Reviews

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Few drummers have had such an illustrious career as Steve Gadd. While the Grateful Web tends to naturally gravitate towards genre-bending, multifarious players, Gadd’s range of original work and cache of collaborations are strikingly diverse. From Simon and Garfunkle’s famed 1981 Concert in Central Park reunion, to Steely Dan’s legendary recording “Aja,” to more recent stints with Eric Clapton and James Taylor, his session portfolio alone is enough to drool over. But Gadd is much more than the man behind the kit.

And what musical lives they’ve been! Nelson and Cage, both synonymous with many decades of NRPS’ psychedelicized countrified stylings, have entertained concert audiences and home listeners with many, many other bands – Nelson with the David Nelson Band, as well as Old & In the Way, Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band, The Good Old Boys, Dead Ringers, Al Rapone & the Zydeco Express, The Papermill Creek Rounders, and way back in the early 1960s with the Wildwood Boys bluegrass band alongside Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter. Cage, in addition to his storied career with the NRPS, has delivered his trademark pedal steel guitar articulations with Great Speckled Bird, Stir Fried, Solar Circus, The Brooklyn Cowboys, Terry & the Pirates, and on substantial studio work with Bob Dylan and Anne Murray.

In Adam Wakefield’s debut album with Average Joes Entertainment, Gods & Ghosts, Memphis soul meets New Orlean’s funk. Think crisp air, crystal blue lakes and a guitar by a fireplace. Wakefield’s songs are laced with irony and heartache. His robust vocals jolt his lyrics to life, and he’s got you right where he wants you. The swooning instrumentals in the background mixed with his melodic voice will have you envisioning Gods & Ghosts.

Lukas Nelson, whose career profile continues to broaden and flourish, most recently for his work in the remake of “A Star is Born,” doubled down on his commitment to the Music Heals International (MHI) organization. On November 19, he again headlined a dynamic, diverse, and musically proficient lineup of music in support of MHI’s Haitian music-in-schools program at the intimate Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley, Calif.

Vintage Trouble came home to Hollywood to rock a sold-out crowd of adulate fans at the Troubadour nightclub. Lead singer Ty Taylor sang and danced like the ghost of James Brown, while guitarist Nalle Colt, bassist Rick Barrio Dill, and drummer Richard Danielson jammed blues rock like ZZ Top. Well, that might be a stretch, but not much of one and you get the idea. The band features a retro sound full of classic R&B, Soul and Blues rock riffs.

This long out of print live album, recorded in 1987 at The Wiltern in Los Angeles and The Warfield in San Francisco, has long been considered a rare and desirable jewel in the Garcia catalog because of both it's scarcity and the fact that it circled back to Jerry's acoustic pre-Grateful Dead roots. Roots which were forged in the crucible of the early 1960’s folk-revival.

When Dweezil Zappa’s Choice Cuts! World Tour commanded the stage of Chicago’s Vic Theatre Friday night, Scheila Gonzalez (horns, keys), Adam Minkoff (rhythm guitar, vocals), Cian Coey (vocalist), Ryan Brown (drums), Kurt Morgan (bass) and Chris Norton (keys) and Dweezil Zappa, the late Frank Zappa’s most dedicated interpreter entertained receptive fans for approximately three exuberant hours.

Dweezil, the guitar-slinging son of legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Frank Zappa, dubbed this tour "Choice Cuts" because he and his band would perform “a collection of the meatiest tracks” and some of the the “boldest compositions” from his father’s voluminous repertoire.

Progressive jamgrass outfit Yonder Mountain String Band have been making their way through the east coast this week, and last Sunday the quintet had a tremendous stop at Fairfield, CT’s The Warehouse. With good showing from all members and multiple highlights, The Warehouse definitely saw an all-around very strong show, in what seems to be a strong season for Yonder.

David Crosby may call the nearby mountain town of Santa Ynez home these days, but it is Santa Barbara where he began his musical career and spent much of his youth. “The first time I sang in this theater I was 17,” quipped the 77-year-old two times Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recipient and founding member of The Byrds and Crosby Stills and Nash. He was referring to the Lobero Theater in downtown Santa Barbara, the oldest continuously running performance hall in California.

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