My good friend Mark Nicholson has just released his first solo endeavor and I wanted to share it with you here. Check it out below and follow him for more!
"Natural Born Lover" is raw and rock solid; performed with heart and emotion, Mark Nicholson lets it all out on this track. "Baby let your love light shine!" I can hear beyond the production into the songwriting backbone that makes this song stand out. This track is beyond country or rock and shows the versatility of Mark Nicholson's sound. We look forward to hearing more!
Another Track and Video from my musical project The Interstellar Pilots Club. More to come soon...
A Spacefarers Mixtape (Vol. 1) 2021
Reminiscing on my first Music Journalism experience with The String Cheese Incident, 2016 at the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn. This is where it all started.
Thanks to fans.com and nugs.net for getting me started. Looking back on the past 5 years, it has been a crazy adventure and I can’t wait to get back out there!
Fans.com-JamBandPurist VIP Meet & Greet w. The String Cheese Incident
There are times and places in one’s life that simply pass without memory, with the blink of an eye, they are gone, lost to some other dimension—but there are some that last with us forever. They stay in our mind until our dying day and never leave. There are also things that are just serendipitous, meant to be, destined. When I found Fans.com, after discussing the same concept with friends at a Widespread Panic Red Rocks show, my life changed. I began to write more and post my reviews from concerts that I had just tucked away, never even meaning to use them. I slowly gathered a few followers and, to my surprise, people liked my stuff. When I posted about The String Cheese Incident, I was just posting my thoughts on a song and show that I had seen previously. I honestly never even knew there was a contest. When I won the meet and greet I was overwhelmed, surprised and nervous. I quickly worked out plans to take a bus to NYC to meet the guys and see one of the best shows of my life.
After a long bus ride up north, I arrived in Brooklyn for the day and hung out in Prospect Park, watching and listening to a large drum circle and grabbing some food at a convenient local event called the Smorgasbord. It was extremely hot that day, one of the hottest of the summer, but I cooled off, walking through the shaded park, taking in Brooklyn.
I had been to NYC before, but never this part of town. I enjoyed the local flavorings but I felt like I was far away from the NYC I was used to and the lack of skyline was particularly different. I will never be able to get used to the garbage in the city, the complete and utter filth that is humanity’s decadence. The subway reeks of urine and stale excrement. It is what it is. The lady yelling on the subway, shaking and writhing, speaking an unknown language even she herself couldn't decipher is par for the course and the norm for those around me. To me this is a bizarre and strange ritualistic event that all New Yorkers must bear witness to. I couldn't find a seat because a homeless vagrant lay across three seats on the subway. On the other hand, I wouldn't have wanted to sit there afterwards anyway. So is the nature of humans. The homeless man’s crusty fedora fell to the floor and as a natural reaction, I went to grab it and return it to his sleeping head, but then I was reminded of the crustiness of the object and removed my hand immediately: As I felt pain and suffering for this man, I too felt the urge to be disgusted by him. I felt the same way about the city. This is human nature, and traversing this paved substratum always brings it out in me. My days are usually spent in the quiet mountains of Virginia, where the only homeless people are the ones too drunk to do anything with themselves and most of them choose to be locked up in the county jail just for the meal and bed.
I walked from Prospect Park onward to Kings Theatre, arriving early and congregating with a few others who had gathered. We talked for hours about many things. There were many different opinions and topics, broad and vague, from north to south. Line-waiting is a tradition for humans, especially in the city. One must wait in lines for everything: from transportation to a morning’s cup of coffee. Life is a constant forming of lines; a perpetual state of waiting. This line, however, I didn't mind waiting for—I was about to meet one of my favorite live acts of all time.
I was pleasantly greeted at the door by the employees of the Kings Theatre and barely searched, even with my backpack filled to the zipper with books and paper for writing. I got my show poster at the merch-booth and then walked into the venue, which took my breath away with its gorgeous and ornate craftsmanship. This theatre was at a higher echelon from the ones I was used to. The history of the venue itself could be seen through the works of art surrounding the entire building.
I received the call I was waiting for and was escorted by Dan, a big fellow with a nervous smile but a genuine and eager attitude. I smiled—somewhat contemptuously—at the security guards as I passed between them. I was in the big leagues now. Behind the stage was even more spectacular than I expected: I felt like a child being shown where all the magic really happens—a behind-the-scenes look at my favorite television show or something of the like. I became increasingly nervous as I walked further into the cavernous underbelly of the King’s Theatre. The VIP area lay just ahead but it felt like miles and miles of black tunnel. A new person greeted us; he seemed important but I can't recall his name. He commented on my All Good Music Festival shirt and told me the basic ground rules for meeting the band who was just in the other room. “Here goes nothing,” I thought as I rehearsed what I was going to say and how I would say it. I barely understood some of the things the guy was telling me until he was like, “Are you ready to meet the guys?!"
A minute later, I was entering a room—just me and The String Cheese Incident. I shook all their hands with my sweaty palms and introduced myself as best I could. I could tell they were just as nervous to meet me as I was them but their genuine and sincere attitude quickly calmed me down; I felt relaxed enough to respond to Keith Moseley’s question of "So, how did you win this contest or whatever it was?"
I responded as simply as I could and told them about my research with their song “Bollymunster" and a review for Philly.
The String Cheese Incident at Electric Factory on Nov 7 2014
November 7th, 2014 at Electric Factory in Philadelphia, PA
The String Cheese Incident
Post by JamBandPurist - One of my favorite SCI songs is "Bollymunster" This song enc...
They all looked at me, perplexed, until Nershi asked me in his pleasant gnome-like voice: "Well hey fellow, how did you know about ‘The Star of Munster’?
I responded: "I just listen to all kinds of music, folk, Irish, bag-pipe whatever. As well as Indian and world music.”
Nershi: "Well, I learned ‘Star of Munster’ and showed it to Hann here and he said that would sound good with a Bollywood-type sound." I looked at Jason Hann and he nodded in confirmation. It was a dream come true. I have always been enamored with song meanings and the stories behind them. This was direct conformation from the band of my theory about “Bollymunster.” This was the fruition of hard work and research, and it was immensely rewarding to find out the truth.
Kyle: "So, what song do you want us to play for you?"
Me: "I don't even know guys, just play whatever you’re feeling and I'll just watch."
I was taken aback by the question and couldn't think of a song in my head beside “Bollymunster,” which they had just played the night before. In the end, I got a blisteringly-cool performance of “Hobo Song.” The coolest thing about this private performance was that Kyle missed a few notes and they all stopped and corrected him! It was like witnessing the band at work, constantly learning and growing. Michael Travis—who was quietly playing drums because none of them were amped up—would make a loud smash on the cymbal once in a while, just to remind us that he was there, a huge Cheshire Cat grin across his face. As a guitarist, it was the hardest thing for me not to just get up and grab Kang’s guitar and strum with them, but I restrained myself, tapping to the rhythm and singing along when I got the nerve.
When the song ended, I simply stated: “I will never forget this for as long as I live. That was amazing.” Then I told them this story. https://fans.com/posts/9562 They all looked at me funny for a moment, and then burst into laughter and patted me on the back. I said my goodbyes and they surrounded me for a group photo. They signed my poster and I left feeling as giddy as a school child. I was elated—the experience will be burned into my memory forever. I cannot adequately express my gratitude and thanks to all involved.
