DarielB – Flying Under the Radar

CD Picks: Strange Love/Sweet Love

Posted in CD Picks by darielb on May 18, 2011

Strange or Sweet?

No matter what your leanings, there’s something to love on both of these new CDs: Strange Love by Roy Roberts and Sweet Love from the Holiday Band.
Roy Roberts
Strange Love
Ocean Beach Records (2011)
Genre: Soul-Blues

When it comes to soul-blues, Greensboro, N.C. artist Roy Roberts is one of the smoothest, coolest, classiest around, and I expect this latest offering to bring him even more superlatives.  The ten-track recording is classic Roy Roberts, showing off – among other things – his songwriting talents on all ten tracks.  Vocals range from funky to sultry and back again. The Mofo Horns section is just killer.

The opener, “My Love Bone,” is a shout out from a man to the woman who owns his heart, and other favored organs. The Cray-esque “We Still Together,”  with its nod to “I Slipped, Tripped and Fell In Love,” Roberts’ award-winning R&B tune from 2004, is sure to be a hit in the shag market. The title track, also reminiscent of Robert Cray stylings, showcases Roy’s very apt vocal abilities. “I Can’t Wait” is worth the wait. But, I’d pick up a copy today!

Players on the CD include: Roy Roberts (vocals, guitar, Hammond organ, keys), A.J. Diggs (bass, rhythm guitar), Chuck Cotton (drums), Eric Callands (piano, Hammond organ), Reggie Wall (background vocals on  “A Woman Needs Love”), The Mofo Horns: Rusty Smith (trumpet, trombone), Scott Adair (tenor, baritone sax), Eddie Blair (additional sax solos). Strange Love was produced and mixed by Roy Roberts and David Seward. Engineering/ mastering: David Seward. Recorded at Rock House Studio.
The Holiday Band
Sweet Love
Green Dot Discs (2011)
Genre: Beach-Blues

Holiday Band, for those of you outside the Carolinas, is a topnotch variety band that tours the southeast performing a range of bluesy pop, funk and Carolina R&B, better known as beach music.

Sweet Love, the band’s new ten-track CD features a tasty mix of covers and original tunes penned by band members Mike Taylor and Duane Neese.   The opening track, currently on several beach charts and a favorite with fans, is “She Sure Got Away With My Heart,”  written by country writing team Walt Aldridge and Tom Brasfield.

“We always get a lot of requests for ‘Don’t Play That Song,’ so we decided to do the Aretha Franklin version It was a chance to show off our horn section,” says band leader Mike Taylor.

“Someone Like You,” (Van Morrison) with lead vocals by  Taylor is a hugely successful track on the disc, and definitely one of my favorites.

“I love the arrangement,” says Taylor. “If you listen to the piano line, it’s almost like a Bruce Hornsby lick.”

Taylor and Neese wrote the title track about six years ago. It was originally recorded by the Castaways. “They never  pushed it that much,” adds Taylor, “ so we recorded ‘Sweet Love’ ourselves, and it’s become a real signature song for Duane [lead vocals].”

Also included on the disc is “Jukebox,” another Taylor/ Neese tune, which won a 2010 CBMA award for Best Blues Song.

Players on Sweet Love include: The Holiday Band: Mike Taylor (vocals, guitar), Bill Ward (drums), Duane Neese (vocals, trombone), Bob Martin (saxophone), Doug Neese (bass, vocals), Mike Neese (vocals, guitar). Additional musicians: Robyn Springer (background vocals), Mark Stallings (keyboards), Rick Murray (drums), Tim Gordon  (saxophone), Brad Wilcox (trumpet), Ben Shaw (trumpet), Keith Johnson, (trombone). Producers: Tim Eaton, Mark Stallings & Mike Taylor. Engineered by Tim Eaton & Mark Stallings at Studio East, Charlotte, N.C. Also recorded, mixed & mastered at Studio East.

This has been a great week for music. Strange and sweet, just like me.


R.I.P. Curtis Richardson

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on May 18, 2011

Curtis Richardson was old school Myrtle Beach. He played drums with the Chainsaws, who love to tell you that they’re tuned and lubed for your listening pleasure, so right there you can get a sense of the guy.

According to his pal, Charlie Newell – bass player for the Chainsaws – he and Curtis were friends for decades.

“Curtis was a mouthy little kid who used to follow us around a lot,” Charlie laughs, although a bit sadly.

“He’d follow us into bars and clubs when he was maybe 14 … He wound up being just a phenomenal drummer … I used to call him The Human Metronome … He was just unreal … loved the odd timing, which made it especially challenging for a bass player!

