Tag Archives: Tony Leone


Gov’t Mule and Chris Robinson Brotherhood Come to SummerStage

May 16th, 2017

Local guitar hero Warren Haynes (vocals and guitar) doesn’t know how to sit still. He’s seemingly always performing, recording, touring or sitting in with someone else. And with a new Gov’t Mule album, the politically charged Revolution Come … Revolution Go, recorded last year on Election Day, due to arrive in just a few weeks, one of the hardest working men in show business is back out on the road with comrades in bluesy Southern-rock jam-band arms Matt Abts (drums and vocals), Danny Louis (keys and vocals) and Jorgen Carlsson (bass). Tomorrow night at SummerStage in Central Park, Gov’t Mule (above, performing “Blind Man in the Dark” at Lockn’) arrive with the like-minded Chris Robinson Brotherhood—the former Black Crowes frontman (vocals and guitar) alongside Neal Casal (guitar and vocals), Adam MacDougall (keys and vocals), Tony Leone (drums) and Jeff Hill (bass). The CRB’s most recent release, Betty’s Self-Rising Southern Blends, Vol. 3 (stream it below), out in March, is filled with live soundboard mixes by famed Grateful Dead audio engineer Betty Cantor-Jackson, terrifically capturing the band live, which just so happens to be the best way to experience Gov’t Mule and the Chris Robinson Brotherhood. So don’t miss them live tomorrow night at SummerStage.


Chris Robinson Brotherhood Take Their Time at the Space at Westbury

November 21st, 2016

Chris Robinson Brotherhood – the Space at Westbury – November 18, 2016

(Photo: Jay Blakesberg)

(Photo: Jay Blakesberg)

I’ve seen the Chris Robinson Brotherhood do their pie-eyed, soulful thing plenty now, and the word I keep going back to is unhurried, which doesn’t mean slow, for this band can cook up a good old rock and roll, blues or country racket when called for. But that does mean you go at their pace: a deliberate, expansive set or two of deeply fleshed out and not-a-little-cosmic Americana that insists you groove in its orbit or that you politely leave the rocket ship. It may not be for everybody, but in every year since the band’s 2011 inception, yielding to what the CRB does has been rewarding for the willing listener.

Robinson and his band of aces—guitarist Neal Casal, keyboardist Adam MacDougall, bassist Jeff Hill and drummer Tony Leone—throw back to a time when rock, blues, country and folk were painted with Day-Glo and didn’t mind a layer of stardust. Their music feels nostalgic but embraceable and honest. Those wistful moments that might sound sad or might sound accepting depend on how a guitar string is plucked, meshed with those more celebratory, up-tempo, let’s-kick-it type of songs. They can be short statements or long statements or really long statements, protracted with jam segments that can veer toward an ambient soundscape or burn with the gnarly guitars of a Tuesday night at the roadhouse.

They’re encyclopedic too, and that reach goes wide and deep. This two-setter at the Space at Westbury on Friday featured songs by Hoyt Axton (“Never Been to Spain”), Jackie Moore (“Precious Precious”), Bob Dylan (“It’s All Over Now Baby Blue”) and New Riders of the Purple Sage (“Last Lonely Eagle”) tucked between CRB originals and songs from Robinson’s previous associations given new life by this band (“I Ain’t Hiding,” came from the Black Crowes while “Tumbleweed in Eden” and “Train Robbers” drew from the brief, turbulent life of Robinson’s 2002-2004 era band, New Earth Mud). None of those felt out of place, but rather they were bent to the groovy CRB m.o. such that a well-trodden tune like “Baby Blue” had a livelier, hootenanny feel than the regretful folk sound it’s most often associated with. Robinson was as ever the band’s centerpiece. He’s still the charismatic hippie-with-an-edge howler he always was leading the Crowes, and with Leone and Hill keeping things humming—and from veering off course—Casal and MacDougall become its painters, working with a significant range of tones and colors both earthy (Casal’s paint-peeler slide guitar) and spacey (MacDougall’s spattering psych-out effects).

Together, the fivesome offered a few hours of vignettes: the mournful then defiant narrator of “Train Robbers,” which began as spooky country before erupting into vocal howls and volcanic guitar, the vicious rock and roll of “I Ain’t Hiding” (“Ain’t your saint, ain’t your enemy/ I’m a long shadow on the highway”), the big dreams and tortured realities of “Forever as the Moon” and “Star or Stone,” plus the drunk-on-life rambling in “Rosalee,” which began and ended the second set as effectively one long sandwich. And if there’s a newer song from the band’s rapidly growing catalog that takes its place among its best and most complete statements, it’s “Narcissus Soaking Wet,” which on this tour has been a second-set showpiece, getting really cosmic and Dead-y, a lengthy tale of myth. It’s a song to get lost in from a band really good at making them. —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson


Anders Osborne Heats Up Brooklyn Bowl

December 16th, 2013

Andes Osborne – Brooklyn Bowl – December 13, 2013

Friday night was one of those cold December evenings best for curling up cozy in front of the fireplace. But if you happened to be at Brooklyn Bowl instead, you got to see Anders Osborne perform as a human fireplace, ablaze with soulful songs and burning-hot jams. With a warm-you-up warm-up of “Black Tar,” the band—Carl Dufrene on bass, Eric Bolivar on drums and NYC go-to-guy Scott Metzger sitting in the entire night on guitar—was good and ready by the second tune, “Had My Reasons.” A long noodling introduction eventually moved into the song proper, Osborne blisteringly belting out “My sweet Mary!” before leading the band into a smoking climax.

