Tuesday, September 30, 2008


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It goes without saying, this was a highly anticipated show. I love their voices together. Somehow, it works beautifully.
They did several songs from Raising Sand but they also did some songs individually. I thought that dragged the show down. Everybody I talked to afterward felt the same. We wanted to hear the 2 of them together. I would say it was probably 40% solo which was about 40% too much. Also, their band leader, T Bone Burnett, did a song. He said he couldn't get away with playing it everywhere but he could in Austin. We were all thinking the same thing, we're losing precious time here, T Bone. Their set was scheduled for 1 hour and 15 minutes. It's a festival so there is no going on longer than scheduled.
That said, when they were singing together, it was magnificent! Robert Plant is larger than life and when he starts into one of his yowls, mercy! They did a couple of Led Zep songs, including The Battle of Evermore, which was a show stopper! I'll tell ya, I could listen to the 2 of them together, for hours on end.
Lastly, the band is made up of some of the best: Jay Bellerose on drums, Buddy Miller on lead guitar and the aforementioned T Bone Burnett. Jay does some unique drumming, like using shakers to play the drums with, instead of sticks.
All in all, we felt like we made the right choice to hang at the AMD stage all day. Even though they didn't sing together nearly enough, it was worth it to be right there while they were performing together. I sure hope they continue to work/record together in the future.


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I'll start by saying none of us anticipated how good John Fogerty was going to be. We all were excited to be seeing him. We just didn't see this powerful, blistering, rocking set coming! When the band came on stage and we saw Kenny Aronoff, the best rock drummer ever, we almost flipped. It was then we really got wound up. And we were right to!
They kicked into classic CCR, Bad Moon Rising, Green River, Born on the Bayou, and later on also played Down on the Corner, Fortunate Son and Proud Mary. He also did some cuts off a new album he has coming out and they sounded terrific. Vintage sounding Fogerty. He also played some of his previous solo work like The Old Man Down The Road.
John was all over that stage, running from one end to the other. He did some great guitar solos, he was smiling, having a blast! Kenny drove that band like he has every other band he's played with over the last 25 years.
This show was LOUD! But it should have been. When you have a catalog like he has, you need to blast it and he did.


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Talk about extremes, going from Sharon Jones to Robert Earl Keen! We moved from East Coast soul to Texas folk/country. I love Robert. He is up there among the great Texas songwriters, Guy Clark, Joe Ely, Lyle Lovett and Willie. Robert had everyone up and singing along to The Road Goes On Forever and Feelin' Good Again.
The crowd, by now, was starting to seriously pack this stage. We knew, from here on out, there would be no going to the bathroom, no getting water or food until the end of the night, as there would be no way to get back to the front of the stage. There was also no way we could hold a spot if someone did leave. So, we settled in and tried not to look back at the wall of people that went on behind us as far as we could see. The good thing was the people all around us. Everybody was friendly, into the music and nobody was obnoxious. Between acts we did much chatting with several people, including a fun group from Toronto.


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Holy cow, this show was a blast! Sharon Jones is a performer! I don't know how old she is but she is up there. She worked that stage the entire hour and it was plenty hot out. She never stopped. She pulled people from the audience, dancing, singing and working the crowd. This is rhythm and blues, soul music, kind of a throwback to the 60's Motown greats and 70's Aretha Franklin. The Dap-Kings are her back up band and include 3 horn players. They played their hit, 100 Days, 100 Nights and also my favorite, Tell Me You Love Me. This hour flew by way too quickly.


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ACL 2008 Day 2 Saturday 9-27-08 FLEET FOXES

Today we decided we would camp at one of the main stages the entire day. Doing this is never an easy decision. You have to weigh your choices. Do you camp so you can be at the front of the stage for the night time main acts or move around to the other stages and then watch the headliners from a distance? Since John Fogerty and then Robert Plant & Alison Krauss were that night's headliners on the AMD stage we decided to stick it out there all day. We could do this because the other acts on the AMD stage were also appealing. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings along with Robert Earl Keen would also be performing. It's tough, though, because we had to sacrifice Old 97's, The Fratellis, Jose Gonzalez and Drive-By Truckers, to name a few.
First up, though, was Fleet Foxes. The hype for this band in magazines like Rolling Stone and Paste is they are the second coming of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. It's a good thing none of those guys are dead or they would be rolling in their graves at the comparison. It's not that they are terrible. It's just that every song sounds exactly the same. Yes, it's 4 guys who harmonize. Unfortunately, it's the same oohs & aahs for each song and by the time you're into the 3rd song, you're numb. The music was boring, each song sounding like the last one played. I did not think that hour would ever end.


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CAROLYN WONDERLAND at Saxon Pub 9-26-08

After finishing Day 1 of ACL we headed to Saxon to catch Carolyn's 11pm show. My friends Bruce and Liz had only seen her once and that was in a low key setting the year before. Carolyn is playing these days with a drummer and keyboard player, loud and electric. This was a GREAT show. She played for 2 hours and was into it, very intense. Bruce and Liz were blown away. I have a couple of videos posted from this performance and they are smokin':
Her latest record, GO BUY IT! It's called Miss Understood.


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We were ending our first day with Alejandro. After seeing him the night before at Shady we were anticipating pretty much the same show and that was fine by us. We did get much of the same material but also a killer Iggy Pop & the Stooges cover. Another difference from the night before was the stage size. Alejandro likes to roam about the stage and here he could. He was doing his windmill guitar slashes and prowling around like a caged lion. It was great!


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We only caught a couple of his songs. He was on the smaller BMI stage which usually hosts Austin or Texas artists. He had a big crowd and many looked like your typical Texas roadhouse patrons and they were having fun. I would like to hear more of him as I am a little familiar with some of his music and I like what I've heard. He's a country rocker fit for your favorite biker bar!


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After Rodney we went to the opposite end of Zilker to the other main stage where Patty would be playing. Patty was pretty chatty and animated which is kind of rare for her. She did a nice set which included a couple of covers. One was a gospel song and another was a Tom Waits song. I don't remember the names. This is Tuesday & there has been so much music in the last week everything is a blur. She didn't do any new material nor did she mention a record in the works so who knows when we'll get a new release? She played a couple of my favorites, Chief and Love Throw A Line. Love Throw A Line was with a little different arrangement than the record version. She had an upright bass player & that really changed the sound of many of the songs. Everything sounded fresh.


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ACL 2008 Day 1 Friday 9-26-08 RODNEY CROWELL

First up is Rodney Crowell. There are 2 main stages at ACL. Rodney is playing on one of them & the other main stage act at the same time is Asleep At The Wheel. Linda has already changed her mind & says she'll go to Rodney & skip Asleep. We got front row, up against the rail for his show. It was a great start to our festival. He had Will Kimbrough on lead guitar. Will has played with Rodney for quite a while now. He also does some singing. He had a woman on violin, mandolin and harmony vocals. I wish I could remember her name. She was great. Rodney has a new record out called Sex & Gasoline. It's obviously very political. He played several from it but also many from his entire catalog. I did video Earth Bound and it turned out great. Catch it on my YouTube link if you're a fan of his. This was a 1 hour set. It flew by. Many put him into the country music category but I consider him more of a folk singer who leans toward country. Regardless, he's one of the best American songwriters, I think. Every year I buy the ACL poster and have 1 artist sign it. This year it was Rodney. Previous years has been Shawn Colvin, Patty Griffin, Rosanne Cash, Shelby Lynn, KT Tunstall and Lucinda Williams.


Friday morning we began the annual pilgrimage to Zilker Park for the 7th ACL fest. Forecast for the 3 days is about the same - sunny, highs in the low 90's, low humidity (yea!). The 4 of us all have our schedules with various acts circled so we'll see how it all shakes out. Things never end up as planned.

Monday, September 29, 2008

SARAH BORGES and the BROKEN SINGLES along with the Dancing Bartender

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SARAH BORGES and the BROKEN SINGLES at the Continental Club 9-25-08

After leaving Alejandro's show at Shady Grove we flew over to catch Sarah. This was a rollicking show! They take me back to 80's punk but with their own fresh sound. It's the attitude that reminds me of 80's punk. The music is fun, loud and full of energy. Sarah is an entertainer. She's hilarious between songs, very animated during the songs & does not hesitate to go out into the crowd to really rev things up. The dancing bartender at the Continental Club left her post again tonight and performed!
I'll go see this band every chance I get. They usually come thru Austin every 6 months or so. Sarah said they would be back in March to play SXSW. They will have a new record out the week after they play their SXSW show so that should be an exciting time for them and much fun for us.

Friday, September 26, 2008