APRIL 2009         back

Aztec Two-Step: April 29th at Music On Main Street (Woodbridge, NJ) w/Guest host Pete Fornatale

OK, in the spirit of full disclosure, I need to start by saying that I booked this show for a new concert series in Woodbridge, NJ. I wanted to start the series with something that would make an impression and I think Aztec Two-Step doing their "Simon & Garfunkel Songbook" show with guest host Pete Fornatale from 90.7 WFUV, accomplished the goal.

With great pleasure I introduced FM radio icon Pete Fornatale who spoke briefly before  introducing his long time friends, and then remained on stage during the show to give insights about the songs, read excerpts from his book "Simon & Garfunkel's Bookends", and whistle during Punky's Dilema. He blamed some pre-show crackers for his difficulties with that last task. 

The set included a chronological journey through the S&G career including Bleeker Street, Sound Of Silence, Hazy Shade of Winter, Cecelia, Homeward Bound and Bridge Over Troubled Water, to name a few. For their encore, they added The Everly Brothers' Let It Be Me and their original tune Baking from Aztec's 1972 debut release. (Bleeker Street)

I've written about Aztec Two-Step many times but this show, for obvious reasons, not the least of which was Pete's contribution, will always be one of my favorites.

 

  Carrie Rodriguez: April 26th at Concerts In The Studio (Freehold, NJ)

Carrie spent several years touring with Chip Taylor (Wild Thing, Angel of the Morning...) first as his fiddle player, and eventually, with his encouragement, as his backup singer. He also encouraged her to start writing her own material which led to her solo career. The accomplished musician turned out to be a pretty darn good singer and songwriter.

She performed songs from her debut CD Seven Angels on a Bicycle and her recent  release She Ain't Me. The title cut from that second release is a catchy tune that I can easily imagine on the radio. Her music is generally American roots with strong country and bluegrass sounds and just enough pop to maybe allow her to break out like the artist from my previous show, Neko Case. I loved the set and Concerts in the Studio is a great small venue in Freehold that only holds 55 people. (She Ain't Me)

Neko Case : April 14th at Nokia Theater

My upcoming concert series in Woodbridge doesn't allow me the time to give this great artist the attention she deserves. Formerly of the indie rock band "The New Pornographers" her solo work falls somewhere between alt-country-rockers Lucinda Williams and Patty Griffin. Here's a tune from one of my favorite CD's from this year her new release Middle Cyclone: (People Got a lot of Nerve)

I love her blend of country, blues, rock and pop. Here's another video from Austin City Limits. (Austin City Limits)

This concert featured lots of material from Middle Cyclone along with fan favorites like Hold On Hold On from previous releases. I'll give more details next time. Promise!

 

East Village Opera Company: April 3rd at The State Theater (New Brunswick, NJ)

I've written about this troupe many times. They take classic arias and duets and perform them with a contemporary slant. Think Bizet/Puccini meets Queen/Led Zeppelin. It works because of clever arrangements by Peter Keiswalter and amazing vocal abilities of Tyley Ross and AnnMarie Milazzo, as well as a talented troupe of musicians.

With so many previous reviews, I'll simply refer you to them and leave you with another video. I will add that a foursome of elderly opera lovers in front of us had a wonderful evening. (video promo)