Category Archives: Pop and Rock

Donovan’s ‘Mellow Yellow’ sound comes to Peeksill on Suday

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Whether you were around in the Sixties, or even if you were born years later, you have head the psychedelic folk-rock stylings of Donovan, whose greatest hits include “Sunshine Superman,” “Hurdy Gurdy Man,” and “Mellow Yellow.”

On Sunday, Sept. 18, the 70-year-old Scotland-born singer-songwriter brings his 50th anniversary tour to the Paramount Hudson Valley Theater in Peekskill.

In an interview for The Journal News/lohud.com tied to his first-ever Westchester County gig, Donovan tells me he’s still going strong doing creative work he loves – and has no intention of stopping.

“I love making music and I do it every day… I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop doing that. In that way, my motivations haven’t changed at all. I’m an observer and my music is a commentary on life. I love that job.”

FOR TICKET INFORMATION AND TO READ THE FULL INTERVIEW, GO HERE

 

 

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Speed the Plough putting on a not-to-be-missed show Saturday night

cdcposterIf you are within driving distance of Cranford, New Jersey, on Saturday night, Sept. 17, get yourself to the Cranford Dramatic Club theater to hear Speed the Plough, one of the best bands to come out of the extended family of The Feelies, and some other musical friends.

The North Haledon-based band is a little out of its element, and its home turf, at the Cranford playhouse that traditionally hosts theater rather than music.

“It’s a bit of a special endeavor,” says Toni Baumgartner, Speed the Plough’s flute player and one of its singers. “Like Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland, we’re putting on a show” at an old theater… This is kind of a first for them: An evening of music with no drama. We’re aiming for an intimate, café-style setting.”

While Speed the Plough’s beautiful chamber pop — featuring John Bamugartner on keyboards, Mike Baumgartner and Ed Seifert on guitars, Cindi Merklee on bass, and John Demeski on drums along with Toni Baumgartner — tops the bill, the other acts are well worth the price of admission.

The Songs of Winter Hours is a band led by Bob Perry, an original member of Lyndhurst, New Jersey, -based Winter Hours, that aims to keep alive the music of a great New Jersey alternative rock band.

Winter Hours, which included the late guitarist Michael Carlucci — the onetime owner of New York City’s Subterranean Records and CDs and also a member of indie supergroup East of Venus, another Feelies-related band whose debut album was completed shortly before Carlucci died —  had plenty of regional success from 1984 to 1991.

The Songs of Winter Hours features Perry on guitar and lead vocals, Ray Nissen on bass, James Higgins on guitar, Chris O’Hara on drums, and Paul Moschella on percussion. Joseph Marques, who was a songwriter and the band’s lead singer, died in 2003.

The first artist on the bill is Edward Rogers, a Britain-born, New  York City-based singer-songwriter. His new album “Glass Marbles” was released on Zip Records in March to rave reviews.

 

IF YOU GO

What: Speed the Plough, The Songs of Winter Hours, and Edward Rogers in concert

When: 8 p.m., (7 p.m. doors) Saturday, Sept. 17

Where: The CDC Theatre, 78 Winans Avenue, Cranford, NJ

Tickets: $15 online (GO HERE TO BUY)  or at the door. Includes a glass of wine or a beer.

 

 

Rockland County honors Bruce Springsteen’s local legacy Thursday evening

Bruce Springsteen (DoD News Features)

Bruce Springsteen (DoD News Features)

You may have forgotten — or maybe never knew — that some of Bruce Springsteen’s distinctly New Jersey-oriented tunes were actually recorded in Rockland County, that tiny part of New York State just north of the Garden State line and west of the Tappan Zee Bridge.

He recorded his albums “The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle” and “Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.” — as well as the title track of his breakthrough third studio album, “Born to Run” — at the former 914 Sound Studios in Blauvelt, New York.

