Entries tagged with: Norah Jones
photos by P Squared Photography
Ryan Adams & Norah Jones / Valerie June / Charles Bradley / finale - 9/13/2015
A gaggle of talented folks came together at Bowery Ballroom on Sunday night (9/13) to pay tribute to the music of Neil Young and raise money for the Sweet Relief charity. Backed by the Cabin Down Below band, the first of two nights of NeilFest featured Ryan Adams and Norah Jones singing "Old Man" (Ryan also performed "Cinnamon Girl" and Norah sang "Don't Be Denied"), Kim Gordon and Bill Nace's Body/Head performing "On the Beach," Charles Bradley belting out "Heart of Gold," Valerie June singing "Mellow My Mind" and The Gaslight Anthem's Brian Fallon doing "After the Gold Rush." Fallon also came out with Jakob Dylan, Black Keys' Patrick Carnery and Butch Walker for "Ohio." Other performers included Yeah Yeah Yeah's Nick Zinner with onetime Virgins singer Donald Cumming, Nicole Atkins (who was joined by rock photographer Danny Clinch), Danny Masterson (yes of That '70s Show), Adam Green, Michelle Branch, and more. Pictures, a few videos and setlist from Night 1 of NeilFest are in this post.
Tonight (9/14) is Night Two of NeilFest with much the same lineup. Caleb Followill of Kings of Leon has been added to tonight's bill and hopefully Sharon Van Etten, who was listed but didn't play Sunday night, will be there too. Kills/Dead Weather singer Alison Mosshart was at Sunday night's show but didn't perform -- maybe she and Jack White (who are in town to be on Colbert's Late Show) will swing by? (But maybe not, if Patrick Carney will be there again.) We shall see. More pics from NeilFest Night 1, below
The folks that have brought us Dylan Fest and Petty Fest will be bringing Neil Fest: A Night To Celebrate The Music of Neil Young to NYC's Bowery Ballroom on September 13 & 14. As usual for these things, the backing band is The Cabin Down Below Band but the lineup of guests is pretty impressive. Here's the full list of announced performers:
Norah Jones, Ryan Adams, Body/Head, Patrick Carney of The Black Keys, Ruby Amanfu, Jakob Dylan, Brian Fallon of Gaslight Anthem, Butch Walker, Matt Hitt of The Drowners, Nick Zinner of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Valerie June, Charles Bradley, Sharon Van Etten, Adam Green, Ryan Miller of Guster, Elvis Perkins, Summer Moon, Danny Masterson, Adam Busch, Michelle Branch, Donald Cumming, Sammy James Jr., Steve Schiltz, Nicole Atkins, Sasha Dobson, Jade Castrinos, Caveman, Danny Clinch, Johnny T, Chase Cohl, Daniel & David Gibson of Streets Of LaredoTickets for Neil Fest go on "friends and family" presale on Thursday (8/27) at noon with the general on-sale starting Friday (8/28) at noon. Ticket options include a $1500 VIP option that gets you balcony seating for four, complimentary beer and Jamesons all night, a poster and access to a pre-show party. Proceeds go to Sweet Relief On Behalf Of The Jameson Neighborhood Fund.
Related: Norah Jones, who most recently was seen opening for Neil Young as part of her country band Puss N' Boots, will embark on a tour under her own name this fall. That wraps up with a show at Port Chester, NY's Capitol Theatre on November 8. Tickets for that go on Norah Jones presale on Friday (8/28) at 10 AM with the general on-sale beginning September 9 at 10 AM. All dates are listed below.
photos by Greg Cristman, words by Andrew Sacher
Neil Young played the final NYC-area stop of his tour with backing band Promise of the Real (featuring Willie Nelson's sons) at Jones Beach last night (7/21). The setlists have been pretty similar on this tour, though they do differ a bit from night to night, and last night's set was filled with favorites. They did of course play a lot of the new The Monsanto Years, which rails against the Monsanto corporation (and sometimes Starbucks). Those songs didn't bring the set down or anything, but they weren't the highlights either. What were highlights was seeing Neil come out by himself at the start of the night to play "After the Gold Rush," "Heart of Gold," "Long May You Run" "Old Man" and "Mother Earth (Natural Anthem)" consecutively on either piano, acoustic guitar, or organ. It wasn't until after those five that the band even came out, and it wasn't until even later that Neil picked up an electric guitar for the first time.
