Tag Archives: Bob Dylan


Close Out the Weekend with Parker Millsap at Mercury Lounge

April 3rd, 2015

A young guy with an old-timey Americana sound, 21-year-old Parker Millsap grew up in small-town Oklahoma attending Pentecostal church three times a week, which—despite the fact he no longer considers himself to be very religious—undoubtedly affects his songwriting. He began playing acoustic guitar at just nine years old, but once Millsap discovered Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Clapton, like Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965, he plugged in. And thanks to a post–high school performance in Nashville, Millsap won a coveted spot opening for Old Crow Medicine Show and later Patty Griffin, Shovels & Rope and Lake Street Dive. But with the release of his self-titled debut album (stream it below) last year, the engaging live performer became known for more than his gravelly, soulful voice. In a glowing review, PopMatters proclaimed, “Road tunes and leave-takings are a fitting metaphorical trope for this album, because Millsap is clearly going places. With his voice and his rich, suggestive songwriting, it might not be long before Red Dirt isn’t just a bandwagon that people recognize, but one that they might be willing to jump onto.” And per American Songwriter, “Like the best of his peers, Millsap lets his music and lyrics do the talking, keeping the production sparse, not stark, and creating a terrific, even audacious first effort. Millsap’s subtle style allows the listener to discover the emotional vortex of his often confused characters, helping us identify with their motives without casting judgment.” Of course, you can judge for yourself because with a night off from opening for Houndmouth, Parker Millsap (above, doing “Truck Stop Gospel” live at the Grand Ole Opry) plays the early show at Mercury Lounge on Sunday.


Daniel Lanois Headlines Impressive Lineup at Masonic Temple

November 7th, 2014

Prior to launching a solo career, crafting lush, ambient classics like “The Maker” and many more, Daniel Lanois was best known as a producer extraordinaire, working with the likes of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris—and perhaps most notably for teaming up with Brian Eno on several U2 albums, including megahit The Joshua Tree. But in the present, Lanois’ most recent album, Flesh & Machine (stream it below), came out last week, and PopMatters says, “This is ambient music with the capacity to excite, engage, and evoke.” Additionally, “The real Flesh and Machine visual component that sounds extraordinary will be Lanois’ live shows in support of the release. Each night, Lanois, along with bassist Jim Wilson and drummer Brian Blade, will sample, dub and process in real time on stage each night, making for a singular performance on each date of the tour, never to be recreated.” And when Lanois and Co. (above, performing “Opera”) appear at the Masonic Temple in Brooklyn on Monday, it will be for Antithesis, “an evening of electrified shimmy and sonic wonder curated by Daniel Lanois,” featuring a full set each from Lanois, Mali desert-blues outfit Tinariwen and Brooklyn dream-rock trio the Antlers, plus a special appearance by “outsider artist” Lonnie Holley. This is one of those special shows you don’t want to miss.


Courtney Barnett and San Fermin Are a Winning Combination

October 21st, 2014

Courtney Barnett/San Fermin – Union Transfer – October 20, 2014


The rarely mentioned truth about live music is that it is, in essence, an exercise in predictability. From night to night, bands play the same songs with minor variations. The attitude of the crowds may influence things, but when a group plays their songs, they are working from a script, a set list of material, which, hopefully, they know well. Within that paradigm, where is the band’s enjoyment? What does the audience come to see and hear? How is live music a unique experience?

Listening to Courtney Barnett, you get the sense that whatever navel-gazing, highbrow thinking is imposed on her music, she will shrug it off and keep playing. As the lyric to her runaway radio hit, “Avant Gardender,” goes, “It’s a Monday/ It’s so mundane.” Mundane for her, maybe, but for the audience that came to see Barnett with coheadliner San Fermin last night at Union Transfer, the performance was extraordinary, necessarily so. It’s self-evident that everyone would feel something different, from the older couple sitting at the circular table wedged between the bar and a support beam to the many flannel-clad twentysomethings. As a member of the visual majority, I too could pick out the influence of the Dirty Projectors and the National on the intricate orchestral pop of San Fermin.