“A lot of local musicians came through his little jam room. It was a great gathering place.”

Last December, Curtis sat in for a set with Nashville’s Mike Farris at the Myrtle Beach Train Depot during a South By Southeast Music Feast. It was a lot of fun.

Unknown to everyone, even himself, Curtis was having heart problems. And shortly after that, in January, he died unexpectedly, leaving his family in a precarious financial situation. Some of Curtis’ buddies have come together to honor him and help the family at the same time.

Old friend and extreme bassist Steve Bailey will be there.  Soulful songwriter Chuck Cannon will be there, too, all the way from Nashville. Also on the roster are  Keith & Ann Thompson, the Mullets, Phyllis Tanner & Steve Russell, Tom Yoder, Kid Drew & Lynwood Salvo and Regime (Anthony Zincone).

The May 22 benefit takes place at Inlet Affairs, 4012 Business 17 in Murrells Inlets, S.C. It starts at 5 p.m. Donations are $25. There’s a cash bar and food. (Remember, it’s a benefit for Curtis’ family). This is going to be a great night of music. We gonna lay down a groove for Curtis.

Nationally Known Nantucket Band Has Roots At the Beach

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on May 18, 2011

Even if you’re not Carolina-grown, you may remember the rockin’ sounds of Nantucket. If you plan to be on the Grand Strand on May 19, you can hear them again. Nantucket is heading to Duck’s Beach Club on Main Street in North Myrtle Beach for a high-energy night of signature Nantucket tunes and a brand new CD of beach music that includes the group’s recent tribute to soul-beach icon, “General” Norman Johnson, who passed away on Oct. 13, 2010.

Formed in Jacksonvile, N.C. back in the late sixties, Nantucket was first known as Stax of Gold and later Nantucket Sleighride (after the song by Mountain).
Playing mostly covers, the group became a huge draw throughout North Carolina and later, the entire southeast.

After signing with Epic Records in 1977, they released their self-titled album which included the hit tune “Heartbreaker,”  By that time they were touring nationally and opening for top acts such as KISS, Journey, Styx and the Doobie Brothers.

Touring now throughout the Carolinas, the group has just played the Red Rose Festival in Lancaster, S.C.  and Thunder In the Smokies in Maggie Valley, N.C. After Ducks in Ocean Drive, they’ll head to Carolina Harley Davidson in New Bern, N.C. on May 21 and the Clayton concert series in Clayton, N.C. on June 2.

Today’s Nantucket features original members Mike Uzzell on keyboard bass and organ; Larry Uzzell singing lead vocals and playing trumpet, harmonica and percussion and Tommy Redd on rhythm guitar and vocals. Edddie Blair plays saxophone, keyboards and provides vocal suppport; and Jason Patterson is on drums.

The new seven-track CD is titled You Need a Ride to Raleigh. The show at Duck’s Beach Club at 229 Main Street begins at 9 p.m.

Eric Brace and Peter Cooper at SxSE May 14

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on May 3, 2011

Americana artists Eric Brace and Peter Cooper (courtesy photo)

South By Southeast has put together another tasty Music Feast and I’ve been craving it since the show was still in the discussion stages. For my money, no one has a better story to tell than the singer/ songwriter, and this time around there are two of them – Eric Brace and Peter Cooper.

This pair has been touring, recording and performing together since 2004, which is also the year Brace moved to Nashville. They have quietly created a loyal following of Americana buffs who share their love for songwriting and harmony.

They’re touring in support of two new recordings, Master Sessions and Cooper’s solo effort, The Lloyd Green Album.

I talked to them last week as they were heading from Portland Me. to Northampton, Mass. to open for John Prine. In addition to penning tunes, these guys are respected journalists. Eric Brace is a former columnist for the Washington Post. He covered the city’s night life and music scene. Peter Cooper is a music writer for the Tennessean, the daily newspaper in Nashville, Tenn.

“Many may decry this fact,” Cooper laughed during our conversation, “but we have day jobs. Most musicians have day jobs and mine puts me right there in the music every day … interviewing people like Kris Kristopherson and others … it keeps me thinking.”

Google his name and you’ll find blog posts, interviews and newspaper stories about some of Nashville’s biggest stars. You’ll also find some great quotes about the latest CD out from this dynamic duo, Master Sessions released last year on Brace’s Red Beet Records label.

