Pieta Brown is kicking of the 2013 year of shows with a return to CSPS on Friday, January 18th. She’s bringing with her The Sawdust Collective which is her regular collaborators Bo Ramsey on guitars and backing vocals and Jon Penner on bass. The last time I saw Pieta at CSPS was during the Acoustic Cafe show in January of last year along with Kelly Joe Phelps and Carrie Rodriguez (my pictures here).
Since then, both Pieta and Bo contributed songs to the Iowa City Song Project album– a local-artists tribute to the Englert in celebration of the venue’s 100th birthday. I wrote a review of that album for Little Village back in October. You can check out her contribution “Doesn’t Take Long” here:
Martina by Pieta Brown
Boulevard & Wires by Pieta Brown
Pieta also lent a hand with Greg Brown’s new album Hymns to What Is Leftand Iris DeMent’s new album Sing the Delta. Pieta also contributed the photographs for the cover art of both albums. These photographs will be part of an exhibit of photographs that will be opened in conjunction with the show Friday night. Titled Boulevard & Wires, it’s a selection of shots she’s taken on the road that she shows on her Blue Streak section of her website. “The communion takes place in just a blink, no flash,” she says. “The simple process lends itself to chasing the gritty and mysterious essence of any given moment.” The exhibition will be in the Commons Gallery and will continue through February 28th– admission to the exhibit is free.
The performance on Friday night will start at 8PM and will be $17 in advance and $21 at the door.
Information on the Legion Arts Website HERE for the performance, and HERE for the gallery exhibition.
In addition to having a pretty cute band name, Fitz and the Tantrumsseem to have really taken the scene by storm in their relatively short existence. The story goes that frontman Michael “Fitz” Fitzpatrick rescued a vintage keyboard from someone who needed to leave town quickly. The keyboard was the inspriation that Fitz needed to start writing the keyboard-fueled R&B that is the signature of Fitz and the Tantrums. A chance hearing by Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine gained them a gig opening for his band on tour. Another opportunity performing on Daryl Hall’s “Live From Daryl’s House” online video series, a spot on Carson Daily and some choice placement of songs on a couple of TV shows and you have a formula for a band that is enjoying a meteoric rise. Having a shit-hot single and stylish video in “Moneygrabber” doesn’t hurt any either!
As luck would have it, the L.A. band is going to be visiting the tundra-like Midwest at the beginning of February with some Play B-Sides connections in the mix.
On Saturday, February 5th Fitz and Co. will be headlining a gig in Chicago at The Metro with JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound and Play B-Sides extended familyThe Right Now! That is a powerhouse lineup of Soul and R&B and my pick for a not-to-be-missed show on the Windy City’s calendar. This is a rare show for a while for The Right Now as they are holed up in their secret hideaway writing songs for their sophomore release. The few songs they’ve already trotted out on tour last year show promise for a suitable follow-up to Carry Me Home— a Play B-Sides Top 20 of 2010.
On the following Monday they will make the trip to Iowa, and play a gig at the Redstone Room with opening actBermuda Report which features the vocals of former Diplomette Abby Sawyer. Bermuda Report snagged a spot in my Top 10 releases I’m looking forward to in 2011 with their upcoming full-length due this year.
If that wasn’t enough, they are going to do an all-ages show in Iowa City on Tuesday, 2/3 at The Blue Moose Tap House for a measley $3! WTF? FTW!
So, with all of these opportunities to see Fitz and the Tantrums, get out to see them! Then you can say you “saw them when!”
Here is the video for the fantastic “Moneygrabber”
Last week the mighty instrumental afro-funk band The Budos Band— which bills itself as the “Staten Island’s Undesputed Champions of Afro-Soul” announced the release and details of their new album The Budos Band III. To be released on August 10th on the formidable Daptone Records label the record is the band’s first release since 2009’s The Budos Band EP and the first full length since 2007’s The Budos Band II.
Coincidentally, I was in Boston this week for work and managed to sneak in a run to Newbury Comics. I was hoping to pick up the new Suckers vinyl, but it has been delayed. Instead I ended up picking up a couple of records I’ve had on my Amazon Wish List for a while– The Budos Band and The Budos Band EP. I still need The Budos Band II. I’ve been a fan of The Budos Band since I did a review of the Scion Daptone Records compilation.
