Leslie Mendelson Bares Her Soul

April 5, 2020
Marty Halpern

Leslie Mendelson. Photo: Shervin Lainez

Leslie Mendelson was blessed with a unique vibe and a pure voice. She doesn’t have to turn her dial up much past three to reach nearly unattainable vocal levels. The thought of her over-singing seems improbable. Mendelson is set to release her third album, If You Can’t Say Anything Nice on April 17. While talking with her about her upcoming release, she had the same easy-going spirit to her that comes through in her music.

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Circles Around the Sun Sets Course for A New Orbit

March 9, 2020
Marty Halpern

Photography by Piper Ferguson

When the members of Circles Around the Sun (CATS) met to discuss the musical direction they wanted for their next album, it didn’t take the quartet very long to reach a unanimous decision – they wanted to put out a dance record. Not just any dance record; a retro disco sound with plenty of cosmic vibe to it. 

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JRAD Strengthens Its Roots

March 4, 2020
Marty Halpern

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead kicked off their 2020 touring schedule with a three-night sold out run at Port Chester, NY’s The Capitol Theatre from February 21-23. The band instantly picked up where they left off in 2019, as the energy the quintet created every night was palpable. While the focus of the weekend was on the band’s continued musical growth, what the weekend really proved was they are expanding their base, and the fans have no problem with it. 

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Introducing the Mattson 2 Again and Again

February 6, 2020
Marty Halpern

Mattson 2; photo by Mark Witannan

If you are trying to find criteria to differentiate a new band from an established one, do not use The Mattson 2 as an example. Technically the “2,” identical twin brothers Jared (guitar/bass) and Jonathan Mattson (drums) have been a national touring act after signing with an agent in 2016. The twins released A Love Supreme – the duo’s interpretation of the classic John Coltrane album – in 2018, but 2019’s Paradise is the first full album with original Mattson 2 material in almost a decade. Paradise went to number one on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz charts so most people would think they’re a hot, new band off to a great start. That’s where they would be wrong.

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Trigger Hippy growls its way to the finish line in Memphis

December 31, 2019
Marty Halpern

Words / Photos: Marty Halpern
After spending much of the last two months on the road supporting their latest album Full Circle and Then Some, Trigger Hippy played its next to last concert of the tour at Growlers in Memphis on December 20. While there is no direct connection between the band and Memphis, there seemed to be a familiar, family vibe throughout the venue all night. Before the show, almost every member of the band could be seen shooting pool or just hanging out in the crowd.

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We Want Phil: Grateful Dead Release “Ready or Not”

December 3, 2019
Marty Halpern

As Vince Welnick settled into his role as the Grateful Dead’s only piano player in the spring of 1992, the band had started heavily introducing a fresh batch of “new” songs in their touring rotation. Most Deadheads figured these songs would eventually be recorded and released as the band’s next studio album.

The death of Jerry Garcia in 1995 ended any chance for that album to be completed. Several unofficial compilations have been put together featuring live versions of the “new” songs, Now, The Grateful Dead has released Ready or Not… nine live versions of these songs recorded from 1992-1995.

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Marcus King brings Southern soul to Memphis

November 15, 2019
Marty Halpern

Marcus King Band, Memphis, TN 11/9/19

Words: Marty Halpern
Photos: Josh Mintz
Marcus King could not have picked a better song to kick off his much anticipated concert and first headlining gig at Minglewood Hall in Memphis, Tennessee on November 9 then “Where I’m Headed.” Most of the crowd was there to find out the answer to where King is headed as well.

The 23-year old King just kicked off a worldwide tour in support of his debut solo album, El Dorado, that runs through April 2020 with very few breaks in between.

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decker.’s Visions Become A Reality

October 28, 2019
Marty Halpern

After ten years, seven albums and a rabid touring schedule, the only thing missing from the decker. discography at this point is either a live or greatest hits album. With Greetings All Ye Playful Prisoners of Spacetime, from the Royal Potato Family label, you can cross live album off the list. 

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“Everybody Wins” with the Second Amendola Vs. Blades Album

October 12, 2019
Marty Halpern

After releasing all of their greatest hits in their 2016 debut album, Greatest Hits, the duo of Scott Amendola and Wil Blades are back with a fresh batch of material with their new album, Everybody Wins. For the sophomore album, the duo brought some of their friends along to add to the numerous layers of music they are known to create just by themselves.

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