Thursday, December 17, 2009

No Sleep till Steamboat

Finally i am going to attend the 25th annual Steamboat Musicfest in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. January 4th to the 10th, the line up is amazing and the fans are too!

Featuring...Robert Earl Keen, Randy Rogers Band, Band of Heathens, Reckless Kelly, Charlie Robison, Kevin Welch, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Lee Ann Womack*, Jamie Wilson, Todd Snider, Jason Eady and The Wayward Apostles, Billy Joe Shaver, Jack Ingram, Chris Knight, Walt Wilkins, Midnight River Choir, Jonathan Tyler and The Northern Lights, Kevin Fowler, Modern Day Drifters, Hayes Carll, Ben Smith, Jason Boland and The Stragglers, Josh Abbott, Cory Morrow, Ray Wylie Hubbard, The Trishas, Wade Bowen, The Doug Moreland Show, Stoney LaRue, Tina Wilkins, Roger Creager, Lucas Hubbard, Sean McConnell, Johnny and The Footlights+
...and NEW ARTISTS, George Devore, Kyle Park, Lee Brice, Seth James, Bobby Duncan, Granger Smith, Bart Crow, Bruce Robison, Brandon Rhyder, Sons of Bill, Great American Taxi, Dustin Welch, Brandon Jenkins, and Rich O'Toole...............

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Cross Canadian Ragweed @ The Intersection

One of the best live acts around came back to Grand Rapids Michigan to an appreciative crowd of loyal fans who were treated to a fantastic show clocking in at over two hours. Now i have to admit that sometimes i can be a bit of a name dropper and maybe i am still coming off the high of it all still, but i am taking this opportunity to do it again. So sometimes what i do gets shown some appreciation and this time i got a taste of the rock star treatment, at least that's what it felt like to me anyway.
I was backstage to shoot a few photos of the band with my friend who wanted a photo of of the them with his Cross Canadian Ragweed logo guitar that he purchased off the bands web site which i brought down to Oklahoma back in June to the Country Fever music festival to have autographed as a wedding present from his wife. After getting a couple shots for him i was left in the dressing room with the guys who were about to rock the stage again since the last time they were in Grand Rapids back in June of 2008. Cody closed the door and asked if i would like to join them in prayer as they do before every show, which of course i accepted and Cody proceeded to recite a sincere honest prayer for family, safe travels and another great show. The guys have been having a great run recently with their show last week at Joe's bar in Chicago and for a few weeks before that drawing good crowds in a tough economy. Cody Canada and the band continued to rock out some older material that doesn't always get played very often like "Suicide Blues" and another favorite of mine "Lighthouse Keeper" and they surprised us all with the personal song "The Years" from the album "Mission California" as well as some great choices in covers like Robert Earl Keen's "Merry Christmas from the Family" and "It Ain't Easy Being Me" from Chris Knight and "Crazy Eddie's Last Hurrah" by Reckless Kelly. Many songs from their latest release "Happiness and all the Other Things" were included too like "Overtable" leading through the Overture and into "Pretty Lady" and i was happy to hear them perform "Bluebonnets" which is a heartfelt song inspired by Cody's son Dierks.After the show we invited the guys out to my friend's brothers bar where we had a private room reserved for us and a few friends of the band. Cody and Jeremy decided to join us and i got to talk with both of them for about an hour before they had to leave for bus call and the next show in New York. I confirmed what i heard earlier this summer about the band releasing another album that will fulfill their contract with Universal South and will be comprised of covers of fellow musicians from Oklahoma like Bob Childers, Tom Skinner, Mike McClure and the Medicine Show's Scott Evans who wrote "Soul Agent" the first song to be sung by bass player Jeremy Plato. So far they will be going into the studio to work on that next March. Cody also included a new song in his acoustic set that was written about their family's dog that unfortunately passed on last summer and even though he thought that maybe the second verse was "a little cheesy" as a dog owner i really thought it was a great song. I got to meet Vinny the Shark and he also joined us upstairs, you may have heard the band mention him before saying "He does really exist" and you can read what he writes about on the Wormy Dog Saloon's website by clicking on the "Shark Tank" link. Click here for more photos.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ha Ha Tonka @ The Intersection

