January 26, 2008

Playin' in the band

The dynamics of a band teeters, from brilliance to disaster, depending completely on how its players mesh. I have never personally been part of that experience, but have been around it enough to know that one bad apple -- a superstar ego, someone who is perpetually late or absent -- can change those dynamics and destroy a band. And while I am not saying this was the cause of the split-up of cellist extraordinaire Rushad Eggleston from Crooked Still, I would like to think after seeing them a bunch of times and reading about them, there was something to it.
First, let me say that I love the band, and after seeing a few YouTube clips (one of them below) with their new lineup, I'm happy to report they look energized and should be just fine. I think I blogged last year after seeing them at Passim that after the show I had this crazy fear that they would not stay together long. They seemed like a group, with a star cellist and star banjo player, with a ton of talent but not much chemistry. In the middle was this diminutive but powerful singer Aiofe O'Donovan trying to hold things together. I also saw them at Rushad's final concert at Sanders Theatre, and while they were all saying nice things, I didn't find his departure to be overly emotional for the band. And finally, Stills' bassist Corey DiMario, on his blog "Play the Bass, Drive the Bus," writes this about recording the group's new CD with new bandmates violinist Brittany Haas and cellist Tristan Clarridge: "It's really hard to express how excited I am about this music. It's exceeded every expectation I had going into the process by miles. It really feels like we are a band now, both musically and otherwise."
Here's to hoping that Crooked Still continues to make that crazy bluegrass music that we've come to love. I can't wait for the new album.

January 19, 2008

Sarah rocks!

We've come to expect a rockin' show by Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles, and last night at the Lizard Lounge she did not disappoint. After debuting her new video for her song "Stop and Think It Over," which had a fun '50s-type girl band feel to it, she proceeded to blister her way through a set of songs mostly from her new album "Diamonds in the Dark." Sarah and the band are so much more polished even from a year ago when we last saw her. The band just really hammers every song, and Sarah is just a great presence in front of it all. She and her bass player Binky have great personalities and keep things light, while drummer Robert Larry Dulaney smiles his way through each tune. And I've left guitar player extraordinaire Mike Castellana for last because he deserves special attention. His electric and pedal-steel playing is ferocious and tasteful at the same time. If you have a chance to catch these guys, do it! To see more pics, click HERE. To view a couple of clips click HERE and HERE.

January 11, 2008

The lull is over

The holidays are over, which means the clubs get busy again and it's time to get back into the music scene. There are many shows I'd like to see, but two I HAVE to see. The first is Sarah Borges at the Lizard Lounge a week from tonight. It's been a while since I've seen her live and that's way too long. Sarah's latest album, "Diamonds in the Dark," which I reviewed last September (click HERE to read the review), made many "best of 2007" lists, which she so deserves. But it's on stage where she really shines, and the Lizard -- one of our favorite venues -- is a great place to see her.
The other must-see show is Michelle Shocked (with special guest guitarist Erin McKeown, oh yeah!) at Passim on Feb. 5. For those not familiar with Michelle, well, she is one of a kind. She definitely marches to her own beat. What I have always loved about her is that she follows her muse, changing styles and genres as it suits her. And I follow right along... Lately, she's been into a gospel thing. It's not my favorite style of hers, but I'm willing to listen. One thing you can be sure of with Michelle is she throws her heart, soul, and wonderful voice into whatever genre she takes on. And with Erin along for the ride, I can't wait to see and hear what happens!
A little taste of Sarah live!:

January 4, 2008


In my attempt at being a full service bloggerator, I've posted all my concert video clips on YouTube. Among the artists so far are Josh Ritter, Lori McKenna, Crooked Still and the Wailin' Jennys. You can check them out by going to www.youtube.com/modernacoustic.
Here's a taste of what's been posted