Monday, February 11, 2013

Heavy And Light (Show) 2/8/2012

I figured I would go ahead and discuss  "Heavy and Light" and "To Write Love On Her Arms"  with you. I want it to be known, and TWLONHR wants it to be known that this was not a "come out for a good cause" type of show. Instead it was a night of inspirational music, spoken word, and conversation designed to let you know that your life matters, your story is important, and people need other people. Part of their mission is also to connect people to treatment and sources of help for those facing substance abuse, depression, and loss. I think this is a good thing.

 I came to the Cannery Ballroom mainly for the purpose of seeing Fiction Family without knowing the whole purpose behind this event. I left with a new found appreciation for the event in itself and a couple new favorite artists along with Fiction Family. The bill for the night included Noah Gundersen, Now,Now,  Bryce Avary, Aaron Gillespie, Anis Mojgani, and Jon Foreman & Fiction Family. I think I'm only going to elaborate on Noah Gundersen, Anis Mojgani, and Fiction Family because they were my favorites, and I don't really like trying to force a review for artists I wasn't all in for.

Noah Gundersen with his sister Abbey on fiddle and backup vocals kicked off the night for us. They made their way down from Seattle to bring their heartfelt folky tunes all the way to us in Nashville. On a side note, I think Seattle and the Pacific Northwest is the only other area in the States where I could be satisfied with the music scene besides Nashville and the Southeast. Also, I am a always a sucker for a good, deep folk tune with only an acoustic guitar, harmonica, and a fiddle. It was just one of those sets where you just stand there with a stupid awestruck grin on your face. The power of the two siblings collaborating was undeniably perfect. Throughout the set he tackled the impossibly tough issues of religion and love. One of my favorite lines was from the tune "Jesus, Jesus" when it concluded with "Jesus, Jesus could you call me if you have the time? And maybe we could drink some whiskey and work it out." I don't think some of the crowd could appreciate what the song really meant, but it made perfect sense to me. Throughout the night, he and his sister were repeatedly called back up on stage to play with everyone else. Noah will be back in Nashville at the 12th & Porter on April 4th. Go check him out if you dig his stuff below. I know I will be there if I am in town.

Cigarettes-Noah Gundersen

Jesus, Jesus - Noah Gundersen

Alright, next up is Anis Mojgani. What a gifted individual he is. I had become familiar with some of his material a while back through some sampling in some post-rock tracks. After seeing him perform live, I was completely blown away. His words and delivery are so powerful.  I am no expert in the spoken word movement, but I know he is among the best of the best as a two time winner of the National Individual Poetry Slam. He performed two of his best, at least my favorite, poems "Here Am I" and "Shake The Dust". Instead of me trying to elaborate more, just listen to his performance in the video below, and you will get it.

1. Direct Orders, 2. Here Am I, 3. Shake The Dust - Anis Mojgani

And for the finale, we have Jon Foreman & Fiction Family. I just refer to them as Fiction Family, but it was billed Jon Foreman & Fiction Family, whatever. Fiction Family's two key members are Jon Foreman, vocalist and guitarist of Switchfoot and Sean Watkins, former guitarist and vocalist of Nickel Creek. It seems like an odd combination, right? You would never question it after hearing them play together. I have been a huge fan of all their endeavors for many years now. I consider myself fortunate to have seen them as Fiction Family twice now because at the current rate they do these shows they're about 4 years apart. Jon opened up the set by himself playing his solo effort tune "Behind Your Eyes". Then he stood away from his mic, unplugged his guitar, and led the crowd in the Switchfoot song  "Dare You to Move". I don't care who you are, that is such a powerful, inspirational song especially with only the audience singing and Jon barely audible. He then brought out the rest of the band including Sean. I consider them to basically be a folk group with rock tendencies. Both Jon and Sean traded off lead vocals throughout the night, and their harmonies blended together very nicely. They hit several tunes from their newly released album "Fiction Family Reunion". Two of my favorites off the new album which were played that night are "Give Me Back My Girl" which is poppy and catchy and "Just Rob Me" which is a comical folk tune with Sean Watkins shredding a bluegrass guitar solo. They continued to hit songs from their first release and some of Jon's solo effort songs. At the end of the show, they brought everyone who had performed over the course of the night and played Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" which summed up the entire event. Below, I have both of Fiction Family's albums and Jon Foreman's solo album available for you to listen to via Spotify.

In summary, this was an inspirational night full of positivity and hope. You are here for a reason, and your story has a purpose. Don't ever forget that. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read our blog! Also, a big shout out goes to my buddy Adam Tilson for letting me use his pictures.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Reeve Oliver - "We're getting the band back together!"

Today, I found out the best month-old news ever. Reeve Oliver is getting back together!