The Blauvelt Auto Spa May 5, 2015. Bruce Springsteen

The Blauvelt Auto Spa May 5, 2015. Bruce Springsteen recorded “Born to Run” in the building 40 years ago, when it was the 914 Sound Studios. (Photo: Peter Carr/The Journal News)

At 6 p.m. today, there’s a ceremony at the site — now an auto spa — where a historical marker will be installed. It’s being followed by a concert by Joe Delia, a keyboardist/composer who has played with Springsteen.  Rockland-born guitarist/songwriter Joe D’Urso and other guests will also be on the bill.

The event starts at 6 p.m. at the Blauvelt Coach Diner, 587 Route 303, Blauvelt.

It’s free. But get there early, because while the dedication ceremony should have plenty of room for anybody who shows up, fewer than 200 will be able to enter the diner for the concert afterward. But don’t fret if you can’t get in. Organizers say the overflow crowd will be able to listen in on speakers set up outside.

My buddy Robert Brum from The Journal News/lohud.com has played a big role in making this historical event a reality. He’s written extensively, and lyrically, about the history. Click here to read Brum’s beautifully written and presented piece about the roots of Springsteen’s song on its 40th anniversary.

Brum also wrote about the campaign for the historical marker. Go here to read that.

 

 

Last Minute Music: Eisa Davis performs new songs at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater tonight (Video)

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You may remember Eisa Davis from “Passing Strange,” where I first encountered her.

But if it strains your brain to reach back that far, and you watch TV, you’ll recognize her from her roles in “House of Cards” and “Blindspot” or her many guest appearances on other popular shows, including “Gotham,” “The Blacklist,” “The Wire,” “The Good Wife,” and many others. 

She’s not just an actor. She’s also a writer, composer, and singer.

She wrote a musical play called “Angela’s Mixtape,” an exploration of family dynamics titled in honor of her aunt, Angela Davis.

Yes, THAT Angela Davis.

Eisa Davis

Eisa Davis

She’s appearingat 8 p.m. Tuesday,  Aug. 2, in the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater series “New Songs Now,” sharing the bill with Zoe Sarnak, in a program of new songs, conversation anda bit of drinking.

She’s a good, charming singer and performer with magnetic stage presence. It should be a great way to spend a couple of hours on a Tuesday evening. 

This is the third in a series of five shows in the Manhattan theater’s unplugged summer concert series. Each features two songwriters who share songs in progress and conversationfollowed by an audience talkback.
Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 on day of show, and include one drink. Go HERE to buy online or call 866-812-4111 or 212-627-2556.

Rattlestick is located at 224 Waverly Place.  

 

Imagine if Philip Glass had produced The Feelies’ first album

The Feelies celebrate their 40th anniversary at The Woodland in Maplewood, New Jersey. (Copyright 2016, Steven P. Marsh/www.willyoumissme.com)

The Feelies celebrate their 40th anniversary at The Woodland in Maplewood, New Jersey. (Copyright 2016, Steven P. Marsh/www.willyoumissme.com)

The Feelies co-founder Bill Million reminds us of an obscure fact about negotiations for the iconic New Jersey band’s first album, “Crazy Rhythms,” that could have changed its history:

“We turned down a lot of major labels because they wanted to bring in a producer to work with us. One of ’em was Philip Glass, and Glenn and I went to meet him. After a while he looked at us and said, ‘Well, you guys sound like you know exactly what you want, you don’t need me.’ So it was cool meeting Philip Glass.”

The band was influenced by the drones and repetition of the musical Minimalists on the scene at the time, 40 years ago, with Glass and Steve Reich at the top of the list. But imagine what having Glass himself behind the board could have done to the songs of Million and co-founder Glenn Mercer.

It’s great to learn that Glass recognized their talents and declined to get in their way.

GO HERE to read the full Flood interview. 

Sharon Van Etten’s return to college takes a detour

Fred Armisen and Sharon Van Etten at the Vulture Festival in Manhattan on May 22, 2016. (Photo © 2016, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Fred Armisen and Sharon Van Etten at the Vulture Festival in Manhattan on May 22, 2016. (Photo © 2016, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

If you thought Sharon Van Etten‘s return to college in February would take her out of the public eye for awhile, think again.

