Showing posts from September, 2017

Shannon McNally - Sellersville Theater, 9/06/2017, Shannon Delighted the Crowd With Stories and Songs From Black Irish "Let the Best Song Win"; Opener Caroline Reese Debuted Her New EP Two Horses

Photo courtesy of Shannon McNally Being that I was totally impressed with Shannon McNally's latest album Black Irish , when her tour to promote it was booked into the Sellersville Theater for a show Septemer 6th, it was one that I could not miss. Even though it had been fifteen years since I last saw her perform (early in her career), it was really interesting that there were some common threads between the two performances. In 2002, when McNally released Jukebox Sparrows , her major label debut, we went to see her at a small venue in Philadelphia, NXNW. At that show, when Bev came back from the ladies room, she mentioned that Shannon was in there preparing to go on stage. Fast forward fifteen years, and before she even played a note she was telling a story about having a deja vu about a past appearance there and encountering Johnny Winter in the dressing room. "It was nothing terrible," she said, "just not the way you want to see one of your idols." Bu

Aretha Franklin - Mann Music Center, Philadelphia, 8/26/2017; The Queen of Soul Returns to Her Philadelphia Roots

Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival When I first started hearing Aretha Franklin on the radio in 1967, I knew that one day I would see her singing live. I didn't imagine that it would take fifty years though. Actually, we had tickets to see her last year in Bethlehem, PA as part of Musikfest, but the concert wound up being cancelled. So it was with maximum anticipation that we took our seats at the Mann Music Center on Saturday night, August 26th. The show was an old fashioned big production with no opening act and a large band on stage. In addition to four backing vocalists, there were as many as 21 other musicians, including a couple of dancers. The band performed a medley of Aretha's hits. An announcer then introduced the Queen of Soul with a very old school style as Aretha took the stage. She opened with "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)", a song that she sang with George Michael on her 1986 album Aretha . Then she dipped back to h

Shelby Lynne & Allison Moorer - World Cafe Live, Philadelphia - 8/25/2017; For the First Time Ever the Sisters Record an Album Together and Take It On the Road; Rick Brantley's Opening Set Was a Treat

Photo: All Eyes Media I have been listening to Shelby Lynne and to Allison Moorer for a long time, so when I saw that they had booked a show together at World Cafe Live on August 25th, it was a must. Each has their own career and their music is different enough from each other that I never realized how similar their voices are until I heard them sing together. Not Dark Yet is the title of their Teddy Thompson produced album, the first time ever that they have recorded as a duo. For this project they selected some of their favorite songs, nine of the ten songs are covers. The album was released exactly one week before the show, and as I tried to get ready, I played it a few times. The material they chose is excellent, the performances impeccable, and the production was terrific. I could plainly hear that this is a work of quality, but for some reason I felt like I was missing something. Sometimes it seems that the albums which are most satisfying in the long run, are records that