Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Hillbenders - Grey Fox 2012

 The Hillbenders were the surprise for me at last year's festival and I was thrilled to see them on this year's schedule.  In fact we got 3, count 'em 3, sets from the finest young bluegrass outfit that I have heard.  Yeah, they play bluegrass,but with an energy and a rock & roll sensibility that makes for one seriously good time.  The main stage set was good, but the two sets in the dance tent were just out of control.  Crossroads!!!  I hope they're back next year.

A suggestion:  how about getting on a tour with one of the jamgrass bands and expanding their audience.  The live Hillbenders experience is just electric...with acoustic instruments!

The new album is due for release soon.  Check 'em out.

Ana Popovic - Boulton Center 7/27/12

With nothing to do on a Friday night I decided to grab some tix for the Ana Popovic show at the Boulton Center in Bayshore (Long Island).  I had heard a little bit of her material but was pretty much unprepared for how good a guitar player she is.  I mean she flat out can play.  Straight blues, slide, a little funk...

The almost two hour show featured a big chunk of last year's album "Unconditional" and the material was pretty good.  In addition to the title track I also really liked "Summer Rain" and "One Room Country Shack".  Each and every song featured some stellar solos from Ana and her band.  These guys play a lot of shows together and they are tight. 

Women have a often have a tough time competing with the guys, especially when playing the blues, but Ana Popovic is a better player than a lot of her contemporaries.  The Ana Popovic Band will be on tour in the USA through May 2013. Check 'em out.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bruce Springsteen - MSG 2009

So you  might be able to tell from some of my posts I am a HUGE Springsteen fan and have been of over 30 years.  I try to get to as many shows each tour as possible and was lucky enough to be at both of these MSG shows from 2009.  The first night features a complete The Wild, the Innocent and the E. Street Shuffle and the second a jaw dropping complete version of The River.  The links are two of the finest sounding ROIO's that I have ever heard.  Simply fantastic.

You can get night 1 here.

You can find night 2 here.

Both of these releases appear to be from Crystal Cat and claim to be audience/iem matrix mixes.  Whatever they are the sound and performances are top notch.  A must have for any Springsteen fan.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Grey Fox 2012

A great time was had by all at this year's Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival on the Walsh Farm in Oak Hill, NY.  As usual the line-up was a who's who of the bluegrass world.  Headliners each night included the Infamous Stringdusters, Hot Rize, Mountain Heart, and the Punch Brothers along with The SteelDrivers, David Bromberg and the David Grisman Sextet.  Great music could be found on the main stage from noon to midnight, but it was the Catskill Dance Tent that featured many of the festival's best performances including two each from The Hillbenders and Sarah and the Tall Boys which were my personal favorites along with two sets by The SteelDrivers.

If you are even a little bit of a fan of acoustic music you should check out Grey Fox.  They run this exactly how every festival should be run and it results in nothing but good vibes all week.

More to follow about some of my favorite performances.

Check out their site.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Joe Bonamassa - Driving Towards The Daylight

Joe Bonamassa can play.  I jumped on the bandwagon early...before the first album was released (miss those promos) and have tried to stay enthused over the past decade.  It is getting increasingly difficult as he has become one of the biggest names in the blues who releases a steady stream of records.  His prolific recording history may be part of my problem over the past couple of years.

Driving Towards The Daylight is full of great playing.  Joe Bonamassa is a monster player.  Joe Bonamassa can sing.  Joe Bonamassa has become boring.  The album is not bad, it is just predictable.  What was fresh sounding 10 years ago has become predictable.  If you have never heard him before or are a recent convert you may think me crazy but given time I think you may feel the same way.  I've heard it all before.