Friday, June 24, 2011

Willie Nile & Scott McClatchy - Tin Angel Tonight!

Come out Friday night (that's tonight if you're reading this today, yesterday if you're reading this tomorrow) to The Tin Angel for the veteran troubadour double bill of Willie Nile and everyone's favorite little brother, Scott McClatchy.

Willie Nile has been making great records for over 30 years. Not especially prolific, his latest album, The Innocent Ones, is only his 7th studio album since 1980, but his fourth since 2004. So I guess we are in the midst of a Willie Nile renaissance. His music is marked by passion, humility, grace and a sly sense of humor, ready to explode in a lightning bolt of energy. He seemed at one point to be both a "new Springsteen" and a "new Dylan", but although his first two albums (Willie Nile and Golden Down) are singer-songwriter classics, he never found much commercial footing. Friday's concert is sure to showcase a handful of favorites (I'm hoping for "Vagabond Moon" and "I Can't Get You Off of My Mind") along with new ones like the anthemic "One Guitar", which is being recorded by several artists who will each put their version up on itunes with all proceeds going to charity, including 50% to the T.J. Martell Foundation.

Scott McClatchy is local Philly musician whose latest album, A Dark Rage, is a career best. This album kicks up a Celtic storm, with tin whistles, fiddles, uilleann pipes (that's right, uilleann pipes - you got a problem with that?!) and anthemic, million man choruses raising a righteous fury. Whether singing about a wayward bachelor party ("Cigarettes, Breath Mints & Visine"), domestic bliss in under two minutes ("Forever With You") or social unrest (the rollicking title cut), McClatchy takes you a journey not only to the heartland but right to the heart.

Willie Nile and Scott McClatchy appear at The Tin Angel (20 S. 2nd St. in the heart of Old City) on Friday, June 24. Tickets will be available at the door or you can buy them here.

Willie Nile - "Vagabond Moon" (from Willie Nile)
Willie Nile - "Run" (from House of a Thousand Guitars)

Scott McClatchy - "A Dark Rage" (from A Dark Rage)
Scott McClatchy - "Forever With You" (from A Dark Rage)

Monday, June 20, 2011

It's Good to be the King

When I got an email from Stewart Copeland, I thought we had a big scoop on our hands. It turns out it was the other Stewart Copeland, guitarist for Tennessee indie pop band King Arthur. Though Stewart violated rule one of mp3 submissions by saying that he’s a really big fan of our blog (really? This little ol’ thing?), I clicked through anyway, and I’m glad I did. The band’s four-song EP Ad Inexplorata is a charmer with its heart in all the right places, and you are encouraged to give it a virtual spin.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Toasting Our Friend

It's not nepotism if I post it, so please enjoy "Toasting My Friends," the new video from Teenage Kicks' favorite left-handed, gracefully graying troubadour, Scott McClatchy (and to get the full effect, you should really watch the video at Scott's site; it gets chopped off here).

And if you love the rockin' penny whistle, there's more where that came from on Scott's excellent long-player, A Dark Rage, available at Amazon and on iTunes.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dawes, Dawes, Dawes - Nothing is Wrong

Since I am crushing on their brand new album, Nothing is Wrong, in a pretty unhealthy way, I feel it is my civic duty to inform you that you have three chances to catch Dawes today. Two are free and the third one is a perfectly matched sad-eyed bill with M Ward and Bright Eyes guaranteed to fill your daily quota of heartbreak and joy.

For those who place those first four Jackson Browne albums on some mystical higher plane (and really... who doesn't?), all I can tell you is you need to snag Nothing is Wrong TODAY, preferably at Main Street Music where Dawes performs a crazy intimate acoustic show for 60 lucky wristband holders. Or you can drink your lunch at World Cafe Live for WXPN's Free At Noon show with the boys. Or cough up some of your hard earned and get an americana dream bill at The Mann.

Taylor Goldsmith is on a roll - first with Dawes' debut North Hills, then Middle Brother's giddy romp, on to backing up Robbie Robertson and now laying waste to the sophomore slump with an album filled with such effortless, conversational songwriting that even lyrics about "piling on those mashed potatoes" and grabbing an "extra chicken wing" work perfectly. There are 11 songs and each one will be your favorite for at least a while. If he gives you a stock tip, buy without hesitation.

Nothing is Wrong is the Jackson Browne album you've been waiting for since The Pretender.

Dawes at World Cafe Live - 12:00 (sign up here)

Dawes at Main Street Music - 5:30 (need a wristband to gain admittance, call 215-487-7732 for more information)

Dawes (with Bright Eyes and M Ward) at The Mann Music Center (Dawes on 7:30)

Dawes - "Time Spent in Los Angeles" (from Nothing is Wrong)

Dawes - "Love is All I Am" (from North Hills)

Dawes - "Lawyers, Guns And Money" (live Warren Zevon cover)

Dawes - "Hula Hula Boys" (live Warren Zevon cover)

Dawes - "Pretty Good" (live John Prine cover)

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Amanda Shires Sweetly Shines

It is so hard to get heard over the din of an ever-expanding media maze of itunes, video games, facebook, twitter, radio, TV, commercials, movies, concerts and clouds - what's a girl to do? If you're Amanda Shires, you do it yourself. Although a veteran of tours and recording projects with such alt country luminaries like Jason Isbell, Justin Townes Earle, Billy Joe Shaver, Shires is just beginning to get noticed for her burgeoning solo career.

As evidenced by an early set (8:00 sharp start!) tonight at Philly's Grape Room, Amanda Shires is a nimble fiddler who packs a wallop in her tiny frame. Taking the stage as a duo with Nashville songwriter Rod Picott on acoustic guitar, she thrilled a couple of dozen patrons with her hushed, melancholy Texas twang that recalled a less craggy Lucinda Williams with the emotional purity of prime Nanci Griffith.

With a set chock full of strong originals like the missed opportunity lament "When You Need A Train It Never Comes" and the whistling, banjo flecked lover's longing glaze of "Swimmer...", her stark, elegiac take on fellow Lubbock-ite Butch Hancock's "If You Were a Bluebird" felt like one of her own.

Amanda Shires latest album, Carrying Lightning, is a top-notch singer-songwriter album, and is available at amazon and itunes. You can check her out on tour here, and those lucky campers at the Philadelphia Folk Festival will get an earful (and eyeful) at the Wednesday night Campers Only show in August.

Amanda Shires - "When You Need A Train It Never Comes"

Amanda Shires - "Swimmer...."

An added bonus, check out this superb take of "If You Were A Bluebird" from a recent radio show: