Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!
Tentatively emerging from a blue funk I've been in, and a wonderful night of live music definitely helped out with that.
It started at The 5 Spot with Philly band Lady HD. I really loved their sound. They said they were on their first tour and apparently the bass player was a fill-in from Nashville, but they sounded really tight.
Next up was Sean Quinn and the Tremblers. This version of the Tremblers featured Robbie Crowell on bass. Quinn is one of my absolute favorites. His original songs reach a kind of pure power pop heaven for me. He covered Chris Isaak's "Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing" which I have heard him do before but last night the song just seemed to pop.
Kristen Englenz was up next with Sean Quinn sitting in. This was my first time seeing her perform since week 2 of my residency and the first time with a full band. She sounded great. I only wish I could have stayed longer, but I had to hot-foot it over to the Basement East.
It was a night of the songs of John Prine -sponsored by Prine's label Oh Boy Records. It was a benefit for Jessi Zazu (Those Darlins) who is fighting cancer. The show was a sell out. The lineup included Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires, Ruby Amanfu, Lilly Hiatt, Elizabeth Cook, Cory Branan, Colter Wall, Caitlin Rose, The Whiskey Gentry, John Prine's son Tommy, Andrew Leahey, plus two E2TG Artists of the Year - Jon Latham and Darrin Bradbury (and more). A great band backed several of the performances - led by drummer Jerry Pentecost and featuring Adam Kurtz of Buck N Stuff fame who played pedal steel, mandolin, and bongos.
I know I am biased but in my opinion (besides Jessi and John Prine's songs), the star of the show was Darrin Bradbury. I say that because he performed solo and later with the band, he joined Elizabeth Cook for a fine rendition of "In Spite of Ourselves", and he ended up singing the last verse of the last song, "Paradise".
Overall, the music and the show was just about perfect and hopefully raised a lot of money for a great cause. If you couldn't make it last night but want to help out Jessi, you may do so by visiting her You Caring site.
Whew! And it is now Friday and the heat has at least temporarily broken... and we have a fine playlist of Featured Friday songs... Now!
"I Love It When They Hate It" by UniversalDice
UniversalDice is a Long Island, NY band lead by songwriter Gerry Dantone. This is a track from their most recent album (and rock opera) called birth love hate death. They play an original style of classic rock music. This is our first listen, and I am digging it so far.
"Pink and Green" by Joseph Mooradian
Next up we have the title track from the recent album by Nashville singer-songwriter Joseph Mooradian. As I have mentioned before, I have been following his music since he was a teenager. Really strong introspective lyrics. In the video playlist and older song of his that I have always really liked.
"Cumberland Gap" by Rising Appalachia
Next up, we have our first listen to Alive - the forthcoming (September) live album by Rising Appalachia which combines high energy roots music with stunning vocal harmonies which breathes new life into traditional music styles including this traditional folk song. Happy to have chance to preview this one - expect more.
"Mountain Laurel Lightning" by This Frontier Needs Heroes
Next, we have another from Real Work by Nashville's own This Frontier Needs Heroes. Perhaps some of that Mountain Laurel is growing up in the Cumberland Gap.
"Psalm for Sinners" by Jon Magnusson
Moving on, we have Swedish songwriter Jon Magnusson with title track from his release. Magnusson is employed in the social work profession, and I have to think that there is a connection between that caring profession and the sensitive and heartfelt lyrics of his songs.
"Half Price" by Sean Quinn and the Tremblers
Fresh from hearing this song live last night, the shuffle brings it up today. It's about shopping and domestic issues that couples face. Like much of Quinn's Never Meant to Last album - it is catchy as hell.
"Knock-Kneed Ballerina" by The Kernal
A truly unique artist, The Kernal is from Tennessee. This is a track from his latest album Light Country. He will be at The Mile of Music Festival in Wisconsin next week, and he has a Nashville date coming up later in August.
"Love or Something Like It" by Lobelia
We close out the day and the week with American-born, UK based singer-songwriter Lobelia with the title track to her latest album. Tackling difficult relationship issues with a prevailing sense of hope.