DarielB – Flying Under the Radar

‘Hangin’ Out’ With the Rick Strickland Band

Posted in CD Picks, Interviews by darielb on May 2, 2012

Rick Strickland Band during recording sessions at 6+1 Studios in Florence, S.C. L-R, Art Benton, Don Hamrick, Lesa Hudson, Rick Strickland and Debbie Anderson. (Photo Jim Allen, OceanDriveHappens.com)


Multi-talented S.C. musician Rick Strickland is a one-man band. To say he’s a prolific songwriter just hints at his lyrical stamina. His soulful stylings are out of this world and and – with a four-octave range – his vocals reach even further. Add to that technical savvy, masterful guitar work and a producer’s ear, and you have an inkling of what Rick brings. He can do it all, and he usually does.

That said, this new recording is a departure. It showcases the entire Rick Strickland Band. Titled

RSB released their CD on April 20, 2012.

Hangin’ Out, the brand new 12-track album (released on April 20) is a collaboration of the entire group, and Rick Strickland is very much the proud papa.

“The idea was for everybody to have their fingerprints all over this. I didn’t want to get in the studio and tell them what I wanted to hear. I just gave them little acoustic guitar/voice demos and said, ‘There, do what you want with it.’ And they stepped up with ideas I would never have even thought of.

“For ‘I’d Rather Be Your Friend,’ the big ballad, my original thought was to have the band in the whole song. But Lesa suggested starting with just the guitar, then bringing her in and then the rest to build. It really makes the song.”

Lead vocalist and keyboard player Lesa Hudson, a songwriter in her own right, is also responsible for some distinctive orchestration on “I’d Rather Be Your Friend.”

Rick explains, “We’re holding these two chords and she kind of does these classical rolls through them that provide the song the tension and release that makes it interesting … Lesa has a million great moments on the CD.”

Lead vocalist and keyboard player Lesa Hudson adds, “For me, I love the harmony and Rick’s take on the harmony arrangement.”

Harmony is key to the Rick Strickland Band, both in an out of the studio.  “This experience was all about the group,” Lesa continues. “At the end of the day, it wasn’t just Rick’s project, it was all about everybody.

“What sticks with me is the whole process … the talent, the people. This is my seventh CD, but the first I’ve recorded with live musicians … It really comes through in the recording.”

This is definitely a cohesive, single-minded band, but there’s room for individuals to shine, and shine they do.

Says Rick, “Don [Hamrick] really shows his butt through the whole thing, and being a drummer myself, I love it. On ‘I’d Rather Be Your Friend,’ his first entrance is the second verse, and he’s barely playing on the rim of the snare drum and just before bringing the snare in on the precourse (where 99% of dummers would do a bombastic drum fill on the toms), he instead just lightly touches on the head of the snare drum before bringing it in officially. It’s so artful and restrained.”

“Alive Til 95” is a kick-ass soul tune with lead vocals by bass player Debbie Anderson and Rick.

Rick Strickland laying down some vocals for the new CD. (Photo Jim Allen, OceanDriveHappens.com)

“I had a band called the Citizens back in ‘85. This was written for them, but I thought it was be great for Debbie to sing, and she nailed it! I had never heard her sing lead until we got into the studio … and she can nail it! To see our Cupcake sing like Mavis Staples …” Rick’s voice trails off here. He’s genuinely proud of his band mate.

That’s a running theme of our conversation, as he recounts the studio sessions, which, by the way, were executed in about three days.

“‘Gonna Come a Day’ is a sassy duet with Lesa Hudson and Rick Strickland on lead vocals.

“Lesa and I wrote that in the car on our way somewhere, to a gig, I think.  We got most of it down on the way and finished the lyrics on the way back. It’s another really good example of Don’s brilliance.”

The admiration here is mutual. “It’s an honor for me to be in this band,” says drummer Don Hamrick. Words almost escape him as he tells me about the recording sessions.

“The collaboration in the studio … the intent … the chemistry … The ideas we had just meshed like a dream come true. I’ve had recordings where you spend weeks working with a click track, but this … this is real. This is us playing. What we did in the studio is exactly when we do onstage.

“Sometimes you can lose the chemistry when you try to make it too perfect … We rehearsed, but we allowed the chemistry to come through. For ‘Let’s Take Our Time,’ I was playing cajón. I thought it was a run through, but when we listened, it was right on the money.

“It’s a wonderful experience to record that quickly and still have the quality.”

Chatting with Debbie Anderson, it strikes me as ironic that the woman who can ‘sing like Mavis Staples’ is so soft spoken and shy even. She tells me that this is her first time recording instrumentation, that she’s an understated bass player; she keeps the tempo, keeps the pace. But then suddenly, she makes me laugh out loud.

“I started playing bass when my church needed a bass player,” she says. “So I put on some Lynyrd Skynyrd and taught myself.” Goes to show, you should never underestimate the shy ones.
Listen closely to “Hey What You Say.” Debbie came up with a subtle bass line that adds a lot to the song.

Keyboard player Art Benton is a session veteran. “I’ve been doing studio work sing the 60s, and it was amazing to see how this group with little studio experience ripped through everything.”

I wondered if he had a favorite tune on the Hangin’ Out CD.

“Maybe ‘Little Diva.’ Technically speaking it’s got vocals, piano part, drum track, flute, syncopated piano part all going on at once. I love it.

“It’s great to work with a drummer who can hold his meter and be colorful at the same time.”
CD credits: Rick Strickland (lead and background vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, producer, mixing); Art Benton (keyboards and accordian); Debbie Anderson (lead and background vocals); Lesa Hudson (lead and background vocals, keyboards); Don Hamrick (drums and percussion); Kevin Smith (engineer); Six+1 Studios (recording); Songwriting: All songs written by Rick Strickland except “Gonna Come a Day,” written by Rick Strickland and Lesa Hudson. CD cover design Lesa Hudson. CD cover photography Jim Allen.

To learn more about the band and their new CD visit their website or find them on Facebook.

David Fair’s Rockin’ Americana Comes to Myrtle Beach

Posted in Interviews by darielb on April 6, 2012

(Photo courtesy David Fair)

Nashville singer/songwriter David Fair is coming to Myrtle Beach this weekend for two shows. Tonight, Friday night, he’s opening for Phil Vassar at Club Boca at Broadway At the Beach (in fact, he’s probably on stage now!); on Saturday, he’ll be at 2001 Nightclub in their intimate Stage room.