And in Barnett’s shrug-filled delivery, I even heard a little Dylan. But on Monday I wanted to lose myself in these performances, and for two mesmerizing hours, they offered just that, as routine magic. Midway through her set, Barnett asked, “How is everyone doing? Good, great or average?” You could take a poll, but we all know that the responses would differ. Barnett—and her band—and San Fermin are two well-paired acts, touring as a curveball-to-fastball one-two combination. It’s tricky and off-kilter, but I imagine that every night is slightly different and new. And when it comes to live music, that is what you hope for. —Jared Levy




Tina Dico Brings New Music to The Bowery Ballroom Tonight

September 30th, 2014

Inspired by the likes of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, Danish singer-songwriter Tina Dico is most well know for what AllMusic calls “heavenly vocals and a poignant writing style.” After discussions with several labels around the turn of the century proved to be underwhelming, she formed her own label, Finest Gramophone to put out her first album, Fuel (stream it below), back in 2001. Since then, Dico (above, performing “Drifting”) has remained an important presence on the Copenhagen music scene and across Europe. Her most recent release, Whispers (stream it below), came out about a month ago to some fairly high praise, including from the Boston Globe: “As a new generation of smoldering young songstresses, including Lana Del Rey, Lorde and Banks, reaches a wide mainstream audience, it’s the perfect time for the reemergence of Danish singer-songwriter Tina Dico. Her latest studio effort is a richly rewarding, complex reflection on love, loss and acceptance.” See this big-voiced, engaging live performer tonight at The Bowery Ballroom. Josh Mease’s Lapland opens the show.


Iron & Wine Play Career-Spanning Show at the Space at Westbury

June 27th, 2014

Iron & Wine – the Space at Westbury – June 26, 2014

When you go see Iron & Wine, you know what you’re going to get but also don’t know what you’re going to get. Of course, there are going to be great songs, lots of them, overflowing with unique lyricism, imagery and melody, and you know you’ll have Sam Beam there to sing them to you. What you don’t always know is who will be playing with him, which will set the tone and style of the show. In past years, the sound has followed as Beam has toured with horns or backup singers or a stripped-down band. On Thursday night at the Space in Westbury, Beam played what he thought was his first show on Long Island proper, backed by a steady-as-she-goes roots-rock band that might be equally comfortable backing Bob Dylan these days, and the music followed suit.

The show opened with a terrific set from the Secret Sisters, out of Alabama, their vocal harmonies resonating to almost cosmic effect, while their backing band rumbled with soulful blues rock. The voices, the music, the set—which ranged across multiple styles of rock and roll, including covers of Hank Williams and their take on an unfinished Dylan piece—and the Sisters’ Southern charm easily won over the crowd. Beam and his band opened their career-spanning headlining set with a high-energy folk-shuffle version of “Boy with a Coin.” Banjo, acoustic guitar, organ, bass and drums nicely accented Beam’s agave-nectar natural-sweetener voice. The band flipped among instruments to widen the sound, Jim Becker moving from banjo to mandolin to acoustic-wired-electric guitar; Rob Burger moving from organ to Rhodes. Songs of exquisite beauty, like “House by the Sea,” with some nice double-acoustic guitar picking, led up to some momentum-building blues rock on songs like “Freedom Hangs Like Heaven.”

And while the band nicely worked the material, the set’s highlight was at the halfway point when Beam cast aside the extra musicians, first with a gorgeous duet with Burger on “Joy,” off his most recent album, Ghost on Ghost. This was followed by an all-request group of solo songs that stole the show. The enthusiastic crowd was up for the task, asking for some A-list material. All were great, but two songs stood out: First, Iron & Wine’s made-it-his-own, pure-light-and-good version of the Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights,” which certainly took away the breath from even the most cynical curmudgeon in the room. The poetic “Flightless Bird, American Mouth,” was second, Beam’s voice shocking the not silenced easily audience into a silence beautiful in its absoluteness. The remainder of the show was a cascade of hits, featuring great versions of “Woman King,” “Rabbit Will Run” and the dark, slow build-to-climax encore of “Lovers Revolution.” It was a reminder of how many great songs Beam has to choose from, but really, no surprises there. —A. Stein





