Tuesday, September 30

Dates: Chris Robinson Brotherhood- Fall 2014

Chris Robinson Brotherhood dates:
10/16 George's Majestic Fayetteville, AR
10/17 Revolution Music Room Little Rock, AR
10/18 Cain's Ballroom Tulsa, OK
10/21 Duling Hall Jackson, MS
10/23 Georgia Theatre Athens, GA
10/24 The Charleston Pour House Charleston, SC
10/25 The Charleston Pour House Charleston, SC
10/26 The Charleston Pour House Charleston, SC
10/28 Track 29 Chattanooga, TN
10/29 Center Stage Atlanta, GA
11/01 Lincoln Theatre Raleigh, NC
11/02 Lincoln Theatre Raleigh, NC
11/04 The Orange Peel Asheville, NC
11/06 Suffolk Theater Riverhead, NY
11/07 The Capitol Theatre Port Chester, NY (Phil & Friends)
11/08 The Capitol Theatre Port Chester, NY (Phil & Friends)
11/20 Great American Music Hall San Francisco, CA
11/21 Great American Music Hall San Francisco, CA
11/22 Great American Music Hall San Francisco, CA
11/23 Great American Music Hall San Francisco, CA
12/02 Harlow's Sacramento, CA
12/03 Humboldt Brews Arcata, CA
12/05 Miner's Foundry Nevada City, CA
12/06 El Rey Theatre Chico, CA
12/07 TBA Sonoma, CA
12/30 Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom Denver, CO
12/31 Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom Denver, CO
01/17/15 Sunshine Music & Blues Festival at Vinoy Park St. Petersburg, FL
01/18/15 Sunshine Music & Blues Festival at Mizner Park Amph.   Boca Raton, FL
 ©Grateful Music LLC

Monday, September 29

Album Review: Fruition & Grant Farm - Meeting On The Mountain EP - 2014

Fruition & Grant Farm 
Meeting On The Mountain EP
There was a time when country and rock & roll were not so different. It was a time when the core elements of the two genres were actually the same, a time before the words “she thinks my tractor’s sexy” would ever dare to tarnish the integrity and sincerity of country music. Iconic bands such as the Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers Band, The Band, alongside so many others, combined country, rock & roll, and even blues and jazz, to create a truly American sound of music. With four simple tracks, Fruition has teamed up with Grant Farm to bring forth the essence of those days. Both bands have put in endless hours on the road and in the studio, gradually paying their dues, and it shows in their skillful songwriting as they tap into the auras of Jerry Garcia, Levon Helm and Dickey Betts. These four tracks make up the Meet Me On The Mountain EP, recorded at Kodak Lake Studio and released on September 23, 2014.
“Random Lee” kicks off the record with a relaxed acoustic rock groove. The song features elements of Led Zeppelin at times and the Grateful Dead at others. The feel of the tune speeds up, led by the drums, adding renewed energy. The group uses a crafty play on words with the title, singing “True love happens every day, Random Lee,” exploring the theme that love is all around us, and we never know when it will strike. You can try to put a genre on this track, but it is simply just a feel-good tune to jam to. “Meet Me On The Mountain” is a catchy, slow ballad that’s easy to sing along to, making it a great campfire song. Primarily a vocal tune, the group’s soaring, dynamic harmonies touch the heart. The crooning acoustic guitar solo, however, continues to tug at the heartstrings of listeners. Everybody has their own special place, whether literal or metaphorical, that they go to get away and forget their troubles. The Mountain in this tune represents that place for each and every one of us.
“Lazy Gold” is a groovy track, led by slick yet bold lead guitar lines, reminiscent of Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead. The song features a funky harmonica-banjo-electric guitar solo section, and the group once again presents some of the most beautiful vocal harmonies in the chorus. “You Got The Spliff” is a fun-loving, toe-tappin’ country-blues tune, featuring some wailing harmonica and a groovy electric guitar solo. The theme of this tune is fairly obvious from the lyrics, starting with “You got the spliff and I got the fire, baby. Let’s get together, get a little higher,” and then adding “You got the jug, and I got the brews, baby.” This song is simply about having fun, getting stoned and drinking booze.
Overall, the combination of Fruition and Grant Farm turned out to be a powerful collaboration. The EP features an incredible collection of tunes, recorded with the kind of passion and expertise that can only come from those who are truly passionate about what they do. The Meeting On The Mountain EP is a must-have, and the ensuing Pacific Northwest tour is a must-see. The EP is available through all digital retailers and will be out in physical form at all Fruition and Grant Farm tour dates. 