Springfield Missouri's own Ha Ha Tonka has been on the road opening a few shows for Cross Canadian Ragweed and The Intersection in Grand Rapids Michigan was one of the stops. November 29Th the band played about a forty minute set. Formerly called Amsterband they changed their name to Ha Ha Tonka which is a state park near the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. They are signed to Bloodshot records and have a sound that has influences of Indie rock with a percentage of Americana thrown in and their album "Buckle in the Bible Belt" gained them notice from a few prominent media outlets such as Paste and Spin magazines and it was named as one of the best albums of 2007 by Pop Matters magazine.
Having toured in the past with bands like the old 97's and the Meat Puppets, they were also part of the 2008 Lollapalooza line up. Ha Ha Tonka is on the road with Ragweed through December 11Th. This year saw the release of their second album "Novel Sounds of the Nouveau South" which has garnered them further acclaim citing them as a potent mix of Country and Indie rock with comparisons to the Kings of Leon. Check out Ha Ha Tonka's You Tube channel.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cross Canadian Ragweed @ Joe's bar.

After Seth James was done with his set, Cross Canadian Ragweed came out to a packed in and sold out Joe's bar in Chicago and again had ole blue eyes, Frank Sinatra's "My Kind of Town, Chicago is" playing over the house sound system before taking the stage and ripping into "Don't Need You" from their self titled CD known as the "Purple" album. They played about half of the songs on their latest release "Happiness and all the Other Things" including "Drag" and bass player Jeremy Plato's version of the Stephen Bruton song "To Find My Love" that Jeremy sings. They also did the songs "Overtable" and the Overture also called "Blackrose" and then went into their tribute to Betty Page with the song "Pretty Lady" before going back to some old songs. After playing older favorites like "42 Miles" and "Brooklyn Kid" inspired by their friend Robert Hanson, they played quite a few older songs and there were the usual obnoxious guys in the crowd that seem to be at every show yelling out to the band to play "Carney Man" and "Boys from Oklahoma" and usually they will not play it unless they feel like it but this time they did. I was quick to judge the guys that were so insistent on getting them to play those two songs but sometimes you learn that maybe you should not be so quick to do that because later i talked to them outside and they told me they were heading to Iraq two days later.
Cody Canada, Cross Canadian Ragweed's lead singer and guitarist split the set up by doing a short acoustic set with the songs "Carry Me Home" and a surprising cover of "It Ain't Easy Being Me" by Chris Knight, plus a few more. The show went on with some more older material like "Late Last Night" by Todd Snider and "Wanna Rock & Roll" by Ray Wylie Hubbard. Seth James and Geoff Queen came out and joined them for the last song before the night was over and Seth and Cody had to catch a plane to perform an acoustic show in New Braunfels the next day. I am writing this one day before seeing Cross Canadian Ragweed again tomorrow night at the Intersection in Grand Rapids, Michigan so look for a write up on that soon too. More color photos. More black & white photos.