David plays a rockin’ guitar, writes some solid lyrics and brings a kick-ass voice to the stage. No surprise, he grew up with music all around him. His dad, Joe Fair, is a respected Nashville singer/songwriter in the Christian music community (Listen to “I Am Certain,” written by Joe Fair, vocals by David Fair). By age 12, David was playing drums in a garage band.  Then he joined Tennessee rock group Pieces of Eight, playing clubs and local events. David formed his own band at age 15. Dubbed Walt-Dizzy by David’s father, the group had a southern hard rock sound that helped them land gigs opening for Steppenwolf and headlining local shows throughout the south.

“After that I joined a hard rock metal band called Medicine Mann,” David said in a telephone interview last week. “I fronted them for eight years. We opened for some major acts.”

David is very low key about these major acts, so let me tell you. During his career, he’s opened for Tesla, Craig Morgan, Warrant, Skid Row, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora, Jewel, Quiet Riot, Big and Rich, Eric Martin and Eric Church. He’s played The Fillmore in San Francisco, the Cannery and the Starwood Amphitheatre in Nashville, and the Bitter End in New York City.

“It was pretty cool,” David says. “I opened for Tesla at the Warfield in San Francisco … and I played the Fillmore, too, which was great because my dad had played there with the Grateful Dead. I grew up looking at the poster.”

Have you been living in Nashville this whole time, I asked.

“No, I had moved to California in 1999. After I left Medicine Mann, I began to pursue the Americana thing.

“My dad really helped me make connections,” he laughs. “He’s good friends with David Garibaldi, the Tower of Power drummer, who hooked me up with Troy Luckketta, the drummer for Tesla, who wound up producing my first solo CD. Halfway through the album, Tesla went out on the road. That was when I opened for them at the Warfield.”

(Photo courtesy David Fair)

Returning to Tennessee, David toured with the Mulch Brothers, opening for the group and then playing in the band. He also began work – with the help of CJ Boggs – on a second EP, You Never Know.

“CJ played on my first album and played for Mr. Big, and now he has this engineering gig. We set up a studio in the house, brought in these fabulous players … it was great.”

Players included some of the best session players in Nashville and then some: Troy Luckketta, Tesla’s drummer; Kevin Carlson from Aldo Nova on guitar and keys; bluegrass performer Chris Thile;  Bryan House, Sam Bush’s bass player; Bruce Bouton on steel guitar; “Banjo Ben” Clark, who plays with Taylor Swift and the Clark Family; Chris Solberg, Eddie Money guitarist, and N.Y.C.’s Phil Roselle, now part of the Sowing Circle.

David’s favorite writing partner, other than his dad, is music veteran Billy Falcon, who shares songwriter credits on half a dozen Bon Jovi albums and whose tunes have been covered by Stevie Nicks, Cher, Manfred Mann, Sherrie Austin, Meatloaf, Trace Adkins and others.

Based on what I’ve heard, the new CD will be a keeper.

Band members include: David Fair, acoustic lead vocals/guitar/harmonica; Moises  Padilla/drums; David Phoenix/bass; Josh Gramling, lead guitar/backing vocals.

The Backstory

David Fair and I share the same hometown. Floral Park, N.Y. I went to school with his Uncle Dave. My older brother was great pals with David’s dad, Joe. Joe played ball on one of my dad’s ball teams, either Little League or Babe Ruth, and my sister is friends with David’s aunt.

Until last week, though, when I got a message on Facebook from David, I didn’t know him and wasn’t familiar with his music. Now I’m a fan.

SaRon Crenshaw: SxSE Brings Blues With a Soul Twist to the Beach

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on December 16, 2011

SaRon Crenshaw with the red Gibson. (Photo courtesy SaRonCrenshaw.com)

South By Southeast, the not-for-profit music organization in Myrtle Beach will open its 2012 season with a show appealing to blues lovers, soul fans and R&B aficianados alike.

Powerhouse guitarist SaRon Crenshaw will be bringing his electrifying band all the way from the Big Apple to the Myrtle Beach Train Depot on Jan. 7, 2012.

SxSE board member Charles Newell, who is also the bass player for the Chainsaws, a local band, says, “I saw SaRon in Greenwich Village in October. We started working right then on getting him for a SxSE Music Feast.”

He’s a sought-after performer at spots like B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in New York and Terra Blues, a blues saloon in the heart of Greenwich Village.

Touring often, Crenshaw delights audiences with his fiery guitar licks and soulful vocals. The show at the intimate historic Train Depot will offer a unique opportunity to get an up-close look at his Gibson “Lucille” model guitar, which was signed by B.B. King himself.

Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro, who reviews live performances and recordings for the comprehensive online music resource, Mary4Music.com had this to say about SaRon Crenshaw in a review of the 2006 Red Bank Jazz & Blues Festival in New Jersey:
“All music festivals have their surprises and this fest ws no different. There’s always that one act that you catch, get awed by, then think to yourself… ‘who in hell is this/” Well that such person was SaRon Crenshaw. At one of the auxilisary stages SaRon drew one of the largest and more enthusiastic crowds of the event (at leas of the acts I saw). Until now, this regular player at New York City’s Terrablues was virtually unknown to me a lot of the crowd. However, there was no way he was allowing his unfamiliarity to become an obstacle. SaRon stood up there and played like he was Buddy Guy (except, unlike Buddy, he finished all of his songs) and the crowd was a bunch of his fans. At one point he even came down into the crowd, strolling between revelers, while playing the guitar with his tongue. This guy was a hell of a showman and more importantly, a hell of a bluesman. That’s SaRon Crenshaw, keep your eyes and ears open for him.”

Members of the SaRon Crenshaw Band include Crenshaw (guitar and vocals); Junior Mack (guitar and vocals); Al Levy (bass and vocals); Barry Harrison (drums and vocals); and Bob Schlesnger (keyboards).

Music Feasts are $25 per person ($20 for SxSE annual concert series members). Reservations are suggested. Send an email to southxsoutheast@aol.com, with the number of tickets and your zip code. They’ll put you on their A list.

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 seven. Or sevenish.

Since South by Southeast is an IRS-approved 501(c) (3) organizations, memberships and donations are wholly tax deductible.
The Myrtle Beach Train Depot is located at 851 Broadway in Myrtle Beach. For more information about the SxSE event,log onto http://www.southbysoutheast.org.

Stocking Stuffers: Music Picks to Keep You Groovin’ Through 2012

Posted in CD Picks by darielb on December 12, 2011

This is the time of year when I sit back with a nog while all y’all tell me what’s cool, hip and happenin’ in the world of music. This year I’ve asked a mix of special friends to share their music picks with us. Enjoy!
Mike Farris
mikefarrismusic.com
Mike Farris. Intense, talented and on fire, this Nashville boy is one of the most exciting performers I’ve ever seen. Check out his picks.
Various Artists
Cosimo Matassa Story (import)
Proper Box (2007)
If you really want to take a peek inside the birthing room of rock & roll, look behind this curtain! Between the 40s and 60s everything that came out of New Orleans was recorded at Cosimo’s J&M Studio. Way too often overlooked, New Orleans and her amazing musicians laid the foundation for rock & roll. If you don’t like this box set, we can never be friends.

