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Gov't Mule at Paramount Theater

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Gov't Mule Paramount Theater Rutland, Vermont August 15, 2014 The cozy confines of the stage at Rutland's Paramount Theater barely held Gov't Mule's equipment set up this mid-August Friday night and, similarly, the beautifully restored venue's walls and ceiling barely contained the thunderous sound of the quartet. Luxuriating in its movement through a two-set, three-hour performance (perhaps to a fault), the quartet nevertheless finished with a fast flourish, in doing so confirming this late summer show had been conceived as a single entity unto itself. Unusually animated throughout the evening with calls to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alan Evans Trio: Woodstock Sessions Vol. 1

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The Alan Evans Trio, nee Alan Evans' Playonbrother, were the first band to formally avail themselves of the resources of Applehead Studios for a live with studio audience session in Woodstock New York in 2013. Patterned to a great degree on Levon Helm's Midnight Rambles at his own barn, ultra contemporary facilities in a rustic setting, these events present a unique opportunity for musicians and fans alike to immerse themselves in the spontaneity of the moment even as the engineers-Michael Birnbaum, Kevin Salem and Chris Bittner-are capturing it all for posterity. Drummer Evans, guitarist Danny Mayer and keyboardist ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wil Blades: Field Notes

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Keyboardist Wil Blades earned his pedigree playing with guitarist Will Bernard and percussionist Billy Martin and now ratchets up his leadership skills fronting a trio including guitarist Jeff Parker and drummer Simon Lott. Concentrating on Hammond B3 organ (using clavinet to leaven the textured sound of the group), Blades proves he has absorbed the lessons from masters of the hallowed instrument such as Jimmy Smith and happily carries them into the future. He the alternately fluid but funky sound on “I Can't Stand the Whole Lott of You" with an ever-so-light touch and the rhythm machine to whom ...

LIVE REVIEWS

John Hiatt at Shelburne Museum

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John Hiatt & the Combo The Green at Shelburne Museum Shelburne, Vermont July 10, 2014 John Hiatt has become a past master at creating songs populated with characters full of real-life detail . Playing with the Combo on the Green at Shelburne Museum, he offered a selection of his original material that painted a self-portrait rendered even more vivid by the expertise of the musicians around him. And it began from the very first selection, “Master of Disaster." While at one time this might have been a wry self-reference, as Hiatt concluded each ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

The Doors: The App and Beyond

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Given the late Jim Morrison's fascination with media, plus the film school experience he shared with Ray Manzarek, it's more than a little fitting The Doors have unveiled their own computer app. Few rock bands have their own app, apart from those centered on a specific release, but then, few have the near half-century history to draw upon, as do The Doors. Subtitled “An Immersive Journey," the app certainly is that. With a dense multi-layered menu of music, images and prose, all features are, as stated in the user guide, “embedded within the app making ideal for your ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Phish at Saratoga Performing Arts Center

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Phish Saratoga Performing Arts Center Saratoga Springs, New York July 3-5, 2014 If there is one overriding impression to glean from Phish's summer 2014 run at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, it's that the band is equally proud of and inspired by the material on Fuego (Jemp/ATO, 2014). Not only was every song on the record played over the course of the three-night run (with the exception of keyboardist Page McConnell's “Halfway to the Moon," which has already been in rotation for some time), but tunes such as the title ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Hot Tuna, Lebanon Opera House

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Hot Tuna Lebanon Opera House Lebanon, New Hampshire June 17, 2014 Bassist Jack Casady almost stole the show during his seventh (8th?) appearance in New Hampshire with long-time friend and musical compadre guitarist Jorma Kaukonen. And that's not to disparage the latter, whose delicate precise picking (except for a few moments early on) mirrored Casady's own dexterity during the course of their ninety minutes on the New Hampshire stage. But Kaukonen's compliment to the man to his right this night--"He never ceases to amaze me"--(borderline mawkish reaction from the audience aside) may have ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin’