Promise of the Real obviously aren't Crazy Horse or anything, but they did a great job backing him. They brought a lot of energy to the show, and they basically played all the songs the way they sound on record. When they locked into the extended jams on "Down by the River" and "Love and Only Love," they were on fire. Another treat was he gave us a good amount off one of his best "latter day" albums, Harvest Moon, including the title track, "From Hank to Hendrix" and "Unknown Legend." Plus he sprinkled in even more from his most classic era, including "Out on the Weekend," "Words (Between The Lines of Age)" and "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere." Really an incredible show.
Fellow Monsanto hater Reverend Billy and Norah Jones' country band Puss N Boots opened. More pictures, and Neil's setlist, below...
photos by Sachyn Mital
Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones at The Bowery Electric - 6/24/15
Yesterday morning, Billie Joe Armstrong announced to his fan club that he'd play an intimate solo show in NYC that night. It turned out to be the very intimate Bowery Electric, and he brought another famous musician with him: his Foreverly collaborator Norah Jones. Foreverly is the reinterpretation of The Everly Brothers' 1958 album Songs Our Daddy Taught Us that Billie and Norah put out in 2013, and last night they played the whole thing in full with an encore cover of Carl Perkins' "Sure to Fall." Check out a video of the duo playing opening track "Roving Gambler," below.
UPDATE: We've now got a set of pictures from the show in this post.
This Friday (6/26), Bowery Electric hosts Pansy Division, the openly-gay pop punk band who opened Green Day's Dookie tour. Support at that show comes from Youth Quake and Bottoms. Tickets are available.
Green Day also have a new album in the works.
Billie/Norah video, setlist and more pics below...
photo: Neil Young at Farm Aid 2013 (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
Neil Young will release a new album with Promise of the Real, the band featuring Willie Nelson's sons Lukas and Micah, called The Monsanto Years, on June 16. The album criticizes Monsanto, a corporation which genetically engineers seeds that Neil has spoken out against for years.
Neil and Willie's sons are also going on a tour together in support of the album. A few dates will be opened by Band of Horses, including the NJ show on July 16 at Susquehanna Bank Center. They also play Bethel Woods on July 17 (where Woodstock was located) (no opener announced), and Jones Beach on July 21 with Norah Jones' country band Puss 'N' Boots. Tickets for those shows go on sale Friday (4/24) at 10 AM, and the Jones Beach show has a Ticketmaster presale starting Thursday (4/23) at 10 AM.
All dates are listed, with a video of Neil playing with Lukas Nelson at a recent show, below...
by Bill Pearis
photo:::Happyness @ Baby's All Right, CMJ 2014 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
UK trio Happyness have signed with Bar None Records in the U.S. (and Moshi Moshi across the pond). Last year's terrific, underrated Weird Little Birthday will be getting reissued in April with a bonus disc of unreleased tracks, plus its first pressing on vinyl. While we wait for that, Happyness have shared a cover of Norah Jones' "Don't Know Why" which they adapt to their appealingly slack style. You can stream that, along with the original version of Weird Little Birthday and a video for "Montreal Rock Band Somewhere," below.
As mentioned, Happyness will be back in North America for SXSW and Burgerama IV, and they'll be touring around the continent while here, wrapping things up with two shows in NYC: April 11 at Baby's All Right and April 12 at Cake Shop. Tickets are on sale for the Baby's show (no advance tix for Cake Shop).
Happyness were last in NYC for CMJ. All dates are listed, along with videos and song streams, below...
RIchard Thompson at Joe's Pub in 2013 (more by PSquared)
Clearwater Festival will return to Croton Point Park on June 21 & 22 in Croton, NY this year. Performers include Puss N Boots (feat. Norah Jones, Sasha Dobson, Catherine Popper), Rufus Wainwright, former Fairport Convention guitarist Richard Thompson (whose 2013 LP gave his career a bit of a re-boost), Josh Ritter, Tom Paxton, Houndmouth, David Amram, Spirit Family Reunion, Arc Iris and more. Tickets, including 2-day passes and single-day tickets, are on sale now.
The festival's founder Pete Seeger normally plays every year, but this will be the first one since the folk legend's passing earlier this year.
