It’s a bit (PUN ALERT) slim “clippings” this week … which we like to think of as something that makes it that much easier to arrange our schedule. Because it’s Tuesday, and because it’s fun to be annoyed at how the offspring of great musicians are also sometimes uncannily great themselves (think: Justin Townes Earle, Roseanne Cash, Arlo Guthrie, Norah Jones), you should probably check out Shooter Jennings tonight at Bowery Ballroom (Yes, he’s the son of Waylon Jennings. And yes, we want to drink whiskey and pretend to smoke with him and ask him how to look “cool”). A bonus? Daniel Romano will open the show, and his tunes will likely grow on you like they have us.
If you can’t hang Tuesday, make it a point to get to Rockwood Music Hall on Wednesday for a late set by Sarah Jarosz. Seriously. Do it.
Tuesday, May 21
8:00 p.m. – Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires at the Apollo Theater
8:00 p.m. – Shooter Jennings / Daniel Romano at Bowery Ballroom
8:30 p.m. – Annie and the Beekeepers at Hill Country BBQ
Friday, May 24
9:30 p.m. – Kalob Griffin Band at Hill Country
Sunday, May 26
8:00 p.m. – The Shins / Man Man at Williamsburg Park
Every year, the lineup at the Newport Folk Festival includes a few folks that we don’t know so well. This year there were a few, including the Austin-based Americana group known as the Wheeler Brothers. The band, most of which attended LSU (a fact this displaced Bama grad is willing to overlook), released its sophomore album, Gold Boots Glitter (Amazon MP3 & Spotify) in April – a follow up to Portraits (Amazon MP3 & Spotify) in 2011. Both albums showcase the band’s memorable songwriting and equally impressive instrumentation. Each includes a song that has stuck with me as I’ve gotten to know them over the last few weeks, mostly due to their entrancing solos, which range from banjo, pedal steel and xylophone features. Check out the band’s self-titled track from Portraits and “You Got A Lot of Love” off of the new record.
Looking forward to it, guys. Roll Tide.
Right. So, for any ladies out there doubting that it’s completely possible to fall in love more than thrice in the span of a week … you’re about to be proved wrong, times six (or times some other number … this isn’t real math).
Allow me to explain: Sam Amidon, Father John Misty, Josh Ritter, any of the Felice Brothers, both of the Milk Carton Kids, and Father John Misty. Oh, and any of the guys in Seryn. And Father John Misty.
Possibly the cuddliest and funniest of them all (read as: Father John Misty isn’t exactly cuddly, am I right?) are the fellas who make up MCK. Oh and it gets better, it gets better. If you’ve never heard their sound, you CAN on Sunday at the Bowery Ballroom. Come check ‘em out in a space well-suited for their harmonies … and I’ll provide the drool rags. Take a look-see at their recent appearance on Conan, below:
More must-see shows:
Saturday, May 18
All Day — Matt & Kim (Nethermead Stage), Jovanotti (Nethermead Stage), Father John Misty (Nethermead Stage), Sharon Van Etten (Nethermead Stage), Lee Fields & The Expressions (Nethermead Stage), Red Baraat (Joe’s Pub Stage), Pearl & The Beard (Joe’s Pub Stage), Jonathan Batiste (Joe’s Pub Stage), Banda De Los Muertos (Joe’s Pub Stage), Lady Rizo (Joe’s Pub Stage) at Prospect Park for Googa Mooga
7:00 p.m. — Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band / The Felice Brothers at Terminal 5
The story of Connie Converse is one that’s hard to swallow. Converse, a much overlooked yet extremely talented 1950s New York singer songwriter, disappeared in 1974 after writing goodbye letters to her friends and family. To this day, no one knows where she is or even if she’s alive.