Various Artists
Goodbye Babylon (Box Set)
Dust-to-Digital (2003)
Sacred music grown in the hot southern dust. One of the greatest box sets ever put together. Makes me proud to be a southern boy.
From Amazon: Goodbye Babylon is a 6 CD gospel reissue collection. 5 CDs contain 135 songs from 1902-1960 and the 6th disc is comprised of 25 sermons recorded between 1926-1941. Also included is a 200 page book complete with Bible verses, lyric transcriptions, and notes for each recording, plus over 200 illustrations … Sound restoration and mastering by Airshow Mastering, the team that restored the “Anthology of American Folk Music” (Smithsonian Folkways, 1997), and won a Grammy® for their work on “Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues: The Worlds of Charley Patton” (Revenant, 2002). – Reverently packed in raw cotton and housed in a deluxe 8″ x 11″ x 2.5″ cedar box. Notes and essays by musicologists and scholars, including several Grammy® winners. – Contributors include Lynn Abbott, David Evans, Ray Funk, Anthony Heilbut, Kip Lornell, Luigi Monge, Paul Oliver, Opal Louis Nations, Bruce Nemerov, Guido van Rijn, Ken Romanowski, Tony Russell, Doug Seroff, Dick Spottswood, Warren Steel, David Tibet, Gayle Dean Wardlow, and Charles Wolfe.

Bill Withers
Still Bill (DVD)
New Video Group (2011)
Still Bill (documentary)- I know this is not technically a record. It’s a film….and I haven’t even seen this yet, but I can still safely say that it’s a must watch. Bill Withers is one of the great songwriters of our time and a true artist intent on steering his own wheel. Ride on, Bill……ride on.

Brian Rutenberg
brianrutenbergart.com
Brian Rutenberg. Before he grew into his true self as a sought after N.Y.C. artist, this Myrtle Beach boy was a drummer. I knew his picks would be cool, but I had no idea how cool.

Youssou N’Dour
The Lion
Virgin Records (1989)
My first recommendation is the fabulous Senegalese singer/ percussionist Youssou N’Dour whom I saw in concert at S.O.B’s in N.Y.C. in the late 80s. His soulful rhythm, smooth ambient keyboards (somewhat akin to Brian Eno), and musical voice are fabulous. I enjoy many of his albums but my favorite is 1989’s The Lion (Virgin), songs like “Bes” and “My Daughter (Sama Doom)” make me smile. His music also takes me back to the blissful days when I met my wife Katie. Now we have children and they like the same songs.
Robert Shaw & the Robert Shaw Festival Singers
Rachmaninoff Vespers
Teldec (1990)
If you want to be transported through music then Rachmaninoff’s Vespers are a must. They are sublime. Go somewhere you can be totally alone for an hour, shut the lights off, and listen. I also enjoy just looking out a window (preferably on a gloomy day) or a long drive with this recording. My ongoing studies of the late Canadian pianist/philosopher Glenn Gould involve long stretches of driving in Ontario and the Vespers are a perfect soundtrack. Another listening place might be the parking area that juts out onto the beach by the Cherry Grove Inn around 54th/55th Ave N. in North Myrtle Beach. I am not sure if it is still there but watching the surf to these Vespers would be nice; “Bless The Lord,” “O My Soul” and “O Serene Light” reaffirm what it means to be a human being.
Robert Plant
Principle of Moments
Rhino (1983)
Finally I am listening a lot to Robert Plant’s second solo album Principle of Moments released the year I graduated from high school in Myrtle Beach,. Although the drums are not Bonham they are played by Phil Collins with some heavy down beat and the unadorned clarity that Bonham mastered. There was a remaster released in 2007 which I play in my studio a lot. “In the Mood” and “Big Log” are still fabulous songs.
Clair DeLune
bluesmoonradio.blogspot.com
Clair DeLune. Music historian, writer and professor, producer and host of Blues Moon Radio … I love all that Clair does, and I’m grateful for her participation.
Various Artists
Bummed Out Christmas
Rhino (1989)
The Bummed Out Christmas CD seems an odd choice because it is topically dreary, not cheery. As the host of Blues Moon Radio, I talk with a number of people each year who are not upbeat about the holidays. Contrary to popular belief, blues music does not depress one, it is one’s “ticket” for climbing out of a pit of despair and can improve your mood, so I recommend Bummed Out Christmas to all.
This CD fits the bill two ways: For most, it is an over-the-top array of songs so wildly absurd they are laugh out loud funny, thus a welcome break from standard treacly holiday pap . For those in a deep funk, it has been known to provide a balanced perspective – even if only from a “misery loves company” or “someone has it worse” perspective. The most requested holiday song on my radio show each year is “Christmas In Jail,” by the Youngsters, which begins with the ominous “I was in the wrong lane, feeling no pain.” It acts as an ersatz public service announcement – reminding us of our duty to not drive if drinking, but entertains as it informs.
Demetria Taylor
Bad Girl
Delmark (2011)
Bluesman Eddie Taylor’s much-covered classic, “Bad Boy,” is given a twist by his daughter, Demetria. Eddie Taylor, who was not as well-known – yet was integral to the Chicago scene as Jimmy Reed’s guitarist – introduced Reed to that now-famous shuffling style. Eddie Taylor has influenced more people than know his name, including his own children, three of whom work actively in Blues music. This year Taylor’s daughter, Demetria, rises above the “Blues Legacy” tag with her vocals on “Bad Girl,” earning her place in the blues world as a powerhouse of song. It is nominated for Best CD of 2011 Lunie Award on Blues Moon Radio.
Laurence “Luckyman” Beall
The Huntsville Sessions
Turbine Incredible (2010)
Last but not least… indeed this is most likely my absolute favorite find of the year…
Laurence Luckyman Beall is the freshest, most invigorating artist to appear on Blues Moon Radio this year. His work is highly energized and he puts more sound out solo than most artists with backing bands. Sporting the Western-style dress and duck-tail hairstyle that emerged when Rock’n’Roll was young, Beall (pronounced ‘Bell’) is serious about his folio of Blues, Rockabilly and Americana that would get any mule kicking in its stall. Those who see Beall perform are impressed and charmed by his vibrant personality as well as his intense musicianship, comprised of powerful lyrics and melody, and a unique approach to electric chicken-pickin’ guitar work. His CD is the most commented on by Blues Moon Radio’s listeners this year… and many have become enthusiastic converts to “the Luckified.”
Sam Hannaford
SouthBySoutheast.org
Co-founder and past president of the nonprofit South By Southeast music organization, this guy is responsible for making top drawer music (and musicians) accessible to the Carolina coast. Love you, Sam.
Otis Redding
The Definitive Collection (4CD set)
Rhino Records (1993)
After having half finished reading “Bill Graham Presents,” the autobiography/biography of Bill Graham, I realized that he and I have two things in common. One, we have helped put on music concerts (not that I put myself 1000th in the same company of this great Rock Icon), and number two, that Otis Redding was our favorite all time performer. Unlike Bill, I never had the pleasure of seeing Otis live, but this four-CD set is a very definitive representation of his short but significant contribution to popular music – helping to bridge the racial and music genre gaps that existed until the 1960s.