I walked back out into the crowd and found a good seat near some awesome people. I couldn’t help myself from showing off a little bit. I had seen the set-list taped to the floor in the rehearsal area and knew exactly what they were going to be playing. While I didn’t ruin it all for the surrounding concert goers, there were a few secrets I had to let out. Such is the privilege of a VIP.
I can say without a doubt that this was the best SCI performance I have ever seen. All VIP experience aside, the show was chaotic and epic. With covers of The Allman Brothers and Led Zeppelin, all the Rock & Roll basics were covered. Even the encore performance of “Hobo Song” was cool to see because I had just witnessed a stripped-down and raw version backstage.
The people spilled out into the streets and began their walks or rides home. I walked to the nearest subway, absorbing the sounds of Brooklyn, fascinated by the city life—but just for the night. I got on a bus and rode home to Virginia and worked at 8 AM the next morning. I had a lot to think about. My life had just changed. Now, how would I make use of it?
R. A. Fadley (JamBandPurist)
Moose Almighty: ‘Spare Parts’ Full Album Review by Jam Band Purist
As many of my readers are aware, Moose Almighty, one of my favorite up-and-comers from the Northwest territory, have just released their third album ‘Spare Parts.’ It was my pleasure to work with this group in the past and I always welcome follow-up reviews. It’s amazing to see bands transition, grow and advance from album to album. Check out my past review of their previous album 'The Luggage Underneath' here: https://www.jambandpurist.com/home/moose-almighty-unpacks-the-luggage-underneath-album-review I am hoping to get Moose Almighty on my new video blog, Out Of My Mind, which is finally premiering this summer after a long delay. With www.jambandpurist.com readership up in the past few weeks, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and I’m happy to introduce this album ‘Spare Parts’ to you all. Thank you all for your continued support!
Recorded in their home studio ‘Spare Parts’ is a modern approach to the classic rock album with a twist of improvisation and a live approach. Moose Almighty features Dan Underkofler (Keyboards, Synthesizers, Guitar, Vocals), Chris Young (Guitar, Vocals), Aaron Mitchell (Bass, Vocals), and Kevin Shoop (Drums, Vocals, Audio Engineering). While Moose Almighty would consider themselves Indie Rock, they have roots in Jam, Funk, Blues, and Hard Rock. ‘Spare Parts’ is ambitious, tenacious, and highly eclectic. ‘Spare Parts’ shows the growth and knowledge that this band has acquired from their last studio endeavor, while also incorporating what they have learned playing live shows. Moose Almighty has stepped into another level with ‘Spare Parts' and it’s undeniable. This album seems like the perfect successor to ‘The Luggage Underneath’ but with significant growth and a shift in dynamic studio engineering and energy. ‘Spare Parts’ just feels like a live album all around.
Let’s start with “Nine O'Clock Shadow” which immediately draws me in with such an interesting song title; very original and catchy. The opening guitar riff is reminiscent of early Phish (or something of the like) but softens into a poignant, lyrically-driven song. This song collides into a cacophony following the guitar solo and then blends harmoniously ending in quite a unique opening for ‘Spare Parts.’
“Katie Bar The Door” was the first single released off ‘Spare Parts’ and I was able to re-listen to this song many times. “Katie Bar The Door” truly exemplifies Moose Almighty’s sound and musical concept, not only on this new album but overall. Honest and passionate, “Katie Bar The Door” shows the many aspects that comprise this band and make them greater due to the sum of all parts. The intro is highly developed and musically demanding which leaves a distinct impression upon the listener. "Daylight in the swamp now, cant you feel it, this ol' gingers got kick man and leaves me reelin'." Simple and eloquent.
“No Brains, No Headache” just makes sense to me! This arrangement is by far my favorite track from ‘Spare Parts.’ With a live aesthetic and compelling vocal arrangement, “No Brains, No Headache” is hard-hitting and provocative. The instrumentation alone makes “No Brains, No Headache” stand out from the other tracks on this album. The guitar solo and the keyboard interweave harmoniously together as if this duel solo seemingly coils and wraps around itself like two snakes in the heat of battle. The experimentation and execution of this track show a glimpse into the future of Moose Almighty's sound and vision. Applying this formula to their forthcoming songs would only help solidify their strong songwriting aptitude.
“Next Fall” opens with a prototypical guitar riff that could come out of any Classic Rock band's 1970s catalog. “Next Fall” is hard-hitting, energetic, and compelling; this is another track with a live approach and I can’t help but imagine this song played in a live setting with the band going full MOOSE. “Next Fall's” lyrics appear about midway through the song's development and add a distinctive element to this dynamic arrangement; which feels quite epic.
“Mountain” completely changes the aesthetic of the album and veers into Prog-Rock territory (Right up my alley) with an almost Neo-Psychedelic, King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard impression. The reverb is oozing forth and the distinct effects used in this song add to the haunting chord structure and ethereal vocals. “Mountain” breaks down harder than any track on ‘Spare Parts’ and completely shifts the tone into more experimental techniques. The lyrics, “I pressed every detail into the sands of my mind.” Stand out to me beyond any lyrics on this album. “Mountain” ends with an unconstrained guitar solo that is again, unrivaled on ‘Spare Parts.’
The funky guitar riff combines with bass and then the Clavi kicks “Hot Wax” into high-gear instantaneously. The back half of ‘Spare Parts’ is funky, hard, and Jam-worthy with notable musicianship from the entire band. It's hard to pinpoint the exact dynamics of each individual player because Moose Almighty works so well together as a cohesive unit. “Hot Wax” adds another layer of musicality to Moose Almighty’s sound as a whole. With an early electronica emphasis ie: Disco Biscuits, Moose Almighty is again testing the experimental waters as their music ability grows and their bond as a band matures and evolves.
The final track from ‘Spare Parts’, “Florida” is a genuine love song that expresses the passion of loss, love, and moving on from past burdens or sorrows. While this song is much slower than the other tracks on ‘Spare Parts’ and the tone deviates, the solo section itself is a beautiful flowering arrangement that is an amazing choice to end this album. “Florida” leaves me wanting more and wanting to know more about this band itself and their songwriting techniques. I look forward to discussing this further with the group in the coming months on Out Of My Mind.
‘Spare Parts’ is a well-produced and thought-out home studio album. Moose Almighty continues to surprise me with their growth and development. With the right direction and mentorship, I truly believe Moose Almighty can take their talents even further. With concert and summer music festivals seemingly returning, the Almighty Moose is poised to gain a great reputation and increase their fanbase on all platforms within the live music scene. Moose Almighty should lean into experimentation, improvisation, and arrangement where they seem most comfortable. It was an honor to review this album and share it with you all. I look forward to the fourth installment of the Moose!
‘Spare Parts’ is available here:
Apple Music Link:
Moose Almighty Social Media:
Having covered the past two FloydFest’s with Jambandpurist, I have fallen in love with the mountaintop and the beautiful music that makes this festival one of the best in not only Virginia but the entire country. What the world needs now is music! And I need Floydfest. The lineup with Goose, Adrian Belew & Jerry Harrison with Turkuaz, Andy Frasco & The U.N. is truly unstoppable and I hope this festival is too. Below I will share some of my thoughts from previous reviews and I encourage you all to hope, pray, or whatever you do, that we can all make it back Floydfest this year. Thanks for continuing to read and support Jam Band Purist. 2020-21 has been a trying time but we are back with a vengeance and many new changes. See you all soon.