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Jimi Hendrix Hear My Train A Comin' Sony-Legacy 2013 As an entry into the PBS American Masters series, it's little surprise Hear My Train A Comin' doesn't take a particularly novel approach to its subject. Still, the film progresses assuredly and vividly from one significant point to another as it covers the life and career of the one of the epochal figures of Sixties rock, Jimi Hendrix. Interviews with those who knew (and knew of) Jimi Hendrix at each stage of his artistic progression weave in and out of the footage, accompanied ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Burlington Discover Jazz Festival 2014

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Burlington Vermont Discover Jazz Festival 2014Burlington, Vermont May 30-June 8, 2014 During Burlington Vermont's Discover Jazz Festival, Vermont's Queen City teems with a level of excitement and activity unusual even for its ceaselessly vibrant environs. And while the Mainstage of the Flynn Performing Arts Center functions as the center of that universe, it is often the case that those performances at the intimate FlynnSpace downstairs, as well as other venues around the city, imbed the most indelible memories of the week-plus run. With all due respect to headliners such as Tony Bennett and Donald Harrison, 2014 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rodney Crowell: Tarpaper Sky

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Tarpaper Sky reaffirms Rodney Crowell's position as one of the most literate of contemporary songwriters. At the same time, it exhibits his unusual savvy as a musician and bandleader as he collects a core quintet to skillfully elicit both the intelligence and emotion of his original material. In its prolonged gestation before and after other projects- Kin (Vanguard, 2012) his collaboration with novelist Mary Karr and his reunion with Emmylou Harris Old Yellow Moon (Nonesuch, 2013)--Crowell's fourteenth album features him and the participating musicians wholly in the moment on tracks such as “The Long Journey Home." The vivid ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

John Mayall: A Special Life

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Redoubtable and self-motivated as ever Just shy of his eightieth birthday, John Mayall recorded an album with his current band late in 2013 that suggests in no uncertain terms he remains as potent a blues musician as the members of his group merely half his age. He titled A Special Life with the same knowing understatement he writes, plays and sings (and renders the cover art as well). That's not to say there's much profound in the material itself, but only that the longevity of the man known as the 'Godfather of British Blues' imparts a significance to ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Grateful Dead: Dave's Picks Volume 10 Thelma, Los Angeles CA 12/12/1969

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One of the great virtues (and there are many) of the Grateful Dead's archiving projects is that research regularly unearths 'lost' recordings about which little or nothing may be known but that, when brought to the light of day, fill in crucial links in this iconic group's history that further illuminate their evolution. Dave's Picks Volume 10, like the so-called 'Houseboat Tapes' that comprise Dick's Picks #35 (Grateful Dead, 2005), is just such a title, with its first reel in place (from, as essayist Gary Lambert recounts, an LA venue of otherwise hazy distinction) now capturing a complete ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Miles Davis: Miles at the Fillmore - Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series Vol. 3

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Intensely intoxicating as much as it is wholly hypnotic, Miles Davis Live at the Fillmore becomes increasingly so through the course of its four compact discs. More than doubling the playing time of the original four-sided vinyl release, The Bootleg Series Vol. 3 posits an argument the band(s) of this era were among the finest ever led by the man with the horn. If that sounds hyperbolic, it's difficult not to rhapsodize about this archive series in general and this edition in specific, The similarities in the setlists evolve into an asset as the only slight rotation of ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

The Who: Sensation - The Story of Tommy

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The Who Sensation-The Story of Tommy Eagle Video 2014 In a reflection of the dynamism of their stage presence, Sensation -The Story of Tommy jumps back and forth between a history of the early Who and the seeds of inspiration that, in combining guitarist/composer Pete Townshend's ambition, encouragement from co-manager Kit Lambert and the exploratory creativity of the late Sixties, ignited a not so spontaneous combustion of rock and roll art that was Tommy. It is somewhat unsettling throughout the documentary to absorb the quick cuts of concert footage of the Who (some ...



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