Cibo Matto at OttoBar | Baltimore, MD| Music Photography

I had no idea what to expect when I strolled into OttoBar in Balitmore for the Cibo Matto show last night. I had never heard anything by this band, I was there because of a chance run in with Nels Cline backstage at the LockN Festival. I decided not to look them up before the show to get a true first introduction to their sounds at the show. I love experiencing new music at a live show. There is something really in the moment and pure about it. Cibo Matto is awesome. Their show is like being in a vivid eclectic dream, the music is spunky with attitude while being adorably cute at the same time. The songs are poppy with a funky under groove that got the whole crowd dancing and going crazy.  & I love the raps.  If you get a chance to check out Cibo Matto, I highly recommend you GO!!


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Night 27 of The Rock and Roll Highway with The Southern Belles | New Hope, PA| Music Photography

7/21/14 – Triumph Brewery

The last show of the tour and it was a non home – home coming.  RVA in New Hope, PA with The Southern Belles.  They had been part of the kick off show at The Broadberry before I left for the tour and they would be my last show of my tour.  All roads lead to awesome and the 6000 miles+ that I had journeyed brought me to the Triumph Brewery in New Hope, PA.  I’ve never been to this venue, I’m a John & Peter’s fan in addition to being a huge New Hope fan.  This town is just cool and cute and I wish I had a little more time there.  Triumph Brewery was a grand brewhouse with one of the coolest stages of the tour.  The boys all ordered healthy food for dinner so I begrudgingly joined in and got a salad.  I was pretty impressed and very pleased with my choice when the salad arrived, it was one of the best salads that I have ever had.  Kudo’s to Triumph Brewery on their food menu and I hear the beer is good too  🙂

The Southern Belles took the stage and did what they do!  Which is rock groovy originals and take covers to the next level with their improvisation.   I know that their show is one that I am just going to love more and more each time I see them.  Hella talented and great people, they come ready to make damn good music for everyone.  The foursome creates that perfect sound, somehow combining a bit of everything for their mixing bowl of awesome.  They country rock it like its hot while getting awesome with psychedelic jams.  Adrian Ciucci (guitar/vocals), Tommy Booker (keys/vocals), Raphael Katchinoff (drums/vocals), and Andrew Carper (bass/vocals) will make you happy you have come to join the party each and every show.

 

It was a blast to see faces of home at the almost end of my journey.  After the show I headed to one of my favorite people on the planets apartment in MD to catch up…well, to wake her up, then since neither of us could sleep, stay up catching up and chatting till dawn almost broke..  She was a trooper and put on her big boy pants in the morning and made it to work on time.  I played like the lazy sloth (have you seen the sloth video where it is sort of eating, sort of sleeping? … yeah that was me most of that day) till I had to hit the road back to RVA.

I knew I was almost home…

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It was a bittersweet moment to turn in dear ole Elvira.  We had cruised together, we had withstood blistering heat and endless miles.  She worked hard and did not quit on me!  I’m a huge fan of Enterprise now, they have great cars and great service.  I got her a 3000 mile checkup in LA and that took less than 45 mins, the customer service with Enterprise is fantastic.
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However great dear ole Elvira was….  I dream of this for the next adventure down The Rock and Roll Highway!

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Night 24 of The Rock and Roll Highway at the Jazz and Rib Fest | Columbus, OH | Covington Rock

7/18/14

After the show the night before, Angela Perley told me of the towns Jazz & Rib Festival that was happening that weekend.  A whole weekend devoted to music and good eating!!  She convinced me that it was a time that I could not miss, so I opted to stay in Columbus for another night.  Angela said that I must not miss Forest & The Evergreens so after a somewhat lazy day….I was tired…This journey down the rock and roll highway had been both incredibly exhilarating and incredibly exhausting.  It will happen again, though perhaps with a kindred spirit to share the exhilarating exhaustion!

The dreary day quickly faded away as soon as I got within earshot of the North Bank Stage,  some sweet funky tunes peppered with joyful horn blasts picked up my pace and I hurried over.  When I walked up to the stage the drummer was jumping up and down as he ecstatically beat on his drums.  It was a pure badass ANIMAL moment.  This was funk pumped up on the joy of life!  YES!  THANK YOU ANGELA for stressing the importance of getting to experience Forest and The Evergreens.  These guys are not to be missed.  The jam hard and come to make a party.  The singer, Parker Muntz, has the perfect vocal quality to match the groove of the band.  He has that bluesy voice without the roughness.  He sings the funky blues pretty and with passion.

sorry for the shaky camera work.  I had the wrong lens on for video but didn’t want to miss the exuberant drumming.

