Monthly Archives: December 2014

Top Ten Gigs of 2014, part one!

After yesterday’s Top Ten Albums of 2014, it’s now time for my Top Ten Gigs of 2014. This is a somewhat harder list to compile as I can just play an album to remind myself how good it is, whereas with a gig I’m reliant on my memory, never a good idea!

Apart from the first ten days of the year, all of 2014 has been spent in the USA. I’ve managed to see gigs in five states and went to my first festival in America. For both of the top two gigs on my list I traveled in excess of 300 miles, and yes both were well worth the journey!

So here’s my Top Ten Gigs of 2014, numbers 10 to 6:

10 – Gaslight Anthem at the Shaky Knees Festival in Downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The Shaky Knees Festival was my first festival in America and was also the first festival I’d been to which was held on concrete and throughout which I stayed in a hotel, as there was no camping! But after my initial misgivings it proved to be a great weekend. I’ve seen Gaslight Anthem a few times now, but their one hour slot on the Friday night at the Shaky Knees Festival was one of the best. My particular highlight being a wicked version on The Animals‘ classic, House of the Rising Sun.

9 – Darius Rucker at the US Cellular Center in Asheville, North Carolina. We took our niece, Alexandra, to see Darius Rucker for her Christmas present. I’ve been a fan of Darius Rucker since hearing his Charleston, SC, 1966 album, which was the soundtrack of my summer of 2013, when I spent three months in Georgia, with my then fiance. Southern State of Mind being one of my all time favorite songs. He played this, along with many other songs from the Charleston album, together with songs from his latest album, True Believers. All of which went down a storm, but the high spot for me was when he performed a couple of Hootie and the Blowfish songs, awesome!

8. – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero at the Shaky Knees Festival. This is a set I won’t forget in a long time. I’ve been to loads of gigs in my lifetime, but haven’t seen a lead singer as frenzied as Alex Ebert. The whole set had the air of a religious experience, with the Alex Ebert, aka Edward Sharpe being the Messiah! Added surrealism came in the form of an onstage proposal from one of the members of the crowd, which needless to say was accepted. One word – Amazing!

7. The Tillers at the CincyGroove Festival in the Southgate House Revival, Newport, Kentucky. This was the second time I’d seen The Tillers and this time they were headliners for the night. You can read more about this gig in my earlier post on the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards.

6. Dawes at the Shaky Knees FestivalI’ve been a fan of Dawes since hearing them on Bob Harris‘s Sunday morning show on BBC Radio 2, so I was really looking forward to seeing them on the Sunday afternoon of the Shaky Knees Festival, and I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed. They were, by far and way, my highlight of the festival. And as an added bonus, they sang my favorite Dawes song, A Little Piece of Everything. Pure class!

 

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My Top Ten Albums of 2014

Well we’re approaching the end of 2014, so like loads of other music fans, I’ve put together a list of My Top Ten Albums of 2014. And here it is:

10 – Herd Runners by Cherry Ghost

Cherry Ghost - Herd Runners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 – Road of Bones by IQ

IQ - Road of Bones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 – Hand on the Plow by The Tillers

The Tillers - Hand on the Plow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 – The River and the Thread by Rosanne Cash

Rosanne Cash - The River and the Thread

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 – Northlands by Tony Patterson and Brendan Eyre

Tony Patterson & Brendan Eyre - Northlands

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 – Familiars by The Antlers

The Antlers - Familiars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 – Abel Ganz by Abel Ganz

Abel Ganz - Abel Ganz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 – Ryan Adams by Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams - Ryan Adams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 – Southeastern by Jason Isbell

Jason Isbell - Southeastern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 – Acoustic Live at the Ryman by Band of Horses

Band of Horses - Acoustic at the Ryman

 

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Near Vinyl Heaven!

Near Vinyl Heaven!, what’s that all about?

Well after nearly a year since moving to the USA from the UK, I’ve finally gone and bought a new turntable to replace my old turntable that was damaged in one of the moves, either between Gainsborough to York, York to Columbus, Georgia or Columbus to Cincinnati, Ohio!

This gives me a chance to finally getting to play all my old vinyl albums and all the various albums I’ve bought over the past couple of years and not yet had chance to play. Hence the title of this post, Near Vinyl Heaven!

