Lucinda Williams | Way Over Yonder | Santa Monica Pier | 9/26/14 [Photos]

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THE ACT: Lucinda Williams | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

SOUNDS LIKE: 

THOUGHTS: Lucinda Williams. What can you say about this woman and her incredible music? Honestly … you can’t say much since it’s already been said. Having won multiple Grammy awards and being recognized as one of America’s best songwriters, it goes without saying that when she sings, you have to listen to every word, or your just missing out.

PHOTOS: Wish I had had more time in the pit for Lucinda’s set. Though the pics below aren’t bad, I feel like I should have been able to do a better job shooting around shadows and the microphone.

VIDEO CLIPS:

To Check Out Other Acts that I Caught At Way Over Yonder, CLICK HERE!

Joe Fletcher | Way Over Yonder | Santa Monica Pier | 9/26/14 [Photos]

To Check Out Other Acts that I Caught At Way Over Yonder, CLICK HERE!

THE ACT: Joe Fletcher | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

SOUNDS LIKE: 

THOUGHTS: Though he usually plays with his backing band The Wrong Reasons, Joe Fletcher performed solo acoustic set at Way Over Yonder’s carousel stage. Gritty and raw, and under the hard red stage lighting, Joe performed American roots music with a passionate intensity that had his audience spellbound.

PHOTOS:

VIDEO CLIPS:

To Check Out Other Acts that I Caught At Way Over Yonder, CLICK HERE!

Wynonna Judd | KCRW’s “Country In The City” | 8/2/14 [PHOTOS & REVIEW]

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Closing KCRW’s final, concert of the County In The City concert series, inspired by The Annenberg Space for Photography’s newest exhibit,Country: Portraits of an American Sound,” was one of the most popular and revered female country artists of her, and perhaps all, time: Wynonna Judd.

It’s funny. If you had asked me in high school if I wanted to go to a country concert, I would have played the “too cool for school” card and scoffed at the idea. Growing up in Southern California during the early 90’s, I was more interested in West Coast hip hop, ska and punk. Country music was far off my radar.

Flash forward to after I had graduated from college, and during my heavy R&B phase, I heard a cover of Brian McKnight’s “Back At One” … as a country tune … and I liked it. It was covered by Mark Wills, and it was at that moment I realized that good music is good music was good music, regardless of whether it’s sung with a twang or not.

Though I didn’t tout it to my friends, I started adding country music to my music collection with Rascal Flatts and Garth Brooks CDs, which has, over the years, exposed me to artists that I love like Loretta Lynn, Sugarland and Valerie June. When I got approved to be in the photo pit for Wynonna Judd’s set, I nearly lost my mind. I was so excited, that I actually posted a status update on my Facebook page about getting approved to … I guess … brag about it to my friends; even if a greater majority of them aren’t country fans themselves.

Look, we’re talking about an artist who has achieved legend status. With The Judds (an American country music duo with her mother, Naomi), she won seven straight Academy of Country Music awards for Top Vocal Duo, three straight Country Music Association Vocal Group of the Year awards, four straight Country Music Association Vocal Duo of the Year awards, and five Grammy Awards for Best Country Performance by a duo or Group with Vocal. As a solo artist, Wynonna has won an Academy of Country Music Female Artist of the Year award and earned a star on the Muisc City Walk of Fame. Wynonna isn’t just a country singer. She’s a country legend. Period.

Wynonna’s performance was a revelation.

Having started her career at the age of 16, she demonstrated her easy command of the stage. She expressed her whole range emotions during each of her songs, but would engage the audience in between songs with playful banter and sincere thanks.

She joked about having to be in a tour bus with her mother. When the audience laughed, she deadpanned, “It’s not funny. Have you ever been in a bus with your mom?”

While throwing out guitar picks to ravenous fans in the front row, she joked that she was, “here to satisfy all of your musical needs,” and kept throwing out music pics.

After performing “Why Not Me”, a song she labeled as The Judds’ theme song, someone in the audience yelled out another song titled with the hopes of it being performed. Wynonna looked in the direction of the over anxious fan and said, “Hold your horses, sister. I’ll get to it. And if you don’t hear your song tonight … I got one word…” (insert dramatic pause for effect), “Download.” The crowd erupted with laughter.

When she wasn’t being humorous, she told life stories and imparted personal, positive life mantras, at one point proclaiming that “We need to be mindful of what we have now… What makes it complete for me is seeing you all here enjoying my music,” and explaining that, “In country music, we take tragedy and turn it into triumph,” before talking about the accident that took her husband’s leg and the doctors who told him that he’d never play the drums again.

“Doctors are not god. My husband is now the bionic man,” point to he husband at his drum kit, revealing his prosthetic leg.

They had a special guest, bassist Nathan East, join them onstage for a song before they played their last song of the set.

“I love a funk man with a bass,” she said.