There are outtakes of many of his more popular tunes that I find very interesting, as well as enjoying the songs heard on the radio back in the day and now. He is timeless. Unfortunately, he died the week after he recorded “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” and never got to hear his biggest hit on the radio.

Laura Nyro
Laura Nyro Live At The Bottom Line
Cypress Records (1989)
Always a huge fan of Laura, I was gifted this out of production CD a few years ago (it’s available on eBay). Known mostly for her pop hits recorded by The Fifth Dimension, Barbra Streisand, Blood Sweat and Tears and others such as “Stoney End,” “Wedding Bell Blues,” “And When I Die,” and “Stoned Soul Picnic,” Laura’s emotive piano playing and vocal phrasing have always touched me. This is a great example live of those qualities as exemplified on songs such as “The Confession,” “My Innocence/Sophia” and “Broken Rainbow.” She also mixes in R&B covers of “High Heeled Sneakers,” “La La Means I Love You” and “Up On The Roof.” She has influenced many singers.
The Duhks
The Duhks
Sugar Hill Records (2005)
Having seen these multi-talented young musicians at Merlefest in 2005, I bought their CD immediately. I have rarely been as impressed by a group that offered so much a diversity and cultural music mixture. Running the gamut from Celtic, Portuguese, Cajun, Rock N’ Roll, as well as Black Sea Island Gospel music, these folks tear it up. Jesse Havey’s vocals are unreal, along with fellow band member Tania Elizabeth. “Death Came A Knockin”, “Dance Hall Girls”, “True Religion”, and “ The Waggoner’s Lad” stand out to me especially. I am unsure if they are still playing, but even with a change in membership, they put on a great show.
Mike Taylor
HolidayBand.com
Singer/songwriter and band leader for Southern soul/variety group, the Holiday Band, Mike has lived and breathed music since he was a kid. One of my faves.
Chicago
What’s It Gonna Be Santa?
Rhino (2003)
Twenty of the best arrangements of Christmas songs ever. Every song has a unique flavor, the changes are NOT traditional and the playing and singing is off the chart. I don’t usually like Christmas CDs much, but I love this one. You must listen two or three times to get used to the vibe.

Pete Lauro
Mary4Music.com
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro reviews blues and indie music at Mary 4 Music, and I’m always happy to listen to his picks. Yeah!
Hubert Sumlin
Healing Feeling
Blacktop Records (1990)
This is one of my favorite CDS simply for the fact that it introduced me to the person who has become my all time favorite blues vocalist – Darrell Nulisch. While at a friend’s house, he happened to be playing the CD and when the song “Play It Cool” came on I was blown away. I asked him to let me see the CD jacket and bought it the very next day. It’s almost 12 years old and I still listen to it very regularly.

Roomful Of Blues
That’s Right
Alligator Records (2003)
You could easily put on a three-day blues festival just using the great musicians that have been a part of Roomful of Blues over the last 40 or some years. Through it all, the band has remained in tact and is still headlining blues festivals themselves. This is one of my favorite discs of theirs because it featured the debut of Mark DuFresne who I feel gave them back the punch they needed in a front man. This is real good stuff.
Downchild Blues Band
I Need A Hat
Linus Entertainment (2009)
This is another one of those bands that’s been around forever. As the story goes, they were supposedly the influence for the Blues Brothers. This Canadian band, led by Donny Walsh, has more discs out than I care to count, and this – their latest release – is one of their very best.

Pat Patterson
LargeTime.net
The S.C. Internet radio station owner (along with wife Robin) of Large Time Network is one of my favorite deejays, and has a wonderful collection of obscure music.
Rickey Godfrey
Nasty Man
Serenity Hill (2010)
There is a lot of good music available right now, but I have three favorites. I am a Rickey Godfrey fan through and through. His latest release Nasty Man is “Nasty” but in a good way!! Rickey is so talented and his talent shines with each song from his vocal ability to his amazing guitar licks. This CD should be in your collection right now. I feel that only Rickey could get away with the title “Nasty Man” and then on top of that pull off “I Want Me a Nasty Woman,” one of my favorites, as well as “When You’re Cool (The Sun Shines All The Time).” Only Rickey can make the blues shine.
Craig Woolard Band
Main Street People
Sisbro (2010)
Also on my list is Main Street People on Sisbro Records from The Craig Woolard Band. Beside the obvious songs on the charts “Your Love Is Amazing,” “Impossible,” and “Beachaholic,” there are some other great songs as well. “Soulful Kind Of Love,” I’m In Love With The Girl Next Door” and “Main Street People.” You can’t go wrong with this CD.

Dip Ferrell & the Truetones
Along For the Vibe
Arcade Records (2011)

The new CD from Dip Ferrell And The Truetones, Along For The Vibe, on Arcade Records is awesome. The shag tunes “Hey Girl” and “Love Monkey” will make you lay some leather down on the dance floor. Two beautiful ballads “Baby Come Back To Me” and “I’m Way Too Proud” have great story lines, yes songs do have story lines and these certainly do. Not only that, but the music is fabulous and makes for a true slow dance.

Stuff the stockings with these CDs and you can’t go wrong!!! I simply put them in and hit “Play” without skipping to the next song, and that to me makes a great “Stocking Stuffer” and CD. Merry Christmas and happy listening!!!!
Sheila Cain
http://www.live365.com/stations/
beaumontblues
Head honcho and radio host for Blues City Radio, Sheila Cain found time to give us her faves, despite the fact that she was in the middle of moving her life to Denver. Check out her radio show.
Karen Lovely
Still The Rain
Pretty Pear Records (2011)
Being a blues enthusiast, my number one pick this Christmas has to be Karen Lovely’s latest CD, Still The Rain. I’ve listened to every track over and over again and still can’t get enough.

The title track “Still The Rain” is contemporary blues at it’s very best. But don’t overlook one single song on this CD. Every one is a winner in my book. Tracks from this CD have kept Karen Lovely at the number one spot on Blues City Radio for the past eight weeks straight with no signs of slowing down.
Karen Lovely has the potential to become a blues phenom!
Etta James
Icon
Geffen Records (2010)
I don’t generally buy “collection” type CDs, but Etta James is the exception to the rule on this one.
Her CD Icon, a 12-song sampler spans the best of Etta over her illustrious career.