The rest of the marathon show was one slow burn after another, the musicians playing off one another perfectly, in no hurry to get anywhere. On “Sarah Anne,” Metzger played a crackling solo over a bouncing reggae-tinged beat, and then Osborne zoned into a Grateful Dead–esque theme, with Bolivar and Dufrene supplying the kindling for another long jam. Osborne took the metaphor to heart mid-set with the highlight of the night, “Burning on the Inside,” which began innocently in his signature New Orleans–flavored blues rock. But after a couple of verses, the temperature spiked, and the band went totally molten, oozing into a gorgeous ambient section full of exploratory interplay that expertly flowed back into “Burning.” Tony Leone came out on drums for a medley sandwiched around a rollicking cover of “Going Down the Road Feeling Bad” with plenty of audience singing and Metzger and Osborne matching solos.

There was still plenty of heat left in the coals when the set closed, so Osborne threw another log on the fire for the encore with a better-have-your-extinguisher-ready cover of Neil Young’s “Cowgirl in the Sand.” With each verse making way for a far-reaching guitar jam, he curled up around his guitar with such energy that Osborne seemed in danger of keeling over completely, but the quartet was able to pull back each time. It was a monster bonfire of an ending—so much for a cozy evening at home. —A. Stein



We’ve Got You Covered on Halloween

October 30th, 2013

Let’s face it: Halloween is one of the biggest amateur nights of the year. So rather than trying to fight your way through a parade or going to a costume party surrounded by people who think they’re supposed to drink as much as they possibly can, let us do the heavy lifting for you, because we’ve got five stellar shows on All Hallows’ Eve. Grateful Dead guitarist Phil Lesh brings his traveling group of Friends—guitarists Grahame Lesh, Anders Osborne and Luther Dickinson, keyboardist Jason Crosby and drummer Tony Leoneto the Capitol Theatre; New York City’s own Holy Ghost! bring their post-disco dance party to Terminal 5; Avan Lava, mixing electronic music, rock and R&B, will have the Music Hall of Williamsburg crowd moving in unison; another hometown band, post-punk five-piece Crystal Stilts, will think global and rock local at The Bowery Ballroom; and taking a break from playing Madison Square Garden, English crooner Ed Sheeran (above, performing “Wake Me Up” for Live from the Artists Den) plays Mercury Lounge. Tickets for that show go on sale—only online—tomorrow at noon.


One of Those Nights

May 20th, 2013

The Staves/Escondido – Mercury Lounge – May 17, 2013

The Staves

Late night at Mercury Lounge on Friday found the room sold out for two great sets of roots music. First, Escondido, a country duo from Nashville, began with a handful of nice, pretty country songs ably handled by Jessica Maros and Tyler James and backed by James’s brother on bass and keys. Both members looked resplendent in amazing retro all-white suits, James’s with silver metal buckles and trimming, and Maros’s a full white country-and-western jumpsuit with two-foot tassels lining the sleeves. Halfway through, the music caught up with the duds, “Rodeo Queen” being a minor-key highlight. After a short trumpet-and-guitar interlude of “Tennessee Waltz,” Escondido were joined by a full band of NYC ringers, including Scott Metzger on guitar and Tony Leone on drums. With the extra oomph, the band went “full Nashville” with songs like “Don’t Love Me Too Much.”

Between sets, Neil Young’s entire Harvest Moon played over the PA, and the headliners took the stage to “Walk On”—off another Young album, On the Beach—which may have been the best walking-on music I’ve witnessed in a while. The Staves, a trio of sisters from Watford, England, singing folk harmonies very much in the style of Crosby, Stills & Nash, but better looking and with just the right level of sardonic British wit. (My favorite line, regarding the show not starting until after midnight: “…had to be careful not to get smashed beforehand.”) Singing songs like “Gone Tomorrow” and “Icarus” with just a single acoustic guitar, the beautiful harmonies seemed to shock the audience to silence. Bass and drums joined in to heft up songs like “The Motherlode” and “Tongue Behind My Teeth” (“about someone we hate”).

The dynamic range of the music was awe-inspiring: from a single voice, to three-part harmonies overlapping with acoustic guitar, to getting loud with the full band and additional banging on a floor tom. As the set continued, the Staves loosened up with banter about the playful comedy of three sisters spending life together on the road. The best was saved for last, the Staveley-Taylor sisters around a single microphone singing “Wisely & Slow” in absolute gorgeous harmony before the song transformed into a rocking section with drums and handclaps. The encore featured the first song they’d written together, when they only knew the bottom two strings of the guitar, the title track of Dead & Born & Grown, before finishing with the last song on that album, “Eagle Song.” The latter tune used all six strings and featured a dreamy middle section, literally a pitch-perfect ending to a night filled with them. —A. Stein