The rain didn’t keep the crowds of hungry people away and the lines to the best of the best, best, best rib joints were in full display.  I must give a shout out to the city of Columbus for their trash system.  I never found myself looking for a trashcan nor did I ever see an overflowing trash can.  This city is prepared, I’ve never seen trashcans that large.
I had an uber delicious corn dog.  Yeah, yeah, I know I was at a Rib Festival but I love Corn Dogs.  I love them.  A Corn Dog once saved me from being trapped on the L train underneath the East River during the blackout.  Corn Dogs rule.
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and I had some of the best ice cream ever from a local place called Jeni’s.  I had the Salted Caramel and The Milkiest Chocolate in The World and I know I will be back to this town for this ice cream (and the amazing music scene).

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Walking back to see Jeff Lorber, a man yelled out ‘Angela Perley’ with a huge grin on his face.  I was rocking the t-shirt she had given me at the show the night before!  He was Angela’s high school counselor and couldn’t have been prouder of her!

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Came back and found Jeff Lorber tearing up his keys with his jazz buddies.  His fingers flew around the keys and with a badass on trumpet bringing that smooth sexy jazz, this foursome made me feel like I was in a dark intimate club with their practiced and perfected passion.  The dummer’s grin was as infectious as their grooves!

Headed over to try and find the Jazz Cafe Stage and some funky jams lead the way and I found The Dubfunk Quartet.  Woo Hoo!  The singer, again Woo Hoo, made me pick up my pace as I rounded the top of the hill.  Funky and bluesy, she has that big voice, rich and layered and with a full on belt that will blow you away.   She commanded that stage.  A fellow in the crowd pointed to my Angela Perley shirt and came over to chat (This makes about 8 times of someone coming up to me to tell me how much they love Angela Perkly & The Howlin’ Moons at the festival).  He also told me that most of the peeps onstage are in another band call MoJoFlo and recommended I check them out.  I have and they are some badasses of funk.  Hope to catch a show sometime.

The Jazz & Rib festival was not slowing down and the crowd watching Organ Monk featuring Reggie Woods was reveling in the funky jazz as I strolled over to The American Electric Power Stage.  The sky kept spouting little bits of rain but you could hardly notice for all the spontaneous dancing that I was witnessing (& partaking in) as I strolled around.  Organ Monk is jazzing up the best with spontaneous improve on the master of improve, Thelonious Monk.  The show was energy and you could see the players were enjoying the show just as much as the crowd.  Maybe even a little more!  Greg Lewis played those keys hard, he played those keys with soul and he played those keys with a giant grin on his face.  His smile was matched in intensity by drummer Jeremy “Bean” Clemons.   It was beautiful to watch them enjoying Reggie Woods take center stage and blow that beautiful tenor sax.

 

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Night 23 on The Rock and Roll Highway with Angela Perley and The Floorwalkers | Columbus, OH | Covington Rock

7/17/14
I woke up in Bloomington not knowing where or if I’d be heading out that day.  The night before had been a wonderful rest stop catching up with the incredible photographer, Joni Bilderback.  I met her in magical Marfa Texas over a year ago and it was awesome to cross paths again.  She gave me a fabulous place to rest in the coolest house!  She introduced me to some of the best cheesey pizza w/ranch that I have ever had.
nom nom nom!  thanks for the hospitality, Joni!
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I messaged a band I found in Columbus, which looked to be a good next point, during the night while hanging with Joni but had gotten no reply in the morning.  I laid in the comfy bed and weighed my options…  sleep and rest for a day?  or see what discovery lay down the road?  Both sounded awesome, so while chilling in the comfy den bed,  I pulled my computer over and did a search for live music in Columbus and found a link that I had not seen on my search the night before.  A band called The Floorwalkers was playing and they had a badass video that I watched immediately 6 times in row.  YES.  This was the show, this was the reason the other band hadn’t written me back.  Opening for The Floorwalkers was a band called Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons.  I pulled her up on facebook and found we had one friend in common, a fantastic music man out of Nashville named Andrew Leahey.  I hit up Andrew and he put me in touch with Angela.  Things always happen for a reason and I knew I was meant to discover their music.  I was psyched and hit the road.

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I walked over to The Columbus Bicentennial Pavilion and found one heck of a great spot in the middle of Columbus, Ohio.  One end of the commons had a huge stage covered by a white fabric canopy structure and a sprawling lawn lined with food trucks lining either side.  This spot is fantastic.  The lovely people that I met told me about the year long concerts and events that the city throws here.  Every town needs one of these!!

Angela was just finishing up her sound check so we chatted for a moment and then since there was some time to kill before the set, I went and took a shower and attempted to download some of the prior nights awesome.  I was excited to see Angela, I had heard great things about her from Andrew!

Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons ROCK.  They opened the gorgeous night with a magnetic, swaggering and soulful performance.  Angela’s beautiful voice went from delicate and vulnerable to commanding and powerful.  She is the real deal with charisma to boot.  (She also wears fantastic boots and awesome throwback 50’s sunglasses).  Their sound is a bit bluesey, a bit country, a bit rock and roll with a lil bit of folk to warm up the mix.  And boy are they beloved, the people gathered for the show are die hard fans with good reason.  The Howlin’ Moons deliver a damn fine show and if that wasn’t good enough, Angela plays a handsaw.  She makes that saw sing in ways that I didn’t know it could.  It was downright beautiful and eerie and all around awesome.

Next up were The Floorwalkers & their video had me psyched and their show took my expectations to the next level.  They are soul.  They are funk.  They are folk.  They are rock.  They are reggae.  They are a little bit swing.  They are badass.  The show was diverse, polished, highly energetic and absolutely engaging.  I found myself boogying more than creating images and I had to remind myself to keep looking for the magical moments instead of losing myself in the music.  The entire crowd was INTO IT, the expansive lawn was now full of dancing, grinning folks who were in on the secret of this local Columbus band.  Fans pointed to their ‘Support Local Music’ hoodies and then at the band.  The Floorwalkers are posed to become everyone’s favorite local band across the USA.  They will boogie their way into everyone’s hearts with just one listen.  & if all that isn’t enough, they rock kazoo’s.

Angela Perley on the handsaw with The Floorwalkers!

 

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Photo by Shyla Bohrer

 

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Night 21 on The Rock and Roll Highway with Nellie Wilson and Lone Wolf | Madison, WI | The Frequency | Covington Rock

The search for live music in Madison, WI brought up a show at The Frequency with Nellie Wilson.  The name grabbed me instantly and images of her in a country skirt puffed out with petticoats got my attention and I checked out some of her music.  I was sold.  The funny, sarcastic & sometimes raunchy stories pulled me right in and I knew that this was the show.  When I chatted with Terri, she hesitently told me that she wasn’t wearing the petticoat skirts anymore that she had gone for less cutesy and more honesty.  All right, even more sold.  I showed up to The Frequency and got a taste of the sounds to come during their soundcheck.  This was going to be a great night.

Terri’s vocals are like a warm dream of butterscotch, she sings of her life and the lives she sees.  She sings of heartbreak and despair and the joy in a $2 pint.  She sings the stories of life and damn she sings them well.  And her band.  HER BAND.  The Hellbound Honeys are tight!  That fiddle – oh that fiddle!!  and those perfect slaps on the upright bass.  and the harmonies..oh those harmonies…they just pour over you with a silky flow.  I’ve found my dream in a honkey tonk, country, sweet sounding band right here.  Her songs are anthems for us all.  I cannot stop listening to her cds.  Buy them here, you will not be disappointed!

Ready for the most lovely versions of ‘you are my sunshine’ you’ve ever heard?  and a few jokes!

Next up was Lone Wolf, a one man raucous cabaret of sound.  His voice has that gravely roughness that I love about Tom Waits and the sound is brusk and in your face.  Bruno is a master of about 4900 instruments that he plays at the same time.  His music makes you stop your feet at the revivalist celebration.  The show is sensory, with the words of the songs taking a backseat to the feelings of the songs.

 

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Night 17 of The Rock and Roll Highway | ZooFest 2014 | Lincoln, NE | Covington Rock

7/11/14

Pete told me ZooFest in Lincoln, NE was an event that I could not miss and he was right.  They shut down the whole block and had a musical block party complete with food and beer trucks.  It was a warm night and the block was packed!  When I walked up, Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers were getting the crowd going with their polished blues.  Rod was playing a harmonica the way it was meant to be played.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone play a harmonica like that, the tone was so rich and so deep.   The entire band was tight, everyone more than killed at their solos and the jams flowed effortlessly between everyone.  Pete told me that they had been playing together for practically ever and it showed.  They had that amazing musical telepathy that only comes from years n years n years of sweat and practice together.

 

Next up was The Killigans, a dirty rocking Irish band.  The Killigans are a party anthem band – raise your glasses high and scream into the night type of party.  They deliver their stories with hard rock and roll based in punk.  The crowd was into it!  Every person there was fist pumping and screaming their happy into the night.

I’m happy that I made Lincoln a two nighter town.  This town rocks, the people here are great, the music is great.  Lincoln & Tulsa get my votes for fave cities so far on this tour.  I’ve found magic the whole way around the country but these two towns take the cake.  Me like!
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Night 5 of The Rock and Roll Highway | Albuquerque | Covington Rock

It was already afternoon by the time I woke, the night had been a gloriously late one with The Dirty Creek Bandits and Tyrannosaurus Chicken peeps and I didn’t make any plans for the next city after their show.  It was a Sunday, so I figured it would be my off day/night.  Have a leisurely drive and stop wherever I felt like it.
As I lay their chilling in the hotel bed (I splurged and got a room), I had an itching in my fingers and I pulled the technology closer….  I keyed up the map and saw that Albuquerque  was a little over 4 hours away.  Hmmm.  Albuquerque.  Hmmm.  I had a great time in that town on the 98′ cross country tour, very hospitable town (thank you Lee Francis).  I typed “Albuquerque live music” into the search bar, expecting nothing,  yet the first thing that popped up was Cactus Tractor at the Skarsgard Farm Folk Circus Festival!  All those words sounded amazing and awesome.  I used the Facebook search option and soon was grooving to a few beautiful tunes rich with a vibrant clarity.  How could I not experience this?  I found Cactus Trucker’s email address and sent them a message and hopped out of bed to pack.  By the time, I had thrown all my things in a bag, I had an email from the band telling me to drop on by the circus and I jumped in the car and pointed Elvira west.
Bye Texas!                                                                Hello New Mexico!
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The evening skies in New Mexico are a site to see.  It is epic in the vastness of beauty.  Land and sky going on and on, forever, and I lucked out with a sunset sky full of big white puffy clouds.  Love this part of the world.  I could easily get lost in creating landscape images like Phil Hawkins (well, not like Phil, he is incredible…but to dream to make images like Phil…..) but I was on a mission, a musical mission and so I snapped with my phone and let my camera relax till showtime.
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When I arrived, I met up with Meredith Wilder of the band Wildewood (they had played earlier in the day) and she was coordinating the event with Skarsgard Farms.  She gave me a lay of the land, I had found myself in the middle of a desert circus and it was gorgeous.  Jugglers, aerialists, musicians and revelers were everywhere.  I had definitely found the right spot to be on this night of The Rock and Roll Highway!

The band that attracted my music photography loving self to the event was Cactus Tractor and from the images on their site (great band photography) and the clips that I heard, I knew I was in for some great music.  It was a treat reading their description on their Facebook page.

Cactus Tractor is a seven-person Bohemian Pop Folk Disco (beau-pop-faux-disc) band based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with four songwriters, toothsome harmonies, and a multitude of fun stringed and unstrung instruments. These include, but are not limited to, the hula horn (invented by Christy), the musical saw (which is dangerous), the violin (which is also dangerous if you’re standing just to the left), the accordion (which is heavy), the charango (which attracts a lot of attention despite its small stature—much like its player, Stef!), buckets-and-buckets-full of harmonicas (which often fall on the ground and cause great consternation), frogs (which croak when struck with a stick—try it out!), and tea towels (which, laid artfully over a snare drum, make for a proper English quiet-funky kit sound). “

As the Albuquerque Aeraelist Collective flew over head Cactus Tractor gave a rocking, folky, bluesy, fabulous show with some of the most beautiful harmonies I have ever heard.  They all played like a bajillion instruments as well (as listed out in their description above) and wow, those voices, they played their voices.  They weren’t up there merely singing, they were adding layers upon layers upon layers to the music with their song.  Their voices were all as finely tuned as the instruments they strummed, beat and blew.  I want to lay outside in a big grassy field, or more aptly on a blanket with the wide world all around and lay there and just listen and listen to them.  They somehow capture the sound of this part of the world, the music is as vast and encompassing as the land stretching out for miles and has a warmth and beauty to it like the setting sun while also being so clear and pure and simply beautiful as a Prickly Pear bloom.   I am enamored.

 

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Night 4 of The Rock and Roll Highway | Amarillo, TX | Covington Rock

I had asked my new friends at The Mercury Lounge in Tulsa where I should go in Amarillo and everyone unanimously said The Midnight Rodeo.  So when I got back to my nest for the night, after that amazing night of music, like, wow…blow me away night of music,  The Dirty Creek Bandits and Tyrannosaurus Chicken just knocked my socks right off, I googled The Midnight Rodeo to see what was going on.  There was a fella called Charlie Worsham playing.  His website said that he was the opener for Brad Paisley, so I knew he was country and had to be good as I know the name Brad Paisley, I don’t know his music other than its new country but I know his is big.

I love me some honkey tonk, ole classics, rockabilly, western, just haven’t explored new country, outside of the tv show Nashville.  Since I was going to Texas I had to add a bit of country to the tour and I figured it would be fun to pretend I was on an episode of Nashville all night.  I freakin’ love that show.   I reached out to the venue and tried to get a bit of sleep.  When I woke up, I had a message from The Midnight Rodeo saying  if I could make it to Amarillo by 7pm, they would introduce me to Charlie’s tour manager to see about photo permission.   It was a 5 1/2 hour drive and it was nearly 2pm.  No problem. Made it to Amarillo and found the place mostly on time, always on time, on the right time.  The peeps at The Midnight Rodeo are fantastic.  They welcomed me in and Winter gave me a full tour of the spacious dance hall/bar/club.  I loved it.  Texas does it big.  There was a racecourse of a dance floor that went around a bar in the middle of the room, 4?+ bars that were on the outside and a spacious stage.  The place is awesome and at night the lighting gets sexy and there is a lot of smoke.  A lot of smoke.  There were even ashtrays in the bathroom stalls.

This old smoke filled bar is something I’m not used to.

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The ladies room also had a giant comfy sofa and I took a lovely 20 min snooze.  Awesome music and amazing drives leave little time for sleep, so the sofa was a most wonderful surprise.  When I emerged from the ladies room, the bar had gotten packed with dancers and I mean DANCERS!  wow.  Those Texas men know how to spin their ladies around. There was one fella who looked like he was ready for front row at a Slayer concert, I saw him and wondered how his pretty, boot wearing lady convinced him to come to this bar…  Never judge a book by its cover and that long haired metal fella turned out to be the best country dancer in the place.  He swung his lady (and his hair) all over that race course dance floor.  He spun her, he flipped her, he boot scoot n boogied her all night long.  wow.  It was beautiful.    This was their warm up dance.  I forgot to video later due to my whooping and cheering as they flipped by. Yes to the men who can scoot and twirl a lady around the floor like that.

& then it was time for the show!!!   One thing is for certain, Charlie Worsham is an entertainer.  That fella knows how to work a stage.  He made every person in the room feel like he was there for them.  He held hands, he read notes, he sang happy birthday, he even let one girl attempt to play his guitar and he smiled at her even though she couldn’t strum to any sort of rhythm.  He made eye contact with each person there and I could see life long fans forming in front of me.  It was easy to see that he loves what he is doing and he wants everyone there to be as happy in the moment as he is.  Busting out covers of Michael Jackson, Hall & Oates, Ozzy Osbourne & Katie Perry made me grin and he had me 100% when rocked Eye of the Tiger.

After the show, the dj came out and everyone started rocking their way around the racecourse dance floor.  New Yorkers always find each other and I’ve spent so much time in that city with the ole day job that I feel >almost< like a proper new yorker.  There were friends from Columbia and were on an adventure weekend and had stumbled upon this wonderful place unlike anything in our pavement jungle.

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We were all standing and watching in awe when all of a sudden the music took a drastic change and a whole new sorta line dance started happening..except for that one couple doing the outercourse.

I had a great time at The Midnight Rodeo.  If you are in Amarillo, this is the place to go!