"In my eyes, FloydFest is the ultimate, all-around, bang for your buck, beginners festival. Not only is this a well-organized festival, it is also in my home state of Virginia and it gives me great pride that we host such a noteworthy event. Virginia is for music lovers."
"The view from this festival is the first thing that comes into my mind when I reminisce about last weekend’s events but the music is the real memory that will last. one-of-a-kind musical collaboration and improvisations, late-night sets and meeting new friends and old, this is what music festivals are all about. All of these things can be found in abundance at Floydfest."
The Moose Is Loose part deuce: (Moose Almighty Return with a second album)
"Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, one of my favorite up and comers, Moose Almighty are back with a brand new ripping album ‘Spare Parts’. Reminiscent of many Classic Rock and Jam bands with qualities that potentially match many of greats, Moose Almighty have their own sound and encompasse many aspects of the Jam sound. Ambitious and highly eclectic, these new tracks show the growth and knowledge that Moose Almighty has acquired from their last studio endeavor, while also incorporating what they have learned playing live shows. Moose Almighty has stepped up into another level and it shows in these newest songs." Look for the Full Jam Band Purist Album Review coming soon!
HCTM: (Freakin' At The Beacon)
We are back again with the undead funksters, Here Come The Mummies. To be honest, I just can't get enough of this solid, funky band and had never been to the Beacon Theatre in Hopewell, Virginia. I arrived at the venue right as The Mummies were coming onstage and took my seat beside what seemed to be an older crowd. I guess the older folks are the freakiest and this is usually the case at most HCTM shows. I am not sure why the younger generation hasn’t caught onto one of the most creative bands out there.
The Mummies enter the theatre in style like, Egyptian kings; the jackal god Anubis at their sides. They are the freak among freaks, as they opened up with “My Party.” I can only explain HCTM as Progressive undead, sexual funk. They all wear athletic shoes from the 80s, ripped up clothes and face paint. I imagined the shadowed Greek figurines on the wall of the beautiful renovated Beacon Theatre as mummies, grinding and humping the other Greek figures on the wall.
There is always an exuberant amount of stage antics, confetti, throwing drums sticks back and forth, even tossed stuffed fish. Each one of these mummies are highly talented and have their own personality onstage. They kept the freak theme going with "Freak Flag" which has some great lyrics; “Crack it, Like the Liberty Bell, Smack it, With a rebel yell, Shake it, Like a salad toss, Stitch it, Like Betsy Ross!”
“RA RA RA” was next and this song delves into the sexual side of the Egyptian religion. Every song that HCTM brings to the stage are filled with sexual innuendos and that’s the way we like it. “Fenk Shui” and “Tight Rope Walker” are both oozing sexual entendres and double meanings. During “Friction” Anubis’s Army would bring out chains and grinders onto the stage, throwing sparks and banging with the beat. Bring that “Booty” down, went into a New Orleans sound with tuba and all. “No Vaseline” sounded like a 60s sci-fi tv theme and I would love to see HCTM explore this sound even further. It really is reminiscent of old horror films, which even included mummies. “Pants” literally had the crowd jumping to their feet; even the older people couldn't help but sing along. This seems to be HCTM most popular song and I can see why.
“I'm coming in my pants, my shirt,
It's my best suit baby,
Gonna pick your flower,
Gonna be there in an hour,
Coming in my pants, shined shoes,
In my neck tie honey,
I'm so excited I hope that I don't come too soon!”
“Attack Of The Wiener Man” was phenomenal and again, reminds me of The Blob or some other Sci-Fi horror movie but with a sexual twist. I couldn't scream cause my mouth was full. This song was followed by “Make It Shake,” a song about getting busy during a natural disaster.
Here Come The Mummies have been accused of being too horny so, they gave us 4 horns at the same time for the encore performance. I am looking forward to seeing HCTM this Halloween in The Underground Caverns in Tennessee.
I'm telling all of my weirdo freaky friends to go see Here Come The Mummies!
The Mystery Of Time Video Release
"The mystery is time. The haunted house is space. In our true story, the ghosts travel at the speed of light and come straight out of the past, your past."
Music Produced by RA and Them Yams
Video Produced by RA
Introducing a new musical project formed in 2020 Interstellar Pilots Club is a synth-wave, retro-synth project exploring the cosmic sounds and vibrations of the universe. Coming Soon!
The Dead Space App (An App Beyond Description) and Interview With Dave Braeger
It’s been a few months since I joined the Dead Space App and downloaded the app on my iPhone. I haven’t been using social media as much lately because it’s been so divisive and completely irrational. I was looking for a way to connect with some of my fellow jam band fans and wallow in the anguish of not seeing live music for such a long time. I was immediately impressed with the layout and the complete focus on music and the community that the Dead Space App offered. The Dead Space App is a social media platform that is solely based around the Grateful Dead and its fans. One of the most powerful and enduring aspects of the Grateful Dead is its fans. I think that is what makes the Grateful Deads legacy a bit different and this translates to the internet like no other musical enterprise.
Dead Space is a place to share your thoughts, memories, pictures, or whatever seems relevant to you. Its an app beyond description but I will do my best to describe it. While there aren’t as many people posting lately, this is probably due in part to the lack of shows during this Covid-19 pandemic. Yesterday was Ron "Pigpen" McKernan's birthday, a founding member of the Grateful Dead who shaped the early sound of the band's bluesy roots. There were many posts dedicated to him on the Dead Space App and this is just one example of the things you will see on Dead Space on any given day. Some other posts from other members reminisce on their first shows or, past experiences. Since one of my favorite apps, fans.com switched over to being a live streaming service, I have lost touch with the community. The Dead Space App has helped me gain some of that feeling back. I hope that many of you reading this join me on Dead Space so that we can rekindle the vibes that we once felt. I know live music is coming back with social distancing rules, masks, and lots of drive-ins. I don’t think this will last forever but these have been some great options for those of us who are dying to see live music. Let’s use the Dead Space App as a way to share our experiences and hopefully gain a better understanding of what the future is for live music.
I got to speak with Dave, the founder, and creator of the Dead Space App for a short interview. It’s always a pleasure to have new entrepreneurs within the community come talk to me so that we can learn more about what they’re trying to do. I am still working hard to get my Podcast/VLOG (Out Of My Mind) fully up and running. It has been quite a journey so far. I’m afraid I might need some editing help. If any of you know anyone willing to help with video editing, please contact me. I am also still looking for advertisers, sponsors, or anyone willing to help me bring honesty and change back into the jam scene. Thank you all for hanging in there and enjoy learning more about Dave and what makes Dead Space special.
Interview Questions for Dave Braeger from the Dead Space
JBP: So, I have to start at the very beginning and ask you when you first fell in love with the Grateful Dead or what experience with the band changed your outlook on life?