The Budos Band is a band with a distinctive sound– influenced by African– specifically Ethiopian– music coupled with organ and guitars lead melodically by a muscular horn section. The Budos Band shares guitarist Brenneck with the other signature Daptone house band– The Dap-Kings. Other Dap-Kings Neal Sugarman and Binky Griptite were on-board for the first Budos Band album. It’s clear that the cross-pollination has helped establish them.
The first Budos Band Record featured a volcano in full eruption with the lava coming right for the viewer presumably representing “The Volcano Song.” The second Budos Band featured a scorpion ready to sting, representing the “Scorpion” album track. Continuing the “dangerous” cover art of the Budos Band records, III has a cobra on the cover– likely representing the “Black Venom” track– but I think may also be a sly reference to the expression “The Third Time is a Charm” where the charm would be for that cobra.
“Heading into the studio for Budos III, I really thought we were going to make the first psychedelic, doom-rock record ever recorded at Daptone,” said front man and baritone saxophonist Jared Tankel, “but somehow it ended up sounding like a Budos record.” I’ve had the opportunity to listen to the album and the familiar formula of the Budos Band is continued but I do get the sense of some underlying darkness.
I like the whole album– the songs on III fit comfortably next to the rest of their catalog in my opinion. Early standout tracks for me are “Unbroken, Unshaven” (this has to be a reference to the fact that the band used to be called Los Barbudos or “The Bearded Ones”) with its clean strumming leading the song, “Nature’s Wrath” has a great loping circular beat but has the BEST FLUTE SOLO this side of Ray Thomas’ solos in The Moody Blues! In my mind, Mother Nature is PISSED about the BP oil leak and this song is the warning before she tears us a new one! One nice bonus to this album is “Reppirt Yad” which wraps the album up. For Record Store Day this year, Daptone put out a split 7″ of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and The Budos Band. The Budos Band track was an interpretation of The Beatles “Day Tripper.” They seem to have disguised the song with a backwards title for III.
To get a free download of “Unbroken, Unshaven” click on this link to sign up for a Daptone Records e-mail list (that they admit you can unsubscribe from). I’ve been on the Daptone e-mail list for a couple of years now and they aren’t abusive and it’s a good way to stay on top of news from this fantastic label.
The band is off on an extensive tour in support of III and hopefully they bring their snake charming show to a venue near you!
The Budos Band III Tracklisting:
Rite of the Ancients
Mark of the Unnamed
Tour Dates : Sat June 5 Montclair, NJ Wellmont Theatre (w. Les Claypool) Fri June 11 New York, NY Rocks Off Concert Cruise Sat June 26 Vancouver, VC Vancouver Jazz Festival @ Commodore Ballroom Sun June 27 Calgary, AB Calgary Jazz Festival @ The Whiskey Tue June 29 Saskatoon, SK Saskatchewan Jazz Festival @ Lydia’s Pub Wed June 30 Winnipeg, MAN Jazz Winnipeg Festival @ Pyramid Cabaret Sat July 10 Chicago, IL Chicago Folk & Roots Festival @ Welles Park Sun July 11 Bloomington, IN Bluebird Mon July 12 Chicago, IL Millennium Park Tue July 13 Ann Arbor, MI Blind Pig Thu July 15 Quebec City, QC Quebec City International Summer Festival Fri July 16 Ottawa, ON Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest Sat July 17 Toronto, ON Lee’s Palace Wed July 21 Philadelphia, PA Johnny Brenda’s Thu July 22 Harrisburg, PA The Abbey Bar at ABC Fri July 23 Floyd, VA Floydfest Sat July 24 Washington, DC Black Cat Sat Aug 7 Brooklyn, NY Celebrate Brooklyn! @ Prospect Park Bandshell Thu Aug 12 Los Angeles, CA Levitt Pavilion Fri Aug 13 Pasadena, CA Levitt Pavilion Sat Aug 14 San Luis Obispo, CA Downtown Brew Sun Aug 15 San Francisco, CA Outside Lands @ Golden Gate Park Tue Aug 17 Phoenix, AZ Sail In Thu Aug 19 Santa Fe, NM Santa Fe Brew Co Sun Aug 22 Dallas, TX Granada Tue Aug 24 Oklahoma City, OK Conservatory Wed Aug 25 Kansas City, MO Record Bar Fri Aug 27 Denver, CO Larimer Lounge Sat Aug 28 Boulder, CO Fox Theater Tue Aug 31 Salt Lake City, UT State Room Wed Sept 1 Boise, ID The Grove Plaza Thu Sept 2 Eugene, OR W.O.W. Hall Fri Sept 3 Portland, OR Dante’s Sat Sept 4 Seattle, WA Bumbershoot
Click Here to visit the Wikipedia page on The Budos Band.
