Monthly Archives: May 2014

Julia Wolfe’s ‘Anthracite Fields’ takes coal mining personally

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It’s hard to believe that the Bang on a Can All -Stars haven’t performed on a New York Philharmonic bill before.

But Friday night’s New York premiere of a work by Bang on a Can cofounder Julia Wolfe was the stellar New Music sextet’s debut.

And what a way to start!

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Sharon Van Etten asks: Are We There?

Sharon Van Etten (Photo by Dusdin Condren)

Sharon Van Etten (Photo by Dusdin Condren)

On her new album, “Are We There,” Sharon Van Etten asks a question — though her designer left off the question mark — whose answer depends very much on who you’re asking.

I’ve been having a debate with someone about Sharon that demonstrates that there’s no clear answer to the question.

My debate partner thinks Sharon, whose first album, 2009’s Because I Was in Love,  was a fairly stripped-down, singer-songwriter affair, has exhibited an increasing tendency to lean too heavily on studio tricks and production techniques, burying her voice, obscuring her lyrics, and seriously undercutting the impact of her songs. And her first impression of the new album is that it continues in that vein.

I had similar reservations at first, but now, after listening to Are We There a dozen times, I think that Sharon may have f0und her sweet spot.

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Exclusive Interview: The Feelies’ Glenn Mercer and director Jonathan Demme talk about ‘Something Wild’

The Feelies in Jonathan Demme's "Something Wild."

The Feelies in Jonathan Demme’s “Something Wild.”

Glenn Mercer of The Feelies and director Jonathan Demme did me the honor of talking to me about the special bond between the band and the filmmaker ahead of Sunday’s special screening of Demme’s cult classic movie “Something Wild,” which features The Feelies as a high school reunion band. Please tap or click here to READ THE INTERVIEW on lohud.com.

Here’s how it’s promoted on the front page of the Thursday edition of  The Journal News of White Plains, N.Y.:

Demme

 

Jonathan Demme (Photo by Bob Vergara)

Jonathan Demme (Photo by Bob Vergara)

The movie is being screened at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday as part of “Something Wild: The Films of Jonathan Demme,” a festival honoring the Rockland County-based director at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, N.Y.

The Sunday show is going to be extra special, though, because The Feelies,  a band that’s a special favorite of Demme’s, will be playing a set after the movie. It should be a wild evening.

Tickets for the special Sunday show are  $30 for nonmembers, and are available online here.  More information and directions to the Jacob Burns Film Center, 364 Manville Rd., Pleasantville, tap or click here.

 

It must be the apocalypse: The Wrens (2 of them, anyway) are doing a show!

The Wrens at The Bell House.  (Photos © 2009, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

The Wrens at The Bell House. (Photos © 2009, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

It’s been more than 10 years since The Wrens released the great “Meadowlands” album — which seems only right given the band’s tagline:”Keeping Folks Waiting Since 1989.”

But Charles “Pedal Boy” Bissell is deep into production on the followup album, and promises it’s nearly finished.

Kevin Whelan and Charles Bissell of The Wrens at The Bell House.  (Photos © 2009, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Kevin Whelan and Charles Bissell of The Wrens at The Bell House. (Photos © 2009, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

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Tammy Faye Starlite’s ‘Broken English’ speaks volumes

Tammy Faye Starlite channels Marianne Faithfull at Joe's Pub. (Photo © 2014 Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Tammy Faye Starlite channels Marianne Faithfull at Joe’s Pub on May 13, 2014. (Photo © 2014 Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Who is Tammy Faye Starlite, really?

I’m  sure I don’t know — aside from the fact that she’s also known as Tammy Lang.

While I’ve seen her out and about and out of character in public, I’ve never really interacted her when she’s not playing a role.

She’s a talented singer — and a very good judge of musical talent, based on the people she gets to play in her various bands, especially drummers, who’ve included Pete Thomas, Ron Metz, and Dennis Diken  — who seems to have chosen a very challenging career path. Continue reading

The Feelies perform on the silver screen and live in Westchester County

The Feeles perform as The Willies in Jonathan Demme's 1986 movie "Something Wild."

The Feelies perform as The Willies in Jonathan Demme’s 1986 movie “Something Wild.”

Music and film fans will get a rare opportunity to see some time travel at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, N.Y., on Sunday, June 1, when The Feelies take the stage.

The band is booked at the celebrated film center as part of “Something Wild: The Films of Jonathan Demme,” a festival that runs through June 11 to celebrate the director (and longtime Feelies fan) of “Something Wild,” “Stop Making Sense,” “Storefront Hitchcock,” “Rachel Getting Married,” “Philadelphia,” and many, many more.

The Feelies are taking the stage after a screening of Demme’s dark 1986 romcom (did that conflation even exist back then?) “Something Wild.” The truly wacky movie about two good-hearted, but not exactly honest, people (Melanie Griffith and Jeff Daniels) searching for truth and love, features The Feelies (playing The Willies in the movie), along with a superbly curated soundtrack of pop songs from the era. Continue reading

Riding in The General took Tom Wopat far beyond Hazzard County

Tom Wopat brings his vast songbook to Rockwells in Pelham, N.Y., on Friday night. (Handout photo)

Tom Wopat brings his vast songbook to Rockwells in Pelham, N.Y., on Friday night. (Handout photo)

‘Dukes of Hazzard’ star will show off his vocal chops at Rockwells in Pelham Friday night, May 9

It’s difficult to hear Tom Wopat’s name without thinking of “The Dukes of Hazzard,” the hit TV show that made the dark-haired Wisconsin native and his blond co-star John Schneider pin-up boys for teens for years.

Find out what Wopat’s has to say about his days in The General and where his career has taken him since then in my interview with him for The Journal News/lohud.com. Check it out online now by tapping or clicking here. To see it in print, pick up a copy of The Journal News on Friday.