Seth James @ Joe's

Texas guitarist and singer songwriter extraordinaire Seth James has been touring off and on with his friends Cross Canadian Ragweed and opened for them at Joe's bar in Chicago Saturday November 21st. Seth has a firm grasp of the blues mixed in with his Texas style country and rock. Raised just North of Abilene in a musical family he began by learning piano and trumpet but was drawn to the guitar in high school. Honing his skills while working part time in a local music store, he soon moved to Austin and has since released three albums full of rock and blues riffs set to his introspective song lyrics. With a sound comparable to Doyle Bramhall and a very adept backing band that although has changed over the years are always are right there to back up his explosive expressions he creates on the guitar. Seth's latest release is "That Kind of Man" which is earning him critical acclaim and an ever expanding fan base and thanks to exposure from opening guys like Cross Canadian Ragweed that fan base is growing much faster. Over the Summer Seth sat in with Ray Wylie Hubbard as his lead guitarist and it was the first time i had seen him although i had heard about him before then, i was very impressed with his natural blues playing ability. His latest album has a great variety of material that stays with the rock and country genres but not many artists have the underlying base of the blues in their music the way that Seth does. The crowd at Joe's bar was very receptive to him and the show was sold out. Seth took the stage playing the perfect choice of song to open a Ragweed show with "Two for Tuesday in America" off his current album. The songs lyrics have the line "I'm in love with this road, i'm in love with this car, I'm in love with the radio station that's playing me some CCR" which i have to think is a shout out to KNBT in New Braunfels Texas and Cross Canadian Ragweed (not Creedence) that station plays a lot of CCR as well as a non stop variety of Americana music (including Seth) from bands and musicians around the country. Seth also played two of my favorites from "That Kind of Man" like "Slow Roll" and "Again" that unfortunately were missing the beautiful harmonies of his wife Jessica Murray who did not make the trip up out of Texas. He included material from his past two albums also and later sat in with Ragweed at the end of their set. View more photos of the show by clicking here. Photos

Justin Moore @ The Intersection

Thursday night November 19th The Intersection played host to its second sold out country music show for the second Thursday in a row with Justin Moore headlining a concert openend by two local bands, Small Town Son and Gunnar Nyland with a regional act from Louisiana, Williams-Riley. Justin Moore took the stage with a Jack Daniels bottle in hand to a fired up crowd ready to party. Justin is from Poyen Arkansas and has seemed to just appear on the Nashville country music scene from out of no where but has actually been working at it for a few years. He is signed to Valory records which is an off shoot of Big Machine Records, the independent Nashville label run by Scott Borchetta who signed Taylor Swift. Justin's self titled debut album which had his songs chosen by fans via social networking sites such as Myspace and iLike has had one single chart in 2008 and two more this year including the Randy Houser penned song "Back That Thing Up"and with uptempo songs about breaking out and then returning to where he's from with "Small Town Son" and how he likes to party in the "Backwoods" which is his latest single making him seem to run in the same style of song writing and the same crowd of fans to me as say Eric Church, which makes for good rowdy music in concert but doesn't offer much as far as serious substance is concerned. The novelty of the digitally released song "I Could Kick Your Ass" further brings the whole country boy posuer style into play. His songs are anthematic fodder for the light beer drinking college crowd but i have to admit he does know how to entertain and show everyone a good time. His band is solid and his flamboyant lead guitarist knows how to bust out a rockstar pose with a rockstar solo to go with it. I could have done without the twenty minute guitar solos at the end and thought the show was entirely to loud but i walked away neither disliking him or his music but feeling entertained at least. There is no denying that Justin's songs are resonating with fans and also the media, garnering some positive reviews from outlets such as the Washington Post but also some mixed reviews from others. Justin has been invited to join the "American Saturday Night" tour beginning next year with Brad Paisley.  View more photos.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Luke Bryan @ The Intersection

West Michigan country radio station WBCT B93 and the Intersection teamed up as usual to bring Luke Bryan to the stage with a sold out show in Grand Rapids. Luke released his latest album "Doin My Thing" on October 6th of this year with the lead off single "Do I" which was written with Lady Antebellum members Dave Haywood and Charles Kelly and features Hillary Scott on backing vocals. Luke has a solid band to back him up and i have to say that Kristy Jo is one of my favorite fiddle and mandolin players. Luke played a few songs off his new album like "Welcome to the Farm" and "Drinkin Beer and Wastin Bullets" which is fast becoming a new fan favorite. A surprising cover of One Republic's "Apologize" and also Billy Currington's hit "Good Directions" which was actually written by Luke were included as well as all his hits from his debut album too. The Leesburg Georgia native had a hand in writing 8 of the 11 songs on "Doin My Thing" which is on Capitol records. Opening the show were The Clayton Anderson band and Fast Ryde as well as Frankie Ballard featured below.      Want to see more just   Click here to see more photos.