If you follow my blog with any regularity, you know that I follow the Eastern Iowa music scene fairly closely– especially its rich folk and blues tradition. One of the guys who has been around Iowa City for a while and has established a kind of legendary career is Dave Moore.
Moore’s music career starts in the early 80’s in Iowa City hooking up with Greg Brown– supporting him on tour, recording and his frequent visits to Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion radio show. In 1984 he won a blues and folk festival contest which provided him the studio time to record his first record Jukejoints and Cantinas which began his relationship with Red House Records. In 1990 he released his follow-up Over My Shoulder. In 1994 he started work on his third release which was interrupted due to losing a daughter in infancy. He took a break from the record and playing for a while, choosing to stick close to home and family.
In 1998 he picked up work on the album again, this time pulling in area musicians to help bring vision to the recording sessions. Bo Ramsey stepped in at the producer’s helm on the sessions which included Rick Cicalo on bass, Steve Hayes on drums, and David Zollo on piano. “Nothing against non-Iowans,” Moore said in a 2000 interview with Maureen Brennan. “I just think it really felt right. These are all the people I’ve been playing with. They all have families, most of them have kids; even the person who did the photographs (Sandy Dyas) is local. It kind of solidified in that direction when Bo Ramsey and I began to work together.”
The resulting record– Breaking Down to 3— which was released by Red House in 1999 is a strong work which benefits from the “Iowa Sound” that Bo and the guys brought and is a record that I consider to be essential to any collection of this regional scene.
Dave Moore will be playing two early sets at The Red Avocado restaurant in Iowa City on Saturday 3/20/10. The party starts at 11AM with two sets of tunes from Moore– one at 11:30AM and one at 1:30PM. At 3PM there is a reception for area photographer Sandy Dyas and her work on exhibit at the Red Avocado that goes until 5PM.
Click Here for the Red Avocado Page on the Spring Party.
Click Here for the Facebook Event for Dave Moore & Sandy Dyas at The Red Avocado.
I’m always concerned when an established band decides to change their name.
Chicago bandThe Right Now started life back in 2005 as R&B/Funk band Eli Jones and the Bare Bones by Brendan O’Connell. A live EP was recorded by this band in 2006. A few lineup changes and the addition of Stefanie Berecz as lead vocals prompted the truncating of the name to just Eli Jones. The album Make It Right was released in 2007 under this moniker while still continuing to hold true to the band’s R&B and Funk influences.
History shows that bands with names that seem like they would belong to one person tend to be confusing– just look at Jethro Tull, for example. Add in the fact that Eli Jones didn’t have the domain name for the band and the name was becoming somewhat cumbersome. So, it was the switch in name to The Right Now in 2009 that allowed the band to kind of re-invent itself. All of the fans of Eli Jones who had seen the high-energy shows in the small bars across Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa were going to follow the band even after the name change.
When I saw the band in December of 2008 at Mahoney’s in Cedar Rapids, they were still called Eli Jones, but had already incorporated a lot of the songs that would make up their new album which they had planned to release in 2009 into their live sets. Carry Me Home is the first release by the band under it’s new name, and listening to the CD, I was taken back to that show with its memorable performances of “Ain’t Going Back,” “I Could Really Hold On,” “Doing Nothing,” “Carry Me Home,” “Nobody,” and “Before I Know Your Name.”
Getting ready for this review, I pulled out my copy of the Eli Jones album Make It Right for comparison. It’s an album I listened to quite a bit back when the band was rolling through the area. I thought it was really good– certainly the work of a band accomplished in R&B and Jazz, but felt ultimately it didn’t capture the energy of their live set. Make It Right really seems to be the sound of a band in a transition– some of the tracks have the familiar throwback R&B strut, while other tracks evoke a more jazzy step.
Carry Me Home is the result of a very focused effort in the studio, apparently. The whole CD sounds like it was recorded in one marathon session– a balanced, almost live-to-tape sound. It has a polished production for certain, but not at the risk of the continuity. I find myself listening to the whole album when I put it on– I anticipate the next track at each song.
In some respects Carry Me Home is an album out-of-time– at once holding true to a retro R&B sound with its horns, stomps and claps and sneaking in a more current R&B edge in the form of lead singer Stefanie Berecz powerful lead vocals.
