Jerry Joseph is an old-school rock iconoclast, the type for whom opinionated is a politely remote descriptor, but then fades away into a hail of guitar and the spiked delivery of a particularly on-point lyric. And when he’s on—and with his trio, the Jackmormons, there’s no fear of off—he’s a ferocious live show, like Bruce Springsteen or Tom Petty fronting Crazy Horse, and with a world-weary purview that’s emotional, heavy and leaves just enough room for slivers of optimism. Joseph is above all prolific. He has more than 30 albums to his name and some 250 potent original songs, which will form the bulk of what’s sure to be a barn burner of a set at Rough Trade NYC tomorrow night. This time around, he and his Jackmormons (above, performing “Savage Garden”)—Steven James Wright on bass and Steve Drizos on drums—come slinging Weird Blood (stream it below), Joseph’s third album in as many years with Widespread Panic’s Dave Schools as a shrewd producer. Joseph is the first to admit the Weird Blood songs evoke a time of year and a state of mind. “I rented a tiny house about a mile from my home so I could write but be home for dinner and kid bedtime,” he writes in the album’s accompanying notes. “I ended up writing a fistful of songs. It was cold early January but a perfect place to write. Weird stuff was happening in general, one of those weeks where I had my copy of Black Star and David Bowie died. I tend to do the mad scribble thing when I write.” Indeed, Weird Blood runs the Josephian gamut: “Sweet Baba Jay” and its spooked folk rock, “3-7-77,” which feels like it’s trying to escape from its own untidy blues-rock framework, “Wild Wild West,” a tune of his that’s been around for more than two decades and really unfolds live, and “Think On These Things,” a common Joseph show opener but tender enough an anthemic rock song that it’s willing to let in just enough light to be called uplifting. You’ll get a range of styles, plus snatches of songs from one or more of Joseph’s constellation of influences, from Leonard Cohen to Bob Marley. But most of all you’ll get Joseph, who’s earned the right to be called an original, and if you’re in the right frame of mind, could front the best band in the world on any given night. —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson
Tag Archives: Leonard Cohen
Laura Marling – Brooklyn Steel – May 20, 2017
World-weary is a strange way to describe someone so young. But at just 27, Laura Marling seems to wear that term like a badge. With six full-length albums under her belt since 2008, the U.K. singer-songwriter has amassed a large catalog of intense folk songs that position her against the universe and brim with quiet contemplative ferocity. Oh yeah, otherworldly is also a great way to describe Marling. Her fantastic new album, Semper Femina, only further proves this, and on Saturday night, Brooklyn Steel was packed with fans eager to check out the new material live. L.A. four-piece Valley Queen, who blew away the crowd with a tight set of lean rock with a clear emphasis on hooks and ripping guitar gymnastics, opened the show. At times, Natalie Carol’s vocals and Shawn Morones’s guitar interplay reached the level of vintage Rilo Kiley, and her powerhouse voice took no prisoners as it burst through the stratosphere. Do yourself a favor and see these guys next time they roll through town. They definitely won’t be opening shows like this for very long.
Before Laura Marling took the stage, the house blared Leonard Cohen’s early work through the PA. It almost felt like a locker-room pep talk sung from the beyond. Each of the three microphone stands, for Marling and her two backup singers, were dressed with bouquets of flowers, and even the drum hardware was covered in enough vegetation to resemble a fire-escape garden. It was safe to assume that this would be an intimate affair. Marling and her band owed much of the night to Femina, playing eight of the album’s nine tracks, only omitting “Nouel.” They sounded fantastic on the new material and gave apt attention to the everything-including-the-kitchen-sink compositions by producer Blake Mills. But the real spellbinder of the night, of course, was Marling, and the show went from simply being special to “Oh, my God, are you seeing this?” when she treated the crowd to a number of songs accompanied by just a guitar. Her intricate fingerpicking and angelic voice mesmerized on older tunes like “Goodbye England (Covered in Snow),” and she threw in a jaw-dropping surprise cover of the Townes Van Zandt classic “For the Sake of the Song.”