Sharon’s collegiate redux lasted about two weeks before she got an offer she couldn’t refuse, she revealed the other day: an audition for a role on a TV show.

Sharon Van Etten at the Vulture Festival in Manhattan on May 22, 2016. (Photo © 2016, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Sharon Van Etten at the Vulture Festival in Manhattan on May 22, 2016. (Photo © 2016, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

She talked about  the detour in her plans for a post-music career in clinical psychology at the Vulture Festival in Manhattan Sunday, during a morning jam session with comedian-musician Fred Armisen.

“Somebody told me they thought I’d be perfect for this part, so I auditioned and got it,” she told the group in response to our question about what the college experience was like for her.

She said she couldn’t talk about the show, but it’s been widely reported that she’s one of a number of rock musicians — along with Eddie Vedder, Trent Reznor, Sky Ferreira — tapped to appear in the Showtime reboot of David Lynch’s cult series “Twin Peaks.”

Fred Armisen and Sharon Van Etten walk through the crowd, chatting, at the Vulture Festival in Manhattan on May 22, 2016. (Photo © 2016, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Fred Armisen and Sharon Van Etten walk through the crowd, chatting, at the Vulture Festival in Manhattan on May 22, 2016. (Photo © 2016, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

She revealed in her self-effacing way that the experience taught her she’s a terrible actor — though I’ll wait for the onscreen evidence before going along with her assessment.

With her TV work finished , Sharon says she’s going to return to school in August.

Sharon Van Etten at the Vulture Festival in Manhattan on May 22, 2016. (Photo © 2016, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Sharon Van Etten at the Vulture Festival in Manhattan on May 22, 2016. (Photo © 2016, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

“They’ve been very nice about it,” she said of the officials at the New York City college where she is enrolled. (After the jam session, she told me the name of the school, but I’m withholding that information out of respect for her privacy.)

The 35–year-old native of Clinton, New Jersey, tried the standard college routine right after high school, enrolling at Middle Tennessee State University to study music production. That didn’t work out.

“I didn’t like it,” she told the Vulture crowd.  So she dropped out, got a job at a music venue in Murfreesboro, and stayed in Tennessee for five years, working on her music.

Now, it seems, she’s ready to take another path and build a backup plan for her life after music. With any luck at all, the talented performer and songwriter will never need to use it.

Fred Armisen and Sharon Van Etten at the Vulture Festival in Manhattan on May 22, 2016. (Photo © 2016, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Fred Armisen and Sharon Van Etten at the Vulture Festival in Manhattan on May 22, 2016. (Photo © 2016, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

 

 

 

 

LA pop genius Jon Brion making rare New York solo appearamnce

Jon Brion

Jon Brion builds a song at (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York City, Oct. 3, 2011. (Photos © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Jon Brion, the Glen Ridge, New Jersey, -born pop genius, has been based in Los Angeles for many years and rarely performs anywhere else — sticking mostly to the legendary club Largo.

But Brion, who’s worked with important musicians and filmmakers including Fiona Apple, Elliott Smith, Robyn Hitchcock, Judd Apatow, Aimee Mann, Of Montreal, Best Coast, and Paul Thomas Anderson — makes the trek back East every to put on a show once in awhile.

This year is one of those times.

Jon Brion on guitar

Jon Brion builds a song at (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York City, Oct. 3, 2011. (Photos © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

He was at the Brooklyn Academy of Music opera house on Saturday night, joining the Wordless Music Orchestra as it performed his original score to accompany a big-screen presentation of the 2002 Anderson film “Punch-Drunk Love,” which stars Adam Sandler and Emily Watson. (He’s also written scores for “Magnolia,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” and last year’s Amy Schumer vehicle, “Trainwreck.”)

He sat in the rear, practically under the screen and pretty far out of view, but took a big bow at the end.

I bemoaned the fact that he was such a small part of the fantastic evening. But seeing and hearing him at all was better than being deprived of his massive talents altogether.

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