Dave: I fell in love with The Grateful Dead when I was about 14. I am the baby of 7 kids and my older sisters turned me on to The Grateful Dead. I still remember hearing "Morning Dew" for the first time and it was the turning point that brought me deep into the band. My first concert was in the early ’80s at Alpine Valley. It was a two-night run and the music, as well as, the fantastic community at the show really changed my life. I have now seen 125 or so shows when including The Grateful Dead, Dead, and Company, Further, Jerry Garcia Band, Phil, Mickey Hart, and Bob’s various other connecting bands.
JBP: When did you initially get the idea for Dead Space and how long have you been working on it?
Dave: I founded Dead Space App and the game company in late 2019 and brought the app live in February of 2020.
JBP: What can people who download the app expect to see?
Dave: I created the app as a “one-stop-shop” for Dead and jam band fans to go to for their social media sharing, media coverage, access to Dead and jam band music, ticket purchases with Cash or Trade Tickets, and benefits such as merchandise and blog from famed Dead photographer Bob Minkin.
JBP: What has been your biggest obstacle in developing the Dead Space App? I once heard that some aspects of the internet were created because of the Grateful influence on some of the developers. What are your thoughts on the continued legacy of “free trade” and technological innovations coming from this realm of improvisation and even tape sharing?
Dave: The biggest obstacle has been the lack of concerts and festivals due to COVID 19. I brought the app out in time for concert season in which we would have been at all Dead and Co. shows. The Grateful Dead engaged, whether that was their goal or not in the best marketing of any band ever with the many years that taping was allowed as the music spread across the country like “wildfire.” Although not surprising due to the move to licensing restrictions, the days of taping and the sales of fan’s merchandise have deteriorated over the years which has taken away from the “environment” that gave so much enjoyment to the fans and added so much “community.” It is great that we have access to sites such as Relisten and Nugs.net now.
JBP: What is your ultimate goal?
Dave: The goal of Dead Space App and our game company is to bring the best experience we can to Dead Heads and jam band lovers. Facebook and Instagram simply do not work well as a social media platform anymore. Due to the algorithm that does not allow for all posts to be seen by the entire community, as well as, all the negative content, politics, and advertising. (we only allow approved advertising) I want the app to have the success that the other apps my developers have created. (The official Rolling Stones App and Official Luke Bryan App). Those apps have over 750,000 subscribers. This will lead to live streaming, merchandise, and other great features.
JBP: What’s your craziest concert/festival/musical experience?
Dave: In 1987 I had the ability to go backstage for a Grateful Dead show in Dallas, TX. I was able to meet the members of the band as well as have a fantastic time during the show. I also had a fantastic experience traveling the country on my first Dead summer tour in 1987 and once again in 1988.
JBP: The Grateful Dead, at its core, has always been about community. What about the Dead Space App is likening to this community aspect?
Dave: The only goal of Dead Space App is to create the very best and largest community for Dead Heads and the app and desktop version offer a great scrolling fan wall for the subscribers to post photos and content as well as have easy access to so much media content and music content all in one location.
JBP: Any thoughts on opening up the platform to new jam bands and other acts in the vein of The Grateful Dead?
Dave: Although Dead Space App was created for Dead and other jam band lovers, to date the largest percentage of subscribers has been lovers of The Dead. In the future, we plan on creating apps focused on other jam bands just like has been done with The Rolling Stones and Luke Bryan apps.
JBP: With so many other social media platforms becoming increasingly negative, politically driven, and all-around abhorrent, how does the Dead Space App look to change this?
Dave: The beauty of the Dead Space App is that we consistently monitor all content and posts every day and have keywords that will block political and negative content. The subscribers can also report posts or comments directly to the administrators and after “three strikes” the subscriber can be blocked from using the app. We will not allow the app to become another Facebook or Instagram “group” as it is the very reason we created the app: To get Dead fans off of the large social media companies as they offer a very poor experience for the fans.
Thanks so much to Dave and the Dead Space App for the informative interview.You can find the Dead Space App here:
or at Apple App Store:
Or Google Play:
I am sad to hear about the passing of Jerilyn Lee Brandelius, Author and Producer she was a big part of my Grateful Dead experience. Her family photo album was one of my first introductions to the Dead. Not only were the nude women interesting to a 10 year old mind but the images within evoked freedom, music, and expression, something that I always held onto. I remember thinking this must be some heavy metal band! 20 years I became friend with Jerilyn and got to tell her this very story! Sleep in the stars
Moose Almighty (Unpacks 'The Luggage Underneath') Album Review
Well, I’m back and with more album reviews and even cooler names like Moose Almighty! I had never heard of this band before getting their submission but was immediately intrigued and knew I had to get them on www.jambandpurist.com and hopefully Out Of My Mind (VLOG, Podcast) coming soon. Hailing from Seattle, Washington Moose Almighty includes: Dan Underkofler (Keyboards, Synthesizers, Vocals), Chris Young (Guitar, Vocals), Aaron Mitchell (Bass, Vocals), and Kevin Shoop (Drums, Vocals). This psychedelic, groove-rock quartet has released their sophomore album ‘The Luggage Underneath’ today, August 7, and will be performing the album via live streaming from High Dive in Seattle. ‘The Luggage Underneath’ will be available on Spotify or Apple Music and https://moosealmighty.bandcamp.com/. Please excuse me if I nerd out on this review a bit and describe things in a way that I usually would not. If you read terms like, sick, nasty, or tasty jams used more than once, please just overlook. Its been a while since I have reviewed a band with extended jams on their album.
“Gilded Guilt” opens with a nasty guitar riff (here I go, already) begins to follows the rules set down by the original jam bands: improvisation, extended leads, stops, and breaks, massive crescendos. Just listening to the first few notes of “Gilded Guilt” made me want to review this album in its entirety. I am impressed with Moose Almighty's sound and musical presence from this opening track. The presentation and musicality within this song have me looking forward to what they will bring forth next. The shredding guitar solo from Chris Young gives "Gilded Guilt" a silky smooth feel. The lyrics are thought-provoking and provide a precise mixture to the music. The intro to this song is what captivates the listener and draws them into the sound, readying them for what is to come.
“Lapis Lazuli Julie” reminds me of some transdimensional version of a Grateful Dead or String Cheese Incident song. "Lapis Lazuli Julie" embodies many of these jam band love songs. Much like “Scarlett Begonias,” “Lapis Lazuli Julie” invites the listener on a journey describing a beautiful hippie-type woman. While the guitar solos from Chris Young and rhythms from drummer, Kevin Shoop, sound a lot like Phish, they still very original. Man, It feels so good to be back reviewing real jam bands!
“The Wave” begins with heavy bass tones from Aaron Mitchell, the band slowly adds and develops more from there. Moose Almighty can add a reggae vibe but still keep this song jam-worthy. The changes in this song are inimitable, loaded with jams and exceptional instrumentation from the entire band. I love the change at 6:30, with a darker jam than what we have previously heard. “The Wave” is definitely my favorite song off of ‘The Luggage Underneath’ and remains so after a many listens.
“Blurry Lovers” encompasses an entirely different feel. A country and Western swing that we have not heard from Moose Almighty yet on ‘The Luggage Underneath.‘ Lyrically driven and compelling, “Blurry Lovers” is a capable segue into other songs on this album. While the vocal melody is not my favorite, I hear some real promise in their harmonic abilities.