Frankie Ballard opens for Luke Bryan

Thursday night at the Intersection in Grand Rapids Michigan ended up becoming a sold out show to welcome back Battle Creek Michigan native Frankie Ballard. The Clayton Anderson band who also play at Joe's in Chicago about six or seven times a year started the night off along with Nashville's Fast Ryde.
The line to get in stretched down the street nearly all the way to the Woods lounge about a hundred yards away. Frankie took the stage around 9pm with his long time friends and band mates Bill Justice on drums, Eddie Robinson on rhythm guitar and Jarrod Sturgis on bass. Frankie played a solid set of southern rock with Eddie providing some mean slide guitar and he played some new songs he's been working on that will be included on his Warner Brothers Nashville records debut album. Luke Bryan also called Frankie out on stage to close out the show with Luke's band. Dont forget that Frankie is playing a Christmas show on December 5th at Kalamazoo's State Theater. Yes there will be a few Christmas songs here and there but it will be a good time and Frankie is going to rock. Tickets are on sale, its all ages so if youv'e missed him in the past because he was rocking out in a bar, now you have no excuse, so get the family together and come support our local musicians Shelagh Brown and Jordan Lunardini and Frankie Ballard.
I did not show up for this show until about a few minutes before Frankie went on stage which is why i do not have anything to post here about Clayton or Fast Ryde. Click here for More photos from the show.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Wade Bowen @ Joe's bar

When i heard that Wade Bowen was returning to Joe's bar in Chicago i knew i had to go and the fact that Radney Foster was the opener and Wade was headlining this time was the seal on the deal. Wade and his band joined Radney on stage for a rocked up version of the title track to Radney's latest album "Revival" which they rehearsed only briefly during the afternoon's sound check. After a short break Wade and the band came back to the stage to a pounding kick drum beat by Brooks Robinson that further got the crowd excited before the first song. Wade has added a keyboard player named Ross Smith and the rest of the band with Gary Wooten on Lead guitar, Matt Miller on Rhythm guitar, Caleb Jones on bass and Brooks Robinson on drums sounds tighter every time. Wade has some serious songs but that doesn't mean everyone wasn't having a good time on stage. The crowd was small, maybe because it was a Thursday night show, but i talked to Brooks after ward and he reminded me that "Its the quality of the crowd, not the quantity" and this show did have a quality crowd who knew every word, not only of Wade's songs but also most of Radney's.
For those who have seen a Wade Bowen show over the last year or so you will hopefully recall a time when Wade has taken a hat from where it hangs near the drum rack and has spoken of a soldier from Waco Texas named Doug Matthy's, Waco is also Wade's hometown. Wade and his band have proudly displayed a Boonie hat belonging to Doug who is an Army soldier who Wade's father heard about from Doug's wife and has kept it with him on stage every night praying for a safe return for Doug and his platoon from Iraq. Right before singing his song "If We Ever Make It Home" Wade would talk about Doug and his platoon. Well about two months ago Doug surprised Wade with an emotional return walking on stage at Gilley's in Dallas. Although the band knew this would happen, Wade did not and it was something unforgettable and overwhelming for everyone in attendance. Sincere moments like these are just another reason why i love this music and this community of musicians and fans involved in it. Its good to hear this story finally came full circle and with great news. Thank you to my friend Crystal for her great photos from that show.
Wade very recently announced plans for a live album to be recorded this month (November 21st) at Billy Bob's in Ft. Worth Texas and it will be great to get the songs they play from Wade's latest album "If We Ever Make It Home" recorded live, the energy in these songs is amazing with Gary Wooten's aggressive guitar playing and unique tone and Brooks's energetic drumming. Brooks Robinson has been drumming for Wade for just about the beginning and has an a rock style influenced by everyone from John Bonham to Tommy Lee, and makes for some great photo ops with his showman ship, unfortunately i did not get anything usable from this show of him. Wade and Radney came out and signed autographs after each of their shows and talked with fans before heading out to another venue. Click this link to view a video of Wade singing his latest single "Trouble"  My other site

