Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Live from Sun Studios - Great New Website

Live from Sun Studios is a very cool new website that celebrates the history of the legendary Memphis studio with new recordings filmed live as performed by some great artists. There are already two tracks posted by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, and today a performance by Amy LaVere was posted with many more to come.

You can subscribe to new posts using a variety of platforms. Only in it's early stages, this is an example of the exciting potential for an imaginative and well executed website. Here's hoping that these sessions will eventually find their way to DVD. Check out the three songs below and then go to the website to bookmark, subscribe and share the joy.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals - Mystery Train


Grace Potter gave two of the most compelling and exhilarating live performances I had the privilege to see in 2007. Grace is an extraordinarily talented songwriter, singer, musician, and performer. Her band is similarly gifted.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals - Outta My Tree


I first encountered Amy LaVere last month at South by Southwest and her performance at Antone's was up there among the best live sets of music I've ever seen. Standing arm's length from Steve Selvidge as he played, it didn't take long to realize that he is one of the most talented guitar players ever.

Amy LaVere - That Beat


Live From Sun Studio website.
Sun Studios myspace.
Sun Studios website.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Jennifer Niceley - Rockwood Music Hall, 4/18/08



Jennifer Niceley made a return trip to NYC from Tennessee this week for shows at Cafe Vivaldi on Thursday and Rockwood Music Hall last night. Joe McMahan's guitar ignites Jennifer's songs with just the right intensity and they once again played with local players Jason Mercer on upright bass and Rob DePietro on drums; these guys are so in tune with Jennifer and Joe that you'd think that they play together all the time.

Listen to - "A Little More"




The set included a good number of songs from Luminous, her latest CD, as well as a cover of "Bright Lights, Big City" (Jimmy Rogers) and when time allowed for one more song after the planned set, they did a song called "Billie's Blues" by Billie Holiday. This as yet unrecorded song was a revelation; Jennifer set the tone with her rhythm guitar making it sound totally like a Jennifer Nicely song, while the rhythm section gave the song a decidedly jazzy/bluesy feel. Jennifer's vocal sounded amazingly like Billie Holiday, and to top it all off Joe cut loose some of the most explosive guitar work I've heard him do. Here are some more photos from last night's show.

Listen to "Dark Eyes"



















Jennifer Niceley - Luminous (2007)


Jennifer Niceley - Seven Songs (2005)

Jennifer Niceley's myspace.
Joe McMahan's myspace.

Friday, April 18, 2008

RIP Danny Federici (1950-2008)


(Photo courtesy World Entertainment News Network)

Danny Federici, long time keyboard player and key member of the E Street Band lost his battle with cancer and passed away last night at age 58. His organ in combination with Roy Bittan's piano and specifically his synth glockenspiel and his accordian work helped define the distinctive sound of the E Street Band. Federici was a member of Bruce Springsteen's early bands predating the E Street Band and played with Bruce all the way through 2007 when he had to take a leave to get treatment for cancer. RIP.


(Photo courtesy rollingstone.com)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Hilary McRae - The Living Room, 4/10/08



Hilary McRae came up from Boca Raton, Florida to play a set at the Living Room last night, previewing her upcoming first album, Through These Wallswhich comes out Tuesday April 15th on Hear Music/Stone Road Records. Hilary is quite accomplished as a songwriter, is a fantastic singer, and she brought a great sounding band to the Living Room, including a three piece horn section.



Hilary plays a nice blend of rock, pop and soul graced with some excellent guitar work and a very tight horn section that adds the flavor of classic Chicago or Earth Wind & Fire to the mix. The rhythm section of bass and drums are as tight as the horns. Centering all this, Hilary plays keyboards and sings and boy does she ever sing.

Listen to "Consider Me Gone"




The net result is maybe a higher energy brew than you might expect to find in your neighborhood Starbucks CD rack, but as the first new artist to be signed by Hear Music, Hilary finds herself in the rarified company of James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and Paul McCartney on the label. The half dozen songs she played at the Living Room suggest that Hilary's talent is formidable, that the CD will be well worth a listen, and that we will undoubtedly be hearing lots more from Hilary McRae.



Here's the first single, "Every Day (When Will You Be Mine)".




Through These Walls(Hear Music/Stone Road Records)

Hilary McRae's myspace.
Hilary McRae's website.