If it wasn’t for the recordings by upstate New York music engineer Gene Deitch, Converse might have been lost and forgotten. Deitch, who also recorded folks like Pete Seegar, taped Converse in his kitchen in the mid-1950s. Soon after, he booked her on Walter Cronkite’s “The Morning Show” on CBS, but she never gained any commercial appeal. By the mid 70s, a depressed Converse disappeared “to start a new life somewhere” and was never heard from again. Years later, Deitch was interviewed in a 2004 broadcast of WNYC’s Spinning on Air with David Garland and played one of Converse’s songs, compelling some connected and abled listeners to build an album of her recordings. How Sad, How Lovely (Amazon MP3 & Spotify) was released five years later in 2009 and was the only album by Converse to see the light of day. That year, Deitch again appeared on WNYC to dive deep Converse’s story and music.
This Wednesday, my friend and “Brooklyn Orleans” jazz/folk/bluegrass/roots musician Howard Fishman will dedicate a set to Converse at Joe’s Pub, playing her songs accompanied by a few other performers. Over the weekend, I emailed with Fishman about why he chose to center his latest project on Converse and what we can expect the show to be like. Here’s what he said:
“I think it’s more accurate to say that Connie chose me, and not the other way around. Once I became aware of her music, I couldn’t stop listening to it, and wanting to know more about the person behind it…I tracked down people who knew her via phone and email, I began a voluminous correspondence with her brother and sister-in-law (that resulted in my going to visit them in Michigan and spending time with Connie’s letters and diaries), I became obsessed. I think she deserves a place at the table with the great 20th century songwriters, and I think her story is a mirror for us to look in as Americans as far what we value, how we define success, and how we treat “outsiders” in our midst.
The songs we perform in the show are relatively faithful to the originals, with some explorations here and there. My trio is the house band, and I take turns singing the songs with four other, very different, female singers: Anastasia Barzee, Charlotte Mundy, Susan Oetgen and Jean Rohe. Some of the songs we’re performing have never been heard before.”
Tickets for the show are still available.
Earlier today I scored an early copy of Wide Awake, the forthcoming seven-song EP from Joy Kills Sorrow, the Boston (and Brooklyn and Portland, ME) -based stringband that headlined the grass clippings holiday hootenanny in December. The band will release their latest project on June 4th and hits the road for a national tour later this month.
Even after just a couple listens I can easily say that the EP represents my favorite work from the band. Brilliant instrumentation across the board laced with the stunning vocals of Canadian-born front woman Emma Beaton.
American Songwriter debuted the band’s rendition of The Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights,” which the group has played at shows for a while and will make the new EP. It’s badass. Here she is…
There may not be the normal slew of local shows to write home about this week, but there is a BK set by a new band that should be cause for alarm. The good kind of alarm, that is. Balthrop, Alabama is a town that is a band … or maybe, it’s a band that is a town. Whatever it is, there are about a dozen Balthropers in whole, founded by a brother-sister duo who moved to Brooklyn in 2006 and started making pretty tunes like the one below. Their sound conjures up a tonal image of Of Monsters and Men, but is sated with softer ramblings reminiscent of First Aid Kit. You can check them out in person at Littlefield this fine weekend.
Also, the Downtown Festival visits Rockwood Music Hall on Friday, bringing with it the lovely Anais Mitchell and another group I’m finding it quite worthwhile to familiarize myself with – Port St. Willow.
Thursday, May 9
8 p.m. – Lily and The Parlor Tricks / Jessica Hernandez and The Deltas / Raccoon Fighter / Jeremy Freer at Cake Shop
8 p.m. – Lake Street Dive at Maxwell’s
Friday, May 10
8 p.m. – Coco Rosie at Paper Box
8 p.m. – Wooly and the Mammoth (12:30am) / Port St. Willow (11pm) / Anais Mitchell (10pm) at Rockwood Music Hall for Downtown Festival
Saturday, May 11
8 p.m. – Balthrop, Alabama / Chris Mills / Nova Social
In celebration of their first full-length album debut, Boston folk duo Tall Heights plays this Saturday, May 4th at the 92Y Tribeca with our friend Anthony da Costa and Caitlin Canty rounding out the night.
Man of Stone, which is officially due out May 14th, follows two EPs from the band who has gained a New England following through touring over the last few years and regular performances at Boston’s Faneuil Hall Marketplace.
Here’s “Somewhere I Believe,” which is off the new record, recorded in the band’s Kitchen Session last winter in Somerville.