Navytrain News! Burlington, VT's soulful trio celebrated their final days at UVM by throwing a Graduation Party Show at SideBar in downtown Burlington. Read more to find out what they've been up to, and where they're going. These guys have experienced much transformation and continue to build momentum, embracing the shifts that come along with growth & change.
Live Gig ShotsI've learned that any band I'm unfamiliar with that John Herbert of Legion Arts books into CSPS Hall is one I become a fan of. SHEL is one of those bands that earns a double dose of fandom from me because they are as appealing visually as they are musically. Every once in a while, I come across performers that give me a “photographer's crush” (a subject togs just love to photograph). SHEL is my latest photographer's crush, and my latest musical crush as well.
It's not just that sisters Sarah, Hanna, Eva and Liza Holbrook are beautiful young ladies. It's that they each have a individual panache they display on stage that adds a lot to their show. That panache reflects and projects each sister's personality both visually and musically. SHEL doesn't just offer a concert, they put on a true “show” that is a complete delight to both eyes and ears.
This is a successful result of their efforts to bring a certain level of total artistry to their performances. Their website bio stresses that they are immersed in creative process in all aspects of their lives. Being sisters born less than five years apart, I can imagine the need to maintain their individuality.
That individuality works well at infusing their music with a vibrancy that is so infectious and easy going, you don't realize the level of their musicianship unless you really pay attention to what is going on in their songs.
I first noticed this watching lead singer Eva coax some wonderful tones from her mandolin. She wasn't just strumming chords like a lot of people do when singing while playing the mandolin. She was tossing out riffs that intertwined with Sarah's violin and Hannah's keyboards. Meanwhile, Liza's percussion maintained a rhythmic counterpoint that kept things lively and offered some surprises.
One of those surprises was Liza's beat box breakout number. Beat-boxing has almost been reduced to a gimmick offered by some a Capella groups, but Liza nailed it, eliciting encouraging shouts and applause from audience members, especially when Sarah traded violin riffs with Liza.
If I had anything to complain about, it would be the sets seemed to short. They did seven songs on each side of intermission, which is about average for most bands. I guess it's that their energy level and quality of performance left me wanting the show to feel like it lasted longer than it did. Ah, well, there's always their youtube videos...
Live Gig ShotsIt's hard not to like, nay LOVE Suzy Bogguss. After 30+ years in the business, her voice is still as rich and melodious as ever. Her repertoire ranges from straight-ahead, traditional country that earned her platinum album status to more contemporary styles, including a bit of jazz. She's a seasoned performer at ease with the way her career has progressed, and her life, and that sense of ease and satisfaction was on abundant display at CSPS Hall, Friday night, May 12, 2017.
As with many stars of her caliber, Suzy mixed hits in with some covers, and originals that perhaps only her better fans knew. The result was a delightful concert that showed the many facets of her talent, as well as offered a sort of montage of her career. From her days with Capitol, producing hit after hit, to her time with some indie labels and finally forming her own label, Suzy has not been afraid to stretch herself and do things her way.
Experiencing a microcosm of her career live is something any fan of Suzy, or country music overall, should experience. Friday's concert was as good as it gets, with the sort of polish that delights the audience without coming across as TOO polished. Her sense of humor and playfulness talking with the audience keeps that from happening, and makes her wonderfully accessible not only when she performs, but afterwards. It seems like she has as much fun meeting fans after a show as she does performing on stage. So much fun, in fact, that she stole my heart a few years ago (after her first show at CSPS Hall) when she insisted I hand my camera to someone to have a photo taken of the two of us.
That's one reason why Suzy Bogguss is so easy to love: she is as down to earth as they come. That was shared every moment of the concert, and the audience joined the fun without reservation.
Boston is coming with Blue Oyster Cult on May 24th and we're giving away a 4 pack to see the show! To enter, comment with your favorite Boston song and share this post. We'll pick a winner on May 23rd.
Live Gig ShotsA number of online sources list The Steel Wheels as an “Americana” group. That's a lie. Sort of. Well, let me explain...
Before the start of Monday's show, I noticed the requisite assortment of instruments on stage that would identify a band as “Americana”. Acoustic guitar. Check. Acoustic bass. Check. Banjo. Check. Fiddle. Check. Mandolin. Check. Drum set. Check (and the primary instrument which says “This ain't yer grandpa's Bluegrass type band, sonny”. Keyboard by the drum set...hmmm, OK.
The first song kind of sent the whole “Americana” thing into “The Steel Wheels Dimension” (a place where a song doesn't quite sound like you expect it to, but in a good way). Starting with a sort of prog-rock intro of open sustained chords on the keyboard, joined by matching vocal harmony, the song then blossomed into a opus that was pure Steel Wheels.
Yet it was a great number, and so The Steel Wheels set themselves apart from what is often expected from “Americana” bands. Which is good. Because I tend to dislike how critics and fans alike tend to pigeonhole performers based on labels (half of which can't be consistently defined anyway.)
All this to lead up to a simple fact about seeing The Steel Wheels live: it kicked ass.
They know how to pay tribute to so many classic Americana/roots musicians and songwriters, but do it in a way that makes me think they sit around and play Pink Floyd albums while writing songs, just to come up with ideas that keep them from being pigeonholed. The result is one reason why CSPS Hall was jam-packed Monday night.
It was a return trip to CSPS Hall, and front man Trent Wagler made sure he expressed how much they love the hall. To add to their excitement for being there, they had just released their latest album, “Wild As We Came Here”. They played a number of songs from that collection, and the freshness added to a show that had the crowd going wild and glad they came (groan) as well.
You really need to check The Steel Wheels out if you want to hear a band that refuses to be a flock of pigeons.
Support Cabinet in their making of their new album, 'Cool River' which will be available October 2017 - an incredible group from PA, recording this album in a Burlington, VT studio Tank Recording Studio. Pledge a contribution for the love of good music. This band provides a unique bluegrass sound like none other! ... See MoreSee Less
THE WALLFLOWERS AND BETTER THAN EZRA CO-HEADLINE SHOW AT RIVERSIDE CASINO & GOLF RESORT
The Wallflowers and Better Than Ezra join forces for one big show at the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort Event Center on Friday, August 11th at 8pm. Tickets are $65, $50 or $35. Tickets will go on sale this Friday at 8am in the Casino Gift Shop, online at tickets.riversidecasinoandresort.com/ or by calling 877-677-3456. ... See MoreSee Less