This is almost funny to me because a couple weeks ago I was going to write a blog about them entitled "Reeve Oliver - The Best Band That Never Was". I'm sure all of you have those bands that you listened to back in high school that just hit you really hard and have stuck with you ever since. For Cory and me, one of those bands is Reeve Oliver. They are 3 piece indie-rock band from San Diego,CA and were raved about in the area. I never got a chance to see them live, but Cory caught one of their shows in Knoxville, TN back in the day. He gave me their ep "Endless Bummer", and I haven't been able to get enough them. I think the only album readily available is "Touchtone Inferno", released in 2007, which I have available for you to listen to. They quickly broke up after the release, and we haven't heard much from them until just now. Somehow I also managed to scrounge around and find the "Reeveoliver" album at a local record store a few years ago which is also awesome!

Like I just said, every once in a while a band comes along that just hits you in the chest and puts you in your place. Throughout the past 6-7 years, all of Reeve Oliver's songs have meant the world to me. I think the main reason they have stuck with me for so long is because since my junior year of high school to this present day they have helped me make transitions throughout life. For me, this means meeting new people and losing others, the beginning and ending of a relationship, leaving home and returning, and having no clue what I'm doing and slowly figuring it out. It's extremely comforting to know that someone has been in that exact place in their life before. It's a personal connection.

From what I know, Reeve Oliver has two shows lined up in February. One is on the 2nd at the Casbah in San Diego, CA, and the other is on the 23rd at The Troubadour in Los Angeles, CA. Unfortunately for me, I don't see myself making my way out of the Southeast in the next month, but hopefully they decide to get out this way. If you are a Cali boy or girl in that area, please go. Do it for them. They deserve it. And do it for me. If you (Reeve Oliver) read this, please know that a group of kids who grew up in Seymour, TN are anxiously waiting for a new album and a show reasonably close. For our audience, thanks for reading!


Monday, January 14, 2013

Bonnaroo Fever - Predictions, Wishes, Longshots

"Roomors" are flying around, and I love it! The first steps towards Bonnaroo 2013 are finally here. One of the best parts about Bonnaroo, at least for veterans, is speculating about the next year's lineup. Speaking for myself, I can be caught talking about anything and everything Bonnaroo anytime of the day, anytime of the year. With this being said, I have a sheet of notebook paper that's been in my desk since the Tuesday after Bonnaroo 2012, I believe. On this sheet of paper is all the artists I think could possibly make appearances at the festival this year. Take this with a grain of salt because it was made not even 24 hours from when I returned back to civilization. I know we can rule some of them out already, but it's still fun right?

Here it goes:

Kings of Leon, Wilco, My Morning Jacket, Fleet Foxes/ Father John Misty, The Killers, Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Some form of the Allman Brothers, Tedeschi Trucks Band, The Gaslight Anthem, The Apache Relay, Dawes, Manchester Orchestra, Some form of Jack White, Umphrey's McGee, Old Crow Medicine Show, Drive-By-Truckers, Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, Dr. Dog, Band of Horses, Band of Skulls, Dave Matthews Band, The Features, Wax Fang, Of Monsters and Men, River City Extension, A.A. Bondy, The Black Lillies, Some form of the Everybodyfields, Blues Traveler, Bob Dylan, Broken Social Scene, Cake, Chatham County Line, John Fogerty/ CCR, David Gray, Ray Lamontagne, Deathcab for Cutie, Howlin' Rain, Justin Townes Earle, Some form of Mars Volta/ Omar Rodriguez Lopez, Mumford and Sons, Mutemath, Phoenix, Jon Foreman, Royal Bangs, Moe., STS9, Widespread Panic, Spoon/ Divine Fits, The Swell Season/ Glen Hansard, Truth & Salvage Co., U2, Jakob Dylan/ Wallflowers, The Whigs,and Yuck

The lineup is supposed to drop here in about a month, usually Valentine's Day. If even 5-10 bands from my list are on the official lineup I'll be super stoked. Let us know who you think will be there, and I hope to see y'all there in about 5 months!



Saturday, December 22, 2012

Moon Taxi

You may have noticed that Moon Taxi was a front runner for our top albums of the year list. I would personally argue that their 2012 release, "Cabaret", was the best of the year.

I first saw Moon Taxi at a show I was playing with my old band, Static Revival. It was one of Mercy Lounge's 8 off 8th shows. I had heard a great deal about them and was very excited to be able to share the stage with them. I was not expecting the face melting that I received.