Singer-Songwriter Nathaniel Rateliff Visits Mercury Lounge Tonight

April 23rd, 2014

Growing up in rural Missouri, singer-songwriter Nathaniel Rateliff took to music early on, playing the drums at seven and picking up the guitar (“My mom showed me a few chords and then my best friend showed me a few more”) and beginning to write songs as a young teen. Looking up to the likes of Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and the Band, it’s no wonder his music is raw and honest. Rateliff’s first solo album, the introspective In Memory of Loss (stream it below), came out in 2010. AllMusic compared his voice to M. Ward’s and Vic Chesnutt’s, and PopMatters opined that “the record is the sound of a man wrestling with his burdens in a creative fashion, with the help of an acoustic guitar and the backing of some friends on other ordinary instruments played with a strong passion. This style of music never goes out of style when done well, and Rateliff does the tradition proud.” Now based in Denver, Rateliff spent a considerable amount of time alone on the road in support of his debut, which provided plenty of time for him to write. “It’s sort of my way of dealing with shit. Unfortunately I’m not very good at communicating. It’s like my way to vanquish all of the shit that I’m holding on to,” he told Minneapolis Fucking Rocks. And along those lines, Rateliff (above, performing “Right On” for the Mahogany Sessions) recently released his follow-up, Falling Faster Than You Can Run (stream it below), as dark as it is beautiful. See him play Mercury Lounge tonight. Caroline Rose, who’s also used the road as a means to write material for her most recent album, opens the show.


All-Star Lineup Celebrates New Dylan-Tribute Album on Monday

March 21st, 2014

Bob Dylan made a name for himself as perhaps the greatest singer-songwriter of all time during the ’60s and ’70s. But to put it mildly, many think his output in the ’80s, after he’d briefly become a born-again Christian, not only pales in comparison, but it was actually his worst work overall. However the fact of the matter is the iconic ’60s- and ’70s-era Dylan outshines just about any other artist’s work in any other decade. And the truth is his seven albums in the ’80s actually do contain numerous gems. And to that end, ATO Records release the tribute album Bob Dylan in the ’80s: Volume One next Tuesday, filled with bands like Deer Tick, Langhorne Slim, Built to Spill, Blitzen Trapper, Lucius and plenty other talented musicians. And on Monday night at Music Hall of Williamsburg, a terrific gathering of musicians—including Langhorne Slim, John McCauley and Ian O’Neil of Deer Tick, Elvis Perkins, Spirit Family Reunion, Dawn Landes, Yellowbirds, Hannah Cohen, members of Tea Leaf Green, plus special guests—play a record-release party.




Madeleine Peyroux Plays a Pair of Shows Tonight at Music Hall

January 28th, 2014

Like Billie Holiday before her, Madeleine Peyroux, out of Athens, Ga. (by way of Brooklyn, Southern California and Paris), is known as a jazz singer despite her penchant for the blues. And while she’s most often compared to Lady Day, due to vocal similarities, Peyroux’s disparate influences include Patsy Cline, Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan. Her debut album, Dreamland (stream it below), arrived in 1996 to a fair amount of acclaim for such an unheralded 22-year-old musician. Despite the recognition for her work, Peyroux (above, performing “Guilty” in studio for WFUV FM) spent much of the next few years busking on the streets of Paris and recording with others. So her second album, Careless Love (stream it below) didn’t come out until 2004. But since then, the singer-songwriter-guitarist has remained busy touring and recording. Her most recent album, Blue Room (stream it below), released last March, recreates the country-meets-jazz theme of the Ray Charles classic Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music. Noting that this has been done before, Pop Matters says, “The cultural impact may be slight, but the music itself is quite gorgeous.” Madeleine Peyroux plays a pair of shows, one early and another late, tonight at Music Hall of Williamsburg.


Frontier Ruckus Played to Their Strenghts Last Night

December 6th, 2013

Frontier Ruckus – Mercury Lounge – December 5, 2013

Taking the stage at Mercury Lounge last night, Frontier Ruckus went from the “check, check, check” warm up straight into an eerie and wonderful melody featuring acoustic guitar, banjo and a saw without a pause or word. Yes, you read that right, a saw, and actually the guy playing it, Zachary Nichols, went from the saw to the trumpet to the melodica and back to the saw in a matter of a couple of verses. It was that kind of set where lyrics piled upon lyrics, ideas upon ideas and songs upon songs with barely a moment to digest or appreciate. Still, fronted by Matthew Milia, the Michigan quartet worked the details, a phrase here, a bleat of a horn there.

Frontier Ruckus’s sound is an engaging folk—guitar, banjo and harmonies—a swirl of Welch/Rawlings and the Avetts with a lyrical prowess that harkens Clem Snide’s Eef Barzelay or Stephen Malkmus. It’s Milia’s words that kept the audience hanging—this isn’t really sing-along music, but many in the crowd seemed to know every juxtaposed lyric by heart. This is a band that rhymes chirping with usurping, and East Lansing with entrancing without a stutter or hesitation. “Eyelashes” mixed great instrumental interplay with an evocative chorus of “your eyelashes are like needles.” “Dealerships” was an early set high-energy highlight, Milia spitting out word after word like a long Dylan diatribe, leaving the audience dizzy trying to keep up.