From “At Last” to “I’d Rather Go Blind,” this CD highlights her many hits. There’s just something about her sultry, soulful voice and lyrics that takes one on a musical journey that is hard (if not impossible) to duplicate. This is a “Must Have” CD for anyone who loves, blues, soul and R&B. I guarantee it will not be re-gifted.

Thanks to all my pals who contributed here. Happy Holidays to all!

GRAMMY Winner Yonrico Scott Heads to Myrtle Beach for SxSE Show

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on December 1, 2011

Yonrico Scott. Check out the drum head.

On Jan. 31, 2010 drummer Yonrico Scott was onstage at the L.A. Convention Center for the pre-telecast award ceremony of the GRAMMYs accepting the award for Best Contemporary Blues Album for the Derek Trucks Band. On Dec. 3, he and his own Yonrico Scott Band will hit the stage right here at the historic Myrtle Beach Train Depot for the final South By Southeast Music Feast of the year.


This is why I “Trust the Frog.” The folks at SxSE spend their time scouring the road not taken by the mainstream bandwagon to bring us some of the country’s most respected singer/songwriters and musicians, most of whom aren’t household names to the public, but are well-known to other musicians.

Yonrico Scott is one of this talented community of musicians. He played with the Derek Trucks Band from about 1993, he guesses, until the band went on hiatus late last year so Derek could form a new band with wife Susan Tedeschi. He has toured with Peabo Bryson and Earl Klugh and played with greats like Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Freddie Hubbard and the Allman Brothers Band.

In a telephone interview earlier this week, we talked about his GRAMMY experience, his career and his passion for art.
As a child, Scott was greatly influenced and encouraged by his mother Ruth Naomi Scott, a gospel singer who grew up in Detroit. She was a member of the Detroit Harmonettes and it sounds like she cherished her son’s budding talent.

“She was truly an angel,” says Scott, “always encouraging me. I started playing drums at about five years old.”

By age 14, he was studying with Motown drummer George Hamilton. At 15, he recorded “Message From the Ghetto” with The Sons of Truth for the Stax gospel subsidiary.

He went to college in Kentucky, studying drums and percussion with Chicago Symphony classical percussionist Patrick Arnold and classical timpanist Dave Davenport. Scott says his classical study is the reason that he is the drummer he is today.

Upon moving to Atlanta, Ga. in the late seventies, he immediately met guitarist George Greer, who turned him on to the neighborhood arts center. Connections made there helped get his foot in the door of the jingle business, and he started doing work for Atlanta mogul Ted Turner.

Sometime in 1992 or 1993, he had a call from Col. Bruce Hampton (Gov’t Mule) with the news that then 14-year-old Derek Truck was looking for a drummer.

“The first time I heard him play, I knew this was big,” Scott tells me. “The first year we played 320 dates. We did all the small cities.
“A lot of people don’t know, but when I started with DTB, we were doing bebop … all sorts of stuff.”

Because DTB took a regular hiatus, Scott was able to play with his own Yonrico Scott Band, which includes Kofi Burbridge, keys/flute; Todd Smallie, bass; Mace Hibbard, sax; Nick Johnson, guitar; Laura Reed, special guest vocalist; and many other players on different occasion. YSB’s debut release, Turning the Corner, a 12-track disc of mainly jazz instrumentals, was released in January, 2004.

His first touring job was with Peabo Bryson and Patti LaBelle. Through Bryson, he connected with Broadway and spent several years working in productions such as The Wiz, Dream Girls, Les Misérables and Five Guys Named Mo, which featured the music of Louis Jordan.

What was it like getting a GRAMMY, I wanted to know.

“I loved it. I walked the red carpet with Ringo Starr on my right and Mick Fleetwood on my left.”

He continues, “Derek had been really cool with it, said he wasn’t going to go, so I said that I was thinking of going and Derek asked me to represent the band, so then it was official. I was going!”

Scott kept a GRAMMY journal about the experience that’s posted on the Derek Trucks Band site. It’s a great read. I love how much fun he’s having with it. Here’s just a snippet:

“I get the award and I’m trying to stay composed on stage but in my mind, I’m freaking out! A lot of the other winners seemed so relaxed when we won, but for me it was just such a huge deal. I had this Grammy in my hand and I was just blown over! Right now I still think it’s a dream and I just wonder when the dream will be over.”

Throughout all Scott’s stories (and he has many), I was impressed by just how jaded he is not. He is embracing every experience that comes along.

“After I got the Grammy, I decided I wanted to do another album. I started in March of 2010, and I finished about three months ago.”

Scott is very excited about the new recording, Be In My World, which he expects will be released in early 2012. Players include his sister Ronda Scott (they sing a duet); vocalist Laura Reed from South Africa; Derek Trucks; DTB bass player Todd Smallie; DTB vocalist Mike Matteson, jazz guitarist Grant Green Jr.; virtuoso bassist Joseph Patrick Moore; singer/songwriter Diane Durrett and more. Three of the tracks are written by funk keyboardist Reverend Oliver Wells. Scott himself wrote several tracks.

“There are 15 original songs and a cover of Buddy Miles’ “‘dem Changes,’” Scott says, “and this is the first recording with me as a lead vocal. So that’s me on vibes, percussion, singing and drums. The album, titled Be In My World is a tribute to Buddy Miles.”
Art is another passion for Yonrico Scott. “I was always drawing and making stuff, as a kid.”
Once again, his mother was at his side, encouraging him.

“‘You can have the upstairs. Do whatever you want,’ my mother told me,’ Scott laughs.

“Then, when I started with Derek, we were making up set lists and I started drawing on them. We would make color copies for the band, and then for some of the fans. And now they’re collected all over the place.”

Scott is a prolific artist, painting drum heads for his many gigs along with paintings.

“I’m not a trained artist,” he continues. “I’m making a statement . . . One of my biggest idols was Howard Finster [legendary Atlanta folk artist known for his 1980s album designs for groups like R.E.M. and Talking Heads].  He told me to keep doing my own stuff. Don’t take lessons. So that’s what I do.”

This past October, when  visionary artists Alex and Allison Gray, known for their psychodelic album covers, came to Atlanta’s inaugural Visionary Arts Fair, Yonrico was part of it.

“I was playing drums, wearing a crazy suit. I loved it.”

So much is  happening for Yonrico Scott these days, it’s  hard to keep up.

“The biggest thing for me right now is a new band. I’ve been invited to join the Royal Southern Brotherhood with Cyril Neville, Devon Allman and MIke Zito with Charlie Wooton on bass. The band will debut at the New Orleans Jazz Fest, and we have bookings through Dec. 2012.”

