Category Archives: Pop and Rock

INTERVIEW: Little Feat’s Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett join Orleans & Friends at Tarrytown Music Hall Friday night

Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett (Photo by Emily Spires

Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett (Photo by Emily Spires

Throwback Thursday’s got nothing on Friday night’s lineup at Tarrytown Music Hall.

The acoustic duo of Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett of Little Feat, the legendary rootsy band that’s been going strong since 1969, opens the evening for New York’s own Orleans, which formed in Ithaca in 1972.

That’s four decades of rock ‘n roll!

These artists will be doing a string of shows together in the coming weeks.

The Music Hall gig is “the first show we’ve ever done with them,” Barrere tells Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? by phone from his Los Angeles-area home. “This’ll be an interesting soiree.”

“John Hall [Orleans’ frontman] and I have been swapping mp3s of different songs and stuff, and I think they’ll probably play a couple with us,” Barrere says. “Fred and I will do our usual acoustic opening set and we’ll get a little help on a couple of songs. And then they’ll do their set and we’ll probably jump in at the end of theirs. So it’ll be kinda cool.”

While the two acts haven’t played live together before, Barrere notes that he and Tackett share some history with Hall, who was a Democrat who represented the Hudson Valley’s 19th Congressional District from 2007 to 2011.

“John played on the original recording of [Little Feat’s] ‘All That You Dream,'” way back in 1910 or something like that,” Barrere says with a laugh.

Barrere and Tackett share a lot more history than that, though.

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Don’t miss Condo Fucks (you know who they are), Antietam and Speed the Plough at Cake Shop – with ticket link

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Don’t risk missing this show: Read through to the jump for a link to advance-sale tickets

Cake Shop is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month by hosting shows featuring artists who have played the tiny but influential underground (literally and figuratively) Lower East Side club during that decade.

While most Cake Shop shows, including the #CS10 anniversary specials, are pay-at-the-door affairs, it seems that management made a wise choice to provide advance sale tickets for the gig on Friday, May 22, featuring Condo Fucks, a “Connecticut” band whose fictional bio offers clues for the uninitiated:

Eschewing such Condo Fucks originals as ‘Fuckin’ Gary Sandy’ and ‘Let’s Get Rid Of New Haven’, the trio – Georgia Condo (drums), Kid Condo (guitar), and James McNew (bass) – instead tear through covers of The Small Faces, Richard Hell, Beach Boys, Electric Eels, Troggs, Flaming Groovies and Slade classics in the style that previously won them so much acclaim from the Nutmeg State’s music journalists and radio programmers all those years ago.

Still not sure who these musicians are? You haven’t been paying attention. So shame on you. Continue reading

Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born to Run': Born in Rockland

BorntorunIt’s been 40 years since Bruce Springsteen unleashed “Born to Run” on the world. Robert Brum of The Journal News/louhd.com talks to some of the people involved in the iconic recording’s creation at 914 Sound Studios in Blauvelt, a place, as Brum puts it, “away from the time and financial constraints of the New York City studios.”

Read Brum’s wonderful piece by tapping or clicking here. There’s also a photo gallery here and a video here and a sidebar about 914 Sound Studios here.

 

Sharon Van Etten has a new EP coming in June

Sharon Van Etten's new EP is titled "I Don't Want to Let You Down."

The cover of Sharon Van Etten’s upcoming  EP, “I Don’t Want to Let You Down.”

Sharon Van Etten‘s been touring her last album, “Are We There,” pretty steadily since its release almost a year ago. But it turns out she found some time along the way to do some recording, too.

The fruits of the Indie superstar’s off-the-road work will be ready for sampling on June 9, when her new EP drops. It’s a five-song collection called “I Don’t Want to Let You Down.”

No chance of that. Maybe you’ve heard the title tune at one of her shows, but if you  tap or click here, you can hear it again.

It’s a straight-ahead, classic Van Etten. And it’s definitely not going to let you down.

Pre-order it on iTunes or from all the usual sources via the links on her website.

