Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Finally Texas, i get to meet you.

This Thursday morning i am leaving Michigan for Texas. I am driving straight to Austin just in time to help out Dave Lytle by shooting the Lonestar State Jam in Waterloo park. Then i will be riding on a tour bus with a band that was high in the Rockies (allegedly) and i will be in Waco at the Hogcreek Icehouse for a benefit organized by family and friends of Paige Corbell who suddenly left us last October. A non profit charity has been started in her name because Paige was an organ donor who ultimately because of that saved or enriched the lives of seven more people through the gift of organ donor ship. The fantastic line up was put together by a handful of people and and the bands and musicians and crews that are donating their time and talent to this great cause can not be under valued. It will be an emotional time but hopefully a lot of good will come as a result of signing up as many people in attendance as possible to pass on the gift of life through becoming an organ donor. I signed up at my local Secretary of State office today.
After the show in Waco i will find my way back to Austin and then to New Braunfels for a few days of just relaxing and hopefully meeting up with friends before deciding what to do next, i have an invite from a rep to tour the Shiner brewery so that's a possibility but i am planning on going to Billy Bob's the 30th of May for Wade Bowen's "Live at Billy Bob's" CD/DVD release.
After that i may hang around in the Fort Worth area a few days and then make my way home stopping for the night in little ole Diamond Missouri for the Cory Morrow and Sean McConnell show at Lucky Maggies, i have been excited about visiting this place since i heard about the Meffords opening the place a while back and they sure haven't wasted any time getting the best talent in there.
After that i will be heading back to Joe's for the Roger Creager & Luke Bryan show on May 9th and then i'm hoping to catch the Ray Wylie Hubbard show at Schubas in Chicago before heading for home back here in Michigan.
Hope to meet plenty of friends and make some new ones. Please click on the title of this post for more information about the Turn the Paige foundation benefit.
Looks like i will going to the Bowen Classic too since its also at the Hogcreek Icehouse May 2nd.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cross Canadian Ragweed @ The Majestic

Since we were already half way to Madison when we were in Chicago for the Reckless Kelly show we decided to make the weekend even better by driving up to the Majestic theater to catch the Ragweed show since i don't think i will be seeing them when i am in Texas.
The Majestic is a theater that seems extremely tiny but i was told it can hold around six hundred people and it was packed wall to wall and sold out very quickly. The rowdy crowd was revved up and partying and a few got out of hand prompting Cody to say a few words and i saw the police haul away at least one drunk fan outside the venue. That's not at all surprising for a ragweed show, its rock & roll and its messy and it should be.
We got into downtown Madison early enough to catch some of the sound check, talk with Nathan about the photo pass they set me up with and say hi to Cody and Jeremy before we went across the street to one of my favorite breweries in Madison, The Great Dane on Doty street near the state capitol.
Local musicians from Madison, The Mighty Short Bus opened the show with there heavy hitting straight up rock ala Led Zeppelin and the Black Crowes and then Cross Canadian Ragweed came out to a well primed crowd. The trip was made even more worth while after the show when we got to hang out with Ragweed & crew after the show again at the Great Dane and we all had a great time. Finally got to try out this Texas style BBQ place called Smoque that i keep hearing about in Chicago and they had the best brisket ive ever had yet making for a perfect weekend.

Reckless Kelly @ Joe's bar

Reckless Kelly calls Austin Texas its home base these days but the brothers Braun, Cody and Willy went back to their Idaho roots when they recorded their latest album "Somewhere in Time" on YepRoc Records. The band chose to record an album of songs written and recorded by an old family friend named Pinto Bennett. Willy and Cody grew up hearing these songs in and around Stanley Idaho and knew years ago that someday they would try to record their fellow statesman's great story telling songs. When the album came out back in February i was really impressed with the quality of these songs written originally by someone i had never heard of and i had to go back and listen to Pinto's versions that were recorded mostly in the Eighties which if you grew up during that time then you -know that real honkytonk and stone country wasn't heard on the radio and sadly things haven't changed much. Pinto never caught on here in the states but he was a big star in Europe and toured with Waylon and Willie for years. He almost always wrote about real life experiences and people he knew or met. Songs like "Apple Blossom" with its hard core lyrics are balanced on record with songs like "I've done everything i could do wrong" and its wry sense of humor.
Reckless Kelly played about four songs from the new album and dug deep into their catalog going all the way back to the "Millican" days.Austin's Sarah Pierce opened the show once again at Joe's for Reckless Kelly and her music and band sounded better than ever and if you get a chance to see her you won't be disappointed especially if you like well written story telling songs with a classic country sound. Her husband and manager Merel Bregante and the rest of her band have solid experience as world class musicians having worked with the best and Cody & Willy joined them on stage for a song during their set.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Phil Vassar @ Joe's bar.

Friday night April 9Th was the first of two scheduled shows and the one i went to. Anyone who reads what i write here on a regular basis knows that i prefer music from Texas over Nashville so i was a bit skeptical about seeing a mainstream Nashville country artists who lugs a grand piano to every show. Now i would recommend anyone who gets a chance to see Phil in concert not to miss it.
After a short acoustic opening set by last season's CMT "Can you Duet" contestants O'Shea opened the show the stage was rearranged for Phil and his band.
O'Shea is a group i really don't know much about except that they are husband and wife and are from Australia where they have had success as songwriters in their country as well as Europe.
Seeing Phil upstairs before the show i could tell he was full of energy and he never let up, i don't know how he does it especially with another sold out night the next day.Phil started things off with "Life" off his latest album "Traveling Circus" on which Phil decided to use his own touring band on the record for the first time. Obviously these guys were talented enough for him to go that route, and obviously they have been with Phil for a long time and they sure have fun on stage and off. Phil's boundless energy never let up and he kept the crowd involved throughout the show by engaging them face to face, borrowing a video camera from his crew and standing on top of his piano. He also surprised me by leaving the stage, running upstairs to the VIP area and tapping me on the shoulder while i was talking to Kyle, Joe's production guy and then running back to the stage to finish the song.
Phil continued to run through his hits like "American Child" and "In a Real Love" and also "Another Day in Paradise" and many more plus he also performed a medley of songs from the 70's and 80's that his band had a fun time performing. I had a great time hanging out with some of the Shiner beer reps from Illinois and San Antonio and Phil was kind enough to pose for a few photos with us. Click here for more photos of the show.