The album runs the gamut of emotion and energy from bright, sunny Tower-of-Powerish horn-driven songs like “You Will Know,” to the Motown harmony-mixed with clean funk picking “Before I Know Your Name” to the distinctly Southern R&B swing of “Doing Nothing” to the slow burner “Carry Me Home.” “Before I Know Your Name” was co-written by Stefanie and Brendan O’Connell (the conductor of this Soul Train) to her then-unborn child– the idea of which makes me smile when I listen to the lyrics.
It seems there are a lot of notable acts delivering the Stax/Motown-influenced sound today– Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings seems to be leading this front, certainly the last Amy Winehouse album (which uses members of the Dap-Kings), Joss Stone— so it takes a strong but distinguishable effort for a band to not get lost in the comparisons. It’s clear that The Right Now shows respect for the legacy of R&B, Soul and Funk that came before it, but in my opinion the band is building from that tradition.
One can consider the new band name as the answer to the question of what period of popular music they might draw from– no specific period, but obviously writing and performing in The Right Now.
The band just kicked off a run of shows which will bring them back to Eastern Iowa in April. On Friday, 4/16 they will be taping a second Java Blend show (the first as The Right Now), doing an on-air on IPR and hitting The Blue Moose Tap House. On Saturday, they’ll be performing at The Redstone Room in Davenport opening for Daphne Willis and hitting their favorite Iowa stop, Mahoney’s in Cedar Rapids on Sunday, 4/18.
Click Here to visit The Right Now iLike page with videos and mp3’s.
Upcoming Shows (from MySpace):
Mar 8 2010 Bullfrog Brewery – CD Release Show! Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Mar 10 2010 Puck Live – CD Release Show! Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Mar 11 2010 Groove – CD Release Show! New York, New York
Mar 12 2010 The Saint Asbury Park, New Jersey
Mar 13 2010 Shadow Lounge – CD RELEASE SHOW! Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Mar 18 2010 Vocalo 89.5FM – In-studio Chicago, Illinois
Mar 18 2010 Fearless Radio – Live In-Studio Chicago, Illinois
Mar 18 2010 WLUW – Radio Free Chicago (Interview) Chicago, Illinois
Mar 19 2010 WGN Television Chicago, Illinois
Mar 19 2010 Lincoln Hall – CD RELEASE SHOW! Chicago, Illinois
Mar 26 2010 This Must Be The Place Lemont, Illinois
Apr 9 2010 KSDK – Show Me St. Louis Saint Louis, Missouri
Apr 9 2010 The Gramophone – CD Release Show! St. Louis, Missouri
Apr 15 2010 The Frequency w/ Unicycle Loves You Madison, Wisconsin
Apr 16 2010 Java Blend Iowa City, Iowa
Apr 16 2010 KRUI 89.7 FM – In-studio Iowa City, Iowa
Apr 16 2010 The Blue Moose Taphouse – CD Release Show! Iowa City, Iowa
Apr 17 2010 Redstone Room Davenport, Iowa
Apr 18 2010 Mahoney’s Pub Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Apr 24 2010 Downtown Holland Groovewalk Holland, Michigan
Apr 30 2010 Marly’s Pub – CD Release Show! Springfield, Illinois
Apr 30 2010 Alice at 97.7 – Studio A Sessions Springfield, Illinois
May 17 2010 Cosmic Charlies lexington, Kentucky
May 20 2010 Rogue Tavern w/ Deep Fried 5 Birmingham, Alabama
Jun 4 2010 Upfront & Company Marquette, Michigan
Jun 5 2010 Upfront & Company Marquette, Michigan
Friday was a day of surprises for me– I found out a new venue just opened in Dubuque called Mississippi Moon Bar that is part of the new Diamond Jo Casino. Last week was their grand opening complete with a VIP show with Cheap Trick. The wife of a guy I work with works at the casino so he filled me in on the details. It looks like there will be a pretty good selection of upcoming acts (for Dubuque, anyway– Darius Rucker? The Doobie Brothers?). I was really surprised to see a Cracker show listed on the calendar in February. I jumped in and got first row seats. Apparently every seat in the house is less than 80 feet from the stage according to my brother, Steve.
Anyway, any reason to see either Cracker or Camper Van Beethoven is a good reason, and Dubuque is a pretty short drive and it’s on a weekend. Tickets are on sale now and at least as of today there are still fantastic seats available on the floor by the stage. Tickets are $25 for regular reserved seats (or standing) and $35 for fancy table seats or boxed seats. I’ve never seen the venue, so I don’t know what those are like (or if they are really worth more than front row?).