“Spoonbender” brings mental powers like ESP and even The Amazing Randy, a notable psychic skeptic, and magician, to my mind. I have always been fascinated with paranormal studies and people claiming to have "superpowers." I am intrigued by the vocals of 'Spoonbender' and would love to hear Moose Almighty work this one up in a longer live version. I can envision the improvisational aspects of each of these songs from the recordings and try to picture myself in a concert setting while listening. It is the closest I can get right now. This song is creative, engaging, and musically progressive, right up my alley. I would listen to “Spoonbender” over and over again, more than any other song on the album.
“Impassive Aggressive” is quite the opposite of "Spoonbender" but does show the juxtaposition between the genres that Moose Almighty explores. The ending to "Impassive Aggressive" is high energy and nothing less than I would expect from what Moose Almighty has already given us on this album.
“Voice Of The Universe” begins with those heavy bass notes from Aaron Mitchell presenting this song with a darker tone that is different than the other songs on 'The Luggage Underneath.' I find the lyrics to “Voice Of The Universe” the most thought out and well arranged on the entire album. Quite introspective and still keeping those storytelling aspects alive. The descriptions within the lyrics envelope the listener in thought and sound. “Voice Of The Universe” opens up into an extensive ambient jam and again impressed me with the raw energy delivered.
“Six Plus Five” features Dan Underkofle heavily on the keys and seems to be a great track to end 'The Luggage Underneath.' This instrumental track is right behind "The Wave" for me in terms of excitement level. Jams like "Six Plus Five" are the reason I still love doing album reviews and sharing music with all of my readers. “Six Plus Five” is uplifting, exciting, and all-around rhapsodic. This song is comparative to many of the finest up-and-coming acts that I have heard in the jam scene today. Moose Almighty blows the doors off this last track, leaving me completely satisfied with my listening experience.
‘The Luggage Underneath’ in its entirety is something that Moose Almighty should be very proud to release. This album is possibly the most ambitious and most promising I have reviewed here at www.jambandpurist.com. While some aspects of the recording may be a little rough around the edges, Moose Almighty makes up for that with raw energy and impressive musicianship. As with many bands I review here at JBP, I am positive that Moose Almighty would be even better live and in person. While I have not been able to see any live music due to all the craziness in this world, I do hold out hope that we will all be able to return to the live music that we love soon. Until then, I will be checking out Moose Almighty's live stream tonight from High Dive. Join me!
For more from Moose Almighty check them out here:
George Fetner and The Strays- (Thrive on New Album 'Longer Like This')
Over the past 4 years of writing music reviews and album reviews here at jambandpurist.com, you'd be surprised how many albums I have received in the mail, mostly CDs, countless digital downloads, and every once in a while I get a vinyl to add to my collection. This makes all the difference when trying to decide which albums to devote a full review towards. Going the extra mile always gets my attention. I wasn’t sure what to think when I first put on 'Longer Like This' having never heard any of GFATS music. I was pleasantly surprised by the immediate interest in the full and dynamic sound coming out of my speakers. George Fetner and The Strays are an eclectic group of musicians from Colombia, South Carolina. The core musicians include Craig Butterfield on bass, Anthony Charles on guitar and vocals, Matt Fenech holding down the drums, Jeff Vaughn on percussion and fearless bandleader, George Fetner on guitar, vocals, and synth.
The album opens up with a crisp scratch as the record moves around the needle and sound begins to flow through. “No Longer You” ll Feel So Alone” reverberates throughout my entire house. George’s voice coming to me from what seems like everywhere. The opening vocals are profound. The track develops and opens up into a world all its own. The poignant lyrical development of this track readies the listener for what’s coming next but still leaves an air of mystery.
“Let Down” explodes through my speakers, “getting let down!” The horns absolutely complete this song and add another layer of musicality that makes you want to pump your fist in the air and sing along. The added female vocals don’t seem to be needed but still add to the sonic sound of “Let Down.” We can all relate to the lyrics of "Let Down" simple, yet engaging and memorable. Sometimes having unforgettable, singable lyrics can overshadow even the greatest music but this song is perfectly blended. The guitar solo on this song is very well done and lays in the mix precisely.
The drums come out heavy in “Carolina Moonlight” which is sang in a cadence that is old school funk, "Carolina Moon" reminds me of classic funk songs straight out of New Orleans with the entire band onstage partying and singing together. "Carolina Moonlight" is a party and the mix of instruments amalgamate to make something greater than what would be there without each one. This song is where the entire ensemble unites and works together harmoniously.
"Thrive" comes out hard and I could tell from the first notes I was going to like this one. This song has a very "yacht rock" or even a Steely Dan feel and I say this with respect not jokingly. Although if any of you haven't seen the short skits online called "Yacht Rock" do yourself a favor. I digress, remarking on the quality of the recording itself; the production is top-notch and makes the entire album better for it. "Thrive" exemplifies this outstanding recording quality and is by far my favorite track on 'Longer Like This'. The breakdown at 5:00 is what I live for and why I love to write reviews here at Jam Band Purist. This is one of the main reasons I do these album reviews, to find gems like this and share them with all of you. "Thrive" becomes quite the Jam towards the end and I can imagine George And The Strays bringing it home in a live performance setting.
"The Cosmos Blast" begins with a radio transmission that captures the interest of the listener and brings the story to the forefront. With a reggae sounding shuffle, this song relies on its thought-provoking lyrics and funky groove which had me enthralled with the message and the music. The bass from Craig Butterfield is heavy and strong, and when the horns build-up it has an almost "2001: Space Odyssey" feel. I enjoy the creativeness of "The Cosmos Blast" and the energy that is brought to this recording.
"The Matador" settles the listener back into a chill vibe, with a percussive, and lyrically driven song. It’s hard to pinpoint an exact genre for George Fetner and The Strays, they seem to be able to move fluidly between rock, folk, jam, and even experimental in each song. The chorus to “The Matador” is the best part of this song; it’s very smooth. The breakdown at 4:00 into the flute solo is also very well done and transitionally solid.
"Ain’t Going Back" has blues and southern roots, it reminds me of a lot of up and coming jam bands but with a twist. Again the Lyrics make the listener think and relate. The guitar solo is very progressive and delivers us right into the cacophonous conclusion that made the hair on my arm stand up. "Aint Going Back" explores the creative songwriting from this group and I would have loved to have seen more of these "breakdowns" or terraced dynamics used throughout.
"Love Like A Rocket" is the only song that didn't particularly resonate with me but still has an undeniable interesting aspect that the listener can immediately grasp onto. "Love Like A Rocket" makes sense and is most definitely a love song. "If You Need Me" is a great conclusion to 'Longer Like This' and left me wanting more from this diverse group of performers.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Longer Like This’ and receiving the vinyl copy made me appreciate the experience even more. There is nothing like opening up a new vinyl, plopping it on the turntable, and dropping that needle. The process, the sound, is the ultimate home music experience. George and The Strays have created something unique and new. I dare say that 'Longer Like This' is something entirely distinct altogether and stretches the limits of genres and categories. With an entire ensemble of performers, it's hard to give each of these musicians a shoutout but Id like to recognize all of the players on 'Longer Like This" here: Davis Bowers on tenor sax, Will Melven on trumpet, Catherine Allgrim on bass trombone, Moses Andrews on organ, and Wurlitzer, Katie Leitner on vocals, Desiree Richardson on vocals, Lauren Watkins Vaughn on flute. Teamwork makes the dream work. I truly wish I could see this band live someday. Heck, I'm hoping to see any live music before 2022! Do you want to see your band on jambandpurist.com and be added to the list of prestigious reviews? Contact us and submit your album in whatever form you prefer, extra points for creativity.
