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Soul……live!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 27, 2011 by greedycherry

Here’s a quick trivia question for you:  what musical trio, once signed to the famous jazz label Blue Note Records, has opened for such famous bands as The Dave Matthews Band, The Roots, and The Rolling Stones?

Not sure?  Okay….how about this:  what funky jam band has collaborated on studio recordings with Chaka Khan, John Scofield, Ivan Neville, Talib Kweli, and Corey Glover (the lead singer of rock band Living Colour)?

Still no answer? What if I told you their latest album, released last year, was an instrumental tribute to The Beatles, called “Rubber Soulive”?

Guess I just gave the answer away, huh?

Alan Evans of Soulive

Alan Evans of Soulive playing at the House of Blues, Boston (10/21/11) Photo by Mathew Tucciarone

Soulive is an amazingly funky trio, formed back in 1999 by the Evans brothers (Alan on drums and Neal on Hammond B3 organ, bass keys, and clavinet) and a guitarist named Eric Krasno. Their first jam session became their first EP, entitled “Get Down!”, and they’ve been churning out groove-laden efforts ever since.

For me, there’s almost nothing more soulful and musically tasty than the quiver of a Hammond B3 organ as it snakes its way in and around a song, and I’ve therefore always had an affinity for jam band music of this sort. (Frankly, I hate the tag “jam band,” but it does contain a nugget of truth in its label, and it is an accepted colloquialism, so I digress….) But as much as current fans just like hanging out and dancing to the tasty grooves Soulive lays down, a debt is owed here that some people just don’t think about.

Eric Krasno of Soulive

Eric Krasno of Soulive playing at the House of Blues, Boston (10/21/11) Photo by Mathew Tucciarone

As a fan of music history, I know that the band Soulive is today owes a great deal to the pioneering organ jazz artists of decades gone by. They’re not dummies….they know it too.  Right on their website, for instance, is this quote: “When brothers Neal and Alan Evans first invited guitarist Eric Krasno to get down at their Woodstock, NY studio (a session that led to the trio’s break-out record ‘Get Down!’ in 1999), it was out of mutual love for the great soul-jazz organ trios of the ’60s and ’70s (Jimmy Smith, Groove Holmes, Brother Jack McDuff).”

If you’re a fan of Soulive and have not explored those artists that came before, I’d like to suggest you take a trip to your local record store (or a quicker trip, perhaps, to the iTunes store), and pick up some of those aforementioned artists. Give ’em a listen….and you’ll quickly start to see how music has evolved over time, and how every single artist currently working owes a tip of the hat to someone who came before them.

(And, if I may be so bold, allow me to suggest two albums to get you started: a groovy little Blue Note compilation called “So Blue, So Funky: Heroes of the Hammond”, and a classic release from the master of the Hammond himself, Jimmy Smith, 1958’s “The Sermon!”)

Neal Evans of Soulive

Neal Evans of Soulive playing at the House of Blues, Boston (10/21/11) Photo by Mathew Tucciarone

Anyway, the reason I’m posting about this today is that Soulive came to our little town of Boston this past week, playing a show at the House Of Blues on Friday the 21st. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend this show, but my good friend Mat Tucciarone was in attendance, and as a press photographer no less. Therefore, I am quite pleased and honored to be able to share, with his permission, some of the shots he took at the concert for all of you to see and enjoy. Let me know what you think, and, if you want to see more from Mat, he runs a photo blog which has many awesome images from other area shows as well (currently on display: such artists as Ray LaMontagne, Brandi Carlisle, and Matt and Kim).

As far as how the show sounded, I can only tell you that Mat sent me a text message around 10pm that said “Soulive is straight KILLIN it now!”

I think you get the idea.

Crowd at Soulive show

Enthusiastic crowd jams to Soulive at the House of Blues (10/21/11) Photo by Mathew Tucciarone

Alan Evans of Soulive

Alan Evans of Soulive playing at the House of Blues, Boston (10/21/11) Photo by Mathew Tucciarone

Neal Evans of Soulive

Neal Evans of Soulive playing at the House of Blues, Boston (10/21/11) Photo by Mathew Tucciarone

Alan Evans and Eric Krasno of Soulive

Alan Evans and Eric Krasno of Soulive at the House of Blues (10/21/11) Photo by Mathew Tucciarone

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Let The Good Tunes Roll

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 17, 2011 by greedycherry

Well, here’s something freakin’ amazing…..Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” played by…..a small wooden ball???

Wow. Not much more to say about that other than this: some people just have wayyyyyyy too much free time on their hands.

And, may I say, thank God for that.

(No pun intended.)

Family Of The Year

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 7, 2011 by greedycherry

You know, the internet is a funny thing. You can surf it endlessly for hours upon end, discover all sorts of new and interesting information, and see and hear things you probably never would ever have come across in your entire life otherwise. You stumble into something amazing, it makes an impact, and so later you tell someone all about it….and the conversation goes something like this:

“DUDE. I just heard this killer song on the internet earlier. It was some new band I’d never heard of, and it was GREAT.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah, man….it had this funky bass part, and this guy was yelling crap at the top of his lungs as these girls were singing these sweet harmonies. And the guitar work was ridiculous.”

“Sounds amazing! Where’d you hear it? I’ll pull it up now on my computer and take a listen.”

“Uh….”

“What was the web address? What was the site?”

“Umm….it was…..uh……it had a picture of a dog, and uh……umm…….”

You can’t remember. Not at all. You might even still be able to sort of picture how the site looked in your head, but you can’t remember the URL to save your life. Usually you get saved because you’re on your own computer and have that lovely “history” thing that keeps track of all the websites you’ve visited over the past couple days. But if you’re not near your computer, or, God forbid, it’s been over a week since you saw/heard/experienced this amazing thing, you’re pretty much screwed. Which, of course, sucks.

And this, dear readers, is why I cannot tell you one single thing about how I came to discover the musical group Family Of The Year. I only know what they are called because I obtained their CD the night I discovered them, but otherwise have no idea what website I was looking at that referred me to or recommended them. So much for the back story, huh? Bummer.

What I can tell you, however, is that the record “Songbook” is quite nice (and, surprisingly, that “Let’s Go Down” is the first track I heard off of it). A couple of good singers, male and female, weave vocal parts filled with lovely harmonies and personable delivery. Lots of acoustic guitars, and a pretty chill vibe. In a way, it has shades of some Beach Boys stuff, but without all the southern California vibe and the decades of infighting.

The other cool thing about “Songbook,” and why I bring it up in today’s blog entry, is because you can go to their website and download the album essentially for free. Yes, that’s right….FREE. I gave you all access to a great free track yesterday, God Help The Girl’s version of Belle & Sebastian’s “Funny Little Frog,” and thought it might be nice to follow up with an entire free record! No need to thank me, of course….it’s what I do.

Let me say this, though….Family Of The Year has put this album up for download using the old Radiohead trick of “name your own price.” Therefore, it can indeed be a free download for an entire fifteen tracks of tastiness. On the other hand, you could be super-decent and leave the folks a few dollars for their troubles. (You can even listen to the whole thing first to see if you dig it enough to do so.) It wouldn’t be an altogether bad idea for a nice hour’s worth of meticulously-crafted tunes.

Just sayin’.