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Radney Foster @ Joe's

If your old enough to remember the big hit song "Nobody Wins" that was released in 1992 by Radney on his first solo album, or you go back further and remember the duo known as Foster & Lloyd then i am sure you recognize the name Radney Foster. If you are relatively new to country music then maybe you have not heard of Radney but chances are you have heard his songs and did not know it. Radney has written some pretty big hits for Sara Evans "A Real Fine Place To Start" and Keith Urban's hit "Raining On Sunday" and one that Dierks Bentley covered on his Greatest hits album called "Sweet and Wild"
Radney is still writing and recording great music on his own and his latest recording "Revival" has to be one of his best and most personal albums he's ever done. Radney has gone through a lot in the last year, celebrating his fiftieth birthday as well as the unfortunate loss of his father and the return of his son who was living in France. The album "Revival" which is on Radney's own label "Devil's River" is a permeating statement to overcoming heartbreak and personal loss and pulling your self up and back on your feet with a good mix of ballads and gospel style upbeat songs. The most poignant songs on the album to me are the ballads such as the one recounting how he feared punishment as a child from his father and tying that in with being beside his hospital bed before he passed a way using the lyric "I Know You Can Hear Me" to relate the story. Then there is the song "Made Peace With God That Day" about having to wait in the waiting room at the hospital while doctors were treating his two year old son and praying he will be able to take him home. Many songs in country music circles have been written about soldiers and the fighting in the Middle East but none have approached it from the angle Radney has with the song "Angel Flight" which is written with Darden Smith after an inspiring conversation with a member of the National Guard. They wrote it from the perspective of a pilot of a C-130 Hercules aircraft that has the unfortunate duty of returning fallen American soldiers back to United States soil. Darius Rucker sings harmony and Proceeds from the song are donated to a charity that helps families of fallen soldiers. Serious subjects yes, but there are some fun songs here that are of a much lighter subject matter too. Radney performed a few of those at Joe's too like the song "Trouble Tonight" about going out and stirring up a bit of mischief all in good fun and the title track to his latest release "Revival" which he performed with Wade Bowen and his band as the last song before Wade returned to play his set. Radney also played a few older songs like the ones i mentioned he's had major country music stars cover as well as some of my favorites like "Texas in 1880" and "Half Of My Mistakes" as well as "Nobody Wins" and although he did not have his band "The Confessions" along, hearing these songs done acoustic made them even more personal and emotional. Click this link My other site to view a video my friend Rob shot of Radney performing "I Know You Can Hear Me" from this show at Joe's.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Jamey Johnson @ Chicago Country Music Fest

Jamey Johnson moved from Alabama to Nashville and found success as a songwriter and wrote songs like "Give it Away" for George Strait and surprisingly "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" for Trace Adkins. The former United States Marine released his first album "the Dollar" in 2006 on BNA records and then signed to Mercury Nashville and released "That Lonesome Song" in 2008 having a big hit with the song "In Color" and a couple other singles. He released "My Way to You" the first single off his forthcoming third release in July.
The rain was pouring down hard in Chicago at the Chicago country music festival in Grant park and the Americana stage was packed with people trying to stay under the tent and out of the rain. The Americana stage was much smaller this year than last year but it provided shelter during the rainfall while the CMA songwriters series with Bob Dipiero, Scotty Emerick, Dean Dillon and the incomparable LeeAnn Womack began.
Jamey Johnson made an appearance on this stage singing a Waylon Jennings song. At 6pm with the rain still coming down, Johnson took the stage performing mostly songs from his last album like "Mowin' Down the Roses", "Mary Go Round" and "That Lonesome Song" the album's title track. Jamey sometimes is not much more animated than a rock (which i mean in a good way because the music speaks for itself and doesn't need flash or gimmicks) but his music sure is stone country. He did manage to crack a smile or too and also invited his sister out to the stage because it was her birthday the day before. I was standing on stage some of the time right next to her and didn't know it until then. Playing a guitar signed by his heroes like John Anderson, Randy Travis and Merle Haggard, Mel Tillis and George Strait he sang his hardcore country songs for about an hour finishing his set with Academy of Country music 2009 song of the year "In Color" and "Give it Away" which became George Strait's forty first number one song. Click on AMP above to go to the home page to read my write up on Miranda Lambert too, for some reason the link can't be found on Google-Had to pull the article and photos of Miranda per Frontpage Publicty. Click on this link to view more photos from the show.More Photos.
The CMA songwriters series stage with Bob Dipiero, LeeAnn Womack , Scotty Emerick and Dean Dillon featured commentary about the songs that each songwriter performed and has written for country music stars such as Toby Keith, George Strait and Brooks & Dunn as well as LeeAnn singing her songs. Dean Dillon has written over fifty songs for George Strait alone! Bob has written songs for Brooks & Dunn, The Oak Ridge Boys, and Montgomery Gentry. Scotty has had his songs recorded by Toby Keith and George Strait. LeeAnn doesn't need an introduction.CMA songwriters Bob Dipiero, Scotty Emerick and Dean Dillon on stage with LeeAnn Womack.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Stoney LaRue. The acoustic show @ Joe's

