Back to semi-normal with Jason Isbell at The Caverns

October 23, 2020
Slide & Banjo

Jason Isbell, The Caverns, 10/11/2020. |. Photo: Erika Goldring

I spent my 43rd birthday at a Jason Isbell concert, which – on its face – isn’t noteworthy. After all, I’ve spent plenty of birthdays, New Years Eves, and anniversaries at concerts. But those were when the world was normal. In 2020, we’re all in the middle of public health scare that has decimated the live entertainment world.

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Farmer Dave Speaks of Love, Heartbreak, and Utopia

October 13, 2020
Marty Halpern

Multi-instrumentalist and shaman to the California music scene Farmer Dave Scher has released a four-song EP titled “Speak of Love,” his first solo release since 2009’s “Flash Forward to the Good Times.” While Farmer Dave is legendary both musically and artistically, his main output has been as part of bands such as Beachwood Sparks, The Skiffle Players, and Kurt Vile and the Violators. This offering affords Farmer Dave the luxury of an unfiltered platform to get his message out.

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Joan Osborne Dials Up an A.M. Radio Sound with A Modern Message

September 25, 2020
Marty Halpern

Joan Osborne ; photo: Jeff Fasano

When Joan Osborne started kicking around ideas for her new album, she contemplated taking it in a couple of directions. First, a follow up to the Bob Dylan tribute album she released in 2017. After a few other thoughts and ideas didn’t materialize, Osborne gathered her group of longstanding backup vocalists and musicians and headed to the studio to record an album of new material.

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Bassist Karina Rykman set to release “City Kids” and more!

August 25, 2020
Marty Halpern

Like everyone else, Karina Rykman’s plans for 2020 have taken a dramatic shift. Coming off an incredibly busy 2019 which saw a significant rise in popularity and demand for new music, Rykman was set to hit the recording studio in March. Those plans were scrapped as New York became one of the epicenters for a massive COVID-19 outbreak.

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It’s flooding in Texas…so The Greyboy Allstars made an album

August 14, 2020
Marty Halpern

Greyboy Allstars / photo: Josh Mintz

Covid shutdown or not, 2020 is proving to be a productive year for Greyboy Allstars. In July, the band released “Como De Allstars,” its first album of new material in seven years. In August, they re-released their 1994 debut album “West Coast Boogaloo” on vinyl. Had it not been for that famed Texas rain, “Como De Allstars” might not exist.

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Mike Dillon and some Rosewood

August 6, 2020
Anne Njoroge

Mike Dillon / photo: John Brant

“I’m a billy goat.”

That’s how Mike Dillon answered when asked what his musical personality was, and it makes a lot of sense. Goats are smart, agile, and hard to keep in one place…much like the multi-instrumentalist’s career.

Dillon holed himself up in a beautiful art studio in Missouri, converted from what used to be an old church building – it’s soul still there, pulling out the vibraphonists’s emotions. Along with his instruments, Dillon worked out his latest journey in life, and the songs come tumbling out, turning into his orchestral percussion compilation, Rosewood.

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Here’s What’s Upstate

June 23, 2020
Marty Halpern

Upstate - photo: Patrick Capriglione

When Upstate released their second album, Healing, in February 2019, they knew they were going to tour to support it. What they didn’t know is that tour would allow their music to expand on stage to the point they wanted to release a live EP highlighting it. The result is Live at ArtsRiot.

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Leftover Salmon: Thirty Years of Polyethnic Slamgrass, Part 3(b)

May 27, 2020
Tim Newby

This is part three (b) of three of author Tim Newby’s inside look into the writing of his latest book, Leftover Salmon: Thirty Years of Festival and the time he spent with the band on tour.  Make sure to check out part one, part two, and part three (a).

The band had a few days off and I headed home to Baltimore before rejoining them at the North Shore Performing Arts Center in Skokie, Illinois, just north of Chicago. The after-party found me on the bus at 1 am signing books for many of Vince’s friends who had come that night. 

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