'Longer Like This' can be found on Spotify, Apple Music and here at: https://www.gfats.com/longer-like-this and
Sol Roots 'Live From The Hamilton' Album Review and Exclusive Interview
Well, things have taken quite a turn here. Is everyone ok? Are you ok? Is music still relevant? I’m still plugging away here, trying to find a bit of normalcy. It’s few and far between but music is truly my guiding light. I have recently started a music vlog “Out Of My Mind” where I discuss the ins-and-outs of the Jam Music Scene and much more. I hope you all will be joining me. Feel free to comment, share, and interact. Let’s get the ball rolling!
I recently introduced Sol Roots, the prominent DC Bluesman, to all of you. After receiving so much interest, I have decided to give you even more. I talked with Sol about life, music, the blues, and the DC music scene in an exclusive Jam Band Purist interview. I also got the opportunity to review his most recent live album release 'Live At The Hamilton' and I will add it below.
Sol Roots ‘Live At the Hamilton’ is a diverse and well-recorded album that immediately draws each listener in. This live album includes Phil Wiggins on the harmonica and Eddie Christmas on the drums. From the opening notes of “Sugaree” The Grateful Dead staple, the band immediately comes together and the harmonica work from Phil Wiggins lies heavily in the mix adding something new to this rendition. This version of the song is much more upbeat with a great funk feel. The vocals are off the charts and overall it has a great sound. Good lord, that harmonica can wail. I have heard countless covers of this immortal classic about a lady of the night but Sol Roots makes this one all their own, adding a quality that transcends genre.
“Goin' Home” is up next on 'Live From The Hamilton' and this one immediately gets my blood pumping with a New Orleans swing. Besides these infectious grooves taking over my brain waves, the lyrics to “Goin' Home” are poignant and endure with each listen. “Take the girl out of the country, not the country out of the girl.“ This track is the perfect example of what Sol Roots brings to the stage. I can hear the sizzle of the energy in the room, I can feel the music reverberate through me, I can even smell the faint reek of musk, sweat, and alcohol. I can see the people dancing to the sound. I must be missing live music.
“I Bet You” is compelling from the opening guitar riffs. The groove starts when the harmonica begins to whine out the long soulful notes. For me, "I Bet You" is right up my alley; bluesy with a Motown feel to boot. This is definitely my favorite track off of 'Live At The Hamilton.' Although all the tracks have a unique sound and flavor to them. "I Bet You" is filled with just the right amount of blues, funk, and great improvisational solos from Sol himself.
“Roberta” is straight-blues, no twist or turns. This song makes you want to shake your hips with a partner or even alone. The drums from Eddie Christmas are laying down a heavy groove here. This song is filled with improvisational solos between Sol and Wiggins. I can tell from the recording that this band's chemistry comes from tons of practice and working together sonically.
“St. James Infirmary Blues” is played like I’ve never heard, a little faster and with a lot more gusto. The live aspect of this album makes me feel like I am at the show watching this band work together harmoniously to create something greater. This recording lends itself to the ever-shifting change in music and covers that last throughout the ages.
Overall ‘Live From The Hamilton’ does a great job conveying Sol Roots live performances. Sol Roots shows its listeners why they are one of the best in the DC area. I can’t wait to get a chance to see this band live and experience their performance. It was my pleasure to chat with Sol and talk about all things music below. 'Live From The Hamilton' can be found here https://solrootsmusic.com/home I implore my readers to help Sol and his band raise funds in this struggling musical era. Sol Roots will also be doing a live stream performance for Events DC on their Instagram page this Wednesday, June 24 & live at JV's in Falls Church Thursday, June 25. Check them out!
Exclusive JBP Interview with Sol Roots:
JBP: Is there a story behind the name, Sol Roots?
Sol: "My name is Sol Creech, and my last name would get messed up a lot, or not remembered. The band would perform a lot of old school soul, blues, funk, and rock. Digging back to the roots of each genre. The band went by "Sol Creech Band" at the very beginnings, just "Sol" for a while, then "Sol and Funk Root" and then evolved to "Sol Roots". Sol Roots seems easier for people to remember and gives a better impression of what the crowd can expect. It just grew naturally, I suppose."
JBP: How has coming up in the D.C./Northern VA/Maryland area helped shape your career as a musician?
Sol: "Actually, I was born in NC, and lived in NC, Arizona, VA, and TN, and have family in Brazil and Costa Rica, later moving to the D.C. area.
The D.C. area is home, while still maintaining contact with family and friends all over. D.C. has an awesome musician community and we're very glad to be a part of it. My trio has had a weekly residence on U St in DC for around 9 years, and shared in a rich musical community, right up until the global pandemic hit. We are all very thankful for the amazingly talented musicians that we have had as special guests regularly. My main drummer Vic Chase, grew up around D.C. and has been an integral part of the jazz/funk/fusion scene for decades. My main bassist Andreas Holmstom performed and studied in his home country of Sweden, then cut his teeth in NYC, before coming down to D.C."
JBP: What are some of your most thrilling experiences working as a musician?
Sol: "I've been working with the non-profit company Music Maker Relief Foundation since I was a kid, from their very beginnings. With Music Maker, I've gotten to perform with, record, produce, tour, and learn from some of the real pioneers of American Music. Musicians like Robert Lee Coleman (a fantastic guitarist who was in James Brown's band, with Percy Sledge and others), Albert White (deep blues/ soul Atlanta guitarist, whose uncle Piano Red inspired The Beatles and others), Cool John Ferguson (phenomenal guitarist who Taj Mahal calls "one of the five greatest guitar players in the world"), Beverly "Guitar" Watkins, Lil Joe Burton, John Dee Holeman, Cootie Starks, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Taj Mahal, Guitar Gabriel, Captain Luke, and the list goes on and on. All of these artists have been involved with laying the foundation for today's music. Even if they are not as well known, it's an incredible blessing to hang out, perform, and travel the world with all these wonderful musicians and great spirits, and I will keep broadcasting their names and stories as long as I'm able."
JBP: In your personal music style, do you use a lot of improvisation?
Sol: "I would say a strong YES to that. I like to let the particular group of musicians, and the audience, both set the tone for whatever is going to happen in the shows. Ideally, each musician can listen, lock in with each other, and create something new every time. A huge part of it is listening. That's when the real magic can happen. Many times blues can be the hardest, mostly because many musicians might start thinking "this is too easy" and just jump into automatic pilot and miss the nuances that are happening. With my trio, we all bring together some various influences of funk, soul, jazz, fusion, and blues and these guys can really take off into some cool variations every show."
JBP: What's it like working/opening with some of the jam world's biggest acts?
