Category Archives: Blues

Americanarama Festival of Music: Bob Dylan, Wilco and My Morning Jacket in Bridgeport, Conn.

Bob Dylan at the Webster Bank Arena, Bridgeport, Conn., on July 19, 2013.(Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Bob Dylan gets sassy on the harmonica. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Nothing compares to your first time

When Bob Dylan hit the stage of the Webster Bank Arena on Friday night, July 19, I reached a major milestone.

It was my first time seeing the legend perform live.

Yes, you might think that given the underlying theme of this blog, I would have seen him before — probably many times.

Bob Dylan at the Webster Bank Arena, Bridgeport, Conn., on July 19, 2013.(Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Bob Dylan spent plenty of time playing the grand piano. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Sure, I treasure his music. I have many of his albums. A friend and neighbor of mine managed him once, way back before Albert Grossman hooked up with him.

But Dylan was playing arenas by the time I learned to care about him. And I just don’t like arena shows, the distance, the impersonality, the commercialism.

But when I saw the lineup for this summer’s touring Americanarama Festival of Music, I decided it was time to make an exception so that I could finally see Dylan. I figured that even if Bob was awful, I’d be able to cross him off my bucket list and still get plenty of value out of Wilco and My Morning Jacket. Continue reading

Jon Langford and a Maxwell’s memory lapse

The Jon Langford Threesome, from left, at Maxwell's: Tony Maimone, Steve Goulding, Jon Langford. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

The Jon Langford Threesome, from left, at Maxwell’s: Tony Maimone, Steve Goulding, Jon Langford. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Jon Langford looked truly puzzled on the stage of Maxwell’s.

The Jon Langford Threesome's set list at Maxwell's. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

The Jon Langford Threesome’s set list at Maxwell’s. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

The Welsh-born rocker has played at the Hoboken, N.J., club many times — “37 1/2… the half because tonight’s not done yet” — over the years in many bands, from the Mekons to the Three Johns.

On Tuesday, July 9, his show was billed as “Jon Langford’s Threesome feat. Tony Maimone and Steve Goulding performing Mekons, Waco Bros. and Jon Langford songs from throughout the centuries

“Did the Waco Brothers ever play here,” he asked, during a portion of the set where his cranked out several of that band’s best-loved tunes.

“Three times!” came the cry from the crowd.

The crowd gathers in the back room at Maxwell's for the Jon Langford Threesome. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

The crowd gathers in the back room at Maxwell’s for the Jon Langford Threesome. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

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The Dough Rollers defy expectations at Brooklyn Bowl

The Dough Rollers, Brooklyn Bowl, June 26, 2013, © 2013, Steven P. Marsh

The Dough Rollers perform at Brooklyn Bowl on June 26, 2013. (Photos © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

We don’t mind change. We may grow to love a band’s sound, but if it never evolves, a band can quickly becomes a parody of itself.

The Dough Rollers started off in 2008 as a high-concept conceit cooked up by two celebrity kids. Malcolm Ford (son of Harrison Ford) and Jack Byrne (son of Gabriel Byrne and Ellen Barkin) bonded over the love of old blues music, and started playing together. Their act — two guys in sharp, retro outfits, hair slicked back, etc. — tried to replicate the classic sound of the blues. While the two of them were the core of the group, they often had fiddle-vocalist Julia Tepper as a co-conspirator. (She joined them on their first, and so far only, album, the self-titled disc.)

The Dough Rollers in their earlier incarnation at The Bell House in Brooklyn, April 24, 2010. (Photo © 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

The Dough Rollers in their earlier incarnation at The Bell House in Brooklyn, April 24, 2010. (Photo © 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Few acts could sustain the conceit. Leon Redbone is the only one that springs to mind at the moment, and his whole performing life is in character.

Click through to the jump for more photos and info. Continue reading

Ticket price for Wilco’s 2013 Solid Sound Festival increases $25 on March 11

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You have less than a week to buy your weekend passes to this great festival before the price goes up

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? has told you before, and is taking this opportunity to tell you again: Solid Sound, Wilco’s music and arts festival at MASS MoCA is one of the best music festivals ever. We’ve attended the first two editions and have no intention of missing V3 this year — on June 21-23 at the museum in North Adams, Mass.

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Take a trip through time in Greenwich Village tonight

New documentary explores the rich history of the fabulous Greenwich Village folk music scene

Rockland County resident Terri Thal and other people in the film to appear for panel discussion at tonight’s 7:25 screening at Manhattan’s IFC Center

Happy New Year. We’ve been meaning to write, but we’ve been busy. But today we have some news we just had to share.

The documentary “Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation” has been quietly making the rounds of film festivals. Some of you probably have heard some word-of-mouth, got a chance to catch it at DOC NYC 2012 or at least have seen the trailer.