When Wynonna and the band left the stage, the crowd clearly didn’t want to leave, and an encore was in order. Her husband, and drummer, Cactus Mosher, reintroduced Wynonna, “Please welcome back the queen onto the stage.”

“Does that mean you want more?  All right, I don’t want to go anyways,” Wynonna slyly smiled.

She introduced her encore by reminiscing that she’s been performing for the past 30 years, and that she is planning on touring more this year, “getting away with as much as [she] could get away with”, hinting what was to come by stating that she grew up listening to roots rock.

And with that, she and the band jumped into a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll”. Waling away during the chorus, the crowd was jamming to her rendition when it started to rain. Yup … Wynonna Judd made it rain. Now, that’s the stuff of legend.

The Big Noise – Band Members:

  • Cactus Mosher – Drums
  • Justin Weaver – Guitar
  • Tom Hannum – Steel guitar
  • Peter King – Keyboard/B3
  • Dow Tomlin – Bass

Set List: Wynonna Judd didn’t release a setlist, but I took a partial picture of what may have been the setlist for this setthat was taped on the bongos of her drummer’s drum kit. If you were at the show, and know what songs she performed, please put them in the comments and I’ll include them into the post.

CLICK HERE To Check Out The Blog Entries Of The Other Acts Performing At KCRW’s “Country In the City” Concert Series

Nikki Lane | KCRW’s “Country In The City” | 8/2/14 [PHOTOS & REVIEW]

CLICK HERE To Check Out The Blog Entries Of The Other Acts Performing At KCRW’s “Country In the City” Concert Series

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Opening for Wynonna Judd at the third, and final, concert of the County In The City concert series, inspired by The Annenberg Space for Photography’s newest exhibit,Country: Portraits of an American Sound,” was Nikki Lane.

Originally from Greenville, South Carolina, Nikki spent part of life in Los Angeles working in the fashion industry before heading out to New York City. In the city that never sleeps, she went through heartbreak that inspired her to write some music about her emotional roller coaster. Thank god for break-ups, otherwise Nikki would never have been on the stage performing in front of an enthusiastic Los Angeles crowd.

Accompanied to the stage with her band and her mother, Nikki started into her set with a series of songs about her failed marriage. You could tell that the music was her therapy. She gave brief explanations, and regrets, about the first several songs.

“I should have followed the lyrics to the song. Sorry, mom,” she said with a smirk as she look stage left to acknowledge her mother.

Her music was country music for the modern audience. Since relocating to Nashville, her latest album, “All or Nothin'” was produced by The Black Key’s Dan Auerbach, and you can tell that Dan’s musical influence had rubbed off on her. The tunes were as country as county comes, but also had a little something extra from other genres to make a finicky music lover’s ears perk up with interest.

Before parting the stage, she thanked the audience and KCRW for inviting her to perform, acknowledging that this was the largest audience she’s ever played for. She definitely picked up a few fans from her performance, myself included.

I had the good fortune of meeting Nikki as she was selling her goods at the merchandise table. I purchased a couple of her LPs at the concert, and had her sign my copies. If she keeps on making good music, I’m willing to bet that won’t be selling her own merchandise for long.

Nikki Lane – Band Members

  • Nikki Lane: Acoustic Guitar and Lead Vocal
  • Ben Eyestone: Drums
  • Eric Whitman: Bass Guitar
  • Alex Munoz: Electric Guitar
  • Matt Stoessel: Pedal Steel

Set List:

  1. Good Man
  2. I Want My Heart Back
  3. Man Up
  4. You Can’t Talk To Me Like That
  5. Seein’ Double
  6. Faded
  7. 700,000 Red Necks
  8. Gone, Gone, Gone
  9. All or Nothin’
  10. Right Time

CLICK HERE To Check Out The Blog Entries Of The Other Acts Performing At KCRW’s “Country In the City” Concert Series

Free Concert Alert | Nikki Lane & Wynonna and the Big Noise | KCRW’s “Country In The City” Concert Series | 8/2/14 [Preview]

CLICK HERE To Check Out The Blog Entries Of The Other Acts Performing At KCRW’s “Country In the City” Concert Series

Photo courtesy of KCRW and shot by Jeremiah Garcia
Photo courtesy of KCRW and shot by Jeremiah Garcia

KCRW returns to Century Park in Century City this summer for FREE all-ages outdoor concerts inspired by theAnnenberg Space for Photography’s newest exhibit,Country: Portraits of an American Sound, which will be on display through September 28th, 2014.

You can RSVP for the shows on the KCRW website. CLICK HERE to get redirected to the website.

On Saturday, July 26th, KRCW welcomes “the greatest female country singer since Patsy Clin”, 5 time grammy award winning recording artist Wynonna Judd. To have her grace the stage in Century Park will be a can’t miss treat for all southern California country fans.