Full lineup below...
Dawn Landes will release her new album, Bluebird, in February via her new label home, Western Vinyl. The album was produced by her friend and frequent collaborator Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman) and features contributions from Tony Scherr, Rob Moose and Norah Jones. You can check out the album art and track list below.
You can get an early taste of some of those songs in NYC as Dawn plays her last show of 2013 at City Winery on Thursday (11/14) when she opens for Shawn Colvin. Tickets are on sale. She'll also open for Steve Earle at The Space at Westbury on February 8. Tickets to that show are still available.
Dawn's most recent release was 2012's Mal Habillée, an EP of original French-language songs which features contributions from Nada Surf's Matthew Caws and TVotR's Tunde Adebimpe. You can stream via Rdio.
Album art and track list for Bluebird below...
by Andrew Sacher
Jazz/hip hop pianist Robert Glasper is set to release the followup to his excellent 2012 album, Black Radio with a sequel, Black Radio 2, on October 29 via Blue Note. Like its predecessor, the new album has an all-star cast of guests including Common, Marsha Ambrosius, Jill Scott, Brandy, Snoop Dogg, Lupe Fiasco, Emeli Sande, Norah Jones, Faith Evans, Bilal, Jean Grae, Macy Gray, and more. Its lead single is the track "Calls," which features the cooing neo-soul vocals of Jill Scott. That can be streamed, along with the album tracklist, below. That's the artwork above.
UPDATE: Robert released another single from the album, "I Stand Alone," which features Common and Patrick Stump. That can also be streamed (via Rolling Stone) below.
In celebration of the new album, Robert and two of its guests, Common and Marsha Ambrosius, will be doing some shows around the time of its release. One of those happens in NYC the day the record comes out at Best Buy Theater (10/29). Tickets for that show go on sale Friday (9/27) at noon.
Robert is also making some festival appearances ahead of the album's release, including Austin City Limits on October 5 and NJ's New Brunswick Jazz Festival on October 6. Tickets for the jazz festival are on sale now.
All dates are listed, along with the song stream, artwork and tracklist, below...
Sammy of The Mooney Suzuki at Stones Fest 2012 (more by Stephen Yang)
Stones Fest, a tribute to the Rolling Stones, is returning to NYC this year on May 22 to 23 at Bowery Ballroom. As usual, the show is hosted by The Cabin Down Below Band and it features many of the usual guests like Norah Jones, Patrick Carney (of The Black Keys), Jason Isbell, Butch Walker, Delta Spirit, Cory Chisel & Adriel Denae, Johnny T, Adam Green, Jesse Malin, Ruby Amanfu, Petter Ericson Stakee (of Alberta Cross), Nicole Atkins, Justin Long, Jack Dishel (of Only Son), Seth Herzog, Sammy James Jr. (of The Mooney Suzuki), Danny Clinch & The Tangiers Blues Band, Steve Schiltz (of Hurricane Bells), Har Mar Superstar, Josh Lattanzi (of The Candles), The Uptown Horns, Jamie Burke & Mikki James, and many more. Tickets for both nights go on sale Friday (4/26) at noon and proceeds will benefit Sweet Relief and The Sweet Relief Musicians Fund.
Meanwhile, the actual Rolling Stones will be on their own tour (Mick Taylor included) around that same time. A number of North American dates have been announced but still none in NYC. Also, their kickoff show in LA has been pushed back a day due to NBA playoffs. Updated Stones dates are listed below.
Har Mar Superstar - 'Bye Bye 17'
In other related news, Har Mar Superstar, who plays Stones Fest, is on tour now and plays his own NYC show a week earlier at Le Poisson Rouge on May 15 with The Young Things and Nightbox. He then returns the following month to play Grand Victory on June 14 with The Boxing Lesson, Purple Spires, Supercute!, and NVUS as part of Northside Festival. Tickets for the LPR show are on sale now. No advance tix for the Grand Victory show, but admission is $12 at the door and you can also try to get in with your Northside badge.
Har Mar's new album, Bye Bye 17 just came out this week (4/23). You can stream it in full over at The Current and the track "Lady, You Shot Me" is also streaming below. Har Mar also just interviewed Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas. You can stream/download the entire 52 minute conversation over at Earwolf.
