto vocals on songs like 'Is It Any Wonder', which received one of the biggest crowd reactions of the evening, are breathtaking.
The band played most of their two albums and peppered a few well placed covers in the set as well. A sped up version of Curtis Mayfields '(Don't Worry) If There Is A Hell Below, We're All Gonna Go' was a highlight of the night as well as their show closing cover of The Beatles 'Don't Let Me Down'.

This will likely be the smallest venue Durand Jones & The Indications will play in Kansas City and for good reason. With two strong albums in their catalog and a voracious live show, hopefully they get the huge recognition they deserve.

Openers Ginger Root described themselves as "aggressive elevator soul" and to be honest I can't come up with a better descriptor. They were a lot of fun and I hope to catch them again soon.

-Matt

4.03.2019

Upcoming Show: Durand Jones & The Indications

One of the shows we're most excited about in the entire month of April is Durand Jones & The Indications. They're a throwback to the soul and R&B music made famous in the 50's through the 70's but don't let that make you think it's stale or a rehash. Their music sounds fresh and inspired and from what I've seen of their live performances on YouTube, they put on a killer show as well.

Their new album, American Love Call, came out last month and is already towards the top of my favorite albums of 2019. The combination of Jones's soulful voice and drummer/vocalist Aaron Frazer's beautiful falsetto makes for some outstanding harmonies and songwriting. The album touches on politics, love, heartbreak and everything in-between. I liked their self-titled debut album, but American Love Call is on a whole different level of greatness.



Durand Jones & The Indications will be at Record Bar on Saturday night, April 6th. There is no excuse for you to miss this show. Check out the video for the track 'Don't You Know' below and I'll see you at Record bar on Saturday.



-Matt

3.15.2019

Listen to Phoebe Bridgers

Phoebe Bridgers has officially taken over my musical life. My family is sick of me spinning her records and playing her videos. With the release of her fabulous solo record, Stranger In The Alps, in late 2017 she appeared on my radar and hasn't left since. The album is worth revisiting on it's own merits alone, but Bridgers has continued to make really fantastic music with a couple of other projects as well that are worthy of mentioning. Before we move on here is one of the standout tracks from 2017's Stranger In The Alps, 'Motion Sickness':



I don't want to write this without mentioning the elephant in the room. 'Motion Sickness' was admittedly written about Ryan Adams long before the damning NYT story came out recently documenting his abuses. However the song bears new weight after reading how Adams treated Bridgers specifically. I've been a long time Ryan Adams fan, but hopefully others like me will turn their attention to the music of someone much more worthy of it in Bridgers.



The moment Bridgers went from a notable new artist to an obsession for me was the release of the "supergroup" boygenius EP that came out in 2018. I'd already been a big fan of Julien Baker and knew a bit about Lucy Dacus but I had no idea how much I'd love the songs the three of them made together. The whole EP is just flawless...here is my favorite track 'Salt In The Wound':



Bridgers continued this year with the release of Better Oblivion Community Center's debut self-titled album with Conor Oberst. The album is another really solid effort and really shows that Bridger is as prolific as she is talented.

-Matt

12.20.2018

Favorite Albums of 2018

50. Soccer Mommy - Clean
49. Iceage - Beyondless
48. Calexico - The Thread That Keeps Us
47. Titus Andronicus - A Productive Cough
46. Adrianne Lenker - abysskiss
45. Sleep - The Sciences
44. First Aid Kit - Ruins
43. Jeff Rosenstock - POST
42. Blood Orange - Negro Swan
41. Hop Along - Bark Your Head Off, Dog
40. Montero - Performer
39. Moaning - Moaning
38. Cody Jinks - Lifers
37. S. Carey - Hundred Acres
36. Damien Jurado - The Horizon Just Laughed
35. Nas - NASIR
34. Israel Nash - Lifted
33. Courtney Marie Andrews - May Your Kindness remain
32. Marlon Williams - Make Way For Love
31. Lucero - Among The Ghosts
30. Neko Case - Hell-On
29. Foxing - Nearer My God
28. William Elliott Whitmore - Kilonova
27. Bonny Doon - Longwave
26. DJ Koze - Knock
25. Pusha T - DAYTONA
24. Beach House - 7
23. Shame - Songs of Praise
22. Wild Pink - Yolk in the Fur
21. American Aquarium - Things Change

