Friday, April 28, 2017

Full Show Friday: Leon Bridges Live 2016

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's. These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week...Leon Bridges!

Every April we have a special showcase for bands who are playing this years Jazzfest in NOLA. Today we will focus on Leon Bridges who will be playing the Gentilly Stage in a few hours...

It starts today! In just a few hours the show will be in full swing and later this afternoon the retro soul of Leon Bridges will be blaring out of the Gentilly Stage. We wish we were down there, next week can't come quick enough.

For those unfamiliar with Bridges, give this a listen. His throwback R&B style is easy to digest and fun to dance to. This show from last year (no other details, feel free to let us know more in the comments) is pro-shot with pro-sound so enjoy:

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Jazzfest Starts Tomorrow, Stream It!

The best festival in America kicks off tomorrow and hopefully you are attending. If you can not get to the Big Easy for The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, WWOZ has the answer.
You can stream the festival through their website. This is one of the best radio channels in the country, so you should pop in and stream them regularly, but these next two weekends are a must if you can't be there.

We will be down next week, and we can not wait, we will be checking out this stream to tide us over, you should do the same. Oh yeah and peep a few videos of acts playing this weekend:

NAS and The Soul Rebels Brass Band Headline The Congo Square Stage on Friday:

Jon Cleary will be on the Gentilly Stage at 1:40 on Saturday:

Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes will close out the Blues Tent on Sunday:

This is just a wee sample of what is in store for Fest goers this weekend. Unreal.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Album Review: Matthew Logan Vasquez- Does What He Wants

Matthew Logan Vasquez
Does What He Wants
**** out of *****
Matthew Logan Vasquez had planned to get back with the band that exposed him to the masses, Delta Spirit, but something got in the way, these songs. On Does What He Wants the Vasquez gets personal, dramatic and most importantly, follows his muse wherever that might take him.

When his first solo album, The Solicitor Returns, came out (just last year) ti was a nervy affair filled with fuzzy guitars and energy/aggression that seemed to be lacking from his main bands recent efforts. Does What He Wants finds the singer/guitarist more comfortable in his solo surroundings and the tracks show it; he can move from a calliope tale of drunk fishing and fighting ("Red Fish") to a heart wrenching ballad of broken homes ("Tall Man") from song to song.

The disk actually starts off with the most Delta Spirit sounding track here as "Same" mixes strings, odd 80's digital funk and dance vibes with a pissed off vocal. After that though the disk becomes personal with "Fatherhood". Recently embodying that title and moving to Texas has found the songwriter growing up and that sense of moving on and being a true adult and bit at sea is found throughout the album. This phase of life has armed Vasquez with barrels of material to dig from.

"Fires Down In Mexico" has some more stomp and is reminiscent of his first solo offering as things are not neatly wrapped up at the songs vivid end while "Old Way's" works as a single with it's straight ahead swagger that draws you directly in. MLV's dramatic take can be found on three fantastic story songs, "The Fighter" feels like a personal piano ballad to a loved one (father perhaps?) while "The Informant" plays like a self contained indie film with details and mental states painted vividly. The already mentioned "Tall Man" completes the trifecta with its painful isolation in an indie rock/western way that cuts to the bone.  
On the Americana rambling of "From Behind The Glass" MLV sings "I wasn't always this strange". Thank goodness that he is at a place now where he can be weird, as this album lives up to its title; it is all over the map in an exhilarating way. It may be a bit messy, personal, and stylistically divergent, but so is life. Matthew Logan Vasquez is living it, Doing What He Wants and thankfully making great albums like this along the way.
This is a fun one, support the artist, buy the album, stream it, and peep some video below:

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Album Review: Willie Nelson- God's Problem Child

Willie Nelson
God's Problem Child
**** out of *****

The American legend Willie Nelson has released his 1,794th album (at least it feels like that many) with his newest God's Problem Child. Unlike a lot of his latest releases this record features seven new songs written by Willie and his songwriting partner Buddy Cannon. The end result is an easy going album that is one of the best the red headed stranger has produced in years;

The disk opens with a unique cover though as Willie uses his song writing partner's mother Lyndel Rhodes original song "Little House On The Hill". Willie and crew kick it up and put a smile on her face (and ours) with their mid tempo moving before the piano ballad of of Old Timer penned by Donnie Fritz and Lenny LeBlanc. These type of torch tunes fit Willie's affecting vocals perfectly and ring so utterly true.

The first new Nelson/Cannon tune arrives next with the bluesy "True Love" with excellent midnight lounge style female backing vocals and it is quickly followed by Willie's take on the recent presidential election "Delete and Fast Forward", a well produced Americana take that basically states, meet the new know the rest.

The first single is a Latino influenced slow burner titled "A Woman's Love" and it is the sexiest the 84 year old has been in ages as his breathy vocals front a cantina at dusk smokey sound. That song along with the swampy steam of the title track are album highlights, the latter featuring guest vocals from Jamey Johnson, one of Leon Russell's final vocal tracks the fantastic sounding Tony Joe White; oh yeah the picking ain't half bad either.

The majority of the new compositions are solid from top to bottom. Wilson can turn a phrase like few others, whether its "Lady Luck" cowboy/poker wisdom or "Your Memory Has A Mind of It's Own" the singer eases into the vocal and owns it. Almost even more impressive, on all of the new originals there is also space for Nelson's underrated acoustic guitar playing that has jazzy flashes and off kilter strums that work wonderfully.