True Texas music fans knew they could not miss this special show at Joe's bar in Chicago September 28Th. It was actually really a gathering of friends who know just how special an acoustic show is with one of the most genuine entertainers in the business. Joe's bar went all out to make this an intimate evening for some serious lyrical listening as acoustic is the best way to "Hear" the music of Stoney LaRue. Tables and chairs were lined up in rows and couches were set on stage with candlelight at each table. stoney was mingling with friends before the show not up in the VIP but on the floor with everyone else. After Chicago's Sue Hughey and her talented band made up of a lead guitarist and a percussionist with Sue singing her creative and original songs were done, Electric instruments were removed from the stage and Stoney casually walked on stage with his Gibson J-200. Stoney greeted the crowd and tuned up and asked his "Friends" to request their favorite songs. Someone shouted out from the left side near the stage wanting to hear "Straight Faced Clown" which Stoney seemed to welcome as his first song of the night. Someone who yelled out the next song was asked by Stoney where he was from and he replied "Michigan" and being from Michigan myself i was proud to hear that some people in Michigan know good music. The song he requested was "Train to Sanity" but Stoney chose to do "Fine lines" instead. He then chose "Box #10) by Jim Croce saying it was one of the first songs he learned and "Texas Moon" was his next choice. By this time the shots of Jagerbombs were being delivered and consumed on stage and everyone was really loosening up, people were taking their turns sitting on the couches on stage and Stoney even took time to pose on stage with a fan while her friend took a photo. he then played "Down in Flames" asking if anyone was familiar with Brandon Jenkins who co wrote the song with Stoney and then he performed "Till the Morning Comes" which was also co written with Brandon. One of his most requested songs "One Chord Song" followed that along with a Jason Boland co write with the song "Shot Full of Holes" about an inmates life compared to being like a street sign that is shot full of holes. Stoney then announced that Tonight he is singing the National Anthem at the Chicago Cubs baseball game at Wrigley field so he sang a song about baseball. The next request was for steel heart which is actually "Crystal Eyes" and then "Feet Don't Touch the Ground" followed by a song about "cash crops" called "Idabel Blues" to which after that Stoney took a short break.
Returning to the stage he did his best rendition of "Blue eyes Crying in the Rain" in his best Willie Nelson voice, which he does very convincingly. Then the song "Sitting Here in Limbo" which has been done by the Grateful Dead and Jimmy Cliff. Someone then shouted out "Long Black Veil" by Johnny Cash and Stoney had to sip some water before tackling the vocals on that one.
Stoney then said that soon he is releasing a new CD that will be all acoustic and that only the packaging needs to be finished yet so look for that soon. Next he performed a heartbreaking version of the Gary Stewart classic "Empty Glass" and then called on everyone to listen to the powerful message contained in the song "Make it to the Mountains" by the "Hillbilly Hendrix" Mr. Randy Crouch. After over two hours the show was capped off with the Mike Hosty of the Oklahoma band Hosty Duo's song "Oklahoma Breakdown" stoney then walked off stage and into the crowd to say hi and pose for more photos. My friends and i got a chance to talk with him and he remembered me and my friend Rob (who helped me out with photography at country fever in Pryor Oklahoma back in June) from the last show at Joe's and my friend Brett (from the local band 9Th St. Bridge) talked with him about writing songs. If you ever get a chance to see Stoney, especially for an acoustic show don't hesitate to go. I got to relax and enjoy this show, usually i am fighting the crowds to get my shots. This time i took notes and really listened to the songs. Click on the title of this post to view more photos. Also go to my other site "Secondary AMP" to watch the video of Stoney singing the National Anthem. The link is to the right at the top of the page here. Go to my other site "Secondary AMP" to see the new CD.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Jason Boland & The Stragglers @ Joe's