Terri Thal, right, with singer Terre Roche at the 2010 Gerdes Folk City Reunion. (Photos 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Terri Thal, right, with singer Terre Roche at the 2010 Gerdes Folk City Reunion. (Photos © 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

We’ve only seen the trailer. It’s hard to tell from the clips alone how well the feature-length film really tells the fascinating story of the unique cultural, political and geographical elements nurtured so much talent. But the rare footage and new interviews — among the subjects are Pete Seeger, Judy Collins, Kris Kristofferson, Tom Chapin, Lucy and Carly Simon, Oscar Brand, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Ian Tyson, Eric Andersen, Israel Horovitz, Jose Feliciano, Kenny White, Sonny Ochs, Sylvia Tyson, Pete FornataleHappy Traum and John Sebastian —  alone are surely worth the price of admission to anyone who’s interested in the time and place.

Sylvia Tyson at the 2010 Folk City Reunion.

Sylvia Tyson at the 2010 Folk City Reunion.

The film has begun a six-screenings-a-day run through next Thursday, Jan. 24, at IFC Center, 323 Sixth Avenue at West Third Street in Manhattan. Click here for schedule, ticketing and information about the theater. Tickets are $13.50 for adults, $9.50 for children and senior citizens, and $8.50 for IFC Center members.

But tonight only, at the 7:25 screening, some of the people you’ll see on screen

Happy Traum at the 2010 Folk City Reunion.

Happy Traum at the 2010 Folk City Reunion.

will appear in person to participate in a panel discussion. Musicians Traum, Doug Yeager and David Amram and radio personality Brand are scheduled to appear.

Terri Thal —  known in Rockland County as a longtime defender and protector of history and the environment as an officer  of the West Branch Conservation Association — who played an integral, nonperforming, role in the fertile musical scene.

Tom Rush celebrates a half century onstage

Performs with many old friends in a sold-out ‘Club 47’ show at Boston Symphony Hall tonight

Watch starting at 7:30 tonight on Livestream (link after the jump)

Tom Rush (Photo by Michael Wiseman).

It’s hard to believe that singer Tom Rushhas been performing since 1962, but the calendar doesn’t lie.

Tom Rush onstage in 1962. (Photo by Jim Eng)

Tonight he’s marking the milestone with an intimate gathering at a little place in Boston – not far from his old stomping grounds at Club 47 in Cambridge – called Symphony Hall.

It’s a venue where Tom has held forth with his friends many times over the years. It can hold upwards of 2,600 people. Not bad for an old folkie to sell out a joint like that.

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? is planning to make the trek to Boston for this incredibly special show.

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Holy huaraches, El Vez brings his Mex-Mas cheer to town tonight!

El Vez: This is not what we had in mind for the Yule Log!

Talk about short notice!

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? just realized this morning that Mex-Mas is upon us. December chill is in the air, and the scent of corn tortillas baking on the stone is everywhere, along with bags of oranges in red plastic stockings.

And you know what else Mex-Mas brings:

A visit from the one, the only El Vez (aka The Mexican Elvis).

That visit for New Yorkers is tonight (Wednesday, Dec. 5)  at Littlefield, 622 DeGraw St., Brooklyn. Tickets are $20 and available by clicking this link.

Doors are at 8 p.m. Comedian Jessica Delfino opens, followed by Corn Mo. And then, at 9:45, Mex-Mas will arrive!

Sorry for the late notice, but El Vez didn’t keep us posted on his tour dates this year. El Vez has done an annual Merry Mex-Mas tour for a long time. (El Vez 4 Prez is is other specialty, but that’s really only every four years.) Continue reading

Tickets for Wilco’s Solid Sound music and arts festival on sale now

A view of the Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA.

A view of the Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA.

First-rate festival returns after a one-year absence

We felt a void this year. After staging the Solid Sound Festival for two years in a row on the campus of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, Mass., Wilco decided to skip 2012.

It was disappointing. But that makes today’s news all the more delicious.

I suppose it’s no surprise. The fantastic three-day event requires an enormous amount of planning and commitment from every member of the band and it support staff. And while I’m sure the band didn’t lose money on the festival, it’s unlikely that it was a huge moneymaker, either.

Wilco perfoms on the main stage in Joe's Field at MASS MoCA.

Wilco perfoms on the main stage in Joe’s Field at MASS MoCA.

Wilco promised to return to the beautiful Berkshires in 2013, and the band is keeping that promise. “Early Worm” tickets for next year’s festival — running from June 21-23 — are available right now.

Those tickets are just $99, and well worth it. Click here to get tickets now.

Once they’re sold out, a limited number of “Early Bird” tickets will be available for $124 — still a relative bargain.

If you wait too long, you’ll have to settle for the $149 regular three-day passes.

Solid Sound is a family friendly event, with three-day passes for children ages 7-10 priced at a mere $50, while kids 6 and under are free.

If you can’t go all three days, or think you won’t want to (bad idea, in our opinion), there will be a limited number of one-day passes.