I’ve no idea how many albums I’ve got, but behind most of them, there’s a story, so I’ll no doubt be entertaining/boring you with these stories, you’ve been warned! In case you want to read more, or want to avoid, the stories behind my albums, just look out for the Near Vinyl Heaven! category.

 

 

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Cincinnati Entertainment Awards

I cast my votes in the Cincinnati Music Awards for the first time last night. I’ve only been in Cincinnati four months, but during that time I’ve managed to catch The Tillers a couple of times, and both times they’ve been brilliant. The first time I saw them perform was as part of Pokey Lafarge‘s Central Time Tour. I’ll be doing a separate post about that superb evening, but The Tillers blew me away, so much so that I purchased their latest album, Hand on the Plow, straight after he gig.

The Tillers - Hand on the Plow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was on the strength of that performance that I decided to get tickets for the Cincy Groove Music Festival at the Southgate House Revival in Newport, Kentucky. And I’m so glad I did!

First of all a word about the venue. The Southgate House Revival is located in the The Grace Episcopal Methodist Church, which dates back to 1866. The gig was taking place in The Sanctuary, one of three rooms in the building used for gigs. The first thing I noticed on entering the Sanctuary was an old pipe organ, which apparently is the original organ for the church. The next thing I noticed were the stained glass windows, which were simply stunning. I think I may well have to do some research on this building, both as a church and as a music venue. Anyway enough of the architecture, what about the music?

First up were Shiny and the Spoon who got the evening off to a great start, but for me it was the next band, Hickory Robot, who really got things going. The fiddle playing and vocals of Lauren Schloemer stood out amongst all four members of the group, who were excellent in their own right. The highlight of their set was a ten minute epic called Exhultation, from their latest album Sawyer, which reminded me of an old Lindisfarne song, Dingly Dell. I think it was partly due to the atmospheric nature of the song, but mainly due to the mandolin playing of Scott Carnder, that I connected them with Lindisfarne.

I was well impressed with Hickory Robot, which led to yet another CD purchase!

Hickory Robot-Sawyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next on stage was the only artist not from Cincinnati,Chicago Farmer, This is the name by which Cody Diekhoff goes by. He’s a folk singer in the Woody Guthrie style and kept the crowd well entertained despite an electrical hiccup at the start of his set. He was certainly topical, referencing the recent Ferguson murder in one of his songs.

He warmed the crowd up nicely for the headliners The Tillers, who from start to finish were simply superb. Having played the Hand on the Plow numerous times since buying it I was familiar with a lot of the songs in the set, but hearing them played live just took them to another dimension. Their interaction with the crowd created a great atmosphere and I can safely say this was one of my top gigs of the year.

And my wallet took a further hit when I purchased their live CD, Farewell to the Historic Southgate House, the title of which has made me more intrigued about this great venue.

The Tillers - Farewell to the Historic Southgate House

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tillers were nominated in three categories in the Cincinnati Music Awardsneedless to say they got my vote in all three!

 

 

 

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Free Music Friday

Welcome to my first Free Music Friday post, where I’ll be highlighting the free music I’ve managed to acquire, legitimately I hasten to add, from my various sources. Being a music fan can be quite an expensive business, so any free music is most welcome, especially if it introduces me to some new artists. So enough of my waffle, onto the music.

My first collection came from Kscope, which I came across following a recommendation from a member of the Big Big Train Facebook group to which I belong.

Featuring music from North Atlantic Oscillation, ENGINEERS (Official Page),Se Delan, Nordic Giants, Anathema, Lunatic Soul – official, The Pineapple Thief, Gazpacho Official (the Norwegian band), Iamthemorning, Steven Wilson

Having listened to the album, my favourite track is Cold by Lunatic Soul, but they’re all well worth a listen. Just to illustrate my point about sample albums such as this introducing you to new music, of the ten artists on the album,  Steven Wilson is the only one I have in my music collection. Earlier this year I purchased the excellent The Raven That Refused to Sing. 

Steven Wilson - The Raven That Refused to Sing

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Steven Wilson track featured on this collection is his version of Abba‘s The Day Before You Came, which is somewhat different to the original, to say the least.

 

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