Since that show, I have seen Moon Taxi more times than I can remember. Between Kevin and myself we have seen them more than 10 times this year alone. Before the release of "Cabaret," I began to get worried about them. Their on-stage intensity was decreasing and they seemed to be getting bored with the songs they had been playing. As soon as the now songs started popping up, especially this year, Moon Taxi has really taken off. The highlight of their shows this year for us was their Bonnaroo set. If you were not there, I suggest that you click that link and listen to the whole set. The show took place on Thursday night and the energy I saw at that show is rare at Bonnaroo as a whole, let alone at the performance of a nearly unheard of band. It was wild and crazy.

I like to describe Moon Taxi as a progressive rock band with jam band tendencies. These guys rely on intricate sounding riffs, high energy performance, and songs with a thick beat to get the crowd moving. The songs are typically shorter and have less guitar soloing than most jam bands, but the way they move and the progressive nature of the music makes it easy to draw lines from them to bands like Umphrey's McGee. The sound is unique and very pleasing to the ear of the average listener as well as the music enthusiast.

I would suggest seeing them at a smaller bar type show instead of a large public event. The extra set time gives them a chance to do more than just promote their most recent release. They will typically launch into longer jams and do some really dancey synth based stuff.

These guys are so great and they are really at the top of their game right now. I am counting down the days until their show with Umphrey's on the 30th in Atlanta and will be seeing them again at the Bijou Theatre in Knoxville on Jan. 18. If you live close to Knoxville, I would highly recommend this show. I hope you enjoy Moon Taxi and get the chance to see them soon. Let us know what you think.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Top 10 Albums of the Year

Well, the year is coming to a close, so we figured why not let you know what we think are the top albums of 2012. The funny thing about this list is that we have seen every single band that is presented in the top 10 this year. There is definitely a little bias towards the South, but hey, this our blog, and we can choose whatever albums we want, right? If you have not purchased or listened to these albums make sure you give them a shot. Feel free to provide some feedback with any albums that you think should have made the list. As always, thank you for taking the time to read our blog.

10. Somewhere Beneath These Southern Skies - The Dirty Guv'nahs
Why? The Dirty Guv'nahs have been killing it in Knoxville, TN for many years now, and this album was produced entirely with fan based donations which I am proud to be one of those fans. Somewhere Beneath These Southern Skies somewhat diverges from the Guv's usual southern rock/ bluesy sound, but the production quality is top notch. I would recommend this album for any fans of The Rolling Stones and The Black Crowes.

9. Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now - Justin Townes Earle
Why? Everyone can agree that country music is not what it used to be, but JTE is able to capture those classic country themes about drinking and drugs, being heart broken, and leaving. Feeling down? Just throw this album on and share the company with JTE.

8. Space Capone - Space Capone
Why? This album is full of soul and funk. I am not usually a huge fan of this genre, but you can't help to get your groove on. If you ever have a party and are lacking on some dance music, this will be sure to make everyone put their dancing shoes on.

7. The Carpenter - The Avett Brothers
Why? The Avett Brothers consistently put out one great album after another. The Carpenter took a little time to grow on me because I have grown fond of the almost sloppy style of their thrashing guitars and banjos and screaming vocals in previous albums. Even though I feel this album is a little over produced, I love the theme of life and death portrayed throughout the entire album.

6. Carry Me Back - Old Crow Medicine Show
Why? I was worried these guys were done making music after a hiatus in 2011 and Willie Watson leaving the band. Was I ever wrong. OCMS returned with original member Critter Fuqua and new found energy. Carry Me Back is filled with fast paced, high energy old time foot stompers and uplifting ballads. As always they perfectly capture the tradition of Appalachian music in a modern way.

5. Hall of Fame: Class of 2011 - Umphrey's McGee
Why? First off, I don't think you can really appreciate this album without seeing Umphrey's live. This album is loaded with the top songs from their live performances over the past year based on the vote of fans. This is "The" jam/prog band of my generation. Class of 2011 almost makes you feel like you were at these shows. \mm/

4. Live From Alabama - Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit
Why? Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit represent everything that is right about the Southern Americana music scene. Live From Alabama was recorded over two nights in Birmingham and Huntsville Alabama and provides a snapshot of how Isbell and the band have progressed over the years and perfectly captures the energy of a live show. The album ranges from old Drive-by Truckers favorites to current Isbell songs. Isbell will go down as one of the greatest performers and songwriters of our time.

3. Who's Feeling Young Now? - Punch Brothers
Why? Front man and mandolinist Chris Thile and his band are perhaps the most collectively talented group of musicians out there right now. With Who's Feeling Young Now they perfectly balance progressive bluegrass (I like to call it prograss) and traditional bluegrass. The album also showcases the songwriting ability of Thile and proves he is among the best of the best.

2. Cabaret - Moon Taxi
Why? Moon Taxi seems to have finally gotten the break they have been looking for with the release of Cabaret. This album opened doors to many summer festivals this year with performances that left crowds begging for more. The album is full of melodic jams and strong vocals the can attract fans from pop to prog rock. Do yourself a favor and take a ride on the Moon Taxi.