The festival promises two headlining Wilco sets on a fabulous field next to the factory complex that houses MASS MoCA. Wilco side projects and bands and comedians curated by Wilco members also will perform. You can also count on art installations, probably some films, and definitely a lot of great food and drink. Plus, in the past there have been pop-up stores, a coffee shop imported from Chicago, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy in a charity dunk tank and falconry demonstration.

Oh, and we shouldn’t forget about access to the amazing exhibitions in the museum itself. The people who run the museum are fully invested in this festival — they’re not just renting the space out to the band.

The first two editions featured acts such as Mavis Staples, Levon Helm (RIP), Mountain Man, Thurston Moore, The Books, Syl Johnson, The Handsome Family, The Baseball Project, Here We Go Magic, Autumn Defense and many more.

While the 2013 lineup won’t be finalized for quite awhile, we guarantee this will be a great festival for anybody who likes Wilco.

You don’t need to be a super-fan to enjoy this festival. Jeff Tweedy and the other members of Wilco have diverse tastes in music and art, and all of those tastes have been on display in previous editions of the festival.

Camping and transportation from New York City and Boston is also available.

Scenes from a fund-raiser: Benefit for Lucinda’s Kids, Night 1

The first night of the two-night Benefit for Lucinda’s Kids was a great night of almost 7 hours of entertainment on Sunday, April 29 at The Bowery Electric, with a great crowd and a fantastic lineup of artists, including Marah, Jesse Malin, Jimmy Gnecco, Willie Nile (who almost missed the show because of a delayed flight from Chicago), Jim Boggia, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Michelle Casillas (Ursa Minor), Mystie and more. As of Sunday night, there were still tickets left for the second night of the benefit to raise money for the trust fund that will benefit the two teenagers left behind when their mom, super music fan Lucinda Gallagher, committed suicide last December.

Here’s the Monday lineup.

Monday, April 30, doors at 7 p.m.
Tommy Stinson (The Replacements)
HR (Bad Brains)
Alan Vega (Suicide)
James Maddock
Aaron Lee Tasjan

Tickets are $20 and available here.

And here’s what you missed on Sunday.

Jesse Malin

Many, many more photos after the jump.
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Where Marah is headed now

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Marah: Dave Bielanko and Christine Smith perform an acoustic number mid-crowd at the Benefit for Lucinda's Kids at The Bowery Electric in Manhattan's East Village on Sunday, April 29. (Photo © 2012, Steven P. Marsh)

Dave Bielanko and Christine Smith talk about Mountain Minstrelsy, living (almost) off the grid and whether Serge Bielanko will rejoin Marah

How many lives has the rock band Marah had?

It’s hard to say, but it’s one of those bands that has survived surviving changing lineups, internal strife, and wildly fluctuating stylistic directions, all the while being encouraged and praised by celebrities.

Marah with flugelhorn at The Bowery Electric on April 29. (Photo © 2012, Steven P. Marsh)

Started in Philadelphia, Marah quickly became notable for the stage antics of its core duo, brothers Dave and Serge Bielanko from Philadelphia suburb Conshohocken. They had a loose but seemingly perfectly choreographed stage presence together. Their sound, early on, featured rootsy, Americana-flavored rock and roll with a particular treat for anyone who has an affinity for Philadelphia: jangling banjos played in the style of Philadelphia Mummers Parade string bands.

A band version of Marah at Bowery Electric in 2010. (Photo © 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

This is a band that novelist Stephen King in 2005 dubbed probably the best rock band in America that nobody knows.” They’ve also been the darlings of writers Nick Hornby (who did a tour with the band) and Sarah Vowell.

It’s a band that became pals with Bruce Springsteen and got him to sing and play on one of their albums. And Steve Earle liked them enough to add them to the roster of his now defunct record label.

It’s also a band whose list of former members on Wikipedia at this writing tops out at 20 — a lot for the 19-year-old a band, which generally has performed as a quartet or quintet.

In working there, they’ve discovered something magical, something that has returned the band to its roots in a way, and turned it in a new direction in another way.

Dave and Christine are working with a handful of local musicians in their Pennsylvania hideaway on a project they call Mountain Minstrelsy. (Check it out on Facebook, too.) They’re holed up in an old church that they’re using as a recording studio.

Basically, one of their musical pals in Pennsylvania showed them a book of collected lyrics, “Mountain Minstrelsy (as sung in the Backwoods Settlements, Hunting Cabins and Lumber Camps in the “Black Forest” of Pennsylvania, 1840 – 1923)” by Henry W. Shoemaker. It struck a chord, literally and figuratively, with Dave and Christine, so they set out to build an album around their new music for the found lyrics. They’ve been recording the new-old songs with some of their friends and neighbors for an album they hope to release late this year.

After the jump, read the full interview, plus a video of Dave, Christine and friends in a Mountain Minstrelsy rehearsal.

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