Follow Wynonna on Facebook by CLICKING HERE to get redirected to her fan page.

Also performing on the pier, opening for Wynonna, is singer songwriter, Nikki Lane. With her sophomore album “All Or Nothin” produced by The Black Keys’ frontman Dan Auerbach,  her sound is a throwback to the nostalgic sounds of country music. I’ve only had a little sampling of her music, but from what I’ve sampled, it’s a fun romp through country music.

Follow Nikki Lane on Facebook by CLICKING HERE

CLICK HERE To Check Out The Blog Entries Of The Other Acts Performing At KCRW’s “Country In the City” Concert Series

Shelby Lynne | KCRW’s “Country In The City” | 7/26/14 [PHOTOS & REVIEW]

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Headlining the second concert of the County In The City concert series, inspired by The Annenberg Space for Photography’s newest exhibit, Country: Portraits of an American Sound,” was Grammy Award winning, country recording artist Shelby Lynne.

I found out about her and her music when she gave her now legendary Grammy Award acceptance speech in 1999 for Best New Artist. “13 years, and 6 albums to get here,” she said. It still gets me everytime.

A prolific recording artist, she has recorded 13 studio albums, and a handful of EPs, her latest effort being a 5 track EP released on December 10, 2013 through her own independent record label Everso Records. With so much music under her belt, her set consisted of music covering her entire career.

Opening her set with the heart-wringer “Your Lies”, then performing the first song she ever wrote, “Leaving”, covering a tune by Dusty Springfield, to performing “Life Is Bad” and “Where I’m From” (off her seminal album “I Am Shelby Lynne”), it was a concert filled with her “greatest hits”, and the crowd ate it up.

Perhaps the most poignant moments of her performance was when she sang songs for the heartbroken. The emotion espoused through her impassioned  lyrics, sung with her seemingly delicate contralto voice, left the audience moved. It may have been the lighting, but I could swear I could even see her eyes well up during several of the songs.

As an added treat, Shelby was able to get Jonathan and Zach of Jamestown Revival to come onstage to join her for the last song of her set (a cover of Neil Young’s “Are You Ready for the Country”). Reading lyrics from an iPhone, it was a light and carefree performance that brought the stellar acts of the evening onto the stage to bid the crowd goodnight.

Set List

  1. Your Lies
  2. Leaving
  3. Life is bad
  4. Easier
  5. I Only Want to Be With You
  6. Gotta Get Back
  7. Why Can’t You
  8. Look’n Up
  9. She Knows
  10. Should’ve Been
  11. Dreamsome
  12. Black Light Blue
  13. Wind
  14. Where I’m From
  15. Call me up
  16. This Road
  17. Walking
  18. Are You Ready for the Country — Neil Young cover with Jamestown Revival

It was a joy being in the pit shooting Shelby. I hope you like the the pics that I snapped. I sure like ’em.

 

CLICK HERE To Check Out The Blog Entries Of The Other Acts Performing At KCRW’s “Country In the City” Concert Series

Free Concert Alert | Jamestown Revival & Shelby Lynne | KCRW’s “Country In The City” Concert Series | 7/26/14 [Preview]

CLICK HERE To Check Out The Blog Entries Of The Other Acts Performing At KCRW’s “Country In the City” Concert Series

Photo courtesy of KCRW and shot by Jeremiah Garcia
Photo courtesy of KCRW and shot by Jeremiah Garcia

KCRW returns to Century Park in Century City this summer for FREE all-ages outdoor concerts inspired by theAnnenberg Space for Photography’s newest exhibit,Country: Portraits of an American Sound, which will be on display through September 28th, 2014.

You can RSVP for the shows on the KCRW website. CLICK HERE to get redirected to the website.

On Saturday, July 26th, KRCW welcomes grammy award winning recording artist Shelby Lynne to the “Country In The City” stage. critically acclaimed country singer, critics have lauded Shelby’s style of country music as having dashed of classic pop, rock and soul sprinkled on top.  Her live performances are known for being filled with a range of emotions. From the  moments of humor to moments evoking pity or sadness, her live shows are known to have it all.

Follow Shelby Lynne on Facebook by CLICKING HERE.

Also performing on the pier, opening for Shelby Lynne, is the band Jamestown Revival: “a group formed by Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance. After growing tired of a life mining tiger’s eye in the foothills of the Texas hill country, they hit the road to conceive a style that could be described as back-porch- folk rock.” I don’t know much about this band, but I’m excited to see what they’re all about live.

Follow Jamestown Revival on Facebook by CLICKING HERE

CLICK HERE To Check Out The Blog Entries Of The Other Acts Performing At KCRW’s “Country In the City” Concert Series

Merle Haggard | Ink-N-Iron | 6/6/14 [PHOTOS & VIDEO]

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Merle Ronald Haggard revolutionized country music when he and his band, The Strangers, developed the Bakersfield Sound in the 1950s; a style of country music that was born in Bakersfield, California. Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994, he has continued to record and release music since, and at the ripe age of 77, he put on a show at Ink-N-Iron that proved why his music, and sound, has withstood the test of time.

