(back) NOVEMBER 2011
Ian Anderson: Nov 23 @ The City Winery
I couldn't pass up the chance to see the former front man from Jethro Tull (my favorite band for a time back in the day) in such an intimate setting. The set was somewhat of a career retrospective which included at least two surprises, one of which was performing one side of Thick As a Brick and a dramatic reading of The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles.
His voice isn't what it used to be, but I don't think anybody minded as he ran thru a good number of fan favorites including With You There To Help Me, Budapest, Bouree and several from Aqualung. He also let his great young guitarist, Florian Opahle, take the stage briefly for a really impressive nylon string guitar solo which was another highlight of the show. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4Xj_pFZmF0
Girlyman: November 20th @ Coffee with Conscience (Westfield, NJ)
Girlyman is a contemporary 3-part folk harmony group (formerly a trio but now have a drummer) with strong influences from predecessors like Indigo Girls and Peter Paul and Mary, although with a slightly more irreverent slant. Their banter is amusing and the harmonies are just as beautiful as it gets. (video)
They performed a group of tunes from their recent release, Everything's Easy, and several from their 3 previous releases like Joyful Sigh and This Is Me, as well as a very cool cover of Son Of a Preacher Man. (video)
Band member Doris Muramatsu is currently convalescing from a serious medical situation. Interested parties can help with her extensive medical expenses here: (please help)
John Sebastian : Nov 17th @ Music On Main Street (Woodbridge, NJ)
It's fair to say that John Sebastian's voice isn't what it used to be, but it's also fair to say that it was almost unanimously agreed that it didn't matter. His song's are iconic, he's a great musician and his stories are fascinating. How can you go wrong with a set list that includes pop mega hits like Summer In The City, You Didn't Have to Be So Nice, Welcome Back, Do You Believe in Magic and Darlin' Be Home Soon along with some classic blues tunes like Sittin Here Lovin' You and Lovin' Spoonful. 'nuf said (video)
Peter Himmelman: Nov 14th @ The City Winery
Peter Himmelman does a cool internet music show called Furious World, writes music for TV (currently Bones), is an extremely prolific and talented songwriter releasing a steady stream of material on EP's and the internet, and is Bob Dylan's son-in-law. All of which might lead you to believe that he's wildly famous and successful. The truth is that, although I consider him wildly successful, and I'd bet he feels the same way, fame has eluded this great talent. Consequently, I was able to enjoy what was practically a private concert for 100 friends and family.
His songs run the gammet from whimsical to poignant, he's a fine guitarist with a good voice and he's just so funny. At one point he had us practicing talking while he played, feeling it was much more poetic to be up there being ignored while pouring his heart out as opposed to having a hushed attentive audience. Just one example of what is always a strangely amusing show. (video)
Vance Gilbert & Dala: Nov 12 @ Outpost in the Burbs (Montclair, NJ)
I've written about Vance a number of times before. His talents are extraordinary! Great voice, amazing guitarist and one of the funniest people on the planet. Last year at our series in Woodbridge he did a "not so funny" colonoscopy bit in the middle of a really good show. He did the same bit at this show and I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes. It was interesting to see how the bit had been honed and morphed into something really funny after an unpromising start. Of course, the voice and the songs were beautiful and impressive as usual with a talent of this scope. (video)
Dala is one of my new favorites who I wrote about last month after seeing them at Peddie School in Hightstown, Some of the most beautiful harmonies I've heard from a contemporary group, great original songs, a fantastic array of covers and very charming and amusing. I hope to bring them to Woodbridge in the Fall of 2011. I'll keep you posted. Their cover of Ohio is worth the price of admission: (video)
James Maddock: Nov 5th @ Outpost in the Burbs (Montclair, NJ)
Ten years ago James released a critically well received album called Songs from Stamford Hill with his British band Wood. After some nice attention from some public radio stations like WFUV (NYC) and WXPN (Philly), and some high profile opening gigs (I saw them open for Susan Tedeschi), they just seemed to drop off the face of the earth.
Judy actually e-mailed Vin Scelsa at WFUV a few times over the years to inquire about their whereabouts. Then last year, out of the blue, James, now living in Brooklyn, released his solo album Sunrise Over Avenue C. Since then he's been a fixture in the downtown music scene and it's surrounding areas. It's hard to imagine that at some point he won't go national, but for now he's all ours! (EPK video)
Willie Nile & Richard Barone: Nov 3rd @ Music On Main Street
This show was originally booked to be Richie Havens and on a Monday afternoon a month before the show, I got a call that Richie was cancelling his entire tour due to health issues. In a flurry of activity I managed to get these two great artists, and great human beings, to agree to fill the date as a co-bill.
A majority of the ticket buyers took a refund rather than see this show (that was expected, they're Richie Havens fans) but those people will never know what they missed. Many of the people who came to the show commented on the way out that something special was going on here tonight. I agree.
Richard Barone opened the show with Deni Bonet on violin and harmonies and performed a beautiful set of songs from Richard's new release Glow, along with some of his previous solo work and some songs from The Bongos. The set included Numbers With Wings, Flew a Falcon and River to River along with a brand new absolutely beautiful song called God Understands and a Beatle cover. Great set! (Flew a Falcon)
Then Willie came out with his bass player and proceeded to blow the room away with selections from throughout his career including the title cut of his upcoming release The Innocent Ones, 1000 Guitars, Rich and Broken, the rarely played Seeds of the Revolution (thanks to Bill King's efforts) and The Road to Calvary which Willie wrote and was recorded by Richie Havens. (Seeds Of The Revolution)
At the end of the set Willie brought out Richard and deni and they all performed I Wanna Be Sedated by The Ramones, ending what was for me a magical experience. Of cousre, the people who cashed in their tickets got to see a good episode of Law and Order so it wasn't a total loss for them. :-) (I Wanna Be Sedated)