The band returned to play a few more numbers and reworked the Once I Was an Eagle standout “Once” into an AM country ballad with spot-on three-part harmonies that got the biggest applause of the night. After the crowd settled down, Marling had to break the bad news: The show was coming to an end. “If you wanted an encore,” she said with a laugh, “then think of that last song … as the last song.” Choosing not to leave and comeback for more, Marling and her band ended the night with a rousing rendition of “Rambling Man,” off of her breakthrough album, I Speak Because I Can, leaving the crowd wanting more. —Patrick King | @MrPatKing
Tags: Blake Mills, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Steel, I Speak Because I Can, Laura Marling, Leonard Cohen, Live Music, Music, Natalie Carol, New York City, Once I Was an Eagle, Patrick King, Review, Rilo Kiley, Semper Femina, Shawn Morone, Townes Van Zandt, Valley Queen
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Following Arcade Fire’s world tour in support of their fourth studio album, Reflektor, Tim Kingsbury—the band’s guitarist and bassist—launched a side project called Sam Patch. Inspired by the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Leonard Cohen and ABBA, Kingsbury released the debut Sam Patch album, Yeah You, and I (stream it below), last month. It’s “a winning, engaging solo project full of analog synths and killer hooks,” according to PopMatters. “The songs have an innocent directness that’s welcoming and refreshing.” Kingsbury recently launched a short North American tour in support of the new tunes, which brings Sam Patch (above, the album’s second single “Listening”) to Mercury Lounge on Friday night. New York City singer-songwriter Miles Francis opens the show.
Tags: ABBA, Arcade Fire, Fleetwood Mac, Leonard Cohen, Live Music, Lower East Side, Mercury Lounge, Miles Franics, Music, New York City, Preview, Reflektor, Sam Patch, Tim Kingsbury, Video, Yeah You and I
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Growing up in the suburbs of Toronto, Lindi Ortega—inspired by her musician father and listening to the likes of Leonard Cohen, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash and Jeff Buckley— began writing original songs in her teens. She’s since decamped for Nashville and has become known for a voice that’s been compared to Dolly Parton’s and Emmylou Harris’s, as she’s become what AllMusic calls “a rising star on the North American alt-country scene.” Ortega (above, performing “Someday Soon” for SiriusXM) has already released three full-length studio albums (stream them below), and her fourth, Faded Gloryville, comes out next week. And ahead of its arrival, Ortega plays Mercury Lounge tomorrow night. Americana singer Joe Fletcher opens the show.
Tags: Cigarettes & Truckstops, Faded Gloryville, Jeff Buckley, Joe Fletcher, Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, Lindi Ortega, Little Red Boots, Live Music, Loretta Lynn, Mercury Lounge, Music, Preview, Tin Star, Video
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Damien Rice – Beacon Theatre – April 4, 2015
It’s been a very long eight years without Damien Rice’s moody, heart-aching ballads. And there’s something to be said about stretches of absence that perpetrate a yearning desire for an artist’s new material. Rice isn’t the kind of guy who’s rolling in the green, but rather he’s the type of guy who moves from his native Ireland to Iceland to renew his love for making music. Finally, back with his long-anticipated third studio album, My Favourite Faded Fantasy, he’s embarked on a tour minus his longtime collaborator, Lisa Hannigan, who’s set off on her own solo effort. And for this longstanding fan, it was hard news to take as the two truly complemented each other, but Rice’s headlining set at a sold-out Beacon Theatre on Saturday night provided a bittersweet reprieve.
Beginning the show literally on his knees, Rice opened with an acoustic rendition of “My Favourite Faded Fantasy” before taking his place behind the microphone for “9 Crimes.” The set interweaved his last album with treasured fan favorites. And thanks to his Irish brogue, women in the balcony requested he take of his shirt, but Rice playfully responded by serenading them with “It Takes a Lot to Know a Man” instead. I’m sure another gent in the audience, Mr. Jon Bon Jovi, appreciated the ploy. As if that weren’t cheeky enough, Rice requested some wine only to raise his glass while commencing with an old favorite, “Cheers.” From lyrics to personal reflections, he philosophized throughout the night about the driving theme in his songs—love. It takes a lot for a solo artist to command a stage like the Beacon, but Rice made it seem effortless as he rode old tunes to new and imaginative heights. That was especially true for “I Remember,” when he had to make up for the missing duality of Hannigan’s chilly work, which was acknowledged by an outspoken fan who yelled, “Where’s Lisa?”