Now, I may not have the greatest knowledge of country music, but listening to him sing a song like “Workin’ Man Blues”, and other songs that reach out to the common man and their daily life, really left an impression on me. Just him and his band playing music for the people.

He played both his guitar and his fiddle, and his voice seemed unaffected by age. In fact, I’d even say that at his age, his voice, based on the early recordings of him that I happen to have on iTunes, has only matured like a fine wine. Definitely smoothed out and in control.

If someone is going to open my ears to a different kind of country other than Rascal Flatts, I’m happy to report that Merle just may have done it. Hell, if a living legend couldn’t do it, then I don’t know who could have.

I couldn’t find a setlist online, so if anybody knows what songs he performed, and the order that he performed them in, let me know in the comments, and I’ll add it there.

CLICK HERE TO SEE OTHER ACTS I WAS ABLE TO CATCH AT INK-N-IRON

 

Wanda Jackson | Ink-N-Iron | 6/6/14 [PHOTOS]

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Wanda Lavonne Jackson is known to many as the “Queen of Rockabilly” or the “First Lady of Rockabilly”. An accomplished singer, songwriter, pianist and guitarist, the success that she had during the 50s and 60s paved the way not only for women, but also for rock and roll and country music genres; and she is duly recognized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an “Early Influence”.

I was able to get up front for her performance, joining a mixed-age crowd. It didn’t surprise me that she was able to pull kids who couldn’t have been out of their teens to her show. After all, one of her more recent albums, 2009’s “The Party Ain’t Over” was produced by Jack White (which, by the way, was her first album to break into the Billboard Top 200, peaking at number 58.

When the lights dimmed, and the band started playing, I could see a small woman in a flamboyant, pink top make her way downstage. The crowd cheered loudly as their heroine took her steps forward, and when she addressed the crowd with a, “Hello,” the concert hall within the Queen Mary erupted.

Though in her mid 70’s, Wanda Jackson, like Ray Campi, gave a performance with such attitude and passion, that I could only imagine what she would have been like back during her hey-day. She yodeled, she growled, and she punched out notes like a pro, and the audience ate up every second of it … as long as they weren’t singing along with her.

In between songs, she would tell some stories as a segue into what she would perform next. She spoke adoringly about her brief time “dating” (“If you called it that,” as she noted) Elvis before vamping into Heartbreak Hotel. She reminisced about her experience making music with Jack White and the “disagreement” she had with the uber producer about covering Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good” before singing it.

I loved watching Wanda Jackson perform. I loved the way she interacted with the audience, marveling at their youth, and even joking about their hair color and body piercings. I loved watching the look in her eyes when the youthful crowd sang along to her classic tunes.

Towards the end of her set, she reached out to those of her fans that were lined up at the front; shaking/holding whatever outstretched hand that was reaching out to her. I reached out as well, and when she grasped my hand, and mouthed, “Thank you,” while looking into my eyes, it was a moment I’ll not soon forget.

I couldn’t find a setlist of the songs that she performed online, but I did take a picture of it (which I know isn’t the correct order, as the “You Know I”m No Good” isn’t even listed, which is included in the photographs below. If you were there, and know the order of the songs performed, please let me know and I’ll add it here.

CLICK HERE TO SEE OTHER ACTS I WAS ABLE TO CATCH AT INK-N-IRON

Ray Campi | Ink-N-Iron | 6/6/14 [PHOTOS & VIDEO]

 

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Ray Campi is often called The King of Rockabilly. At 80 years old, at Ink-N-Iron, he proved it.

Ray’s legacy in music started in 1944 and has touched numerous genres. From folk to country to rock and roll, Ray has had his trademark double bass sound immortalized on recordings with legends like Bill Haley, Buddy Holly and Gene Vincent.

I was amazed with his vitality on stage. He plucked his double bass with the kind a youthful fervor reserved for young rockers in their early twenties. The passion in him truly left an indelible impression on me.

In between songs, he would sprinkle in some stories about his life in music, but he really opened up when he talked about his other career … as a high-school teacher. He joked that we could all be his students (the crowd seemed relatively young, with an average age being- my best guess- in the mid to late twenties). Truth is, he wasn’t that far off. I think I can speak on everybody’s behalf when I say that we all learned this: Age ain’t nothin’ but a number. Ray Campi is proof of that.

I couldn’t find a setlist of his performance at Ink-N-Iron, so if you happen to know what he performance, let me know in the comments, and I’ll add it later. Thanks!

 CLICK HERE TO SEE OTHER ACTS I WAS ABLE TO CATCH AT INK-N-IRON