Not all the selections are perfect, "Butterfly" feels a bit too theatrical for this collection and could have been saved for another release while "It Get's Easier's" is a pleasant tune but feels a touch redundant in this collection of songs that deal with the passage of time.

However, the closing ode to his good friend Merle Haggard "He Won't Ever Be Gone" (written by Gary Nicholson) is heartfelt but perhaps a better snapshot of this disk is the rollicking while winking quickie "Still Not Dead". It cooks along with piano, harmonica and a sense of humor that encompasses his late career and premature internet rumors of his demise. He certainly isn't dead, and you better thank whatever higher power there is that he is also still on top of his game.
Support the American legend, buy the album, stream it for a limited time at NPR and peep some video below:

Monday, April 24, 2017

Dylan Cover #273 Harry Connick Jr. "It Had To Be You"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's artists, Harry Connick Jr. doing a cover of "Solid Rock" 
This month we have a special focus on Artists who will be playing the 2017 Jazzfest in New Orleans. Today we highlight New Orleans legend Harry Connick Jr. who will headline the Acura Stage on Friday, April 28th.  (Yup, this week!)
Thoughts on Original:
Ok Ok we know, we are cheating here, we know Dylan didn't write "It Had To Be You". It was written by Isham Jones, with lyrics by Gus Kahn and it was published in 1924. It was famously covered by Sinatra, Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald...etc. etc. However, as fans will know the Bard has gone back to old standards for his last three albums and this is one time we can actually post a version of him singing a song (hopefully it won't get taken down):

Now compare that with this version:

Thoughts on Cover Artists:
Another artist this month we never really liked in the past. RtBE loves New Orleans, the music, history and people are the main reason why. Connick Jr. just never entered our sphere down there. Then we caught the amazing documentary Bayou Maharajah. For those who care at all about the great city of New Orleans and her musical legends you need to see that doc on the life of the late great James Booker. It was one-eye opening...actually bad jokes aside, one of the main things we realized from watching was how truly connected Connick Jr. was to the city. We were ignorant to this fact and we will fess up to that. Among other things, Booker was his piano teacher and you can see the pure joy, respect and passion in Connick Jr's eyes when he talks about his clear musical hero. Yeah HCJr may be a bit to pretty, but any man who learned from Booker needs a ton of respect. Now he has ours as he has the music, history and people of that great city flowing through his fingers.

Thoughts on Cover:
It is a fine cover, love the cartoon like beginning. Nothing bad about it, he sings it well, played it powerfully and joins the long line of solid versions of this tune.  

Friday, April 21, 2017

Full Show Friday: Anders Osborne 3/3/16 Turner Hall Ballroom

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's. These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week...Anders Osborne!

Every April we have a special showcase for bands who are playing this years Jazzfest in NOLA. Today we will focus on Anders Osborne who will be playing at 3:30 on the Gentilly Stage Friday May 5th.

We are going to showcase another New Orleans act this week with our Full Show Friday leading into Jazzfest as Anders Osborne takes center stage. This NOLA guitarist is pretty bad ass in the live venue, we know first hand. While we aren't all in on his studio recordings, his riffing on stage cooks.

This show is from last years tour and he has a full complement of players supporting him. It was a Public Broadcasting effort and final project for a student in Milwaukee. It sounds and looks damn good.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Album Review: Pile - A Hairshirt of Purpose

A Hairshirt of Purpose
***and 1/2 out of *****

The Boston noise/indie rock collective Pile's newest release is a solid mix of scattershot rock and brooding think pieces. The foursome seem are hitting their confident stride among swirling sounds, dark undercurrents and fiery tones.  

The players Matt Becker – guitar, Matt Connery – bass, Kris Kuss – drums, Rick Maguire – guitar and vocals, work to create lush landscapes and angular tracks that suck in any fans of adventurous music. The banging "Hissing For Piece" is paired with the rolling and wandering journey of "Rope's Length" as the group manages to balance power and delicacy. The group is noticeably more restrained from past efforts, and softer songs like "Making Eyes" push this style to the forefront while "Slippery" incorporates acoustic guitars and sweet sounds before things rev up and burn.

Using a repeating drum intro to tie a few of the songs together works for the album cohesiveness, but each of these songs tend to build on each other. "No Bone" is a pleasant breather with dark undertones acting as prelude to the building terror of "Milkshake". The angular "Texas" is a wild ride even in its brief state before "Hairshirt" ratchets up the riffage and soars with noiserock blaring.  

The album has a few missteps with  "Leaning On The Wheel" out of place with its country road song lyrics and tone melded into a lumbering five minute ode that never accelerates. "Dogs" as well seems to be shooting for something grander and never coalesces even with violins and violas helping out.

The group closes the album with the best effort "Fingers", a rising energetic track that bangs and powers into math rock chaos to finish things off. There is a definite feeling of another Boston act from years ago with Pixies influences as the band experiments in the rock realm via all of its nooks and crannies. The Pixies however were minimalist and cutting and here Pile spread out and take things a bit slower, letting things build, successfully.
Support the band, buy the album, stream it on bandcamp (or below) and peep some video: