Saturday, May 13, 2017

Delbert McClinton at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill

Delbert McClinton was born in Lubbock, Texas, and relocated with his family to Fort Worth, Texas, when he was 11 years old. Growing up, he listened to country, tejano, western swing, rhythm and blues, and early rock and roll. Starting a career in music in 1962, he played harmonica, guitar and piano for others. McClinton played harmonica on Bruce Channel's 1962 hit "Hey! Baby" and toured England in Channel's band with the Beatles as the opening act; legend has it that McClinton instructed a young John Lennon on the finer points of blues harmonica. McClinton led the Straitjackets, the house band for all the top blues musicians who came through Ft. Worth, then worked briefly as a songwriter in Los Angeles, California, and then returned to Texas to join the Austin music scene.  He began recording solo albums in 1973 and was inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2011. His 25th and most recent album, Prick of the Litter, was released on January 27, 2017.

B.B. King Blues Club & Grill seems to be McClinton's New York anchor, as he headlines at the venue two or three times each year. Although the set list changes with each visit, the product is much the same, an outstanding set of blues-rooted rock and roll. At 76 years of age, McClinton played blues harmonica and sang rich and gutsy rhythm and blues vocals like he invented them. As he stepped back to catch his breath, the band carried his vision, providing lively rolling keyboard, guitar and horn breaks. In a couple of departures, McClinton crooned on a song that sounded like it came from the Great American Songbook, and the band supported him by stepping up the funk on a cover of the Temptations' "Shakey Ground." Otherwise, McClinton's somewhat hoarse vocals clung to his signature blues rock. As usual, McClinton ended his set with his sole Top 40 hit single, 1980's "Giving It Up for Your Love," and then returned for encores. McClinton should get an award for rocking so hard in his senior years.

Delbert McClinton will return to B.B. King Blues Club & Grill on November 1. In the meantime, visit McClinton at www.Delbert.com.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Delta Saints at the Mercury Lounge

Benjamin Ringel
Born to a musical family in Louisiana, Benjamin Ringel learned to play guitar at age 10. Later, he learned to slide notes on a resonator guitar. While attending university in Nashville, Tennessee, he met bassist David Supica and together they began assembling the blues-rocking Delta Saints in 2007. They recruited guitarist Dylan Fitch, and the core of the Delta Saints was established. Drummer Vincent “Footz” Williams and keyboardist Nate Kremer joined later. The band's fourth studio album, Monte Vista, was released on April 28, 2017.

At its core, the Delta Saints is a blues rock band, but at the Mercury Lounge tonight, the band showed how it has continued to expand its bandwidth by occasionally straying from its original swampy bayou sounds to opposite extremes, from singer-songwriter pop to experimental jazz. At times, the music revolved around pensive lyrics, but then on other songs, the compositions were turned into extended funk jams. Fortunately the band has been able to stretch without losing its integrity or identity. Several of the new songs were honest reflections of modern events: "Sun God" related to the current political climate, and "Spaceman" was a tribute to the late David Bowie. The Delta Saints is transcending its vintage roots sound to make music worth investigating.

Visit the Delta Saints at www.thedeltasaints.com.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Yngwie Malmsteen at the Gramercy Theatre

Lars Johan Yngve Lannerbäck, who at age 12 renamed himself Yngwie Malmsteen, was born into a musical family in Stockholm, Sweden. At age 10, the young guitarist formed a duo named Track on Earth with a schoolmate on drums. As a teenager, his musical influences included 19th century violinist composer Niccolò Paganini and rock guitarists Ritchie Blackmore, Uli Jon Roth and Brian May. Malmsteen came to the United States at age 18 and briefly joined Steeler and Alcatrazz in 1983 before releasing his first solo album in 1984. In 2009, Time rated Malmsteen as among the 10 greatest electric guitar players of all time. Malmsteen's 20th and most recent solo album, World on Fire, was released on June 1, 2016. Malmsteen now lives in Miami, Florida.

Headlining at the Gramercy Theatre tonight, Malmsteen's guitar techniques once again married classical influences to heavy metal. The back of the stage was a wall of amplifiers. Keyboardist/vocalist Nick Marino, vocalist/bassist Ralph Ciavolino, and drummer Mark Ellis held down the left side of the stage, and Malmsteen displayed enough showmanship for the rest of the stage, spinning the guitar, tossing it into the air, playing it with his teeth and producing feedback by perching it in various places. His technical wizardry included lightning fast harmonic minor scalar riffing and "sweep picking," where he played single notes on consecutive strings with a sweeping pick motion while using the fretting hand to produce fast and fluid notes. Amidst the heavy metal thunder, Malmsteen's neoclassical inclination drew from the influences of classical composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Niccolò Paganini, and Antonio Vivaldi. The indistinguishable songs themselves were basically the train that carried the merchandise, however. For all the feedback and distortion that often muddied Malmsteen's playing, he nevertheless dazzled as one unmatchable musician.

Visit Yngwie Malmsteen at www.Yngwiemalmsteen.com.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Timothy B. Schmit at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill

Timothy B. Schmit was born in Oakland, California, and raised in Sacramento, where at age 15 he played folk music in Tim, Tom & Ron. That group evolved into a surf band called the Contenders, then had a British-Invasion-inspired hit in 1965 as the New Breed and then became a rock band called Glad by 1968. In 1968, Schmit auditioned for country-rockers Poco but the position was filled by Randy Meisner; Meisner then quit the band in 1970, and Schmit replaced him on bass and vocals. Schmit then replaced Meisner again on bass and vocals in 1977 in the Eagles. Ironically, while the Eagles were often perceived as a California band, the late-joining Schmit was the only member of the group born in the Golden State. After the Eagles broke up in 1980, Schmit embarked on a solo career, releasing solo albums and expanding his role as a studio musician, and rejoined the Eagles when the band reunited in 1994. In 1998, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Eagles. Schmit's sixth and most recent studio album, Leap of Faith, was released on September 23, 2016. He is also performing with the reunited Eagles this summer.

Schmit's concert at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill tonight was advertised as a retrospective of his career, but the set included only a couple of Poco and Eagles songs. The set largely was comprised of songs from Schmit's solo albums. He was in fine voice despite a recent bout with throat cancer, was affable and congenial is his between-songs talks, and performed well on guitar and bass. He gave his repertoire a "Peaceful, Easy Feeling" in more ways than one, and included his "I Can't Tell You Why" from his Eagles catalogue. The problem was that the rest of his set did not match the perfection of these songs from the 1970s. The songs captured the California country rock sound, but none stood out as songs one would want to hear again and again. Schmit's forays into rock, soul and bluegrass made the concert pleasant enough, but not especially notable.

Visit Timothy B. Schmit at www.timothybschmit.com.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Over the Rhine at City Winery

Karin Bergquist
Pianist/guitarist/bassist Linford Detweiler and vocalist/guitarist Karin Bergquist met while attending college in Canton, Ohio. Detweiler was touring as a musician in the final incarnation of Servant in 1989 when he and Bergquist formed a folk music band called Over the Rhine, naming the quartet after their historic, bohemian Cincinnati neighborhood. In time, the quartet whittled to Detweiler and Bergquist. They married in 1996 and relocated to a pre-Civil War farm they call Nowhere Farm in Hillsboro, Ohio. The duo is accompanied by complementary musicians on albums and tours. Over the Rhine's most recent album is 2014's holiday album Blood Oranges in the Snow.

At City Winery tonight, Detweiler and Bergquist were accompanied on many songs by a guitarist/mandolin player, Brad Meinerding. Together they made uncomplicated music with just a stirring vocals and minimal accompaniment, and this starkness was all that was necessary to make the homespun songs splendid. Bergquist's vocals in particular floated lightly and rode the easy-flowing melodies with a tender embrace. Adding a brief harmonica, piano, mandolin or guitar interlude, and in some cases two- and three-part harmony on the choruses, the musicians gave the songs a sophisticated character and polish. The set was more folk than Americana, but often borrowed a subtle country twang or bluesy croon. Like a fireside chat, the soft-spoken anecdotes told between songs enhanced the homey feel of the honey-sweet concert. Over the Rhine's concert, unadorned yet buoyant, was simply gorgeous.

Visit Over the Rhine at www.overtherhine.com

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Black Lips at Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom

Cole Alexander
In Dunwoody, Georgia, guitarist Cole Alexander and bassist Jared Swilley reportedly were expelled from high school during their senior year because they were regarded as a "subculture danger." In 1999, they left a band called the Renegades and formed Black Lips. Alexander and Swilley were known for their crude antics in school and these pranks extended into their live shows. In the beginning, they tossed lit firecrackers into the audience; nowadays these pranks can include nudity, urination, fire, vomiting, and the destruction of musical instruments. Black Lips presently consists of Alexander, Swilley, guitarist Jack Hines, saxophonist Zumi Rosow and drummer Oakley Munson. The band released its eighth studio album, the first in three years, Satan’s graffiti or God’s art?, on May 5, 2017.

Many of the band's reviews concentrate on the band's onstage antics more than the music. It cannot be helped. At Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom tonight, the Black Lips played riveting garage rock that pummeled much like a Diarrhea Planet concert. Black Lips has taken 1960s-style garage rock and made it louder, rougher, grittier and more pulverizing. The show was bigger than life, however, starting modestly with someone behind the band sailing rolls of unspooling toilet paper into the audience. Later, Alexander and Hines exchanged a prolonged kiss while playing a raucous rocker. Towards the end of the set, Alexander dropped his leather pants, fully exposing his privates, and spent a song alternating between playing his guitar and playing with his penis. After the song, he lifted his trousers but then a few minutes later he dropped them again and urinated, pointing the stream to his face with his mouth open. A maintenance worker came on stage with a mop, and Alexander took it from him, saying something to the audience about cleaning up his own mess. He then mooned the audience and left the stage. For the encore he smashed a guitar to pieces. The Black Lips' music was exciting, but the antics were among the wildest theatrics ever exhibited on a rock stage.

Visit Black Lips at www.black-lips.com.

Setlist
  1. Sea of Blasphemy
  2. Family Tree
  3. Modern Art
  4. Can't Hold On
  5. Dirty Hands
  6. O Katrina!
  7. Drive By Buddy
  8. The Last Cul de Sac
  9. Everybody's Doin' It
  10. Stranger
  11. Stone Cold
  12. Rebel Intuition
  13. Occidental Front
  14. We Know
  15. Smiling
  16. Ain't No Deal
  17. M.I.A.
  18. Raw Meat

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Transatlantic Sessions at the Town Hall

Aly McBain & Jerry Douglas
Transatlantic Sessions is the collective title for a series of live musical collaborations begun in 1995 by musicians from both sides of the North Atlantic, playing folk music from Scotland, Ireland, England and North America. Under the musical direction of Scottish fiddler Aly Bain and American guitarist Jerry Douglas, the performances have been recorded and filmed intermittently for six series of half-hour television episodes shown in Great Britain and North America. Transatlantic Sessions also were made available as in DVD and CD formats.

After more than 20 years, the live Transatlantic Sessions finally came to America for a brief tour, including tonight's performance at the Town Hall. Douglas acted as master of ceremonies, and he and Bain were joined by Scottish musicians Donald Shaw on accordion, John McCusker on fiddle, and James Mackintosh on drums, English musician Michael McGoldrick on pipes, Irish musician John Doyle on guitar, and American musicians Russ Barenberg on guitar and Daniel Kimbro on upright bass. On this date, American vocalists Rosanne Cash, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Sarah Jarosz, John Paul White, and Aoife O’Donovan, along with Irish vocalist Declan O’Rourke and Scottish vocalist Karen Matheson, were invited to sing.

Led by Douglas on resonator guitar, the orchestra played instrumentals, including American bluegrass, Irish jigs and Scottish reels, and allowed for the musicians to showcase their contributions via improvisational solos. When Douglas invited the guest vocalists to the microphone, they explored various realms of folk-styled acoustic music, from Cajun to Celtic and back to country. The set consisted of both traditional and original compositions.

The first-ever Transatlantic Sessions Tour of the United States began on April 27 as part of MerleFest 2017 at Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. The five-date tour concluded on May 4 at the Town Hall in New York City.
The Transatlantic Sessions
Rosanne Cash & Jerry Douglas
Mary Chapin Carpenter
Sarah Jarosz
John Paul White
Aoife O'Donovan
Karen Matheson & Jerry Douglas
Declan O'Rourke

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A Celebration of the Music of Jimmy Webb at Carnegie Hall

Michael Dorf, founder of City Winery, has been promoting concerts for nearly 30 years, and among his most popular series is the annual "Music of" concerts at Carnegie Hall, which bring in a wide range of musical artists to pay tribute to one of their own. This year's concert was billed as A Celebration of the Music of Jimmy Webb, held on May 3, 2017, and featured performances by Hanson, Judy Collins, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr., B.J. Thomas, Liz Callaway, Sheléa, Johnny Rivers, Graham Nash, Art Garfunkel, Dwight Yoakam, Ashley Campbell, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Feinstein, Toby Keith and Amy Grant. Webb also performed and occasionally accompanied performers on piano.

Webb offered accolades to absentees Glen Campbell and Linda Ronstadt, both of whom recorded several of Webb's songs but could not travel to the tribute. Campbell has been sidelined by Alzheimer's Disease and Ronstadt is working through Parkinson's Disease. The concert benefitted the Alzheimer's Association and the I'll Be Me Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping those suffering from or caring for people with Alzheimer's.

Although it was never mentioned from the stage, the concert tied in with the release of Webb's memoir, The Cake and the Rain, which was published on April 18, 2017.

Former teen idols Hanson, who like Webb hail from Oklahoma, opened the evening singing a cappella the first verse and chorus of "Oklahoma Nights." The three brothers, Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson, harmonized well on the song that Webb originally recorded with Vince Gill in 2010.
Actor Michael Douglas introduced the show by speaking of Webb as a friend and acknowledging Webb's songwriting legacy.
Judy Collins
Judy Collins sat at the grand piano and performed "The Moon's a Harsh Mistress," a Webb song she recorded in 1975. Ronstadt, Campbell and Joe Cocker also recorded the song.

Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr.
Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. were the lead vocalists of the 5th Dimension, and backed by the house band reprised the vocal group's biggest hit, Webb's "Up, Up and Away," from 50 years ago.
As McCoo exited the stage, Davis shared that he had recorded Webb's "Worst That Could Happen" in 1968, then sang the song that became a hit for Johnny Maestro & the Brooklyn Bridge.

B.J. Thomas
B.J. Thomas, also from Oklahoma, sang "Do What You Gotta Do," a song also recorded by Johnny Rivers, Nina Simone and others.

Liz Callaway, perhaps best known for singing Stephen Sondheim songs on Broadway and singing for animated films, performed "Still Within the Sound of My Voice," also recorded by Glen Campbell.

Hanson returned for "Highwayman," a song recorded first by Webb, then Campbell, and then jointly by Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson, who named themselves the Highwaymen in honor of the Webb composition. The Hanson brothers sang in three-part harmony rather than rotating vocals like the Highwaymen did.

Shelea
Sheléa, who was introduced as having sung with Stevie Wonder, performed "Shattered," previously sung by Art Garfunkel on Webb's own Still Within the Sound of My Voice album. Sheléa began the song on piano, then moved to center stage to belt the remainder of the song.

Johnny Rivers
Johnny Rivers, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, performed "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," which he recorded in his 1965. Campbell had the hit in 1967.

Jimmy Webb
Jimmy Webb came on stage and sat at the piano. He described "Galveston," another song associated with Campbell, as "the reason I'm sitting up here tonight." He dedicated the song to American military personnel "who made the ultimate sacrifice," as well as his own father.

Graham Nash
Graham Nash joined Webb for a duet on "If These Walls Could speak."

Art Garfunkel
Webb also accompanied Art Garfunkel on piano for "All I Know," which Garfunkel had recorded on his first post-Simon & Garfunkel album.

Dwight Yoakam
Dwight Yoakam explained how Glen Campbell sought another "city" song from Webb after he hit with "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" and "Galveston." Webb wrote "Wichita Lineman" for Campbell and it became another hit in 1968. Yoakam performed the song in his own style, adjusting to a faster tempo and adding a guitar solo.

Ashley Campbell
Michael Douglas introduced Campbell's youngest daughter, Ashley Campbell, who played banjo and sang "You Might As Well Smile," which her dad originally recorded in 1974.

Catherine Zeta-Jones
Douglas' wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, performed "Didn't We," which she introduced as a song that "puts the spotlight on Jimmy the poet."

Michael Feinstein
Michael Feinstein sang "Only One Life," which he recorded in 2003.

Toby Keith
Toby Keith announced that his subsequent performance would be "the most challenging of my career," and it turned out to be the highlight of the program. "MacArthur Park" had been a hit for Richard Harris, Waylon Jennings and Donna Summer. Webb to the stage and the piano halfway through the song, when the composition moved from a slow and soft crooner to a rousing, complex piece.

Amy Grant
Webb remained on stage for "Adios," recorded by Ronstadt and Campbell. Webb sang the first two verses and then had Amy Grant sing.


For the concert finale, all the performers returned to the stage for a reprise of "Up, Up and Away."

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May Day 2 at le Poisson Rouge

If you are going to have rock book release party, why not make a concert out of it? During the punk-rock era of the late 1970s and early 1980s, Phil Marcade was the vocalist for the Senders, one of the more popular New York bands that never ascended beyond the local punk circuit. After a long absence from the music scene, Marcade has resurfaced as the author of a memoir entitled Punk Avenue: Inside the New York City Underground 1972-1982.

The book launch, called May Day 2, was held at le Poisson Rouge on May 2, 2017. The evening opened with Marcade being interviewed by Legs McNeil, the author of a similar memoir on the New York punk scene, Please Kill Me. Daddy Long Legs opened the music portion, followed by the Waldos and then Marcade backed by another period band, the Rousers. Andy Shernoff, formerly of the Dictators, Dee Pop of the Bush Tetras, and JF Vergel, formerly of the Waldos, joined the Waldos onstage for a few songs. Brian Hurd of Daddy Long Legs, Lynne Von, formerly of Da Willys, former Senders Barry Ryan and Steve Shevlin, Lenny Kaye of the Patti Smith Group, Andy Shernoff, and Walter Lure of the Waldos were among the musicians who joined Marcade and the Senders onstage.

Daddy Long Legs
Daddy Longlegs setlist
  1. Death Train Blues
  2. That's Where I'm Gonna Go
  3. Morning, Noon, and Night
  4. Blood From A Stone
  5. Motorcycle Madness
  6. Evil Eye

Walter Lure of the Waldos
The Waldos Set list
  1. One Track Mind (The Heartbreakers cover)
  2. Sorry
  3. Cry Baby (with Andy Shernoff)
  4. London Boys
  5. Busted (Harlan Howard cover, with Danny Ray)
  6. Where Were You (On Our Wedding Day?) (Lloyd Price cover, with Danny Ray)
  7. Born to Lose (The Heartbreakers cover, with Dee Pop)
  8. Chinese Rocks (The Heartbreakers cover, with JF Vergel)
  9. Too Much Junkie Business (with JF Vergel, Stephen Krebs and others)

Phil Marcade
Phil Marcade & the Rousers setlist
  1. My Baby Glows In The Dark (The Senders cover)
  2. You Really Piss Me Off (The Senders cover)
  3. When I Die I'll Be A Ghost (The Senders cover)
  4. Do the Do (Howlin’ Wolf cover, with Brian Hurd)
  5. You Can't Judge a Book by the Cover (Bo Diddley cover, with Brian Hurd)
  6. I Love You (The Heartbreakers cover, with Lynne Von and Walter Lure)
  7. Kill Me (with Lynne Von and Danny Ray)
  8. Please Give Me Something (Bill Allen cover, with Barry Ryan and Steve Shevlin)
  9. Devil Shooting Dice (The Senders cover, with Barry Ryan, Steve Shevlin, & Danny Ray)
  10. You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory (Johnny Thunders cover, with Lenny Kaye and Andy Shernoff)
  11. Gloria (Them cover, with Lenny Kaye and Andy Shernoff)
  12. The Last Time (The Rolling Stones cover, with Lenny Kaye, Andy Shernoff, & Walter Lure)
Bill Dickson & Brett Wilder of the Rousers
Bill Hurd & Phil Marcade
Phil Marcade, Walter Lure, Tom Milmore of the Rousers, & Lynne Von
Danny Ray
Steve Shevlin
Barry Ryan & Phil Marcade
Walter Lure, Andy Shernoff & Lenny Kaye






Monday, May 1, 2017

National Concert Day at Irving Plaza

Live Nation, one of the largest concert promoters in the world, celebrated the beginning of the Summer 2017 concert season with a self-declared National Concert Day on May 1, 2017. On this day, Live Nation launched its “Kickoff to Summer Ticket Promotion.” For one week, Live Nation made 1,000,000 tickets to over 1,000 concerts available for a flat $20. To promote the event, Live Nation hosted a concert at Irving Plaza featuring mini-sets by the Roots (with guest Nelly), Prince Royce, Nickelback (with guest Chris Daughtry), Foreigner (with guest Jason Bonham) and Jason Aldean. The National Concert Day event will be hosted by NBC’s Lilliana Vazquez.

Earlier in the day, numerous music artists chatted with media about their upcoming summer tours. These artists included OneRepublic, Rob Thomas and Paul Doucette (Matchbox Twenty), Joan Jett, Adam Lambert (Queen + Adam Lambert), Phillip Phillips, Stephan Jenkins (Third Eye Blind), John Rzeznik (Goo Goo Dolls),Mike Einziger and Brandon Boyd (Incubus), Straight No Chaser, Scott Bradlee (Postmodern Jukebox), Adam Duritz (Counting Crows), Cheap Trick, Jason Bonham, The KIDZ BOP Kids, and more.

Jason Aldean
Foreigner
Nickelback with Chris Daughtry
Prince Royce
The Roots
Nelly