Joining Scott at the SxSE gig will be jazz keyboardist Buzz Amatto, guitarist Randy Honea, and Ted Peccio on bass. Something tells me this is going to be a genre-jumping adventure, and I can’t wait.

Music Feasts are $25 per person ($20 for SxSE annual concert series members). Reservations are suggested. Send an email to southxsoutheast@aol.com, with the number of tickets and your zip code. They’ll put you on their A list.

The Myrtle Beach Train Depot is located at 851 Broadway in Myrtle Beach. For more information about the SxSE event,log onto http://www.southbysoutheast.org.

Note: I loved talking with Yonrico Scott, and there’s a lot more to the interview, so I plan to organize my notes and add some of them to this blog post soon.

Memphis-Bound – Cape Fear Blues Challenge Winners

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on November 16, 2011

Lawyers Guns & Money, winners in the band category

Randy McQuay Wins Solo/Duo Category, Lawyers Guns & Money Take Band Competition

I was fortunate enough to be one of the judges for the Cape Fear Blues Challenge this year. It was a lot of fun and I got to hear some great music. If you ever get a chance to attend or be a part of one of these, jump at the chance. This particular event (and there were hundreds going on all over the country) was held on Saturday, Nov. 5 at one of my favorite little blues joints, the Rusty Nail in Wilmington, N.C.

We judged two categories: solo artist or duo act and band (three or more players). Each act played a 20-minute set.

There were several different judging criteria. First, and most heavily weighted was blues content, which I found strange because it’s so subjective. Everyone has his or her own interpretation of what is and isn’t blues ( never mind what is and isn’t good), so this can really vary. Vocals were the next criteria. How did the act’s vocals tell the story; did they evoke emotion? And did the background vocals reinforce the message?

Third criteria was talent. In the case of a group or duo, did the instrumental skills of each musician combine well and contribute to the act’s “sound”? Was the band tight? Was the tempo steady. Did the instruments complement the vocals or drown them out? It’s not enough to lay down searing riffs during your solo.

Also important for the competition was originality. Although the Cape Fear Blues Society allows cover tunes in the contest, players are not rewarded for exact renditions. Instead we looked for the act that could take a well-known blues tune and make it their own. To give you an example, during the course of the evening, three of the nine acts we were judging performed Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads Blues,” so you can understand the significance of originality as it extends beyond songwriting to arrangement and performance, as well.

The fifth and final criteria was stage presence. Did the performers connect with the audience? Were they playing music or putting on a show? Musicianship has to come first, but musicians can’t perform in a vacuum. They have to sell themselves – and their music – to the audience.

Six acts competed in the solo/duo category and three sought the title in the full band category, which was defined as having three or more players. Solo acts were Jim Ashley, Lakota John, Jim Nelson, Reverend Sam, Spider Mike Bochey and Randy McQuay. The competing bands were The Treblemakers, Lawyers Guns & Money and Chicken Head Blues Band.

Randy McQuay and Lawyers Guns & Money took the wins so they’re headed to Memphis for the 2012 IBC. Yeah!

Wilmington's Randy McQuay won in the solo/duo category

Born and raised in Charlotte, N.C., Randy McQuay told me he started playing drums in middle school. He joined the school jazz band and later the marching band. He has been a full time musician since the age of 17. After attending UNCW and studying drums and percussion, he now plays keyboard, guitar, harmonica and handles vocals, too. “I paid my way through college singing, so that’s what I’ve done,” he told me in a telephone interview this week.

McQuay is the talented front man for the Wilmington, N.C. group, RootSoul Project. He’s working on his sixth album now, and has recorded in Nashville, Tenn. as well as locally at Audio Genesis in Wilmington.

His group has a standing gig at the Duck & Dive in downtown Wilmington every Tuesday night and then travels around the region Thursday through Sunday. They’ve been building quite a fan base in Myrtle Beach and Murrells Inlet.

At the Blues Challenge, Randy was hugely engaging on harp and acoustic guitar. Until he played, it seemed the young Lakota John might score the most with his electric guitar, but in the end, he came in second.

Winning the band category, Lawyers Guns & Money is a Greensboro-based four-piece band with Terry VunCannon on guitar and lap steel, Stan Atwell on bass and vocals, Mike Thomas on drums and vocals and Rob Slater on guitar. The band was founded by VunCannon about three years ago. As for the band name, yes they’re fans of Warren Zevon, but there’s more.

“Stan the bass player is a lawyer, I have the guns, and Mike is an engingeer, so he’s the money,” laughs VunCannon
“These are guys I’d played with in pickup bands around Greensboro. We worked up a cover show first,” Terry tells me a few days after the Blues Challenge.

The band likes playing blues, but also performs R&B, classic rock and some Motown tunes. They have a new CD titled Make Up Another Lie (Sept. 2011) and a single, “Hook Line & Sinker” on the Cashbox Roadhouse Blues Top 40 chart. The CD includes a bonus track with blues legend Bob Margolin.

Terry says, “Bob Margolin has been so good to us; we do a cover of his “She and the Devil” on the CD. We switched it up, did it fast … different tempo.  Bob says he’d rather see a band do an original version and not just a cover.

“On the CD cut, I played acoustic dobro and Bob played acoustic guitar and sang. It meant a lot to me and the band.”

Lawyers Guns & Money has opened or shared the stage with Margolin three times. They’ve also opened for Candye Kane.

“I had a chance to sit down with Candye’s amazing guitarist Laura Chavez,” Terry tells me. “Our road guitars, Strats, are the same year, and we both use the Fender Tex Mex pickups.”

I can hear him grinning. This is a guy who definitely likes what he does.

Vuncannon pens the band’s original tunes, often with girlfriend Janice Gatton Hamby. He’s been writing songs and doing session work since about 1980.

Lawyers Guns & Money is a big hit with dance crowds, playing venues like Sixth & Vine in Winston-Salem, Churchills in Greensboro, Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse in Durham and the Zion Caribbean Bar & Grille in Greensboro and the Opra House Saloon in Asheboro. Thursday nights, Terry tells me, they run the open blues jam at Zion.

From the first moment this band started performing “Make Up Another Lie,” they captured my undivided attention. Vocals by bassist Stan Atwell are anything but off-the-shelf, and throughout the set, the band was tight and polished.

I have to say, all three of the bands delivered topnotch performances. The Treblemakers put on a super rockin’ blues show, and Rick Tobey’s Chickenhead Blues Band brings puts out a great vibe.

So, a big thank you to Lan Nichols and Cape Fear Blues Society for inviting me and Sandy Williams, owner of the Rusty Nail for giving us such a great place to play!