1. II - Bad Books
Why? Andy Hull, Kevin Devine, and the rest of the members of Manchester Orchestra combine once again to form the indie rock super group known as Bad Books. With II, Hull and Devine showcase their collaborative songwriting ability flawlessly.If you are familiar with how powerful Manchester's songs are, just imagine the same level of intensity with a catchier sound and more hooks. The album ranges from tunes that just let you rock out to haunting melodies that send chills down your spine.

Honorable Mention
Boys & Girls - Alabama Shakes
Be The Void - Dr. Dog
Handwritten - The Gaslight Anthem
Stars and Satellites - Trampled by Turtles
Home Again - Michael Kiwanuka
American Spirit - The Paranormals
Blak and Blu - Gary Clark Jr.
Kids Raising Kids - Kopecky Family Band
- Kevin

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Space Capone Album Release Show (11/16/12)

Press play.

We had been hearing about Space Capone for a couple years now. They have been gaining momentum and have been turning up on festival lineups. We saw these guys for the first time earlier in the year at Starry Nights Music Festival near Bowling Green, KY. They played in the middle of the day and we had all been drinking.

I was very excited to see Space for the first time and was thoroughly impressed. We danced our asses off in the sun and it was beautiful.

I was very curious to see how the band would translate into a venue. As we have said before, Mercy Lounge is probably our favorite place to see a show in Nashville. We got there kind of early and were worried that the crowd was going to be small, but people started filing in and there ended up being an impressive turnout. You could tell that there was a buzz about the crowd and that they were ready to dance. Magnolia Sons started off the show and proved to be a solid precursor. Their music wasn't nearly as funky as Space Capone, but they definitely got the crowd dancing. When Space Capone came on, everyone crowded forward and the dancing erupted immediately. Hipsters, hippies, and frat dudes were all breaking it down. The most impressive part of Space Capone is how tight they are. Every single beat is perfect, something that is difficult to do with a 10ish piece band.

Space Capone did not disappoint and delivered a nearly 2 hour long set. I found myself very sweaty by the end.

I felt the need to include this gem of Kevin and his dance partner for the night.


My advice regarding Space Capone is see them live and purchase the album. The album is a funk masterpiece and has some super thick grooves to draw you in. Keep your eye on these guys, my guess is that they will be playing tents at most of the big festivals this summer.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Wayside Shakeup (Philadelphia, PA)

As always, I recommend that you go ahead and click "play" while you are listening.

The blog has been going for about a month now and I just want to stop for a second and say that we have been pleasantly surprised by the amount of readership we have had so far and I would like to thank everyone and I hope you are enjoying what we have had to offer so up to this point. With that being said, this post, featuring The Wayside Shakeup is the first post I have had a chance to do from a submission. We are not pretentious assholes as many music bloggers tend to be and one thing that we are very thankful for is the opportunity to help bands out and get them some exposure.

The Wayside Shakeup is from Philadelphia, PA. As I listened to this self titled album for the first time, I thought I had accidentally clicked "pause" on SoundCloud and "play" on Spotify. From song to song, the genre seems to completely change. This band does not blend their influences, each of there songs seems to reflect a different influence. The first track, "I'm Not Responsible For Your Happiness," has a Pearl Jam feel to it. This song was not my favorite from the album, but things started picking up for me when I got to track 2, "Nothing But A Good Time." This song has a super fat groove to it and starts off very laid back, super danceable, and has a little funk to it. The next track, "Don't Run Away," is by far my favorite track on the album. The first part of the song has a kick drum drenched with reverb behind an acoustic guitar and Jack White style vocals. The middle section drops into a haunting, psychedelic chant-like high gain guitar solo. This song is very solid and although I am an "album in its entirety" kind of guy, if you only have time to catch one track, go ahead and skip to this one.

The switch between "Don't Run Away" and "Where You Gonna Go Alone" is a great characterization of what I was saying about the music weaving between so many genres. This song pulls in a kind of island feel that will resonate in a few other tracks through the rest of the album. "So Fast" is the other track on the album that I was really drawn to. The beginning keeps the same island feel as "Where You Gonna Go Alone." The gem in this song is the slow groove style jam with a mandolin solo layered on top. About half way through the solo, an electric guitar comes in and weaves its way in and out of the mandolin. This was a very tasty way to take it to the end.

The Wayside Shakeup describes their music as "ranging from shameless pop to wobbly blues." I would agree and take it a step further. They have a very strong 90s influence mixed with an island style jam feel. However, they don't hesitate to take their music to psychedelia and they even delve into country a bit. So, check out The Wayside Shakeup and show them some love on social media (links included below).