They may be as traditional of a band as they've ever been, trading Mario Kart 64 sound bites for guitars and drums, but Perry and company still have the quirky charm that made them internet favorites in the first place.
The fact that Kelsey Waldon was the first new artist in a decade signed to John Prine's record label tells you a lot about her, but most importantly, it says that when she sings, you ought to pay attention. And when the native Kentuckian sings, she tells stories of resilience through hard times in hard places delivered over a classic country sound that has all but vanished from Nashville.
The Soderberg sisters have grown up in a hurry and keep getting better. This alternately beautiful and haunting album doesn’t have a weak spot on it, and a guest appearance by the Felice Brothers (among many others) makes for a fun ending.
Dent May - Do Things
The album we all wish the Beach Boys had released this year, Do Things was the best album of the summer and, it turns out, one of the most fun records of the year.
There have been countless instances in music history where a key band member has been felled by an injury and a replacement must be found for the show to go on. Often it’s a friend, someone on loan from another band, or a studio musician who gets the call to fill in. When The Be Good Tanyas’ Sam Parton was injured in a car accident last month, band mate Frazey Ford made a radical choice in selecting her temporary replacement, a choice that could very well drive a lesser musician to tears, if not outright madness: her own mother.
So it was that the two remaining Tanyas, Ford and Trish Klein, along with drummer John Raham and bassist Mark Beaty, were joined by Ford’s mother, Diane, for a fantastic show at the Hamilton Tuesday night. While the loss of Parton’s mandolin was noticeable, the elder Ford did a superb job filling out the harmonies on some of BGT’s best known songs, and also helped provide some humor as Ford adjusted to having her mom on stage with her.
They opened with “In Spite of All the Damage” from 2003’s Chinatown, a quiet lead-in before picking up the tempo with a jumpy version of “Ootischenia” and the ominous (but seasonally appropriate) “Scattered Leaves.” Other highlights included Klein playing a mean harmonica on “Human Thing,” the perfect harmonies of “Midnight Moonlight,” and the show stopping closer “Light Enough to Travel.”
It will be a slightly downsized but no less brilliant Be Good Tanyas that take the Hamilton stage this evening. Founding member Sam Parton was involved in a car accident early last month, and she was forced to drop out of this leg of the tour as she continues her recovery in the band’s home town of Vancouver.
While Parton will be missed, the other two Tanyas, Frazey Ford and Trish Klein, are a formidable musical presence on their own. The band’s three albums, Blue Horse, Chinatown, and Hello Love are superb, and the highlights were assembled on this year’s Collection 2000-2012.
The Tanyas make some of the most understated and beautiful acoustic music out there – a mix of folk, country, and bluegrass that revolves around the harmonies and interplay of the band members. While some folk bands aspire to sound “old-timey,” the Tanyas’ music transcends that kind of label – it’s simple, well-constructed, and a joy to listen to. Drummer John Raham and bassist Mark Beaty will join Ford and Klein to fill out the sound, but really, the two could show up sans instruments and still put on a fantastic show.
To put the Tanyas’ musical output into perspective, they’ve released just three albums in 12 years; show opener Dan Bern has released three albums since May, beginning with Drifter, a wonderful roots-rock travelogue that illustrates why he’s one of the best singer-songwriters in the business. Bern’s live shows are always fantastic, blending serious subjects and surreal stories with the skill of a juggler.
One missing Be Good Tanya won’t detract from a night of wonderful acoustic music.
How do you get to be a writer for ChunkyGlasses? Apparently win tickets to a Damien Jurado show. Justin came to us out of a shared love of music, won his tickets to a sweet show, then threw in a "BTW...I can write and s@#@." And guess what? He wasn't kidding. He's got a Master's in the @#@$. Pair that with a deep appreciation and knowledge of music both old and new, and our newest addition to the team has turned out to be a total winner...even if he happens to like that damn Japandroids record much as the rest of you other ingrates.
Dan Bern seems to be on a never-ending world tour that began sometime in the mid-90s. Now he's taken that globe-trotting experience and channeled it into his terrific new album, Drifter.
Drifter plays as an introspective travelogue - Los Angeles, Spain, the Netherlands, and outer space are all traversed in rhyme. On recent albums Bern veered into pure rock territory with the occasional blazing electric guitar and sneering vocal, but Drifter sticks to the kinds of upbeat folk he made early in his career, and the addition of Common Rotation's skills on a myriad instruments fills out the sound perfectly.