All Har Mar Superstar and Rolling Stones dates are listed, along with the song stream and Stones Fest 2013 flyer below...
Adele's theme song from Bond flick Skyfall was one of the five nominees for Best Song in the 85th Academy Awards which were announced this morning (1/10). Other nominees include Norah Jones' "Everybody Needs a Friend" from Ted; Scarlett Johanssen and Joshua Bell's "Before My Time" from documentary Chasing Ice; "Pi's Theme" from Life of Pi; and "Suddenly," one of the new songs penned for the new version of Les Misérables. Not the most exciting list (songs by Karen O, Fiona Apple, Arcade Fire, and Rick Ross were on the eligible list) but at least we got five noms this year -- only two songs were nominated in 2012 (they changed the eligibility rules after that happened). Videos and streams for all five are below.
Also nominated was Searching for Sugar Man, the terrific documentary about '70s cult musician Rodriguez. The DVD of that film is out January 22.
Steven Speilberg's Lincoln and Ang Lee's Life of Pie led this year's nominations with 12 and 11 each, respectively. Nine films were nominated for Best Picture this year: Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Misérables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty.
The 85th Academy Awards will be given out February 24th in Los Angeles. A full list of nominees are below.
Puss N Boots @ Rockwood Music Hall, 5/9/2009 (more by Tim Griffin)
Puss N Boots, the "Sex, love, and Country music" trio featuring Sasha Dobson, Catherine Popper, and Norah Jones, who play out in NYC every so often, begin a three-week Thursdays residency at The Bell House tonight, playing with So Brown with The Robs. Then on January 17 they play with The Parkington Sisters and on January 24 they're with Tall Pines. All three shows feature "special guest dancer" Minnie Tonka. Tickets to all three shows are still available.
Video of Puss N Boots playing City Winery this time last year below...
Indian classical sitarist and legend Ravi Shankar has passed away at 92 years old.
Shankar has been performing since the 1930s and began receiving international attention by the '50s. Since then he's been an influence on Western music, having famously taught George Harrison (and later performed at Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh), performed at Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock, recorded a collaboration with Philip Glass, and more. Norah Jones is his daughter.
Rest in peace, Ravi. Your contributions to music of all cultures will always be remembered. Some videos below...
by Bill Pearis
Arriving on the mid-'70s London scene as a rough'n'ready product of the pub-rock era -- an R&B- loving Nick Lowe with a sharper, more ambitious pen, as it were -- Parker predated Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson, both of whom would second his illustration that the singer/songwriter idiom could be recharged, giving intelligent rock fans an excitable and energetic alternative to (slightly) older guardsmen like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Randy Newman and Van Morrison. - [Trouser Press]Last year, pub rock survivor Graham Parker reunited with his old band, The Rumour, to make Three Chords Good, their first album together in 31 years. You can stream the album below via Spotify.
Graham and the Rumour are currently touring the record in America and will be playing the previously mentioned NYC show at Concert Hall at the NY Society for Ethical Culture on Saturday (12/1, tickets) with openers The Figgs, and then The Paramount Theatre in Long Island on Sunday (12/2, tickets) which is a co-headling show with Ian Hunter. All tour dates are below.
Parker's had a long career, and had college radio hits with his 1988 album The Mona Lisa's Sister and has kept on going since. He may be about to get another moment in the spotlight as fan Judd Apatow tapped Parker to not only contribute songs to his new film, This Is 40, but also appear in the film. The comedy, a sideways sequel to Knocked Up (about Paul Rudd's character from that film) will be out in theaters December 21. The soundtrack was produced by Jon Brion and also features Norah Jones, Fiona Apple, Lindsay Buckingham, Paul McCartney, Yoko Ono, Paul Simon, Wilco, Loudon Wainwright and more. Tracklist is below, as is the trailer for the film.
A list of tour dates, album stream, videos, and the This Is 40 trailer and soundtrack tracklist, below...