Mid-set, Milia broke a string and rushed offstage without comment to fix it, leaving the band in an unexpected lurch. But without a skip in the record, banjo player David Winston Jones waltzed over to Nichols and they jumped right into a haunting instrumental banjo-and-saw duet on “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” as if they had planned to all along. Later, a new song, described as taking place in the past and the future, about getting drunk at an enemy’s funeral contained a wonderful lyric about how the “theme song to this sitcom don’t have shit on our best episode.” It was here that Frontier Ruckus had their strength, songs like “Careening Catalog Immemorial,” about finding a stash of porn in a Taco Bell parking lot, Milia and Co. unearthing the poetic in the crass and mundane, the epic in the contemporary everyday, with tasty musical accompaniment and barely a moment left to breathe. —A. Stein

Photos courtesy of Peter Senzamici | petersenzamici.com


Houndmouth Just Might Be the Next Big Thing

November 18th, 2013

Houndmouth – Mercury Lounge – November 16, 2013

If late-night rowdy rock-outs aren’t your thing, I hope you steered away from Mercury Lounge Saturday night. If you’re not interested in being a part of jubilant, top-of-the-lungs sing-alongs, I hope you avoided Houston and Essex like the plague. If up-and-coming, in-your-face folk-county-rock bands just don’t do it for you, then you would’ve been wise to cross to the other side of the street as the midnight hour approached. Looking and sounding every bit like the next big thing, Houndmouth set the second sold-out crowd in as many nights ablaze with their high-energy show.

It’s a simple formula—good songs, played well. Houndmouth tore through most of their debut, From the Hills Below the City, mixing in sweet harmonies (loud and quiet) and guitar-solo jams, often within the same song. “Krampus” was an early set highlight and a model for the rest of the night: cathartic vocals, built to electric heights until the room was filled with people singing along and pumping their fists. “Hey Rose” mixed honky-tonk licks with evocative lyrics, like “wash your face and change your frame of mind,” and ended with one of those can’t-miss guitar solos from atop the drum riser.

The set list was filled with a mix of tour-sharpened album material, several new songs and a few covers. So their glorious “Halfway to Hardinsburg” came after a tasty Beatles couplet of “Golden Slumbers” and “Carry That Weight,” and a new one had them singing about “Mama’s in the kitchen.” The 70-minute set ended in big fashion with a build-’em-up rock-out of “Penitentiary” and a soul-lifting everyone-sings cover of Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released,” with members of opener the Wheeler Brothers helping make big and loud bigger and louder. The band announced they’d return for multiple shows in bigger rooms, for sure, in the winter. So if you have no desire to see one of the best on-the-rise bands going right now, I strongly advise you to not grab tickets for those shows right away.
—A. Stein




A Fun Bob Dylan Celebration for a Great Cause

November 13th, 2013

Dylan Fest – The Bowery Ballroom – November 12, 2013

I don’t care who you are or what you listen to, everyone has a favorite Bob Dylan song. And if you were at last night’s sold-out Dylan Fest at The Bowery Ballroom—the second of two—there was a good chance you heard yours … and a good chance you didn’t. Close to two-thirds of the way through the show, about the time when Patrick Carney was on drums behind Lukas Haas, it became clear that at the rate the vocalists were rotating across the stage singing one Dylan song after another that it would take about a week to play all of the classic canon.

No matter, what we did get to hear was great. The constant stream of guests made the show fun, while the ready-for-anything Cabin Down Below Band made the show good. We got bluesy rocking Dylan, country Dylan, angry Dylan, sweet Dylan, sing-along Dylan (Mikki James on “Tangled Up in Blue”), sexy Dylan (Karen Elson going dark and slinky on “Cold Irons Bound”) and even some funky Dylan (Meshell Ndegeocello and Doyle Bramhall II fronting a great “Maggie’s Farm”). The pace was fast and furious and a hoot with a bottle of show-sponsor Jameson making the rounds and the production staff doing almost as remarkable of a job as the performers.