Words: Randy Harris

3 outta 5 GlowSticks!
 ©Grateful Music LLC

Review and Photos: Dave Rawlings Machine at The Wilma Theatre, Missoula, MT on 09/22/14

Dave Rawlings Machine Brings Sheer Bliss To Montana

This is my nightmare. Since I started reviewing live music, I have always feared this exact scenario. I have nothing but the utmost praise to sing for an act, nothing to critique, nothing to naysay. Dave Rawlings Machine is nothing short of amazing. 
Having previously seen Gillian Welch perform with Dave alongside her, I thought I kind of knew what to expect upon entering the show, but my expectations fell significantly short of what I saw. Of course, if you know anything about what I have lovingly started to refer to simply as: “The Machine,” you would know that this supergroup is truly one for the ages. 
With Gillian Welch on guitar and vocals, Paul Kowert of Punch Brothers on upright bass, Willie Watson formerly of Old Crow Medicine Show on guitar, and John Paul Jones, formerly of a little band called Led Zeppelin on mandolin, Dave Rawlings really built himself one hell of a machine.
This group is the topmost echelon of folk/americana with killer bluegrass elements. Their harmonies could truly give Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young a run for their money. And did I mention they are quite Grateful too!
The show opened with “Monkey and the Engineer,” and this was the first of many tunes the audience would come to recognize over the course of the evening. The first set also featured a smoking “Going Down The Road Feelin’ Bad” into “Candyman,” before ending with an upbeat number of their debut EP “A Friend of a Friend” called “How’s About You.” This song showcased some fiery bluegrass stylings and amazing mandolin sections from Jones.
The second set opened with another Rawlings penned original called “Ruby.” This track was truly stunning, and it brought sheer bliss. The four piece harmonies were absolutely perfect, and the band seemed to have the audience in a trance where they would fall into silent adoration for the ballads and turn into a raucous mob for the upbeat numbers.
Watson also got the opportunity to shine vocally in this set with his own take on the song “Keep It Clean,” which he proclaimed was actually a dirty song.

This set also put many cover songs on display, including Dylan’s “As I Went Out One Morning” and “Queen Jane Approximately” but also Neil Young’s “Cortez The Killer.” 

Dave and Gillian also had their time in the sun as they sang a few duets including the adorable new original, “Sweet Tooth.” The energy and tone these two set together is truly astonishing. There is definitely a reason they have been doing this for over two decades.
By the time the encore had crept up on the audience, everyone had come to expect “Going To California” which featured picture-perfect mandolin work from Mr. Jones, although Rawlings had to go through a couple of the verses to remember some of the words at one point. This didn’t take away from the song though, it merely gave the audience a little more of what they wanted.
Long story short, this act hasn’t been around very long and has only put out one EP, and are already climbing to the top of the ranks of contemporary folk/bluegrass/americana. Rawlings put together an allstar act, and they are definitely not one to miss. With most of their shows on the tour taking place in intimate settings, this is a show that can be fun for everyone from the die-hard music aficionado, to the pop 40’s listener. Get out and see this act, and check out their EP “A Friend of a Friend.”

Words by: Caroline Bradley
Photos by: Kevin Kenly
 ©Grateful Music LLC

Wednesday, September 24

Hangtown Halloween Ball Announces Late Night Music & Daily Schedule

 Summer is coming to a simmer while plans at Hangtown Halloween Ball are just heating up. Event organizers announced their late night schedule and daily lineup including a powerhouse super jam with Railroad Earth featuring Dan Lebowitz, Zach Gil, Jeff Austin, Allie Kral and more in the Hangtown Halloween Orchestra scheduled to kick off the fest on Friday night. Tickets are on sale and moving swiftly for the 4th annual affair where Halloween, costumes and music collide.

Railroad Earth’s 4th annual Hangtown Halloween Ball has shown considerable growth since its inception due in part to the incredible mountain setting with top-shelf accommodations and an unrivaled lineup of diverse and well known performing artists.  This year will be no exception with over 30 performing artists scheduled over the three-day event including three nights of Railroad Earth, moe., The Meter Men, Leftover Salmon, and bay area favorites ALO among others. Plus, with the addition of the late night music hall, an array of artists will also have the chance to perform a full-night of music in a more intimate indoor location each night. The 2014 Hangtown Halloween Ball will feature late night performances with such talent as Jeff Austin, The Motet, Dead Winter Carpenter’s and more.

Also known for its fantastic family atmosphere, Hangtown Halloween Ball will also feature a number of day-time activities for kids of all ages including pumpkin carving contests, jam sessions and workshops loaded with fall-time fun while adding to the holiday festivities and overall atmosphere of the event.

Set to take place at the gateway of the High Sierras in picturesque Placerville, CA tickets are moving fast for the 4th annual harvest-time extravaganza. In fact, due to demand, event organizers have added even more RV options to accommodate large groups and families who come back to attend each year.

For more information about the Hangtown Halloween Ball including lineup, late night music and ticketing details, check out www.hangtownhalloween.com
 ©Grateful Music LLC

The Southern Soul Assembly Tour Featuring JJ Grey, Marc Broussard, Anders Osborne, and Luther Dickinson on Tour this Fall

 Assembly—an artist-in-the-round performance series featuring JJ Grey, Marc Broussard, Anders Osborne and Luther Dickinson—recently announced its highly anticipated follow-up tour, set to hit west coast venues this November.  The tour, which launches November 11 in Sandpoint, Idaho, hits 11 cities including Seattle, Washington, Portland and Eugene, Oregon, San Francisco and Los Angeles, CA, Denver and Boulder CO and others.  See below for the SSA’s complete list of fall 2014 tour dates.

Watch an interview/performance video of SSA, and this live performance video recorded last March at SPACE in Evanston, Illinois.

For this unique collaboration, “four great songwriters in their prime” (Twangville) take “ample advantage of the sorts of impromptu collaborations that the in-the-round format makes possible” (Boston Globe) to “not only express a side they rarely reveal [individually], but to form a band of their own” (Austin Chronicle).

Dishing up an “easy-going, but ever-surprising blend of acoustic songs, styles, stories and smiles” (WXRT), Southern Soul Assembly debuted last spring to rave reviews. Hailed as a “perfect night” (Blogcritics) filled with “a mutual appreciation from the fans and artists alike” (Southern Manners), The Southern Soul Assembly takes audiences on a musical and storytelling journey complete with “soaring moments, heartfelt laughs and lots of toe tapping” (Twangville).  The result: “sheer dynamite” (Examiner.com).

Grey, Broussard, Osborne, and Dickinson, all highly seasoned artists, have no doubt demonstrated a natural ability to contribute to each other’s music through harmonies and guitar, each building and adding meaningfully to the songs.  In a recent interview with the Mobile Press-Register, Anders Osborne talked about the intense personal nature of the Southern Soul Assembly project saying that soul refers “Not necessarily soul music, in the traditional sense, but just how devoted and involved, emotionally, that all four of us are, in our writing, in our performance, in what we do. It’s just a soul-baring experience, I think.”

Indeed, Southern Soul Assembly draws from the rich legacy of American Southern culture of each of the players. “Just like food in the South, our music is greasier than most,” says Marc Broussard. “The beat is on the backside, generally, because it gets too hot for people to move too quickly.” 

 “The South is in each of us,” says JJ Grey. “Each night feels like a big ole Southern family reunion.”

This fall, The Southern Soul Assembly Tour brings its passionate, authentic and deeply soulful homage to the rich Southern musical spirit to the following venues:

Tuesday, Nov 11 - Sandpoint, ID Panida Theater
Wednesday, Nov 12 - Seattle, WA The Triple Door
Thursday, Nov 13 - Portland, OR Aladdin Theater
Friday, Nov 14 - Eugene, OR McDonald Theatre
Saturday, Nov 15 - Reno, NV Cargo Reno
Sunday, Nov 16 - San Francisco, CA The Fillmore            
Tuesday, Nov 18 - Los Angeles, CA Regent Theater
Wednesday, Nov 19 - Flagstaff, AZ Orpheum Theater 
Thursday, Nov 20 - Salt Lake City, UT The State Room  
Friday, Nov 21 - Denver, CO Ogden Theatre
Saturday, Nov 22 - Boulder, CO Boulder Theater

 ©Grateful Music LLC

Dates: Bluetech will set out on the Fall Tour on September 20th

Ambient producer Bluetech is best known for marching to the beat of his own drummer and has seduced fans with his unique take on downtempo, future bass, and progressive electronic music throughout his career. Rife with emotional intent, and polyrhythmic percussion, Bluetech is revered for producing honest music that is as deep as it is moving - perfect for meditation, yoga or sacred movement of any kind. Likewise, his music has been featured in a number of Independent Films including Sacred, Sacred and Occupy Love. During his tenure, Bluetech has released 18 albums, topping the downtempo charts and leading the way for ambient producers nationwide --- all the while, setting the standard for live downtempo around the world. While not on the road, the producer has also been building his own home and recording studio with his bare hands in the rural jungle of Hawaii. The project includes an off-the-grid roof water catchment system, solar and a permaculture gardens for the farming of ecologically friendly foods and fruits for guests who wish to book the recording studio for extended stays. A perfect container for creative archetypes, this is just one example of how Bluetech strives to set an example though action. Bluetech will set out on the fall tour on September 20th with festival performances booked at the Great North Music & Arts Festival and the Resonance Music & Arts Festival. He will end the tour at The New Parish in Oakland on October 17th - his first performance in Oakland since 2005. For more information about Bluetech and all of his latest projects, check out the official website at www.bluetechonline.com for more information.
 in Norridgewock, ME at Great North Music & Arts Festival
 in Minneapolis, MN at The Loft @ Barfly
 in Madison, WI at The Frequency
 in Kalamazoo, MI at Papa Pete’s
 in Pataskala, OH at Resonance Music & Arts Festival
 in Chicago, IL at Schubas
 in Allston, MA at Wonderbar
 in Baltimore, MD at 8 x 10
 in Asheville, NC at New Mountain
 in Denver, CO at Cervante’s Masterpiece Ballroom
 in Oakland, CA at The New Parish
  ©Grateful Music LLC

Wednesday, September 17


Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, FL March 6 – 8, 2015
AURA Music & Arts Festival has announced the addition of iconic jamband moe. to the already impressive 2015 line-up making this the biggest year yet for the homegrown music festival. Taking place at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park (SOSMP) in Live Oak, Florida March 6 - 8, moe. will play two sets, joining headlining artists The Disco Biscuits, Papadosio and Snarky Puppy.

AURA has also added two sets by high-energy funk quintet The Main Squeeze including a very special Tribute to Michael Jackson, along with returning artists Pigeons Playing Ping Pong and McLovins. Chicago’s versatile electronic trio Cosby Sweater will make their AURA debut along with South Florida’s improvisational Stinky Pockets. True to AURA’s collaborative nature artists-at-large The Shady Horns (Ryan Zoidis and Eric Bloom of Lettuce) will pop up in several sets throughout the weekend with their sax and trumpet in tow.

For fans that want to arrive early, Ghost Owl has been added to the Thursday night pre-party with Dopapod and Kung Fu. Tickets are available as part of the four-day ticket package.

Details on the VIP Experience with two options to take the AURA fan journey to the next level are now available. Perks of the program include a VIP Lounge in the concert area with a private bar, discounted beverages, massages, gift bag, daily meet & greet with select bands and delicious catered meals alongside AURA staff and artists.

Set in the midst of 800 acres of Spanish moss-draped oak and cypress trees along the Suwannee River, the venue is a playground for endless activities such as swimming, canoeing, kayaking, disc golf and biking. The park also offers guest comforts including a general store, full-service restaurant, free showers, indoor bathrooms and water stations.

For ticket pricing and information on the EZPay Payment Plan that allows guests the opportunity to spread their ticket order payment out over a period of 5 months or 5 equal payments visit www.AURAMusicFestival.com. To join the wait list for cabins, golf cart rentals and RV hook-ups, please contact SOSMP at 386.364.1683.

Stay tuned for additional band announcements, workshops and activities!
AURA Music & Arts Festival 2015 Line-Up:
The Disco Biscuits (two sets)
moe. (two sets)
Papadosio (two nights)
Snarky Puppy
Kung Fu
Consider the Source
The Main Squeeze x2 including a very special Tribute to Michael Jackson
American Babies
The Mike Dillon Band
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong
The Mantras
Ghost Owl
Cosby Sweater
Ketchy Shuby
Uproot Hootenanny
Stinky Pockets
Artists at large: The Shady Horns

Videos from AURA 2013/14:
Papadosio “The Sum” http://bit.ly/QdKC2B
Lotus “Gilded Age” http://bit.ly/1taGU8S
Conspirator “Retrograde” http://bit.ly/18BdEgq
Kung Fu Stevie Wonder Tribute w/ Nigel Hall “Too High” http://bit.ly/YVeJIS
AURA Music & Arts Festival Links:
Twitter & Instagram: @AURAMusicFest (#AURAfest)
 ©Grateful Music LLC

Review and Photos: 5th annual Catskill Chill Music Festival - Hancock, NY - Sept 4th- 7th, 2014

