Friday Cheers Archives 2011
Carbon Leaf with Lights East
As Carbon Leaf approaches its 20th year of award-winning recording and touring, the band enters 2011 with more creative designs to independently produce a steady stream of new music. The Richmond, Virginia-based group began as an independent band in 1992, then signed on with Vanguard Records for a three-album stint in 2004. Along the way, Carbon Leaf scored hit singles at both AAA and Hot AC Radio with “Life Less Ordinary” and “The Boxer,” placed first in the International Songwriting Competition, won an American Music Award and recorded the music for Universal’s “Curious George II” soundtrack in 2010.
With nine albums under their belt, Carbon Leaf will release a live CD and DVD in early 2011, a full-length CD slated for the fall and multiple songs and EPs throughout the year.
May 13 and 14
Dominion Riverrock featuring Big Gigantic, Perpetual Groove and Yonder Mountain String Band
Rare indeed is the artist with the virtuosity to draw the unqualified respect of some of the most iconic legends in jazz and the ability to deliver a high-energy funk rock show capable of mesmerizing international rock stars. Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews is one such artist — and there is no one else like him. Trombone Shorty is equally adept on trombone and trumpet and is a man to be reckoned with on both.
A product of New Orleans’ culturally rich Treme neighborhood, Trombone Shorty was a bandleader by the age of six. The here and now finds Trombone Shorty a fully developed performer bursting into the international consciousness. It’s always a challenge to find an appropriate label for artists who make something uniquely their own from a variety of influences. In the case of Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, the band created its own tagline for its high-octane music: SupaFunkRock. The group’s performances have been known to run for hours at an energy level that few others could sustain for a much shorter performance.
Richmond’s local musicians reflect a diverse array of styles. From metal and punk to alternative country, pop to jazz — and everything in between — there is something for everyone in the River City. Each of the bands on this bill reflects those dichotomies in a way that’s a lot of fun for their audience.
Three Sheets to the Wind, America’s number one tribute to yacht rock, covers smooth radio hits from 1976 to 1984. Underestimate their yachting-themed stage attire at your own risk. One thing is for certain — their tongue-firmly-planted-in-cheek devotion to the AM gold era is no joke. The music is given a faithful and thorough interpretation, and Richmond audiences have been packing venues all over the city to hear the band’s send-ups of so-terrible-they’re-incredibly-cool artists like Toto, Hall & Oates, Michael McDonald and Steely Dan. Are they serious? Are they kidding? Who cares? We’re all singing along.
NO BS! Brass Band also reinterprets pop hits, but their vehicle is a nine-member horn section of the kind you’d expect to see leading the second line in New Orleans. Don’t expect to hear When the Saints Go Marching In, however. This ain’t yo’ momma’s brass band. Their instrumental arrangements favor nostalgic guilty pleasures and obscure prog rock from Rush to Led Zeppelin, YES and Aha.
Long Arms is also not quite what you would expect. Though songwriter James Menefee’s previous projects were long on punk hooks and heavy riffs, Long Arms strips the song back to its acoustic essence. Alternative country is a term that gets passed around a lot. In Long Arms’ case, it describes two musical worlds that combined to be far greater than the sum of their parts.
As diverse as this night of music will be, it's only the tip of the iceberg of the Richmond music scene.
For Corey Smith, one of the best things about making music has always been getting the chance to hang out and have a good time with his friends. And it’s still that way, nearly 10 years after his early days of playing the bars around Athens, Ga. The big difference now? Well, it seems these days Corey just has a lot more friends. The crowds at his sold-out live performances frequently number in the thousands — quite a change from the times when he never dreamed of much beyond playing for a handful of his college buddies. But, thanks to his astonishing gift for crafting addictive, soulful songs and the high-energy reputation of his shows, Corey Smith is one of modern country’s hottest young artists, a quintessentially indie performer with a dedicated following for which most Nashville-fueled hat racks would trade their flashy limos.
Far more than on any of the Drive-By Truckers’ previous albums, “Go-Go Boots”rises like smoke from the old Muscle Shoals country-and-soul sound. Having recorded with Bettye LaVette and Booker T. Jones, and having spent a lifetime listening to classic soul albums by Bobby Womack, Tony Joe White and especially Eddie Hinton, it was inevitable that the Truckers would eventually produce this album.
We knew they were pin-your-ears-back rock and roll. But here in “Go-Go Boots,” the Truckers are country, and here, too, the Truckers are soul and rhythm and blues.
It looks funny, on paper — the words country/soul mashed up like that — but maybe in the end it comes down to this one shared ethos: the harder life gets, the more clamantly it calls for art, for music, for beauty — for the slow celebration of loss or pain that is mournfully, beautifully defiant.
It seems a paradox that while the Drive-By Truckers’ sound is so unique, it is still part of a greater and larger family. Some of the other greats, particularly in the south, were spawned from their culture, while others came from the deeper rootstock of the southern landscape itself. Of course in the long run the landscape has a significant say in what kind of culture develops; it’s all tangled together, all connected, and everything shares bits and strands of those fragments, again like a pastiche of random and beautiful genomes. Each of the three vocalists — Cooley, Patterson, Shonna — is distinct; each aches in its own way with sometimes gravelly and other-times smooth sweet wistful broken-glass hurt and yearning and reluctant. Patterson’s songs, of course are almost always willing, in the great Southern tradition, to take on the man — or anyone else — as are Cooley’s, when the cause is big and just.
Their sound — so distinctly theirs — comes nonetheless from the history and the past. It’s all a big tangled beautiful mess, and it all comes out of Muscle Shoals, where, as Patterson’s father, legendary bassist David Hood, astutely notes, the South once did something right with respect to race relations, once upon a time and when it most mattered.
For nearly half a century, mandolinist/composer/bandleader/producer David Grisman has been a guiding force in the evolving world of acoustic music. His musical range is wide and deep — embracing many styles, genres and traditions.
An acoustic pioneer and innovator, David forged a unique personal artistic path, skillfully combining elements of the great American music/art forms — jazz and bluegrass with many international flavors and sensibilities to create his own distinctive idiom — “Dawg” music (the nickname given him by Jerry Garcia). In doing so, he’s inspired new generations of acoustic string musicians, while creating his own niche in contemporary music.
Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings have come a long way since their humble beginnings nearly a decade ago. Steeped within the gilded and gritty sounds of gospel, soul and funk, this nine-piece Brooklyn collective has continued to electrify fans, disc jockeys, critics, record collectors and bloggers the world over with their authentic, heartfelt sound. Authenticity is clearly demonstrated on the band’s four critically acclaimed albums — “Dap Dippin’” (2002), “Naturally” (2005), “100 Days, 100 Nights” (2007) and “I Learned the Hard Way” (2010) — captured and released by the independent Daptone Records.
As distinguished as their recordings may be, however, Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings have truly become renowned, thanks to their incredible live show. The band continues to pack hundreds of clubs worldwide, from legendary venues like New York’s Apollo Theater, Beacon Theater and Central Park’s Summer Stage to their show-stopping sets at Coachella, Lollapalooza, Roskilde, Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits and WOMAD.