Daily Archives: April 22, 2015

Album Review: GREAT LAKE SWIMMERS RELEASE “A FOREST OF ARMS”

There were a few tempting new releases that came out yesterday, including new albums from Alabama Shakes, They Might Be Giants, Built To Spill and Ryan Adams performing at Carnegie Hall. Though all of these were compelling to a degree, I ended up having my interest peaked most by the Great Lake Swimmers on their sixth album “A Forest Of Arms”. This band has had a change in members over its decade plus, but singer/songwriter/guitarist, Tony Dekker remains the constant and continues to put out folk music with a twist.

The opening track is “Something Like A Storm” begins abruptly, but settles nicely into strings and fantastic beat. There is an immediate romanticism about the music.

“Zero In The City” has a little bit of a Bon Iver vibe and professes how different things are when two become one and one, again.

I was instantly sold on “Shaking All Over” and it’s Stephen Stills in a cabin with John Denver back in the 70’s, sort of feel.

“Don’t Leave Me Hanging” is a slow, sad cut about love lost and the one who thinks it can be found as easily. This is a classic example of the way Tony Dekker pairs music and lyrics that are timed with a minimal difference, and for the most part it works pretty well for him.

The odd love song, “One More Charge At The Red Cape”, is more alternative rock, than folk, but remains pretty organic with the layering of all of the strings.

“I Was A Wayward Pastel Bay” is a slower song but with a decent beat and some well-placed key work. I dig the lyrics and how well and vague they are presented.

I really enjoy “A Bird Flew Inside The House”, and the sense of Ekoostik Hookah and New Monsoon in a studio together back in the early 2000’s. My favorite lyric on the album is “everything’s in danger and heaven needs help”.

“A Jukebox In The Desert” seems like more of an indie rock tune, about a toxic relationship that was based on love but has become something selfish and dangerous.

The vocal delivery on “I Must Have Someone Else’s Blues” reminds me of R.E.M.’s, Michael Stipe, if he was singing something that had been written by Lou Reed.

“The Great Bear” is a celebration of all the mysteries of the world that still are when little is. I am reminded of the acoustic live album by Band Of Horses and the power of minimal music and a strong voice singing equally strong lyrics.

“With Every Departure” is another song about being lost in a relationship with someone who is sinking and won’t be helped.

The album closes with “Expecting You”, which gives the impression of a first time father who is grasping a bit of the gravity that is about to pull his world in many directions, for many years to come. The tune has a slight country-western, under the Texas stars, flavor.

“Forest Of Arms” is a pretty tight piece of music from the Great Lake Swimmers. It, of course has a few examples of Tony Dekker’s odd timing, but it is quite amazing that he has such success with it. Besides his singing and writing, Dekker is also impressive on acoustic guitars and ukulele. The musicianship of the rest of the band and the guests is equally superb. I would recommend “Forest Of Arms” to fans of Great Lake Swimmers and anyone that likes modern folk music with some classic sounds. That’s What I Know, So That’s What You Know!! Enjoy!!

HAPPY LISTENING!!!! 😉

 

 

 

Review: BILLY & THE KIDS WERE SMOKIN’ IN DENVER ON 4/20!!

The 4/20 weekend, came to a close for many at the Ogden Theatre, where Billy & The Kids were slated to perform. The band, consisting of Bill Kreutzmann (Grateful Dead), Tom Hamilton (Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, American Babies), Aron Magner (The Disco Biscuits) and Reed Mathis (Tea Leaf Green, 7 Walkers) had themed the show as ‘Spring 1990 Revisited’. Performing a show full of the sounds that the Grateful Dead pulled-off twenty years ago, required the additional services of Jason Hann (The String Cheese Incident) on drums and Dominic Lalli (Big Gigantic, The Motet) on saxophone, to resemble the sit-ins with Branford Marsalis. Billy & The Kids have barely been together for six months, but have proven to have a huge draw, especially during the 50th Anniversary of The Grateful Dead.

After getting past the highly ambitious security forces, the Ogden was starting to fill quickly and by 9 p.m., it seemed to be close to selling out. The band started their set with “Let The Good Times Roll”, that saw Aron Magner passionately attempting to channel Brent Mydland on vocals. Reed Mathis took vocal duties on “Estimated Prophet”, which connected to “Eyes Of The World” via a trippy jam. After a big bass jam, Tom Hamilton took over vocals on “Scarlet Begonias”, which seemed to go in a very Disco Biscuits direction. The one thing that was easily noticable, was that Dominic Lalli seemed lost as to when to play, which to many Deadheads was a sign of how little he knew the music, that he was getting paid to play. After some sweet drumming and a spacey mess, the band moved into “Bird Song” with its own upbeat jam. Aron took over for some pretty impressive vocals on “Let It Grow”, which had more of a Spanish feel, than usual. The first set ended with a very short but energetic “Women Are Smarter”.