The Fifth Annual Catskill Chill Music Festival has come and gone, almost in the blink of an eye. Hosted by gorgeous Camp Minglewood, located in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, this three day event has grown into being much more than just a music festival. Catskill Chill is where music lovers and bands converge in one place to celebrate life and communal unity. Spiritual cleansing, and discovering the true meaning of camaraderie while magical sounds rain down on us for 72 hours, is why so many people say this is the best festival in the US of A! 
 I arrived on Friday afternoon just in time to check out Nahko, and Medicine for the People, on the main stage. While Nahko and his band hail from Hawaii, and many in the northeast festival circuit are just discovering him this summer, he has had a local connection with the Catskills for several years, thanks to his willingness to bring on local musicians during their tours in Hawaii. Medicine for the People's fast paced, tribal style of playing set the pace for the rest of the weekend by capturing attendees' attention with their unique stage presence. They made us feel like we were dancing on the beach in 80 degree weather! A huge highlight was a sit-in on banjo by local Josh Fox, an environmental activist who has gained national attention for his film 'Gasland'. Fox led the charge on fun renditions of the classic 2pac and Dr. Dre songs, 'Thugz Mansion' and 'No Diggity'. Next up was MUN on the Club Chill stage. Club Chill is an opera house turned rage cave for the weekend, and weather aside, MUN brought some serious heat to the club! The band of Brooklyn jamtronica technicians has gone through some roster changes since last Chill, but somehow their sound has become even more gritty and refined than ever.
 I left early to see Mister F at the Acoustic Junction stage, the only true outdoor stage at the venue. This multi-dimensional quartet from Albany has been enlarging their fan base in droves since their inception, no doubt in part due to their insane work ethic: during their set they announced that Catskill was their 99th show of the year! The band brought up Jamar Woods of The Fritz to play keys on Answer the Dog, a crowd favorite, which had us all asking for more. The rest of Friday felt like a blur as day turned into night at Club Chill during Primate Fiasco.

 These guys mesh swing, jazz and jamming together in their own original blend of tunes. I hadn't seen the crowd get so fired up at Chill until Primate went on. Everyone in the building seemed to be on fire, especially their drummer and electric banjo player. Stopping only once or twice to compliment the crowd on their exceptional looks, and to tell us how the Chill is their favorite festival, these guys nearly blew the roof off the building with their version of Bowie's 'Let's Dance' and the classic Primate tune 'March of the Goosepimp'. 

Later on Marco Benevento serenaded us with his first ever appearance at the festival, and left many of us on the verge of tears with back to back covers of Elton John's 'Benny & the Jets' and the White Stripe's 'Doorbell'. Lettuce brought the funk to the main stage, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong got weird at Club Chill with an epic sit-in by The Hornitz, and to cap the night off was the classic rock power trio Alan Evans' Playonbrother, who somehow topped their tribute to Cream earlier in the night with a raging set that stopped at five in the morning and left many of us at a loss for words! After all the scheduled music had ended, I still had the energy to dance and nearly sprinted to the Shwizz Cabin, where impromptu jamming goes on every night until there's no one left to play. 

Friday night's jam included a boat-load of tri-state musicians who often traded off instruments to the amazement of all. Frankie Coda tipped me off to a special sit-in that was going to kick off Saturday's scheduled music, so after the jams I forced myself to go to sleep so I wouldn't miss any of what was sure to be the busiest day of the festival. Waking up later than I had hoped, and after grabbing several large cups of coffee from Dave's Mini Donuts, 
I poked my head into the B Stage to see Shwizz's Ryan Liatsis and Matty Carl playing guitar and saxophone with Jen Durkin & The Business. Ryan's sit-ins at Chill are legendary moments, and I was very thankful that Frankie had tipped me off to this one so I was finally able to bear witness. Twiddle started the day off on the main stage just as they had done in 2013, but this time the audience was totally packed up to the top of the bleachers and beyond the stage entrance, spilling out onto the hill. Sit-ins by Dopapod's Eli Winderman and Kung Fu's Todd Stoops and a Michael Jackson medley sealed the deal that Twiddle's performance would be in my top 10 of the weekend.