Take your choice of highlights, each performer seemed to pick the perfect song to cover: Norah Jones crooning “Just Like a Woman,” Ruby Amanfu and her wowza! vocals backed beautifully by bass, drums and pedal steel on “Not Dark Yet,” Jason Isbell and his wife, Amanda Shires, playing a stunning “Lay Lady Lay” and, my personal favorite, Elvis Perkins singing “Motorpsycho Nightmare,” the full band coming to a head, Perkins not missing a beat while he slyly sang the lyric “lookin’ just like Tony Perkins.” Random pockets of the crowd would ignite as their favorite song would begin, singing along to Dylan both well known and obscure. After Erika Wennerstrom and house bassist Austin Scaggs riled up the crowd with a sing-along “Like a Rolling Stone,” the night fittingly ended with “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” with a certainly fire-code-flaunting crowd of pretty much every musician onstage at once. They might not have made it to every great Dylan song, but, damn, they had a lot of fun trying. —A. Stein

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.wordpress.com

(All ticket proceeds from both shows goes to Sweet Relief. Sweet Relief Musicians Fund provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability or age-related problems.)


Heavyweights on the Hudson

July 29th, 2013

My Morning Jacket/Wilco/Bob Dylan – Hoboken Pier A Park – July 26, 2013

(Photo: Eddie Bruiser)

What a view! What a bill! What a night! With a stage bracketed by the Empire State Building on one side and the Freedom Tower on the other—and just about perfect outdoor-concert weather—the AmericanaramA tour landed at Pier A Park in Hoboken, N.J., on Friday night. It was an evening for the skyscrapers of live rock and roll to strut their stuff on the same stage. My Morning Jacket began with “Circuital,” Jim James’s acoustic guitar sounding crisp in the summer air. MMJ are masters of the festival set, providing the perfect balance of fan favorites and special moments while packing enough of them into a limited time slot to make it feel like a much longer show. And so within the first four or five songs, the Jacket seemed to hit a couple dozen different spots and styles: “First Light” with a Flying V guitar, Carl Broemel on sax and funky keys from Bo Koster, “The Way That He Sings” with James belting it out to the crowd, a sweet spaced-out “Off the Record” with scrape-the-sky guitar work, and the steel-and-acoustic guitar summer-sun beauty of “Golden.” The special moments came when Brian Jackson joined in on flute, matching James’s howling on a great drums-and-bass-driven “It Beats 4 U” and adding a groovy R&B feel to the Gil Scott-Heron cover “The Bottle.” The action-packed set ended with opener Ryan Bingham coming back for a perfect sing-along cover of the Holland-Dozier-Holland classic “Don’t Do It,” in the style of the Band, multiple guitars manifesting the sound and energy of a full horn section.

Next up, Wilco, another fest-set vet, performed a set perfectly complementing My Morning Jacket’s. They opened with “Dawned on Me,” Nels Cline on a gigantic double-neck guitar that screamed, “Hey, why waste time with formalities?!” Like MMJ, they covered a wide range within the first few songs: “Misunderstood” heavy on the dynamics, the whole band playing to the perfection of the moment, twangy backdrop to Jeff Tweedy’s vocals on “Forget the Flowers” and a rocking “Handshake Drugs,” aka “Nels Cline Unleashed.” While Tweedy may never be Bob Dylan, songs like “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” might make you reconsider. Friday evening, it was literally played for the gorgeous setting sun, a full-color sonic masterpiece with the line “and the city kept blinking” resonating against the Manhattan skyline. Again, the great set got better when they brought out guests, first Warren Haynes for a bluesy “Feed of a Man,” featuring a Godzilla vs. Mothra battle with Cline. (Ironically, Haynes left for the most Allman Brothers-y Wilco tune, “Walken.”) After a let’s-just-rock-out section of “I’m the Man Who Loves You” and “I Got You (At the End of the Century),” they invited Ian Hunter onstage for the end of the set, dedicated to Maxwell’s. The Mott the Hoople frontman led the band through a folkie, “I Wish I Was Your Mother.” The set finished in large, this-is-the-big-city fashion: first Haynes joining with some beautiful playing on a great “California Stars” and then all of My Morning Jacket and Bingham on a fun! wow! cover of “All the Young Dudes.”

