Jun 20, 2013

You & I-Local Natives

Sheer perfection. A suitably sad video for one of the songs of year!

Jun 11, 2013

Okkervil River Announce New Album

That bastion of musical passion Okkervil River have a new album on the way. Their first for ATO Records. It's called "The Silver Gynmasium" and will be released on September 3.
More details to come!

Jun 7, 2013

Neko Case

Get excited!

Jun 3, 2013

Matthew E. White @ Sydney Opera House

Matthew E. White is a big man with a big sound. Sunday night at the Opera House was to be my last event of VIVID in 2013, but it would prove to be as enjoyable as all the others that I attended. Unfortunately the venue would be lucky to be two thirds full, but for those lucky to be there they would be treated to a special night of music. White is from Richmond, Virginia and last year he released his debut album, "Big Inner", on his own record label in Spacebomb Records. Earlier this year the album was given a wider release on Domino Records. It's a release that straddles many genres with jazz, rock and swing being at the top of the list. It's a great listen.

Mr White played a set that featured all but one song from his debut album. His band went every step of the way and included a great horn section featuring tenor sax, trumpet and trombone. He threw in a couple of covers for good measure too. A Neil Young one that rocked and a Randy Newman number that was melodically beautiful. My favourite though was the epic "Big Love" which climbed and climbed before fully exploding. The best though was saved for last. Before he played "Gone Away" he summoned Megafaun man Phil Cook to the stage. Cook and White were both here for the Sounds of the South performances. It was a great delight to hear Cook offer his vocals again. Then before the closing song "Brazos" White managed to bring forward the other performers from Sounds of the South. They formed a choir, ably led by Cook, and helped out in the vocal department of a stirring and epic rendition of "Brazos". It was a great way to not only end the night but also the festival.

Set List
Will You Love Me
One Of These Days
Steady Pace
Are You Ready For The Country? (Neil Young cover)
Ain't That What Love Is
Big Love
Human Style
Sail Away (Randy Newman cover)
Gone Away

Jun 2, 2013

Sounds Of The South @ Sydney Opera House

In 1959 Alan Lomax ventured into the South of America to capture sounds that we can enjoy today and forever. He journeyed from The Ozarks to the Mississippi Delta to the Georgia Sea Islands, recording over 8 hours of music. It would be packaged into 4 albums of music to be known as "Sounds of the South". It would run the gamut of blues, folk, gospel, bluegrass and everything in between. Artists as great as Mississippi Fred McDowell, Vera Hall, The Mountain Ramblers and Lonnie Young were among many contributors. Fast forward 50 years and we were at the Sydney Opera House to hear these songs in person. In 2010 the members of Megafaun and Matthew E. White were commissioned by Duke University to bring the music to life. They called in old friend and Bon Iver front man Justin Vernon to add his supreme voice and White's improvisatory ensemble Fight The Big Bull to provide the horns and drums. The wonderful Sharon Van Etten provided the female voice. In 2011 the collective came together again to play at Cincinnati's MusicNOW Festival. So when it was announced that VIVID Live would have them all in 2013 I was super excited. Th only change was Frazey Ford (The Be Good Tanyas) replacing Van Etten. I'm a huge fan of Megafaun and their eclectic take on folk/rock and of course Vernon's talents speak for themselves.
It had the potential to be a great night.

Initially the members of Megafaun  and White came on stage and gave us the opening two numbers. Bluegrass specials with the banjo as lead instrument. Can I say again just how good the banjo is? Fight The Big Bull then joined in for a full on jam session. Ford then joined to take the lead for the blues number "Cool Water Blues". The next number was probably my favourite though. Megafaun member Joe Westerlund took the lead on the serene gospel number "I Want Jesus To Walk With Me". Even though I don't have a religious bone in my body I think I enjoyed the gospel numbers the most. Especially when the whole collective came to the front of the stage and sang acapella for a later number. Naturally, because of his fame and talent, the biggest roar came when Vernon took his turn to sing. His voice is supremely powerful and soulful. He also sang in a variety of registers to suit each song. The closing number of  "I'm Gonna Sail Like a Ship on the Ocean" had us all on our feet clapping and smiling. Vernon sang his lungs out and the band rose the roof on this on. I also liked how the music combined old and new. With beautiful piano and banjo we also had experimental touches to augment the music. The encore song topped off the night beautifully. They performed the classic The Band song "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down". This is truly one of my favourite songs of all time, so this was definitely a special treat. If I thought I was in love with American music before this night, and I definitely was, somehow the bond just grew a little stronger.

Set List
Green Sally, Up
Banks of the Arkansas
Jesse James
Cool Water Blues
I Want Jesus To Walk With Me
Trouble So Hard
Go Tell Aunt Nancy
Is There Anybody Here Who Loves My Jesus
Drop Down Mama
Boll Weevil
Write Me A Few Of Your Lines
I'm Gonna Sail Like a Ship on the Ocean

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (The Band cover)