CD Pick: Daddy/For a Second Time

Posted in CD Picks by darielb on June 3, 2009

cdDaddy2WEB

Daddy
For a Second Time
(June 16, 2009)
Label: Cedar Creek Music
www.myspace.com/daddytheband
Genre: Americana/Alt-country

Well, today’s convoluted music news is that Daddy’s gonna be a daddy for a second time with For a Second Time, and if you understand what I’m talking about, then God love ya and log onto ReverbNation.com/DaddyTheBand PDQ because time’s running out to get your copy of this baby with the name-your-own-price option.

That’s right, the CD hits the streets on June 16 and Daddy’s letting you set the price (plus S&H) until June 6, all in time for Father’s Day.

I first heard about Daddy from Jeff Roberts, owner of the very independent Sounds Better Records in Myrtle Beach, S.C. “You need to know about Daddy,” he told me, “You start out with two solid singer/songwriters who are at different ends of the playing field and the place where they meet is  completely different… it’s like two and two equal five … and they rock!”

He was right, so I did a story about their live Myrtle Beach performance courtesy of South By Southeast [Alternatives NewsMagazine, vol. XXV, No. 2, issue Aug. 28-Sept. 11, 2008] and  later blogged about their first CD, a live recording titled Daddy At the Women’s Club.

For the uninitiated, Daddy, which made its official debut at this year’s SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas,  is made up of five super talented players. Founders and touring duo Tommy Womack and Will Kimbrough deliver rockin’ guitar licks and write some of the wildest songs around. They first worked together in the bis-quits on John Prine’s Oh-Boy! label.We’re talking early 90s. Will was the 2005 Americana Music Association Instrumentalist of the year and Tommy has twice received the Nashville Scene Best Song award.

The rest of Daddy includes monster talents Dave Jacques on bass (John Prine, Emmylou Harris), John Deaderick playing keys (Dixie Chicks, Michael McDonald, Patty Griffin), and Paul Griffith on percussion (John Prine, Todd Snider).

After listening to this bluesy-country group for the last three days, I’m happy to report that the band’s latest offering has been worth the wait. For a Second Time is a ten-track recording that’s classic Daddy – schizophrenic rants that morph into crystal clear observations of life. This little slice of roots-rock Americana with its gospel overtones and rockabilly undertones  gets better with each listen.

Here’s how Tommy describes the opening track, “Nobody From Nowhere:” Will and I wrote this one together with acoustic guitars in my house. I love how the tunes came from that and flowed to a place that sounds like the bayou coastline looks, with flashes of Memphis. You can dance to it. It fuses and Motown and the Allman Brothers like probably never before.”

“Early To Bed, Early To Rise,” is another written and performed by Womack. He says, “It’s a tough song for tough times. I play the part of the curmudgeon commencement speaker who needs to put the fear of God into the young, fresh hearts and minds of this country. Warren Zevon meets Crazy Horse.”

Next up (and the only track not written by one or both) is folk classic, “The Ballad of Martin Luther King,” which comes from singer/songwriter Mike Millius, who reportedly wrote it the same night Dr. King was assassinated.

Track four is “Wash & Fold,” written by Will Kimbrough. Tommy calls it “Will’s tune of love in a laundromat.” The backstory is that it was inspired after bringing some gamey “tour-filthy” laundry to a city laundry and being subjected to utter rudeness after choosing wash-and-fold instead of springing for wash-and-press.

“He Ain’t Right,” track seven features Tommy’s lyrics, Will’s music. Basically, it’s Kimbrough singing Womack’s story.

The melancholy album closer, “Redemption Is a Mother’s Only Son,” was written by Kimbrough and Jeff Finlin, another talented American singer/songwriter traveling under the radar.

For more information, visit the band’s ReverbNation page; go to MySpace.com/DaddyTheBand; or check out YouTube.com/DaddyTheBand.

Ten Reasons Why Musicians Should Be On Twitter

Posted in Music Marketing by darielb on March 12, 2009

In a cyber nutshell, Twitter is a social networking tool. And, since I know some of you are going to ask me what exactly is social networking, a social network is a  broad group of websites that lets you  connect with other people over the Internet.

Twitter, when compared to MySpace and Facebook, is still pretty simple. It got its name by “comparing the short spurts of information exchange to the chirping of birds,” according to computer.howstuffworks.com. You simply post a message of 140 characters or less. It’s immediately accessible to the millions of Twitter members. To make it a bit more manageable though, Twitterers, or tweeps, choose to “follow” each other, and those chosen “tweets” are what appear on your home page.

I’m not saying Twitter replaces your blog or your MySpace page, but I think every band, every musician can benefit from joining Twitter. And engaging.

1. Twitter can help you reach new fans. Music lovers are everywhere – working in offices, in college, on vacation, at home, in cities, in small towns, at their in-laws, at the coffee shop, at the dentist or next door. Twitter puts you right in front of them.

2. Twitter can help you develop relationships with your existing fans as well as new ones. Answer a fan question in thirty seconds. Post a thought about a new song you’re writing. Share a video of another artist who inspires you. Make a connection with someone so they care about what you’re doing.

3. Twitter can help put your name out there. Music lovers on Twitter tend to follow other music lovers. It’s a great way to introduce  yourself and let people know about your new CD or a great performance review. If you write a blog, tweet your subject matter and include a link. If you’ve come across a list you love of 20 CDs You’d Want On a Desert Island, tweet the link. As more people follow you, your name will be in front of all their followers … and some of them will be curious enough to follow you.

4. Twitter can help you learn something new every day (while you’re making new contacts). Twitter is full of people willing to share information, and you’ll find a lot of it to be really helpful.  For instance, another musician may have come across a particularly insightful blog on new ways to market your band. He tweets the link. You then go to the blog and leave a comment, asking the author a question. Then author responds; you thank the other musician. Now you’ve got the start of two new relationships. And you’ve learned some valuable new skills.
5. Twitter can put you in touch with other musicians, producers, labels, venues and other industry folk. Some of these may be names you know. Others will be brand new. All represent the chance to make a connection. Just remember, you shouldn’t just be looking to take away. You want to bring something meaningful to the table.

6. On Twitter,  others toot your horn for you. Or tweet it, rather. You’ll find people to be very generous in this respect. Once you’ve connected with people, they’ll retweet your posts, send people to your website and encourage their own followers to follow you. It’s like having a massive street team.

7. With Twitter, you have immediate one-on-one contact with people– important for announcements, feedback AND troubleshooting. This is maybe Twitter’s greatest strength and its largest challenge. I personally LOVE Twitter as a resource for weirdly interesting factoids.It’s like a crazy RSS feed, but I believe its greatest attribute for musicians is this one-on-one connection. Music is such an emotional facet of our lives. If you, as a musician,  reach out and touch me … through your music and also through your messages, I develop a vested interest in your music, your career, your success.