Following Twiddle, next up was lespecial who blend metal, funk and electro into their own progressive sound, and then The Hornitz, a New England duo of horns and beat-boxing who are quickly making themselves a household name in the scene. Dopapod brought the heat during their mid-afternoon main stage set, which included an intimate sit-in by Kung Fu percussionist Adrian Tramontano on Herbie Hancock's 'Butterfly'. O.G. 
Northeast jamband, The Breakfast, did what they do best in the rain, while Tauk, a newer Brooklyn-based funk outfit packed out Club Chill with dancing fans who didn't seem to mind that the club's temperature was nearing 100 degrees. 
Yonder Mountain String Band took to the main stage minutes after dusk, and surely gave festival goers a new appreciation for bluegrass. Many casual fans told me afterward that their set was a downright religious experience, and that the band's different lineup is bringing in a new era for the bluegrass genre. Break Science brought up Lettuce during their set to the astonishment of everyone, and I could easily say this was the most unique sit-in I've ever seen at a concert before. The crowd went insane at the blend of live electronica and funk. 
The New Deal, returning after their much-missed several year absence, was an absolute treat and one hell of a dance party. After their set I had to give myself a break from non-stop dancing with friends new and old alike, but came back for the last main stage set of the night, Papadosio. The psychedelic jamtronica group's fan base is considered to be one of the festival scene's most faithful, and many were in agreement that their set at Chill was the pinnacle of the band's performance efforts. Including some of their most recognizable songs, Dosio brought up keyboardist Eli Winderman from Dopapod towards the end of their set for what was possibly the most mind-melting moment of the weekend. I find it impossible to put into words exactly what happened, but the overall feeling of confused bliss was how I felt during and after the last ten minutes of the set. 
At the Chill, every band has the opportunity to explore outside of their realm of comfort and they all take advantage of it to the fullest degree. The cabin jams that night were astounding, with some of the biggest names in the scene making appearances in full costume. Going from dancing my heart out at the main stage with thousands of people to dancing until my feet were bleeding in the intimate cabin setting is what makes Catskill Chill so special for music fans. No matter what it is you're looking for, if you desire it, the ability to find it and take advantage of its presence is here. 
 Sunday morning and afternoon gave me the opportunity to finally rest my body and mind for a few short hours. I did however force myself to attend the Dopapod Pancake Power Hour, a give-back by the band to their fans which included free pancakes for all, and lovely music by the band's guitar player Rob Compa. After much careful consideration, I would say that Rob's time on the hill during breakfast was my personal favorite moment of the entire festival. He played covers such as The Band's 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down', Ween's 'Buckingham Green' and Sir Elton's 'Goodbye Yellowbrick Road'. Making up tunes on the fly, Rob sang and free-styled songs about his bandmates and friends, and interjected references to the band's history and it's fan base. The music was all topped with with a great sense of humor, and it just felt so organic, I knew if someone was recording this it would eventually be released and marked legendary by Dopapod fans worldwide. 

Thank you Rob for what was quite possibly the most touching moment I've ever experienced at any music festival! As Sunday went on, the venue was alive with chatter of this being the best festival of the year. Kung Fu and Consider the Source set the stage for one the most anticipated sets of the weekend, Shwizz & Fikus on stage together played a Parliament Funkadelic tribute set. With all the musicians in full costume, sit-ins by Jen Durkin and Rob Sommerville of Deep Banana Blackout, and dozens of live on-stage antics, this was surely one of the most memorable moments of the festival for Chillfam! Turkuaz engaged us with their energetic Sly and the Family Stone tribute, Electron, the super-group featuring Marc Brownstein, Aron Magner, Tommy Hamilton, and Mike Greenfield blew away the crowd with original tunes and covers by the Dead and Pink Floyd, and The Heavy Pets rounded it out with a special version of their song 'The Day the Sun Forgot to Rise' which featured singing by drummer Jaimie Newitt's sister. 
The New Mastersounds closed out the weekend of music with their funky style of British jamming. All in all, Catskill Chill reminded so many of us how music is the most special bonding ingredient in our lives. The festival is the ultimate celebration of life, and it needs to be mentioned that none of this would ever happen without the wonderful, caring and loving staff who pour their hearts and souls into creating the best weekend of the year. The ripple effect of their determination and positive grace radiated outward over the campground for three days and reminded us that we are one. 
Catskill Chill really is where the magic happens. So many of us are already counting down the days until next year's Chill, and I hope you, the reader, will join our family as the journey takes its next step forward! 
Words: Dylan Smith
Photos: Mike Geller
©Grateful Music LLC

Sunday, September 14

Review and Photos: Phish Wins Again @ Dick’s Sporting Goods Park - Labor Day Weekend 2014 - Commerce City, CO