Not bad, right? But wait, there’s more! The granddaddy of them all, Bob Dylan and His Band, closed the show. Dylan is still getting it done, the Chrysler Building to the taller and newer high-rises, his voice approaching old bluesman growl. His set featured plenty of newer songs and old classics—plus a cover of “The Weight” with Tweedy, James and the J. Geils Band’s Peter Wolf—his band sounding great with a perfect mix of blues and country under a clear night sky. Compared to the opening sets, Dylan took his own pace, a natural gait of a man who’s done a few shows in his time. Personally, I was excited to hear two of my favorite Dylan tunes, “Tangled Up in Blue” and “She Belongs to Me.” What a night! —A. Stein



Quentin Stoltzfus’s New Band, Light Heat, Plays Mercury Lounge

June 26th, 2013

We haven’t heard much from Philadelphia musician Quentin Stoltzfus since his psych-pop project Mazarin released We’re Already Here in 2005, prompting Pitchfork to rave: “For real, it’s hard to find a track on this record that isn’t at once impressive in its craft and deeply lovable on a sensual level; you don’t even need to skip around to sing its virtues, you can just go down the track list in order.” Fortunately, in the eight years since, Stoltzfus found time amidst building studios and producing albums to write and record (and even record again) a batch of new material alongside friends like Matt Barrick, Peter Bauer, Paul Maroon, Walter Martin—better known as four-fifths of the Walkmen. (“It’s great to have good friends who are incredibly competent and who support and understand your ideas,” says Stoltzfus.) The end result is a band called Light Heat (above, their video for “And the Birds…”), and their debut self-titled album (stream it below) just came out on Tuesday. Interview calls it “a profound work that radiates a hip pop classicism, as much Dylan as it is Velvet Underground.” So don’t miss them tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge.


Bowery Ballroom Crowd Takes a Seat for the Milk Carton Kids

May 20th, 2013

The Milk Carton Kids – The Bowery Ballroom – May 19, 2013

There were two rare occurrences at The Bowery Ballroom last night. The first was that the venue was set up with seats—a sit-down affair for the Milk Carton Kids. The duo, Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan, played in just a rectangle of light with four microphones onstage, one each for their voices and their guitars. Working largely from material off their new album, The Ash & Clay, the pair proved to be worthy of a seated show, better the audience to sit in hushed awe, savoring the fantastic two-part harmonies and every crisp note from the acoustic guitars.

While imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it’s a two-way street, and if the Milk Carton Kids sound like they’re imitating the bluegrass-y folk of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, it’s just as flattering for the upstarts to be compared favorably to the gold standard of the genre. The music was a delight, early set highlights being the opening “Hope of a Lifetime” and “Honey, Honey,” the latter featuring the first of many great guitar solos from Pattengale, mixing bluegrass, country and old school swing jazz in a mix that could give Rawlings a run for his money. Music wasn’t the only thing they offered, though. For the same price of admission, the full house was treated to a two-man comedy team, a cross between Abbott and Costello and the Smothers Brothers, with Pattengale mostly playing the straight man to Ryan’s understated ramblings.

The banter truly felt like bits, Ryan starting off on one theme and then riffing his way through highbrow humor, drawing real laughter from the crowd. The line between the serious and the not so serious was thin for these guys, and at times nonexistent, like during “Charlie,” when a botched song became an opportunity for a one-liner or two. Still, it was the music itself that had the folks sitting at attention, the perfect blend of harmony and guitar playing in “Michigan” being a personal representative highlight. And that second rare occurrence? It happened right before the Dylan-esque, venue-appropriate encore of “New York”: a well-deserved standing ovation. —A. Stein


Josh Ritter Returns to Terminal 5 Tomorrow Night

May 17th, 2013

Growing up in Idaho, Josh Ritter heard the Bob Dylan/Johnny Cash version of “Girl from the North Country” on his parents’ copy of Nashville Skyline and knew he wanted to become a songwriter. Some dreams do come true, because years later, Ritter was named one of the 100 Greatest Living Songwriters by Paste magazine. The folk-leaning singer-songwriter has earned favorable comparisons to Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Leonard Cohen (or as Mary-Louise Parker says, he “is usually compared to the legends, the ones you have been listening to since you were 15, the ones you love most”), and he’s put out a considerable amount of material on EPs and full-length albums. The most recent of which, The Beast in Its Tracks, written in the wake of the dissolution of his marriage, came out earlier this year. In praising it, American Songwriter calls it “a gracious, relentlessly honest, post-breakup record.” And Josh Ritter (above, playing “Joy to You Baby” on Late Show with David Letterman) has been out on the road, touring with the Royal City Band, ever since. See them tomorrow night at Terminal 5. And as an added bonus, the Felice Brothers, on their last night on the tour, will open the show.