 

 

 

 

 

How Facebook helped Porter Carroll Jr. launch his second act in music — with Hall & Oates

Porter Carroll Jr. (Photo by Michael Nelson For The Journal News)

Porter Carroll Jr. (Photo by Michael Nelson For The Journal News)

Drummer Porter Carroll Jr. and some classmates from Woodlands High School in Westchester County, New York, made a big mark in the music business with the band they started in 1970, before they graduated  — an act that evolved into the  R&B group Atlantic Starr.

After a decade and a half with the band behind hits like “Circles” and “Touch a Four-Leaf Clover,” Carroll struck out on his own as a solo artist, but quickly turned to songwriting. Eventually, tastes changed and that work dried up, leading Carroll to give up the music business – forever, or so he thought.

He went to work hawking haberdashery at Bloomingdale’s and then moved to a long-running gig  in advertising.

Like all good things, that came to an end — in a layoff that put Carroll on the unemployment line for quite awhile, until he got a completely unexpected Facebook message that landed him a gig with Hall & Oates, turning him into a rock ‘n’ roller at age 52.

Read my interview with Porter Carroll Jr. and learn the rest of his remarkable story by tapping or clicking here to visit lohud.com, or pick up a copy of Tuesday’s edition of The Journal News at your local newsstand in Westchester, Rockland, or Putnam county.

Speed the Plough takes over Union Hall next Friday

Speed the Plough at The Fifth Estate in Brooklyn. (© 2014, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Speed the Plough at The Fifth Estate in Brooklyn. (© 2014, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

It’s been almost a year since I’ve seen Speed the Plough play live. It’s not that the band hasn’t been playing — while STP doesn’t mount major tours, there have been several gigs in the area since that appearance in May at The Fifth Estate in Brooklyn. Scheduling just hasn’t worked out for me.

So I’m looking forward to seeing them at Brooklyn’s Union Hall on Friday, March 20 — and making sure the scheduling works out this time.

The New Jersey chamber pop family band will be joined by two other notable outfits: the indie super group Heroes of Toolik and Jersey-rooted Deena & the Laughing Boys.

STP and its rhythmic, classically informed pop has been part of my musical life for a long time. I can’t explain that much better than in did in a blurb I was honored to have included in the band’s 2014 retrospective album “The Plough & the Stars”:

In this crazy, uncertain world, there are precious few constants. Speed the Plough is one of them. I feel like I’ve known this band forever, even if I didn’t really discover it until 1996 … It may never displace death or taxes as one of life’s certainties, but the world is a better place with Speed the Plough giving those two a run for the money.

The lineup has changed considerably over the years, but Toni and John Baumgartner have been there all along. And there’s usually been a Demeski (first Feelies drummer Stan Demeski, whose wife Janet is John Baumgartner’s sister, and now their son John) and, for a time, another member of the Feelies, Brenda Sauter, and her husband, Rich Barnes.

Heroes of Toolik is a band that hasn’t been on my radar before, and I can’t imagine why, given its heritage. But it’s there now, for keeps, and should be on your radar, too. It has quite a heritage, drawing its notable members from a bunch of important indie bands: Arad Evans, on guitar and voice, has performed with avant garde icons Rhys Chatham and Glenn Branca; Peter Zummo, on trombone, with the Lounge Lizards; Ernie Brooks, on bass, was in the Modern Lovers; drummer Billy Ficca fropm Television and the Washington Squares; and fiddler Jennifer Coates from Jenny Get Around. The band’s sound has a lot in common with STP, as this clip demonstrates.

Deena Shoshkes is somebody I’ve been planning to write about for awhile. She may be best known as a founder of Eighties indie band the Cucumbers, which was a mainstay of the Hoboken scene centered on Maxwell’s. Her second solo album, “Rock River,” was released just last yea. It’s a delightful collection of 12 tunes  that continues the joyful, almost childlike sound that the Cucumbers created. For a sample of her latest album, tap or click here.