About a half-hour later, the boys came back to the stage for “Gimme Some Lovin” to open the second set, with Aron again really wailing like Brent Mydland did twenty years ago. This sequed into a gigantic “Shakedown Street” complete with a massive jam into “The Wheel”. After another psychedelic foray, everyone left the stage, except Bill and Jason, who remained to give the crowd a percussive treat. The rest of the guys emerged for a vague jam, before Tom Hamilton sang a stand-out version of “Standing On The Moon”, followed by the grooviest “Foolish Heart” I had ever heard. “Feel Like A Stranger” began with a mysterious intro and ended the set. The band remained on stage, amid heavy applause and performed an extremely enjoyable “Quinn The Eskimo”. The band said goodnight and left the stage, but the audience continued to cheer, so they returned for a quick second encore of “Big Railroad Blues”.

Billy & The Kids performed two scorching sets of Grateful Dead music indicative of their Spring 1990 Tour. Despite some moments of confusion for Dominic Lalli during the first set, he really seemed to relax and go with the flow more during the second set, and it was highly audible. I talked to other audience members, who dug the show overall, despite feelings that the guys had moments of sounding too much like the Disco Biscuits. I must add, how powerful it was to watch Jason Hann’s face during the entire show, because he looked like a kid in a candy store, with a smile permanently plastered on his face. Personally, I enjoyed the second set more than the first and “Standing On The Moon” and “Foolish Heart” were big reasons why. Because of different guests and themes for Billy & The Kids shows, I can’t recommend enough to catch, as many as you can. My suggestion to all future guests of Billy & The Kids, do your homework and be very comfortable in the material, because you can’t fool Deadheads, with the music they love. That’s What I Know, So That’s What You Know!! Hope You Were There!!

Set I: Let The Good Times Roll, Estimated Prophet > Eyes Of The World > Scarlet Begonias > Bird Song, Let It Grow, Women Are Smarter

Set II: Gimme Some Lovin, Shakedown Street > The Wheel > Drumz > Standing On The Moon, Foolish Heart > Feel Like A Stranger

Encore 1: Quinn The Eskimo

Encore 2: Big Railroad Blues

 

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHARLES MINGUS, PETER FRAMPTON & More…

1922- Charles Mingus (jazz bassist/ bandleader; died in 1979)

Charles Mingus Photos

Charles Mingus “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” video link here.

1936- Glen Campbell (session musician w/ The Monkees, Elvis Presley, Velvet Underground + more; actor, TV presenter, country singer,songwriter; “Rhinestone Cowboy”)         79 yrs.

Tribute To Glen Campbell

Glen Campbell “Gentle On My Mind” live video link here.

1937- Jack Nitzsche (producer/songwriter; did production work w/ The Rolling Stones + Neil Young; died in 2000)

Jack Nitzsche

1939- Simon Napier-Bell (manager for Wham!, T Rex + Japan)         76 yrs.

Simon Napier-Bell (photo

1944- Howard Wyeth (drummer; worked w/ Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell + Don McLean; died in 1996)

The Ruthless Brothers

1950- Peter Frampton (guitar vocals w/ The Herd + Humble Pie; worked w/ David Bowie + George Harrison; solo career; “Show Me The Way”)                65 yrs.

Peter FRampton 3

Peter Frampton “Do You Feel Like We Do” live video link here.

1951- Paul Carrack (keyboards, guitar, vocals; was a member of Ace, Squeeze + Mike & The Mechanics; solo career)    64 yrs.

Paul Carrack AP

1956- Kenny Lyon (guitarist, bassist, producer, author; has recorded/performed w/ The Lemonheads, NOFX + more)          59 yrs.

Kenny Lyon "Brazzaville"

1974- Shavo Odadjian (bassist w/ System Of A Down)    41 yrs.

Shavo Odadjian

System Of A Down w/ Shavo Odadjian “Sugar” video link here.

1979- Daniel Johns (vocals + guitar w/Silverchair)        36 yrs.

Daniel Johns HairStyle

Silverchair w/ Daniel Johns “Tomorrow” live video link here.

These are your birthdays for today, along with video links for some of the artists. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO EVERYONE BORN ON THIS DAY!! Enjoy!!

HAPPY LISTENING!!!! 😉