8. Being limited to 140 characters  means you can  tweet without spending too much time. Okay, I have to admit, I DO spend a fair amount of time of Twitter, but when I’m pressed, like when I’m on deadline for this column, I can still check in, tweet something and be finished in a couple minutes. My point is, this is doable. It’s not a huge commitment of time and research. You can make time for this.

9. If you don’t have a computer handy, you can tweet from your mobile phone. So when you’re hanging in the band bus before the show, take a couple minutes to check in with your tweeps. Tell the gig’s about to start. Or let them know about the guitar wizard who stopped by to say hey and is going to sit in for a set.

10. Twitter is free, it’s easy, and it takes about five minutes to set up. Really, five minutes. You choose a user name, a password. Be sure you include a photo, your band website or MySpace page AND don’t leave the bio space blank.Don’t worry, it’s very short. You’d be surprised at how many people read this. Hope to see you on Twitter. I’m @darielb. Follow me!

References for this article include: computer.howstuffworks.com; nealwiser.wordpress.com; millercaton.com;arielpublicity.com.

This piece was published in Beach Newz, a music column in Coast Magazine and Alternatives NewsMagazine, issue March 12 – March 26, 2009.

Tagged with: , , , ,

Tommy Womack, Will Kimbrough at Historic Train Depot, Myrtle Beach, Sept. 13

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on September 9, 2008


Jeff Roberts and Seth Funderburk have once again put together a show that’s sure to appeal to alternative music aficionados, adults who still don’t play well with others, and other seekers of truth, insight and wit. On Sept. 13, South By Southeast is bringing Nashville “undersiders” Tommy Womack and Will Kimbrough to the historic Train Depot in Myrtle Beach. Get your tickets now, because – though these guys may be flying under the radar of the mainstream public – alternative buffs know them well.

Singer/songwriter Tommy Womack has become something of a alternative country hero. The Village Voice said of him, “Think Spalding Gray if he’d grown up in Kentucky with a guitar and a vinyl copy of Black and Blue.” He has earned kudos from media outlets and bloggers around the country. Touring now in support of his fifth solo CD, There I Said It, Womack reveals a wicked, sometimes dark, sense of humor in tracks like “Too Much Month At the End of the Xanax” and “Alpha Male and the Canine Mystery Band.”

In addition, the talented writer is releasing his second book, “The Lavender Boys & Elsie,” which is a fictional collection of letters documenting the Civil War’s only all-gay Confederate regiment and other craziness. His 1995 autobiographical memoir of life on the road, “Cheese Chronicles: The True Story of a Rock & Roll Band You Never Heard Of” has become nothing short of a cult classic.

The other half of the duo, Will Kimbrough, is also no stranger to cynicism and humor. His newest offering is Americanitis, which demonstrates not only a healthy social conscience, but also the Mobile native’s impressive songwriting talent. Named American Music Association Instrumentalist of the Year, Kimbrough is also a sought-after guitarist.

Together, Kimbrough and Womack are the backbone of Daddy, a two- to five-piece band that delivers guitar mastery and rockin’ licks along with tongue in cheek tunes like “I Miss Ronald Reagan.” This will be the first time I’ve seen these guys, and I can’t wait.

If you’ve never been to a South By Southeast music feast, you’re missing out on a unique experience. Where else does your $25 ticket ($20 if you’re a member) get you a night of fantastically never off-the-shelf music, free dinner, free wine and free beer? And chocolate chip cookies?

South By Southeast is a nonprofit organization devoted to showcasing top quality musicians whose talents have either not yet been noticed or are generally ignored by the national media.

For reservations, call Jeff Roberts at Sounds Better Records at 843-497-3643. Better yet, stop by the store at 9904 N. Kings Hwy in Hidden Village in Myrtle Beach, SC. (There will be an opening act – don’t know who yet – starting at 7 p.m. Tommy Womack and Will Kimbrough will go on about 8 o’clock.) Photo: L-R, Will Kimbrough, Tommy Womack. Photo by Russ Riddle.

The Cat Mary, Chad Harvey at South By Southeast Show at Historic Train Depot in Myrtle Beach, SC

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on September 9, 2008

South By Southeast and New South Brewery presented an exciting evening with San Diego’s The Cat Mary on Saturday, August 2, 2008 at the historic Train Depot (851 Broadway) in downtown Myrtle Beach. This is another difficult-to-pigeonhole group of the ilk that the nonprofit South By Southeast so wonderfully and faithfully brings us – time and again.

These guys play what they call “kitchen-sink americana.” Their music can be kinda bluegrass, kinda jazzy, kinda folksy. They like to shake up the status quo with innovative, original tunes constructed with lyrics that are almost literary – thanks to founder Andrew Markham.

The Cat Mary’s first CD was Her High Lonesome Days and was a hit with print media, radio and a core of loyal fans. According to the group’s official bio, “. . . events (some typical, some uniquely sad) conspired to put TCM on a fair hiatus . . . TCM founder and leader Andrew Markham went around poaching enough wonderful players from other groups until he felt he could enter any house justified – Melissa Harley [violin] has studied with Richard Greene and Darrol Anger, and taught several years at Mark O’Connor’s Fiddle Camp; Kevin Dow was recently featured in Modern Drummer, and can be found in the orchestra pit, along with fellow TCM Members Ken Dow (upright bass) and Stephen ‘Hoops’ Snyder (keys) on Broadway polishing all their Tony awards for ‘The Jersey Boys.'”

Subsequent recordings included No Unwanted or Unfamiliar Passages (2002) and Postbellum Neighborhood (2006). The latter, which was a finalist in the IMA awards, earned big kudos from KUT radio in Austin, Texas: “Eclectic funkiness … Andrew Markham and company distinguish themselves by virtue of their songwriting, and the brilliant nimbleness by which they mix elements like violins, dobro, and second line drumming.” The groups upcoming CD is Pissants, Pilgrims, Vagrants and Victims.

Hoosier Chad Harvey opened the show. This singer/songwriter picked up and moved to Austin, Texas after watching John Prine on Austin City Limits one night. He then “proceeded to play every honky-tonk, voodoo haunt, and barbecue joint with a makeshift stage on the same trail blazed by Steve Earle and Townes Van Zandt years earlier,” according to his bio. This gifted Indiana boy delivered a terrific set of foot-stompin’, rockin’ country music.
As usual the $5/$20 tickets included admission, food, and beverages provided by New South Brewery and Pepsi. For more info about SXSE, visit the website or call 843-497-3643, or 843-455-6499.
South By Southeast Website
The Cat Mary on MySpace