With the performance drawing to a close, Rice returned for an encore with a harmonium-accompanied version of “Long Long Way,” a rollicking “Volcano” and “The Greatest Bastard.” Introducing his fellow countryman with sentimental stories about seeing him as a teenager, Glen Hansard took the stage unprepared but still managed a flawless take of “High Hope.” To cap off the night, the two covered Leonard Cohen’s “Chelsea Hotel #2,” a location-appropriate nod to the Big Apple and its history of folk singer-songwriters. —Sharlene Chiu
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.
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.
Tags: Bob Dylan, Falling Faster Than You Can Run, In Memory of Loss, Leonard Cohen, M. Ward, Mercury Lounge, Nathaniel Rateliff, Preview, the Band, Vic Chesnutt, Video
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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.
Tags: Billie Holiday, Blue Room, Bob Dylan, Careless Love, Dreamland, Leonard Cohen, Madeleine Peyroux, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Patsy Cline, Preview, Ray Charles, Video
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As one of the leading figures of the Mod revival, Paul Weller has been influencing English music for decades, first as frontman of the Jam, one of the most popular of the late-’70s/ early-’80s British punk and New Wave bands, and then as the leader of the R&B- and soul-tinged Style Council. Weller went solo back in 1992 with the release of an acclaimed self-titled LP. And the Modfather has remained active, touring and recording music, ever since. His most recent release, his 11th solo album, Sonik Kicks (stream it below), which the BBC says, “fizzes and spits from its first track,” came out last year. And the ever-busy Englishman (above, performing “Dragonfly” at this year’s Isle of Wight Festival for Festivo TV) has crossed the pond to play three New York City shows, tonight at the world famous Apollo Theater, tomorrow at Webster Hall and on Saturday at Music Hall of Williamsburg, which is sold out. We suggest you spend some time with him. (Singer-songwriter Matthew Ryan—who’s been glowingly compared to Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, and Leonard Cohen—opens each show.)
Tags: Apollo Theater, Bruce Springsteen, Leonard Cohen, Matthew Ryan, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Paul Weller, Preview, Style Council, the Jam, Tom Waits, Video, Webster Hall
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Tom Jones – The Bowery Ballroom – May 18, 2013
Tom Jones dominated the charts in the ’60s and ’70s with megahits like “It’s Not Unusual,” “Delilah,” and “What’s New Pussycat?” But you may also know him from his covers of Prince and Talking Heads, or from James Bond, or even from the Carlton dance on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Now, though, take everything you know about Tom Jones and throw it out the window. He just released a new album, Spirit in the Room, that, at the age of 72, completely transforms the singer. It’s the second album Jones has made with producer Ethan Johns, and it’s stunning. Like their first highly acclaimed collaboration, Praise & Blame, it puts Jones in a minimal setting. Forget the ass-shaking, panties-throwing go-go music of yesteryear—this is Jones, stripped down and personal.
But that’s not to say that Jones stopped being himself: He put on a phenomenal show at—of all places—The Bowery Ballroom on Saturday night. If you were lucky enough to snatch a ticket to the sold-out show, you could hear him in top form. His voice still booms across the room, he still swings his hips onstage and he still screams like James Brown when the moment calls for it. But he played not one of his hits, and it didn’t matter. He’s still got it. Jones opened with Leonard Cohen’s “Tower of Song,” singing softly to an enraptured crowd: “Well my friends are gone/ And my hair is gray/ I ache in the places where I used to play.” The song served as a sober reflection on his life and career, which, after 50 years, is still going strong. And Jones is enjoying it. “It’s Saturday night, isn’t it?” he asked. “Sometimes I can’t even remember if it’s Saturday night or not. Every night is Saturday night for me. Every day is Christmas Day.” —Alex Kapelman
Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com
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.