Real country music was in the house on Friday with Jason Boland & The Stragglers headlining a show opened by No Justice and Charlie Robison. After having a show scheduled earlier in the year that did not work out they came back and unbridled the hell ponies this time. Jason & The Stragglers were happy to be back at Joe's and were complimented by a very rowdy and beer fueled group of fans. People were two stepping around the outside of the of the crowd and later they were dancing in the middle of the floor too. The Stragglers, Jason's band consists of Grant Tracy on bass, Brad Rice on drums, Noah Jeffries on fiddle and mandolin and Roger Ray on Pedal steel and dobro as well as electric guitar. Every song from "Pearl snaps" to "Comal County Blue" was played along with a cover of the song "Tulsa Time" written by Danny Flowers, guitar player for fellow Oklahoman Don Williams who along with Eric Clapton's version made the song famous. Jason Boland & The Stragglers paid tribute to Don Williams at Cains Ballroom in Tulsa the night before along with a stellar line up of Texas and Oklahoma musicians and bands. Jason is going to release a live record in 2010 that Will be recorded at various locations around the mountainous west like the Musicfest in Steamboat Colorado and Laramie Wyoming was also mentioned. The title of the live record is still be decided upon with some wanting it to be called "High in the Rockies" or "Live from the Rockies" either way it will be a great document of how the bands sound has evolved since the "Live at Billy Bob's" record came out. Jason and the band hung out with the crowd after the show signing every last autograph asked of him even after playing a two hour show and having to be on their way to the Flatland Jam in Altamont Illinois afterwards. Click on the title to this post to view more photos from the show.

Charlie Robison @ joe's

After No Justice Charlie Robison took the stage. Charlie has returned to the airwaves and the stage after releasing his first album "Beautiful Day" in five years. After going through a divorce from his wife (Dixie chick's Emily Erwin) his latest album deals with that process. Charlie chose to for go writing a bitter depressing monologue about it all and instead this album is pretty upbeat and optimistic and full of reflection, using his wry sense of humor to take the edge off or add to it. Charlie has been a fixture and well loved writer and musician for years in Texas, born in Houston and growing up in Bandera he released his first album named after the town he grew up in back in 1996. Charlie produced "Beautiful Day" himself and wrote six of the ten songs. The other four are written by Keith Gattis, Bobby Bare Jr. and Charles Bracco. The last song is a cover of one of my favorite Bruce Springsteen songs "Racing in the Streets" which he does justice too but he did not try to make much different which to me is a good thing.
Charlie performed quite a few songs off the latest record including the title cut and also the songs "Nothing Better To Do", "Reconsider" and "Down Again" and also some older hits like "Barlight" and "Life of the party" to which his keyboard player brought out the accordion to accompany the song. Charlie's band is made up of veterans of the Texas and Nashville music scene and i was really impressed as was No Justice guitar player Cody Patton with his guitar player. The guitar parts on the studio version of "Beautiful Day" were done by the exceptional guitar player Charlie Sexton. Click on this post to view more photos.

