Get Back to Live Music with Mary Lamont

December 26, 2009

The Christmas two night live music lull is now over.   Why not get back into the swing of things with Mary Lamont?

The first American country band to tour China was not one of the usual suspects; it was the Mary Lamont Band.  You might not have heard of them, but this Suffolk County-based band has been playing around Long Island for years and lately they have begun to play in New York City as well.  Tonight they hit Hill Country in Chelsea for country, Americana and rock.

Although a New Yorker for years, Mary herself originally hails from rural Ontario, once again supporting the idea that Canadians do the best American music (see also Neil Young and Kathleen Edwards).  Mary has also quite a diverse background as her day jobs have included modeling and working for the Alice Cooper management team.

Jim Marchese, the lead guitarist, has strong country and rock chops.  He’s also an accomplished photographer, and was tour photographer for Bruce Springsteen‘s The River tour in Europe.

Mary Lamont, Hill Country, 30 W 26th Street between 6th Avenue and Broadway (F, R or W Trains to 23rd Street), 10pm-1am, no cover

Best Music Video of 2009: United Breaks Guitars

December 24, 2009

Dave Carroll was traveling with his band on United Airlines and found his guitar broken when he retrieved it at the end of the trip.  United would not pay Dave for the damage, so he wrote this song and produced this video instead.  It now has been viewed 6.8 million times.  Revenge is a dish best served musically, with humor.

The Best Albums of 2009 – Part Two

December 23, 2009

The first part of my top ten list for 2009 was published on Monday and is available here.  Now for the second half, still in alphabetical order:

Li’l Mo and the Monicats – On the Moon:  After a few years away from the music biz, Li’l Mo returns with a collection that runs from country to blues to rockabilly to 60s pop.  Most of the songs are originals but a cover of the Bill Hailey song Rocking Chair on the Moon gives the album its title.  Standouts include I Really Love (To Really Love You) and The Boy Who Loved the Blues.

James Maddock – Sunrise on Avenue C:  James stock in trade is the mid-tempo rocker, and he sings with an engaging gravelly voice with a rasp someplace between Steve Forbert and Rod Stewart.  James has been able to round up an all star band for this release, including Leslie Mendelson on piano.  Sunrise show off James’ strength as a songwriter, including his ability to mix humor into his songs without any of them becoming novelty numbers.  Highlights include the anthemic When the Sun’s Out and Straight Lines, as well as Chance, Stars Align, Sunrise on Avenue C and Dumbed Down.

Leslie Mendelson – Swan Feathers: Adult pop, mostly piano based.  Leslie’s lyrics are literate and as many people have noted, playfully sexy.  A couple of the songs on this album have been rearranged from the way Leslie had been doing them live to provide the opportunity for Leslie to step out from behind the piano and onto center stage, including the first single, Hit the Spot.

Or, The Whale – Or, The Whale:  This seven-piece band based in San Francisco takes their name from the subtitle of Moby Dick.  Their sound is alt country, rock and folk with great harmonies (from four vocalists, two male and two female) and their high energy live shows are something that you must see.  This album, the band’s second, expands their sound a bit with some hints of The Grateful Dead and even a nod toward Fairport Convention.  Highlights include Datura, Never Coming Out and Shasta.

Amy Speace – The Killer in Me: This is a reflective album as the songs in this collection were written during the break up of Amy’s marriage.  Instead of the mostly country sounds of her last collection, Songs for Bright Street, this material lends itself to a folk rock treatment for the most part.  And although Amy ruefully decides that “the only thing I’ve learned is I haven’t learned a thing” she does kicks up her heels during a very spirited Would I Lie.

Wednesday Night: Milton at The Rodeo Bar

December 23, 2009

Milton is the name of both the band and its leader (above right).  Originally from Westchester, Milton has lived all over the place including Chicago, Buenos Aires, Manhattan and Brooklyn, and his band has members from Argentina, Spain (and sometimes England).

Even with that international background, the music of Milton is a combination of Americana,  country, and folk-rock.  But do yourself a favor and see Milton for yourself.

Milton, The Rodeo Bar, 375 Third Avenue at 28th Street (R or 6 Train to 28th Street), 10pm, No Cover

Tuesday Night Doubleheader

December 22, 2009

Tonight there are two excellent shows available to you; one early and one late.  Of course, you can always choose to go to both.