Vermont’s finest troubadours rolled into Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for their fourth annual Labor Day weekend fiesta with higher expectations than usual. Phish fans generally know better than to go into a run with any specific expectations, but the band set such a high bar in their previous appearances at the soccer stadium just outside of Colorado’s Mile High City that fans couldn’t help but ponder what special treats were to come.
Would the band spell something out with their Friday night setlist as they had done in each of the three previous years? Would there be first time bustouts, following a 2013 run that had one each night (“Easy to Slip”. “On the Road Again”, “Legalize It”)? Would there be monster jams that received instant jam of the year nominations as occurred in 2012 with “Light” and “Sand”? The only certainty seemed to be that Dick’s weekend would be one of the top highlights on the 2014 concert calendar.
With Denver’s central national location, heady scene and a venue with a 27,000 capacity, the Dick’s weekend has become like a convention for the Phish Nation. It’s a relatively cheap flight from anywhere and everyone can get tickets. Add in Denver’s growing status as the new capital of the American counterculture (arguably having supplanted San Francisco in recent years due to the thriving music scene, lower cost of living and legal cannabis), and Dick’s weekend has deservedly come to be ranked as one of the top holidays in the Phish calendar year.
The theme for Friday night’s show became quickly apparent as the setlist began to spell out “Lushington”, an old tune not played in decades but voted the band’s number one song after some ballot stuffing in a recent poll by Rolling Stone magazine. The set didn’t have the jams of the first set from the epic “Fuck Your Face” show in 2012, but the band was clearly having fun. A rare cover of Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter” electrified the assembled before a well-placed “Ha Ha Ha” acknowledged that Dick’s shenanigans were in play again. Phish capped the festive set with a horn-driven “Suzy Greenberg”, thanks to a little help from friends Jen Hartswick and Natalie Cressman (who were in town gigging with the Everyone Orchestra.)
But the real fireworks came in the second set when the band threw down a “Simple”>”Ghost” combo for the ages. The quartet’s legendary yet ever unpredictable x-factor kicked in during “Simple”, as the band locked into a focused multi-dimensional jam that would extend to 21-minutes of sonic bliss. It was about halfway through the jam when fans realized something special was happening, and the space-time continuum seemed to stand nearly still as the band commandeered the cosmos. The next ten minutes were about as good as it gets.
The “hose” kept flowing during “Ghost”, as the band chemistry continued to gel. Guitarist Trey Anastasio and keyboardist Page McConnell let the melodies flow, with one section of the jam recalling the renowned “Holy Ghost” jam from New Year’s Eve 2010 at Madison Square Garden. Bassist Mike Gordon and drummer Jon Fishman were at the top of their game throughout the “Simple>Ghost” sequence, enabling Anastasio to keep that hose flowing as long as he might desire.
Saturday’s show featured a roller coaster first set, with new songs “Devotion to a Dream” and “Wingsuit” shining amidst classics like “Free”, “Halley’s Comet” and “David Bowie”. But the band once again saved the heavy lifting for the second set, and one of the best sets of the year it was. “Down with Disease” featured a stellar jam that found the band dialed in at the height of their powers, before seguing into a rare performance of “What’s the Use”. This cosmic interlude led right back into another peak with “Carini”, a tune that has evolved into one of the band’s top jam vehicles in the 3.0 era. This version was one of the best, as the song’s hard rock progression morphed into an incendiary melodic jam that unified Dick’s once again.
The jam was starting to feel like it might get the “Simple” treatment from the night before as Gordon and Fishman fell into a nifty groove that had potential to go to the next level. But the only flaw in the set occurred when Anastasio abruptly cut them off to launch into “Light”. It wasn’t long before he led the band back into a similar jamspace though, as obstacles turned into stepping stones. “Fuego” appeared next and while it wasn’t jammed deep like many versions this summer, the dynamic title track from the band’s new album cranked the set’s energy higher. Fans with confetti guns near the stage launched a volley and the triumphant psychedelia soared. A “Slave” to the “Meatstick” combo was another crowdpleaser before the set was capped with a splendid reading of the Jimi Hendrix classic, “Bold as Love”. You could feel the love in the air as Anastasio channeled the guitar god as few others can.
Sunday afternoon on lot featured a spectacular rainbow, an ongoing Dick’s tradition, and there was no doubt that a musical pot of gold awaited. “The Curtain With” opener was extremely well-received, as were hot takes on “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” and “Wolfman’s Brother”. The second set built with a mountain climbing precision until culminating with a “Tweezer>Sand” combo that ignited the cool Colorado air. Pairing these two top jam vehicles had the crowd deeply enamored and it was the fourth straight Dick’s appearance for both. The band delivered some of their most exquisite sonic landscaping in “Sand”, as McConnell led some funky “plinko” jamming follow by gorgeous subtle sounds from Anastasio with his whale call effects. If the aliens from Star Trek IV: A Voyage Home ever come back to check on the whales, it seems Trey will be able to save the planet with his interstellar communications in language strange.
A “Mike’s>Sneaking Sally>Groove” wrapped the set in style, with fans delighting in the layered “Mike’s Song” jam that took on a more unique flavor than renditions of recent years. When it was all over, it was hard to fathom how quickly another Phish Dick’s weekend had flashed by. But with a 12-show West Coast fall tour awaiting in October, it would seem the best is yet to come for the sonic stunt men from Burlington, Vermont.
Photos: Michael Stein