20. Janelle Monae - Dirty Computer


19. Amanda Shires - To The Sunset    


18. Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats - Wasteland


17. Shy Boys - Bell House   


16. Phosphorescent - C'est La Vie


15. Murder By Death - The Other Shore


14. Kamasi Washington - Heaven and Earth


13. Kurt Vile - Bottle It In


12. Father John Misty - God's Favorite Customer


11. Khruangbin - Con Todo El Mundo


10. Lucy Dacus - Historian


9. boygenius - boygenius


8. U.S. Girls - In A Poem Unlimited


7. Deafheaven - Ordinary Corrupt Human Love


6. John Prine - The Tree Of Forgiveness


5. Kacey Musgraves - Golden Hour


4. Parquet Courts - Wide Awake!


3. Colter Wall - Songs Of The Plains


2. IDLES - Joy As An Act Of Resistance


1. Snail Mail - Lush


-Matt

10.12.2018

Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival - Day Three

Day three gave us another perfect day of weather and a few of the best sets of the festival. The first band I was really excited to finally see was The Cactus Blossoms. After missing them open for Jenny Lewis in KC, I wanted to make sure I saw their set in Columbia. We caught the first half of their set before we cut across the grounds to see Israel Nash. The band played a few new songs which have me really excited for their sophomore release.
Israel Nash first showed up on my radar when someone compared him to maybe my favorite musician of all-time -- Neil Young. There is no doubt Nash is influenced by Mr. Young and he puts on a really solid live show. The highlight of Nash's set was a introduced as a "Protest Song" before Nash & his band plowed through a fiery cover of Neil Young's 'Ohio'.
My wife's number one act to catch at the festival was Amanda Shires. We've been fans for a while but her new album, To The Sunset, put here on a whole different level. Shire's set was a highlight of the entire weekend and I'd expect her to have a headlining spot the next time she plays the festival.

The final band we caught before driving back to Kansas City on Sunday night was Greensky Bluegrass. Admittedly I wasn't familiar with their music before the weekend but I consider myself a fan now. The members of the band are extremely talented players and they have a really devoted fanbase that showed up in front of the stage. They play a brand of bluegrass that I really enjoy and I look forward to catching them live again as soon as I can.
I really can't say enough good things about this festival. I'm disappointed it was never on my radar before this year because their past lineups are definitely in my wheelhouse. There's a very good chance we'll be in attendance every year going forward.

10.09.2018

Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival - Day Two

I'm not sure you could hope for better weather at an outdoor event than Columbia experienced on Saturday. We got to the festival before the gates opened so we could catch some of the first bands and I'm glad we did.

The first highlight of the day was the Ben Miller Band from Joplin, Mo. They have previously been described as Ozark Stomp which is actually pretty accurate. We only caught the first half of their set to get over and see The Kay Brothers, but we really enjoyed what we heard.

I can't get enough of Ha Ha Tonka. They're criminally underrated for what a great live band they are. They also put out album after album of really great music. It's my 6th time seeing them and once again, they put on one of the best shows of the festival. KC claims them as their own so there are lots of opportunities to see them closer to home.

If we're declaring teams in the Uncle Tupelo split, I've always been with Jeff. Son Volt just hasn't ever clicked with me since 'Trace' but I still wanted to see them play live. 'Drown', 'Windfall' and a cover of Uncle Tupelo's 'Chickamauga' were the set's highlights.

Our absolute must-see performer on Saturday was Margo Price. She's a huge family favorite in my house with myself, my wife and both of my kids. Plus, after seeing her in Kansas City earlier this year we knew we were in for a treat. Somehow her stage show has gotten even better in the past 9 months which is really hard to believe. She played a few new songs and threw in covers of Tom Petty, Neil Young, & Dolly Parton for good measure. I'll also never get tired of watching her slay on the drums.

In the current state of "Outlaw Country" there is Sturgill Simpson on one level and then everybody else. That wasn't ever more evident than as Saturday's closer. Sturgill's four piece band was on fire all night and they were lead by Simpson himself on lead guitar. I've watched a lot of these new country guys play live and none of them appear to have the lead guitar skills Sturgill has.

Other random highlights of the weekend:
  • Kelly Willis had an unfortunately set in between a couple of more upbeat bands but the few songs I caught of hers were really beautiful.
  • We caught a Dale Watson doing a great version of Merle's 'Mama Tried' in between Ha Ha Tonka & Son Volt
  • On the suggestion of my dad, we ran over to watch a bit of The Mavericks in between Margo Price & Sturgill Simpson. We saw their cover of Neil Young's 'Harvest Moon' & it was perfect.
  • Early bands Blue Jay & The Mighty Pines sets both show cased young bands with a lot of promise. I hope to catch them both in the future.
-Matt

10.08.2018

Photos - The National / Alvvays @ Starlight Theatre

The National played an extremely soggy show last night at Starlight Theatre in Kansas City. It rained almost the entire time and at some points it was absolutely pouring. Of course that kind of weather matches up with the The National's music pretty perfectly. They're such a tight band live and Matt Berninger is one of the best frontmen/showmen around. Here are some photos from last night:








The National also has a long history of bringing along really fantastic opening acts. This time around it was Alvvays from Toronto. They got the only dry hour of the evening and they took full advantage of it with a really beautiful opening set.