Early: Charlie Faye.  Charlie and her excellent band, The Jerks, make music that’s at the place where rock, alt country and blues all blend into each other.  Charlie’s album, Wilson Street, made my Top 10 list for this year.  An Austin resident, Charlie’s visits to NYC don’t come often enough, and the next one isn’t scheduled until July.  So this is the time to see Charlie up close and personal.

Charlie Faye, The Living Room, 154 Ludlow Street, (F Train to Second Avenue, use the First Avenue exit), 8pm

Late:  Sasha Dobson and her band.  Sasha started playing with guitarist Steve Elliot about a year ago and has moved from the jazz-folk-samba material she was playing to a more straight-ahead rock style.  With Steve’s lead guitar moving towards Dire Straits territory, Sasha’s new batch of songs are all terrific.  Since this is the release show for Sasha’s new CD, you’ll be able to take it all home with you.

Sasha Dobson, The Rockwood Music Hall, 196 Allen Street (F Train to Second Avenue, use the First Avenue exit), 11pm

The Best Albums of 2009 – Part One

December 21, 2009

OK, it’s mid December.  That means it’s time for my best of 2009 list.  Overall, 2009 had a tough act to follow because 2008 was an extraordinarily good year musically.  I do think that there was a bit of a fall off from last year, but there was still plenty of good new music around.  I’ve picked the 10 albums that I’ve enjoyed the most this year.  They will be presented today and Wednesday, half on each day, in alphabetical order.

The Stars Are OutSarah Borges and The Broken Singles – The Stars Are Out: Sarah Borges has been around for a few years and usually categorized as alt country.  But The Stars Are Out demolishes that view of her.  It’s mostly rock of varying kinds, mostly up tempo and all wonderful.  The songs are split between covers and SB originals.  A few SB&BS fans have complained that this album is overproduced, but if this is overproduction, bring it on.

The Damnwells – One Last Century: One Last Century is just plain wonderful.  You could call it rock power pop with wonderful songs and great vocals.  If you need a reference point, The Gin Blossoms aren’t all that far away from this.  There is no reason not to own this album; it was released as a free download here. Yes, it’s legal!

Charlie Faye – Wilson St: Originally from this area, Charlie moved to Austin a few years back and Wilson St. of the album title is where she ended up.  Austin is the place where rock, blues, country and folk all blend into each other and that’s what happens on this album as well.  All songs are CF originals or co-writes and standouts include She’s Gonna Go, Bottletops, Runaround and Simple Seduction.

Israel Nash Gripka – New York Town:  Too young to have been around during the classic rock era, Israel reaches back to what was good in the 70s as inspiration for this set.  And yes, it does seem he’s channeling John Fogerty in the song Pray for Rain.

Norah Jones – The Fall: The past couple of years have been ones of change for Norah Jones.  So with all that going on in her life, its no wonder that her new album, The Fall, finds Norah’s music in transition as well.  This record features an entirely different musical team and although it still recognizable as a Norah Jones record, it has electronic elements and is mixed to be edgier. Highlights include Young Blood, It’s Gonna Be and Back to Manhattan.

To be continued…

Welcome to NIHE

December 10, 2009

You’ve heard this all before: the record industry is doomed if it isn’t quiet dead yet; radio wherever you are located basically sucks.  Yet, if you like music and it is part of your life these are good times (economics aside): music these days is alive, well and flourishing.  The trouble is finding the good music that’s out there.

What I will be doing here at Now I’ve Heard Everything (NIHE for short) is uncovering music and letting you know when I find something that I think is worthwhile.  I’ll tell you about the musicians.  I’ll post some videos for your viewing and listening pleasure, and I’ll highlight shows in the New York City area if you feel like partaking of live music yourself (maybe down the road I’ll be able to add reports from other cities as well; we’ll just have to see what develops).  And for those of you who want to learn the basics finding music online, I’ll go into some of the terms and technology you should know.

I promise you that NIHE will have its own point of view.  You might find a “buzz” band here; but you’ll also find musicians who are great at what they do and have labored in the clubs but don’t get the recognition that they probably should get.  You’ll find that NIHE will run the gamut from loud young rock bands to quieter singer-songwriters.  So welcome; now we get started.

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