Photo Gallery Continued:

Friday, September 12

Album Review - Greensky Bluegrass - If Sorrows Swim - Sept 9th, 2014 - Thirty Tigers Recods

Greensky Bluegrass
If Sorrows Swim
Thirty Tigers Records
Sept 9th, 2014

Greensky Bluegrass has absolutely exploded  from out of the ether of Bluegrass in exponential form over the past few years, and their newest album If Sorrows Swim, sees the band at its best yet. Greensky, consists of Anders Beck (dobro, lap pedal steel), Michael Arlen Bont (banjo), Dave Bruzza (guitar, lead vocals), Mike Devol (acoustic bass), and Paul Hoffman (mandolin, lead vocals), and the new album pays tribute to each of their respective talents, allowing every member of the band to shine and put their best foot forward. Released on September 9, 2014, If Sorrows Swim provides a great addition to the band’s already stellar repertoire.
“Windshield” kicks off the album with a ballad that just screams Greensky. I think that is a nice way to start off an album sometimes. It doesn’t sound like old news or stale, but it reminds the listener that they are who they are. Hoffman achingly croons the painful lyrics, and Beck is featured with a simple, but powerful lead line. “Burn Them” is where the album gets its title, as Hoffman sings “What if sorrows swim? Good God, gonna need to burn them.” Bruzza and Hoffman shine on “Burn Them,” sharing a dark solo section. “A Letter To Seymour,” sung by Bruzza, picks up the pace for a fast-pickin’ bluegrass track, and “In Control” slows back down, while Bont and Beck take beautiful, wide-ranged solos.
“The Four” takes the album in a different direction with a laidback, funky groove. Then, “Worried About The Weather” goes back to some more traditional Greensky-sounding material. “Forget Everything” presents a familiar story with simple lyrics about meeting someone at a party (or other social event) and leaving with that person to put all of your worries aside. “Kerosene” follows up with a dark, groovy, upbeat track, led by a catchy dobro hook. Despite its title, “Demons” has a deceptively upbeat mood to the instrumentals, as Hoffman sings, “I was happy, but now I’m leavin’… Goin’ home with my demons.” Next, “Wings For Wheels” is a beautiful ballad about trading wings for wheels. 
“Leap Year” embodies everything that comes to mind when I think of Greensky Bluegrass. Swirling banjo and a catchy dobro hook lead the intro into a hypnotic, fast-pickin’ tune with incredible imagery in the lyrics. This track is completely mesmerizing, and I believe that is what sets Greensky apart from other bluegrass bands. Their ability to jam is unmistakable, but their ability to enwrap and entrance listeners is one of their greatest attributes. Finally, “Just Listening” finishes off the album with a happy mood and a jazzy, groovy feel.
Another of Greensky’s best attributes is their masterful use of major and minor chords to create different moods within their songs. This is so true on Sorrows.  Many listeners take songwriting and song construction for granted, putting instrumental and vocal abilities at the forefront, but these are not easy things to do. Greensky’s songwriting abilities have continually improved, and I honestly believe that If Sorrows Swim is their most dynamic and triumphant work yet.
4 outta 5 glowsticks!
Words: Randy Harris
Here is the track listing, with the author's name in parenthesis:
1. Windshield (P. Hoffman)

2. Burn Them (P. Hoffman)

3. A Letter to Seymour (D. Bruzza)

4. In Control (P. Hoffman)

5. The Four (P. Hoffman)

6. Worried About the Weather

7. Forget Everything (P. Hoffman)

8. Kerosene (D. Bruzza)

9. Demons (P. Hoffman)

10. Wings for Wheels (D. Bruzza)

11. Leap Year (P. Hoffman)

12. Just Listening (P. Hoffman)

If Sorrows Swim Tour Dates HERE
 ©Grateful Music LLC