Sol: "Over the years, we've been blessed to do some co-bills with killer acts like Soulive, Dumpstaphunk, Jon Cleary, Jackie Greene, The Wood Brothers, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, etc. Each show is different, and each band has a different vibe. I think it's interesting to see how music, bands, and situations evolve. I met master New Orleans drummer Eddie Christmas when we were all on tour over in Australia. He was with Jon Cleary, and I was playing bass behind a few Music Maker artists. We kept in contact, talking about doing some gigs and recording and a gig finally came up earlier this year where we could do a collaboration we'd been talking about for a while. It's been great having musicians from other bands sit in with us, and to sit in with other bands from time to time. You never know what can happen, you just have to be open to what the universe presents you."
JBP: How about your relationship with master saxophonist, Ron Holloway?
Sol: "Ron Holloway is an amazing saxophonist, great person, and just a fun guy to hang with, and hear his stories. His roots run deep in D.C. (and world-wide), from working with Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, and others, having a huge mural painted of him and other music legends, and a street named after him in D.C.! Ron and I first did some gigs together when we were all part of a local jam band called "Covered With Jam". We did several gigs with other different formations too. After a while, our calendars lined up and I had him be a special guest performing with my group. We would end up doing some shows together throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, and I had him regularly on our shows on U St in D.C. I'm already looking forward to the next time! It's always a real pleasure for the audience, and musicians as well."
JBP: I can tell from this new live album you are influenced by the blues but what other music has inspired you in your musical career?
Sol: "I truly love all styles of music and being a full-time musician I've ended up playing with groups as varied as African highlife bands, jazz combos, acoustic folk bands, live hip-hop bands, reggae groups, various funk and rock bands, singer-songwriters, gospel groups and more. I think my main focuses have been funk, blues, soul, rock, jazz, and reggae. Having family in Brazil and Costa Rica has influenced me as well. I sometimes feel like a musical crossroads, a spot where everything meets up. It gets deep when you see how the musical tree has branched off in so many ways, but a lot of the roots can be drawn back to the blues. One of my mentors and friends Tim Duffy describes it as "The blues traditions of the South have formed a deep aquifer of music that contemporary artists around the world draw from daily".
JBP: Do you prefer studio work vs live performances?
Sol: "I love both. I went to school for studio engineering, so that's another passion of mine. Studio work has really helped out during the time where all these venues were closed. Many times it seems easier to make musical magic happen with just live performances, the musicians can be more relaxed. Some awesome things can happen in the studio, and that's some of my next focuses. I have a big stash of unfinished pieces waiting to be polished and then released."
JBP: Any recent projects to promote besides this album? What's next?
Sol: "A few things are cooking. I was a hired gun for some recordings for some singer-songwriters recently, Louisiana based Daniel Lee, Virginia based singer-songwriter Ashleigh Chevalier, and Virginia based Jamie Potter. Also, some older original tracks need to be released, that feature some awesome musicians I've worked with from around the Mid-Atlantic: drummer "King" George Penn, bassist Jake Dempsey, drummer Scott Rabino, drummer Paul Dudley and more."
JBP: Where do you see the music industry after Covid-19 and how have you been staying afloat?
Sol: "I pulled off a few solo and trio live-stream performances, and had donations coming indirectly, the music fans truly helped immensely, it's been humbling. It's been rough, to say the least. I've done some recording gigs, a few teaching gigs, and also have to give special thanks to organizations like The Hamilton, The DC Legendary Musicians, DC After Dark, and Music Maker Relief Foundation. Last week, we just did our first actual live gig after a few months of quarantine/ hibernation. It's going to be a long road to get back to "normal" but I believe people are ready to come out and support all the independent venues, bands, and be safe and smart about it."
JBP: Being on the road, I'm sure you have seen some pretty wild stuff, any crazy experiences you've been dying to tell?
Sol: "Some of my favorites have been at venues where you really feel the deep history....like performing in France, where the venue was an old amphitheater with seats of stone cut out of the mountain, that dated back to the Roman times. Everything had been designed in ancient times to carry the acoustics naturally. Or other spots in Italy or Spain, seeing all the deep architecture and art. Or some of the blues cruises, jam-packed full of music heavyweights and intense fans. Or providing music entertainment for a deep-sea fishing tournament in Guatemala."
"Something that pops in my mind now, is one of the times we were at Bluesfest, the largest roots and blues festival in Australia. There is an Australian act called Yothu Yindi, whose album I picked up when I was a kid. They blend traditional aboriginal music with more modern rock music, with messages about mutual respect and understanding in the coming together of different cultures. They are hugely popular in Australia. To see an immense sea of people, all coming together, for the roots and having the music vibe in modern times and styles, is really powerful. Music has that power. Love has that power."
"From touring and traveling all over the world, I believe there are way more people that have compassion for others, and who have an understanding of how to work together, than the destructive groups of people. Regardless of whatever the media is blasting in our face, and regardless of who is trying to "lead" - the people who stand for togetherness, vastly outnumber the ones who hate, and who want to destroy. There are some aspects out there who want to divide people up, create fear, and encourage battles. Because if people are fighting each other, they are more easily controlled and directed. There are many things to be justly angry about, and many things to join together to change, urgently right now, and out of love of humanity, not out of hate. Now's the time to join together. And we've seen many examples of that in recent protests, all across the world."
"I'm very grateful for all my teachers and influences and grateful for all my family and musical family, of all cultures and walks of life. Good can happen when people join together. It's about a way of life. Not just now, not just on social media posts, not just in the next few weeks or months, but for the rest of life. Just about all the musicians I've known can see that bigger picture."
JBP: Thanks to Sol Creech for this interview and look for more from Sol on my upcoming VLOG 'Out Of My Mind.'
"Once in a while, you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right."
Quarantine Hot 🔥 Take #2-after all this is over, they should really bring back matinee shows like in the 60-70s. I would love to see a band play for lunch and then go back and see them do it all again later that day. #matineeconcerts
The Cat Attic's 'A House With Stairs' (Climbs Into The Mind Of Each Listener)
It is my sincerest pleasure to introduce, The Cat Attic, to all of my readers. The Cat Attic is a Boston-based Folk-Rock band that has been getting quite the amount of attention within the scene. I was asked to review their recent album entitled, 'A House With Stairs' which will be available this coming Friday. I encourage you all to download "Monsters" off this album here: https://hypeddit.com/track/1rw5qm Also, Check out The Cat Attic on all socials and at their website below. Without further ado, here are some of my thoughts on 'A House With Stairs.'
"Cut Her Teeth" opens up 'A House With Stairs' and it exemplifies what The Cat Attic is bringing musically to this album. I am immediately impressed, not only with the dynamic sound of The Cat Attic but the clearness of the album's mix itself. The breakdown of this song reminds me of Railroad Earth, which is a great thing. I also get a Greensky Bluegrass or Yonder Mountain String Band vibe but The Cat Attic has an immediate sound that is all their own.
"Monsters" driving backbeat stood out to me from the opening seconds of this song. Drummer, David is the backbone of this song and many others. He is always recorded crisp and clean. "Monsters" is another song from 'A House With Stairs' that is lyrically evocative and confronts the monsters that live within us all.
"Civics And Cats" shows extreme vocal skills and harmonies from Richard and Holli who seem to have a palpable music connection that is relayed through their songs and vocal harmonies. The entire band works well together in "Civics And Cats", and within the entire album; working almost as a symbiotic creature to form this musical mixture.