Doors open at 8 p.m., with the show starting at 8:30, on Friday, March 20, at Union Hall, 702 Union Street, Brooklyn. Admission is $10, with tickets available online by tapping or clicking here. Call 718-638-4400 or email info@unionhallny.com for more information.

Stew’s stoked about James Baldwin

Stew in the Harlem Stage theater, where his "Notes of a Native Song" premieres in June. (© 2015, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Stew in the Harlem Stage theater on March 11. His new show “Notes of a Native Song” premieres there in June. (© 2015, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

‘Passing Strange’ creator to challenge and honor author in Harlem Stage commission

Stew rarely takes the predictable route — at least in public.

So when the pop-song writer and founder of The Negro Problem ook the floor at Harlem Stage on Wednesday night for “Behind the Curtain: Stew,” a talk about his upcoming show in the beautiful Gatehouse theater, I had few expectations.

Would he talk? Would he offer a cynical take on “Notes of a Native Song,” the piece he’s creating as part of the Year of James Baldwin, which celebrates the 90th anniversary of his birth? Would he read from the show in progress? Would he perform some of the songs?

He did a little of most of those thing — with remarkable engagement and not a touch of cynicism.

The Gatehouse, a Romanesque Revival former water pumping station that's home to Harlem Stage. (© 2015, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

The Gatehouse, a Romanesque Revival former water pumping station that’s home to Harlem Stage. (© 2015, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Maybe the venue — in Harlem, in front of a crowd that seemed earnest and engaged, exhibiting little of the hipster affect often on display at the downtown and Brooklyn venues where Stew more often appears — had something to do with it.

But it was more than that.

“When artists talk, they, for the most part, lie,” Stew said at the outset of the evening.

I’m in no position to judge his truthfulness, but his presentation came across as warm, personable, and, honest, without a trace of pose or ennui. Stew appeared deeply engaged with his subject — his reaction to Baldwin, and Baldwin’s  relationship with mentor and impediment Richard Wright.

If the artist was lying, it was a beautiful lie.

Stew held forth with only his guitar to accompany him as he opened the program with his laugh-inducing song “Black Men Ski.” While it wasn’t clear that he intends to include that song in the June show, it set the tone for the fun to follow.

He performed four other songs and fragments that apparently are part of the show, at least as it stands at this point in its development. Based on lyrical fragments, I’ll dub the three fleshed-out numbers “Brave, Suffering, Beautiful,” “Me, and You, and Jimmy,” and “Don’t Pray for the Boy Preacher” (with music, he said, by his longtime collaborator Heidi Rodewald). The fourth, of which he sang just a fragment — with some help from the audience with a spaghetti Western backing vocalization — cast Baldwin and Wright as gunslingers at High Noon in “Paris town.”

Given Stew’s position as a Tony-winning writer of rock musicals and other musical plays, such as “Passing Strange,”  you might expect “Notes of a Native Song” will be another of those, given that it will have its premiere in a respected theater.

But, based on Stew’s description, that’s not the case. He said it’ll feature “some musicians” performing the songs with scripted rants between them, because he’s comfortable with the structure of a concert.

And don’t expect the “Ken Burns, PBS James Baldwin” in this show, either. Stew promises the unexpurgated Baldwin — a detail he underscored with his unrestrained language throughout the evening — including a declaration of love for speaking all of the names that used to label African Americans over the years.

Stew seems as engaged and exited by this project as anything I’ve seen him do in years. So by that measure, it’s a safe bet that “Notes of a Native Song” will be a gem.

Get your tickets now, because it’s a short run in a small theater (just 200 seats) and it will sell out quickly.

“Notes of a Native Song” will receive six performances (fours shows at 7:30 p.m., plus two 2 p.m. matinees) from Jun 3-7, at Harlem Stage, 150 Convent Avenue, Manhattan. Tickets for the show, featuring cabaret-style seating, are $55 and available by tapping or clicking here. Call 212-281-9240 or tap or click here for more information Harlem Stage and its offerings.