It was good to see a “big” show in Baltimore. Most artists go to Philly, skip Baltimore completely, and head right to DC. It happens all the time, so much so that it hardly registers. But maybe the tide is turning. I was surprised to see a sold out crowd on a Tuesday night right here in Baltimore, hon. Especially an artist such as Tyler that gets no airplay on terrestrial radio. He is played on Sirius XM Outlaw Country. But this movement is grass roots. It’s word of mouth and it is very powerful now that it has built up momentum. The crowd last night was not your typical Federal Hill crowd. People traveled for this show coming from distances over 60 miles. On a school night!
It is very rare that a show sells out at Southgate House. The shows draw very well, but sell outs are not too common. The only show I remember selling out recently was The Breeders and now two nights for Tyler Childers. On a weeknight! I think this is a testament as to how popular Tyler is. Granted, this is his home turf, but some people drove over two hours to see not just one, but both shows. Tyler’s current town of Irvine, KY was well represented. Most of the people knew every word to every song. The point is this – this is a grassroots movement, going from town to town. And he makes fans wherever he goes.
I can’t say enough good things about the venue, Southgate House Revival. It is one of my top three favorite music venues of all time. Even when there is a big crowd, the vibe is always positive with good energy flowing from the bands to the audience and back again. It completes a circuit. I can’t think of a better place to see a show. And it seems like the bands that play Southgate mingle with the crowd more than anywhere else I have seen shows.
And once you see or hear Tyler and the crack band, you will understand why. The music is fantastic. And it is scale-able. I could easily envision this show in a 5,000 seat arena, or even bigger. The music and playing are great. And the band chemistry is palpable. Yes, the chemistry is evident, you can see it. And more importantly, you can feel it. I was fortunate enough to attend both nights. I could have easily gone to a third.
Arlo McKinleyPhoto courtesy of Wayne Litmer
The first night was Arlo solo and a full band for night two. Both shows had a tremendous amount of energy and feeling. The first night was just electric. It was great to be able to concentrate on the singer and not really focus on anything else. Arlo’s songs are so well written and performed that either acoustic or electric are a treat. I was very impressed. And he did two songs with Sarah Davis, which were absolutely brilliant. Their voices blend so nicely together and Sarah can flat out sing.
Blank Range Photo Courtesy of Wrenne Evans
Can you imagine what it would sound like if you mixed Neil Young and Pink Floyd? Well, wonder no more. Blank Range sounds like someone dipped Laurel Canyon into San Francisco in 1968. Their sound is country as all get out, but they also have the ability to jam and get spacey. They can also lay down some seriously filthy (and beautiful) guitar riffs similar to the master, Mr. Young. Yes, I am glad someone saved the fuzz. It sounds wonderful!
The buzz surrounding Tyler and his band is legit. They are great and ready for the prime time. I can tell that Tyler is so down to earth that fame will not change him. He is a genuinely nice guy (and so is the band) that truly likes his fans and feeds off of their energy. Also, the way he thanked the audience throughout the show was totally sincere and heartfelt.
Tyler knows that his fans travel well and he never forgets that. It is really nice to see someone who really gets it. His talent alone is deserving of greater exposure but the fact that Tyler is a great person makes me root for him even harder. As I stated, both nights were wonderful. If you get a chance to see Tyler Childers. either acoustic or with a full band, don’t miss the opportunity.
It is rare that I focus on a band name. But this is an exceptional case. That name is totally bad ass. Three women who don’t belong to anyone. They are their own people and damn sure have their own way of doing things. This is certainly one of the most creative and thought provoking names to come across this guy’s desk. (more…)
Finally, an album that is the proper length. Strange Conversation clocks in at 38 minutes, the sweet spot. This is the blues having a three-way with jazz and country. All three partners are equal participants that work towards the greater good of the group. No, this isn’t Animal Farm. This is about the interrelationship of three pieces working perfectly in concert. Mandy is also full of surprises. Just when I think the album is going in one direction, it takes a sharp turn and changes course. Let’s add a little bit of Motown to the mix.
When this album came across my desk, I immediately went back to 1981 in Baltimore. November in 1981, Crack The Sky played four sold out shows at Painters Mill Music Fair. The event was sponsored by 98 Rock and it was an extravaganza. I went to one of the shows and it was a major musical event. I still remember that show so fondly. (more…)
Was it a concert? Yes and no. There was live music being played, but it was so much more than just a garden variety concert. It wasn’t a lecture, but it sure had some elements of a lecture. In fact, Thomas said that being at Center Stage was the next best thing to being in one of his classes that he teaches at Johns Hopkins University. Professor Dolby pulled the curtain back so we could all witness the genius and the creative process of a legend and pioneer in rock music. When I am at a loss for words, I default to the simplest form of writing. It was a wonderful evening, let’s leave it at that. (more…)
Wild! Wild! Wild! is such a brilliant breath of clean air. This is triple distilled, 100 % pure country music. Is it 1978 or 2018? Not sure just by listening to this album, but when my smartphone started beeping, I knew I was back in 2018. This is one of the few albums where it is difficult to write and listen. The conundrum is that the music is so appealing, I only want to immerse myself. That is a good predicament to be in. (more…)