"Weird Song, Richard" begins with a long reverbed whistle. It’s my opinion that there should be more whistling in songs altogether. "Weird Song, Richard" is my favorite song off of this album. I enjoy the imagery and lyrical content that juxtaposes with a great musical breakdown. When the song gets into the "jam" it completely changes the dynamics of what The Cat Attic can do. Turning more jam and progressive as the song develops, this is where the elements combine to get my blood pumping. I would have loved to have heard more of this throughout the album but I can imagine this improvised at a live performance.
"King Of All" really exemplifies the musicianship from the entire band. Polished and familiar, "King Of All" is one of the most well-done tracks on this album. "Preacher" is classically composed with a string band bluegrass feel in mind. Again we see evocative imagery "blood on your hands." This song meshes well with the other tracks on this album and it is placed within the others in perfect order.
"Holding All's" lyrics shine through from the onset of the song. Lyrically driven "Holding All" is a profound song with lyrics that relate to each listener. The mandolin work by Richard is prominent within this song and shows his level of musicianship.
"Broken Roses" beginning has a very progressive rock feel relying heavily on Jenna the outstanding fiddle player but as the breakdown transitions the band transforms into a rousing bluegrass-folk feel. The dichotomy between the beginning of the track and the rest is very different and I love the transitions in and out of this song.
"Saint Simons's" begins "Freedom tastes like NoDoz and caffeine" poignant lyrics that begin this song and draw the listener in with storytelling. The Cat Attic seems to hit their stride telling a great story and matching music to word, driving the album forward. Both "House Of Debris" and "Firefly" are examples of how The Cat Attic uses storytelling to their advantage. The bass playing from Mike can be heard prominently throughout all of these tracks, holding down the driving force in this band.
After listening through 'A House With Stairs' three or four times now, there seems to be a real connection between the band and their songwriting. This connection is shown throughout the entire album and it’s what draws the listener in: closer to the story, closer to the sound. Some bands are good at songwriting or working together while other bands are tight vocally or improvisationally. The Cat Attic seems to combine all of these elements into one cohesive unit that is beyond what each element brings on its own. While I did enjoy the more progressive bluegrass sounds from songs like, "Broken Bones" or, "Weird Song, Richard" the lyrical developments throughout this album are what is most important. All in all, each song on 'A House With Stairs' works well with the next and takes the listener on a sonic journey ascending the musical stairs into The Cat Attic. The Cat Attic have put an exuberant amount of work into this album and it shows. I hope that each of my readers who listen takes something away from 'A House With Stairs' because there is a lot to uncover in the attic.
Written by RA Fadley
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thecatattic/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thecatatticmusic
Sol Roots Artist Spotlight-(Light In The Darkness)
I have been in contact with Sol Roots, the Premier Blues Jam Band from the DC area, for many years now. I have finally found the right time to review some of their music and add them to the JBP collection of reviews! It’s hard to believe that we have reviewed over 100 bands on Jam Band Purist.com and we are just now getting around to Sol Roots.
Sol Roots are raw, yet musically polished, they are easily one of the best bands coming of the DC area today. With a soulful voice that matches the power and dynamic playing from its lead member. The man behind the name is somewhat mysterious though and seems to hide in the cracks of Blues and straight-up Funk. He reminds me of many of the old Bluesmen or even a figure like a Wolfman Jack. Sol Roots have shared the stage with some of the greatest acts and has even collaborated with artists like Ron Holloway regularly.
Their recent releases and singles can be found on SoundCloud and here https://solroots.bandcamp.com/. It has been a pleasure to stay in contact with Sol Roots as they continue to grow and evolve in the DC Maryland Virginia music scene. While things have been quite difficult lately for musicians, Sol Roots has had some cool virtual gigs and you can see those online, as well. I see big things in the making for Sol Roots and I am happy to add them to the list of JBP Artist Spotlights. Look for a big announcement soon! I am also working hard to bring to all of you the JBP Presents: Video Podcast and am looking for all the help I can get with sponsors, editing, and content. If you have anything you'd love to hear me rant about email me or comment below.
Erin Lunsford Album Review: 'The Damsel'
It’s been a while since I’ve talked about Erin Lunsford from Erin and The Wildfire. I wanted to let all my readers know that my friend, Erin has recently recorded a solo album ‘The Damsel’ and I am digging what this Virginia native brings to my ears. ‘The Damsel’ runs the gamut between rock, folk, and bluegrass. Erin does a wonderful job transitioning these songs into a cohesive sound; a universe all her own. 'The Damsel' is like a spotlight into her secret world. Erin has control over this musical process and it’s exemplified by the natural tonality of her voice and her solid musicianship.
"How Many Birds" opens the album up, setting the precedent for what is about to come. I enjoy the timbre of Erin’s voice and the vocal arrangement in this tune. The backing music adds a smooth, and transitory quality. Lyrically, I could feel the emotion and the descriptive imagery within made me feel the cold in the air, while I flew away south all alone. A lonely lament of a migratory bird.
"27 Summers Down" leans more into the bluegrass feel. The banjo is featured heavily. This song's lyrics resonant with me because I too seem to be chasing a dream into the ground no matter what cost. "27 Summers Down" brings to life the anxiety and torture of making a dream come true while still being uplifting and thought-provoking. The vocal delivery on this is wonderful.
"Virginia Brother" and "Goodbye To Greenbank" are both rooted in an Americana feel that vibe well with the other tracks on 'The Damsel.' I can hear Erins voice clearly, shining through all else. "Whatever U Like" and "Wherever You Are" are more rock-oriented and they also fit nicely within the pallet of what Erin has created.
All in all, 'The Damsel' hits home for its listeners. There is something for everyone to hear. During these crazy times, I find it relaxing to listen to all genres of music, and 'The Damsel' certainly delivers a diverse arrangement that I am happy to review here at Jam Band Purist. I hope Erin has great success with this album. You can get it here at www.erinlunsford.com I also hope to see her and her band The Wildfire do their thing live as soon as possible. Thanks for reading and stay safe.
Hey out there in virtual-internet-land. How's it hanging? I have been working my butt off to get some content on Jam Band Purist for you! This coming week will be filled with Hot Takes, an Album Review for Erin Lunsfords 'Damsel', Artist Spotlight with Sol Roots, and it is with great pleasure that I share some great news. www.jambandpurist.com has teamed up with Dead Space App to bring some exclusive content and partnership. We aren't sure exactly what else will happen but I want to reach out to my readers and welcome all of you aboard. With your help, we can make Dead Space App a home for our community. I have worked with a few other apps that are dedicated to music but Dead Space encompasses all of these great features into one place. If you haven't heard of Dead Space App or want to know more download it on IOS or Android right now and let us know what you think.
Quarantine 🔥Hot Take #1:
When concerts and festivals are back on, let’s find new lead photographers to capture Jam bands onstage. I’m so tired of seeing Jay Blakesberg with his hands on his hips onstage at every freaking festival! I have more pics of him then any band ever.
WARNING: The views and opinions expressed on this site may not be in conjecture with your own. Be Advised
Editor: Robert (R.A.) Fadley
Freelance Writer, Musicologist, Music Journalist, Music Critic, Music Writer, Author, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Composer, Guitarist.