“The harmonies are unforgettable, classic and touching. One of the irresistible surprises of the year,” said Jim Morrison with No Depression (Visit www.nodepression.com/profiles/blogs/eric-brace-and-peter-cooper for a great interview and video clip.)

“This album’s title is no misnomer,” says American Twang, which puts the CD at No. 8 on its list of Top Ten Not Quite Country Albums.

“Eric Brace and Peter Cooper sound as if there were born to play together,” comes from ToxicPete.co.uk. Oh wait, looks like that one’s about an earlier disc, You Don’t Have To Like Them Both ( Red Beet Records 2009).

Getting back to Master Sessions, the disc features two of the duo’s longtime musical heroes – Lloyd Green on pedal steel and Mike Auldridge on dobro. These two names may not be on the lips of America, but bluegrass, country and Americana fans know them well.  Green is one of the most respected pedal steel guitarists around. He’s played with the Byrds, Paul McCartney, George Jones, Charlie Pride and Alan Jackson.

Auldridge was a founding member of legendary bluegrass group, the Seldom Scene and more recently with Darren Beachley and the Legends of the Potomac bluegrass band.

“Eric and I used to go see Mike with the Seldom Scene,” Peter says. “He is the most inventive player!”

The album’s first track is “Wait a Minute,” a tune well-known to fans of the Seldom Scene. According to Cooper, it wasn’t a chart hit, but it was big. “We needed a third vocal,” Peter continued, “and we knew Kenny Chesney was a big Seldom Scene fan, so Eric texted him and he said he was honored to perform on a CD with Mike Auldridge.”

Longtime South By Southeast fans may recall Brace’s last visit to the Train Depot.

“I came with my band, Last Train Home, in 2007, and it was one of the best shows we ever did,” said Eric. “I mean that, it was one of our best shows ever … and Jeff Roberts … well, you can imagine some of the people you meet  … Jeff was one of the all-time greats.”

I can hear him smile as he thinks about the former director of South By Southeast, who passed away suddenly in January 2009. It still hurts, doesn’t it? I think that Last Train Home show was one of the ones that Jeff nagged me to see, but I missed it. And, once again, I should have Trusted the Frog, because I’ve heard some of their music and I would have loved seeing this rockin’ roots band.

However, I won’t make that mistake again. I’ll be at the Train Depot for this show!

Peter Cooper and Eric Brace at the Bluebird in Nashville, Tenn. (courtesy photo)

Tickets are $25  or $20 for annual SxSE concert subscribers. (Send an email with your name, number of tickets requested and your membership status to southxsoutheast@aol.com.)

Along with an incredible night of music, your ticket includes a potluck dinner and dessert, wine and beer from New South Brewery, soft drinks and coffee. Feasting begins at six o’clock and the music starts at 7 p.m.

Players on the Master Sessions CD are: Mike Auldridge – dobro; Richard Bennett – guitars, octave mandolin; Eric Brace – acoustic guitar, vocals; Peter Cooper – acoustic guitar, vocals; Lloyd Green – pedal steel guitar; Jen Gunderman – keyboards, accordion; Pat McInerney – drums, percussion; Dave Roe – bass; with Jon Randall – harmony vocals (2, 5, 11); Julie Lee – harmony vocals (4, 7, 8, 11); Kenny Chesney – harmony vocals (1).

Players on The Lloyd Green Album are: Peter Cooper (acoustic guitar, vocals), Lloyd Green (pedal steel guitar), Richard Bennett (guitars), Jen Gunderman (keyboards, accordion), Pat McInerney (drums, percussion), Mark Horn (drums) and harmony vocals by Kim Carnes, Rodney Crowell, Pam Rose, Fayssoux Starling McLean, Julie Lee and Eric Brace.

Also coming soon from Red Beet Records is I Love:Tom T. Hall’s Songs of Fox Hollow, a tribute and nod to the 75th birthday of Nashville’s iconic country songwriter Tom T. Hall. The disc is produced by Cooper and Brace, and features the monster talents of Buddy Miller, Patty, Griffin, Duane Eddy, and  Bobby Bare. Also performing are Lloyd Green (pedal steel guitar); Jen Gunderman (keyboard, piano, accordion); Mike Bub (acoustic bass) and Mark Horn (drums).

The Train Depot is located at 851 Broadway, Myrtle Beach, S.C. For more information, log onto southbysoutheast.org. And don’t forget to check out these upcoming shows: Saturday, Aug. 6 – Josh Roberts & the Hinges; Saturday, Oct. 1 – Steve Young & Jubal Lee Young; Saturday, Dec. 3 – Yonrico Scott Band.