No Justice @ Joes bar

Stillwater Oklahoma's No Justice started off a night of great Texas and Oklahoma music opening for Charlie Robison and Jason Boland & The Stragglers. No Justice has been building a loyal following during the last five years releasing two studio albums and one live record recorded at Billy Bob's Texas on Smith Entertainment records. No Justice has seen their songs ascend the Texas Music Chart and are aspiring to break out of the local and regional scene and trying to go national by tapping into the talent Nashville has to offer. Longtime guitarist and vocalist Brandon Jackson has left the band on good terms to pursue music on his own and has been replaced just recently by former Clint Osmus & The Bushmills guitarist Cody Patton. Cody seemed like he was still trying to feel comfortable on stage with a new band and although he is not quite as flamboyant as Brandon the rest of the band is very happy with what he has brought so far. Cody will be a contributing musician on the new record slated for an early 2010 release. They played two new songs, all their familiar hits and even a cover of "Lightning Crashes" by Live. Click on the title to this post to view more photos.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Randy Rogers band @ Joe's

As a fan of Country music in general with more disdain for what Nashville is calling Country music these days (its not all bad, i just like mine with some substance and integrity) i began to search out other forms of Country music years ago. When i saw Dierks Bentley was sporting a T-shirt with the words "The Randy Rogers Band" on it i knew i could trust him to steer me in the right direction, after all he also is a proud owner of more than a few Cross Canadian Ragweed shirts. A Randy Rogers show is full of energy from the first note played and the crowd at Joe's is always enthusiastic to give feedback to fuel the fire.
Randy and the band are hardcore country music fans in the old tradition of Waylon and Willie as well as some of their contemporaries who either influence them or emulate them and lead guitarist Geoffrey Hill brings an alternative rock influence to the group. Randy reveres Texas song crafters such as Guy Clark and Radney Foster and he has had the honor of working with both (Radney also produced the last three discs) and quite a few more. Bass player and harmony vocalist (everyone in the band sings harmony) Jon Richardson writes also and usually contributes a few songs to each record. Anyone who has seen the band live knows what fiddle player Brady Black brings to the show, talking to Brady after the show he said he has been playing fiddle since about the age of twelve and out of curiosity i asked how old the fiddle is that he plays on stage he said it dates back to 1759.
The Randy Rogers Band's latest self titled release has been a huge hit for them but the time has come to begin working an a new album. The band played three new songs that have been coming together and beginning to take life as possible tracks on an upcoming new CD. The new songs "Interstate" and "Holding onto Letting Go" are getting more comfortable for them each time they play them and i really liked hearing them. I cant remember the name of the third song but i will update this when i get the info. All of them have some really great hooks and melodies. Click on the title of this post to view more photos.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Charlie Shafter & The Gnomes @ Joe's

Soon after the opening set by Ernie Hendrickson, Charlie Shafter and his band the Gnomes minus their drummer took the stage. From the first note he sings Charlie's voice stands out to me but it still has that rough edge to it most Texas singers seem to have. Although Charlie calls Texas home now he is originally from Illinois or at least that's what i have been told. Since Charlie's website states that he and the band are "four marginally educated ant farmers from Duluth, Minnesota" i don't know who to trust on that. I do know that i really like Charlie's latest album "17Th & Chicago" on Smith Entertainment records. If i had to describe his music i would say it is a cross between older Wilco and the mellower side of Dave Matthews with a little of The Band evident also and since Charlie has been known to cover a few songs by the band it seems that they are also an influence. Charlie Shafter & the Gnomes played to a crowd that was just starting to become assembled for the Randy Rogers band later that night and as the crowd became larger Charlie's music began to pick up in energy. Even though he did not have a drummer along which i am not sure why (he was not at the next show in Riverton, Illinois either) the sound was still full and rich with the help of Clayton Freeman on backing vocals and upright bass and rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist Adam Cline. Click on the title of this post to view more photos.