Levon Helm at Summerstage, July 2011 (more by Chris La Putt)
The great Levon Helm will be paid tribute on 11/19 at Hill Country (30 w26th St, Manhattan), when Catherine Popper (of Levon Helm/Jack White/Ryan Adams/Grace Potter's bands) will assemble Puss 'n Boots (which probably means Norah Jones) to lead a benefit at the venue. Levon's charity 'Keep It Going!' will be the receipient of the proceeds, a charity designed to keep Midnight Ramble, the studio and associated properties up and running. Joining Popper will be performances from Suzanna Choffel, Fredro Perry, The Cheating Hearts, and Bug & Bru (of The Defibulators). $20 gets you in.
This isn't the first time that a member of Grace Potter's band has been involved in a benefit; the frontwoman herself performed at a Levon Helm tribute show in early October.
Meanwhile check out pictures from the Austin show.
The 2012 New Yorker Festival happens October 5 - 7, bringing together writers, musicians, filmmakers, chefs, deep thinkers and all other sorts of creative types. Highlights for the 13th annual fest include "Portlandia Live" with Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein and special guests performing sketches live; Atul Gawande and the band Vampire Weekend; Sasha Frere-Jones and the singer Norah Jones; Alec Wilkinson and the neo-bluegrass band Punch Brothers; Ariel Levy and the singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams; John Seabrook and the indie-folk band Beirut; and Ben Greenman and singer, songwriter, and producer Raphael Saadiq.
Other notable events: the Wachowskis will present their new film Cloud Atlas with co-director Tom Tykwer; Mad Men's John Slattery hosts a panel on "period acting"; Paul Muldoon will interview Patti Smith and loads more meetings of minds.
Tickets to the 2012 New Yorker Festival will go on sale on Friday, September 14 at noon. Full line-up is below.
Langhorne Slim & band (which does not include Danger Mouse)
Norah Jones, whose new Danger Mouse-produced album Little Broken Hearts is out now, is playing the Bell House Friday, May 11. Tickets for the Brooklyn show go on sale at noon today (5/8). Norah also has a much larger show coming up at Central Park Summerstage in July and other dates which are listed below.
Cory Chisel is one of the many artists playing the upcoming Dylan Fest at irving Plaza and the Do Division Festival in Chicago. He's also opening for Murder By Death at the previously mentioned Webster Hall show which is part of a larger tour for the two artists. In August he hits the road with Norah Jones. All tour dates are listed below.
Some of Murder by Death's dates are with Ha Ha Tonka, who just played the Kentucky Derby and meanwhile will hit the road with Langhorne Slim for a tour that visits Bowery Ballroom on June 14. All dates are listed below...
"Another Planet Entertainment, Superfly Presents and Starr Hill presents, in a partnership with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, are proud to announce the lineup for the fifth annual Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival. The world's only gourmet music festival will once again take place in San Francisco's historic Golden Gate Park August 10 - 12, 2012. Tickets will go on sale Thursday April 19 at 12 noon PDT via www.sfoutsidelands.com. A significant portion of every ticket sold will directly benefit San Francisco's Recreation and Park Department."Pretty massive lineup for the San Francisco festival this year. Check it out below....
Norah Jones at Stones Fest 2012 (more by Stephen Yang)
The Central Park Summerstage schedule for 2012, which already includes Beirut, M83, Danny Brown/Childish Gambino, Beach House, and others, is continuing to expand. They've now added a Norah Jones show which will take place on July 3. Tickets go on sale Friday (3/30) at noon with Artist, Summerstage, and AmEx presales starting Thursday (3/29) at 10 AM. More tour dates are listed below.
Norah's Danger Mouse-produced LP, Little Broken Hearts, will see the light of day on May 1 via Blue Note. You can stream two album tracks, "Happy Pills" and "Travelin' On" below, along with some videos from SXSW, the artwork, tracklist, and all dates...
photos by Stephen Yang
Stones Fest 2012 celebrated the Rolling Stones with appearances from a bunch of stars of music, film, and television including Adam Green, Will Forte, Norah Jones, Matt Vasquez from Delta Spirit, Evan Rachel Wood, Alia Shawkat, Michael Cera, Jody Porter of Fountains of Wayne, Jesse Malin, Nicole Atkins, Sammy James Jr of The Mooney Suzuki, and many others. Pictures and video of a lot of the the show (but not including everyone), which went down on Feb 22nd at Webster Hall, below.
Norah Jones at LPR w/ Doveman in 2011 (more by Vincent Cornelli)
Stones Fest 2012, a tribute to the Rolling Stones similar to Petty Fest and Dylan Fest, is going down on February 22 at Webster Hall. Billed as "A Night To Get Drunk And Celebrate The Music Of The Rolling Stones," the fest will feature appearances by most of the same people who usually play these events, Norah Jones, Adam Green, Jesse Malin, Nicole Atkins, Jason Sudeikis (of SNL), Jessie Baylin, Tad Kubler (of The Hold Steady), The Sheepdogs, Jon Herrington (of Steely Dan), Jody Porter (of Fountains of Wayne, Sammy James Jr. (of the Mooney Suzuki), Jack Dishel (of Only Son), Todd Youth, Alec Higins (of Alberta Cross), Danny Clinch and the Tangiers Blues Band, Steve Schiltz (of Hurricane Bells/Longwave), Justin Long, Antony Ellis (of 5 O'Clock Heros), Jason Roberts, Petter Ericson Stakee, The Uptown Horns, and many more surprise guests. Tickets go on sale Thursday (1/26) at noon. $2 from each ticket will be donated to Doctors Without Borders.
The show happens about three weeks before a different Stones tribute happening on March 13 at Carnegie Hall with The Mountain Goats, Glen Hansard, TV on the Radio, and others. Tickets for that show are still on sale.
Speaking of Norah Jones, she's set to release her Danger Mouse-produced LP, Little Broken Hearts, sometime this year and follow it with a tour. Norah Jones and Danger Mouse previously collaborated on 2011's Rome. Check out an acoustic performance of the song "Black" from that album below (via Rolling Stone).
Megafaun at Bowery Ballroom in 2011 (more by Ryan Barkan)
Megafaun are heading out on an extensive international tour this year, starting with a European run in February and then coming to the US in March and April. The tour hits NYC on March 17 at Highline Ballroom with support from William Tyler, who also opens a few of the other US dates. Tickets go on sale Friday (1/13) at noon. All dates are listed below.
Megafaun's Phil Cook is one of the guests, along with Justin Vernon and Norah Jones on Kathleen Edwards' Vernon-produced full length, Voyageur, which comes out this Tuesday (1/17). You can stream the entire album on NPR.
Phil and his brother/bandmate Brad Cook were in a pre-Megafaun band together called Amateur Love. Their album, It's All Aquatic, is being reissued on Justin Vernon's new label, Chigliak Records, which is an imprint of Jagjaguwar. According to a post on the label's website, which has since been removed, Chigliak will release albums that were "never commercially released" or "locally released and never put on vinyl," in addition to new recordings. So far the label is set to release the Amateur Love album, and albums by Sarah Siskind and 12 Rods. Check out an Amateur Love video below.
All dates and video below...
Puss & Boots @ Rockwood in 2009 (more by Tim Griffin)
Monday night at the Bell House:
Sex, love, and Country music! Puss and Boots brings to Brooklyn holiday cheer, many P and B special guests/santa's helpers, and hay stacks...lots of them!I don't know who the "and more" are, but don't forget that Puss n Boots is Sasha Dobson, Catherine Popper, and Norah Jones.
Featuring burlesque by Nasty Canaste, and Minnie Tonka plus Speical guests Teddy Thompson, Kaki King, Seth Herzog, Sonia Brown, Michelle Casillas, Jeff Hill, Harper Blynn and more!
7:30pm Doors / 8pm Show / $15 Advance Tickets
Speaking of Norah Jones and Christmas, did you catch her playing the Ace Hotel on Anthony Bourdain's recently-aired Christmas show? Did you catch Fucked Up at the end of the same show?
words by Christopher Paragraph, photos by Veronica Luis
Thomas Bartlett's "Burgundy Stain Sessions" has carved out its own unique place in the NYC music scene, bringing tasteful, acclaimed songwriters together with some of the most skilled players in the city. The songwriters in the Burgundy spotlight have ranged from Beth Orton to St. Vincent to Rufus Wainwright to Glen Hansard. This night, however (last night, December 1st), seemed to be a new direction for Bartlett's ensemble, hosting Loudon Wainwright. Loudon rarely collaborates with other musicians and mostly performs solo, so the show was anticipated with cautious excitement and curiosity.
The night started out with the band quietly taking the stage, slowly melding into the opening song with a bit of a wink: Bartlett's "Drinking," which was navigated well by the group. Hannah Cohen joined as a guest vocalist on Bartlett's next song "Boy + Angel," foreshadowing her forthcoming set. Bartlett has mastered the art of making a wandering piano sound precise, and avoids musical clichés without abandoning them. He can wear many different hats on stage equally well, whether taking the reigns as lead singer or smattering notes carefully behind another.
The first guest of the night was Oren Bloedow. Bloedow is the instrumental half of Elysian Fields, but this performance focused on his abilities as a songwriter. He revealed a keen sense of well-crafted pop, in the Joe Jackson / Elvis Costello vein. But his lyrics showed a more complex sensibility, giving equal attention to the meaning and syntax of the phrasing and the actual phonetic sounds of the words themselves. This poetic nature of his songs proved to be the way in which they succeed and separate themselves from the pack. The band (which will be detailed later) provided a well-suited backdrop, displaying Bartlett's skill as the artistic equivalent of a live music A&R man.
Next up was Hannah Cohen, who just finished her debut record (with Bartlett). She played a few smooth, dreamy numbers from the forthcoming album before changing pace with a samba-ish cover of 10cc's "I'm Not In Love." Cohen shows a gift for carefully placing melodies rather than pouring out her soul. The songs are tastefully restrained, even when showing off a vocal run, ghostly and delicate. She seems a perfect candidate to work with Bartlett. Cohen sounded at her best when the arrangement was stripped down, allowing the songs to loosen and bend. It will be interesting to see where she goes as an artist in 2012 and how her debut record sounds. A video preview both morose and sexy can be seen HERE.
Before the anticipated Wainwright set, Justin Vivian Bond was invited up to perform an odd epic heartbreak ballad that challenged concepts from self-identity to deism. This seems to be a trend in how Bond builds a song, as the night's encore echoed the same conceptual structure, a "patriotic" story song that implied thoughts on sex, politics, and natural selection.
Wainwright took the stage, laughing at the fact that he was "back on Bleeker Street." (Wainwright started out here in 1968.) His set began in a rather unexpected manner, a duet with Bartlett on Frank Loesser's "More I Cannot Wish You," from Guys & Dolls. From there, however, Wainwright launched into a few of his old classics, backed seamlessly by the house band (a phrase which seems to instantly undermine their talent). First was "White Winos," a devastating song about alcoholism and his relationship with his mother, which transitioned nicely into "Dreaming," based on a quote of his mother's, "I'd rather be dreaming than living." Wainwright is the quintessential songwriter whose music is morbid under the microscope yet cheerful under a casual glance. The songs are masked in bright melodies and performed with nonchalance, but closer inspection will almost always present the listener with a sharp dissection of the human psyche. Wainwright then played "Motel Blues," (a personal favorite) and a roaring rendition of "Muse Blues" which was most "rocking" moment of the night.
The final encore brought everyone up on stage (including returning guest Norah Jones) to collaborate on an interestingly wobbly re-working of Neil Young's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart," in keeping with the dreamy, melancholic theme of the night.
The band provided a thoughtful, dynamic backdrop for Wainwright (and all the evening's performers). Rob Moose's guitar was particularly great, at times supplying a bed of precise fingerpicking, other times creating a subtle dissonant distortion, reminiscent of his recent work with the Grammy-nominated Bon Iver. The rest of the band (Doug Wieselman on clarinet, Ray Rizzo on drums, Brad Albetta on bass) were just about all one could ever ask for in a backing band. They are well versed and experienced with the careful tactics of songwriter-accompaniment.
Bartlett revealed that this would be the last Burgundy Stain Session of 2011 but that they will be back in action early next year. They have created something that supports the musical community and promotes collaboration and songwriting. Here's hoping they continue to grow in 2012.
Catch Thomas, Doug and Loudon together again at Town Hall on December 15th.
I'm not sure what his first day back was, but after a short break, Jim Campilongo is back in his Monday night residency spot at The Living Room on the LES. Tony Scherr and Tony Mason will be there too, now through Oct 31st at least.
Jim Campilongo also plays in the band the Little Willies (so does Norah Jones). They have three dates scheduled for October, including one at the Bell House which is on sale now. All of Jim's dates are listed below...