Bluegrass cats have such a propensity for hopping back and forth between bands, hooking up for one-off super-group LPs, and just plain gigging with whomever’s offering the most cash at any given moment that they often seem as much mercenaries as musicians.
True, there are some folks who stay in the same bands for years or even decades, but let’s be honest: most of those bands are named after them. Folks like Ricky Skaggs and Doyle Lawson.
Now, Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent are longtime veterans of the professional bluegrass world. Between them both they have two decades worth of experience that’s mostly made up of stints in the bands of both those legendary artists from the last paragraph. They’ve been around and they know the score. So, when a one-off recording they made together for a Christmas-themed compilation album went straight to Number One on a major bluegrass chart, they knew they were on to something.
Before too long, they had hatched the idea of jumping ship from their respective employers and forming a new band with themselves as the featured attractions. Dailey was used to the spotlight, as he had previously occupied a key position in Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. Namely, singing lead as well as playing guitar and serving as a wise-cracking foil to Lawson in between songs. Upright bassist Vincent was a child prodigy who began singing at age three and by six was playing with his family’s band on their popular radio broadcasts. In addition to his ten-year, award-winning stint with Skaggs in Kentucky Thunder, he’s recorded and/or played live with everyone from Norah Jones to Grandpa Jones (!) and from Dolly Parton to Keith Urban.
They signed with industry heavyweight Rounder Records last September upon completion of their debut CD, and it has just been released to great acclaim. With over 100 tour dates scheduled for 2008 alone, this dedicated and determined unit (which also includes a mandolinist, fiddler and banjo and guitar player) seems poised on the road to widespread success.
As always, their low-key appearance at this humble, 100-seat smoke and alcohol-free venue not far from the Mighty 8th Air Force Museum should provide an intimate, revealing look at one of the most buzzworthy acts on the bluegrass circuit today.
I can’t emphasize enough what a wonderful venue this is (www.randywoodguitars.com). Even if you don’t consider yourself a big-time bluegrass fan, give Randy’s place a shot. The chance to watch phenomenal musicians in a quiet and respectful listening room environment is rare for this area, and you may be amazed just how smitten you become with this genre once you can carefully observe just how spontaneous and magical it can be. Tickets are $20 advance or at the door, but call 748-1930 first, as it may very well sell out. Fri., 7:30 pm, Randy Wood’s Concert Hall (1304 E. Hwy 80) - ALL-AGES.
This throwback combo from Lizard lick, N.C. (yep, you read that right) are well-versed in old-school ‘60s British electric blues (think Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac or John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers), as well as ‘70s southern boogie. They mix the two head-on into a sound that’s one part heavy-handed, classic rock groove drumming, one part syncopated guitar riffs, and one part overdriven mouth harp.
Their lyrical approach is steeped in spooky mojo, and shows hints of droning West Coast psychedelic rock. Long hair, shaggy beards, wicked, stinging guitar solos, and a relentless energy make these guys one of the more noteworthy regional touring blues acts to establish a foothold in this area in a long while. Fri., 10 pm, Mercury Lounge + Sat., 9:30 pm, Fiddler’s (River St.).
Folks either love Jucifer or they hate ‘em, which is usually the sign of a good rock band. Furthermore, I am hard pressed to think of another group I’m familiar with that sounds very much at all like Jucifer — another notch in their favor. The Athens, Ga.-based duo of vocalist/guitarist Amber Valentine and drummer Ed Livengood is known far and wide for a brain-numbing wall of sound that often includes more than a dozen massive speaker cabinets and a trap set that’s approximately the size of the Winnebago they reside in on a neverending, international tour of metal and rock clubs, halls and festivals. Part doom rock, part metalcore, part sicky-sweet sugar-pop, they veer jarringly from cathartic explosions of low-end rumble to whisper-quiet interludes that act as hurricane eyes.
Opener darsombra (who have a new album just out on the Public Guilt label) is a one-man experimental noise project from Brian Daniloski, who’s made a name for himself after years in the metalcore underground as a key member or sideman in groups such as Meatjack (hell, yes), Trephine and Suckpig. Come to think of it, the punishing, overdriven rattle and orchestrated feedback whines of his amplified and distorted guitars (including a baritone and an eight-string bass) actually sound a bit like Jucifer, which is probably why they’ve shared bills in the past. Wear earplugs for this one, unless you’ve always wanted to go deaf and defecate on yourself at the same time. Fri., 11 pm, The Jinx.
One reviewer recently opined of this NYC-based singer/songwriter, “Imagine a slightly more soft-voiced Nina Simone picking up a guitar and making gorgeous, low-key indie-pop.”
With instrumentation that includes piano, banjo, trap drums, glockenspiel, accordion and tambourine, her songs inhabit a woozy, besotted world that sounds a little like Edward Gorey’s numerous fur coats must have smelled. This is slightly creepy music to trace antique wallpaper by, or the perfect accompaniment to pressing leaves of exotic plants between the pages of musty, bison-bound volumes filled with meticulously observed illustrations of bizarre and unfortunate skin conditions from centuries ago.
She’s been here before. Perhaps if you make a point to come see her this time around, she’ll be back again. If you’re curious, go to www.myspace.com/miwagemini to sample her wares at Fri., 8 pm, The Sentient Bean - ALL-AGES. Pink KodiakWith his strange sense of wit and a stage persona that seems to veer between aloofness, antagonism, bemusement and bravado, Jeremy Hilbert (the man behind the local one-man act known as Pink Kodiak) makes for a slightly confusing live performer. However, his strong ear for penning catchy, slightly droning indie-rock, and the uniqueness of his presentation (he plays a fuzzed-out electric bass as the only “live” instrument on stage, while home-recorded backup tracks —all of which were written and performed by him— act as his “band” allow Hilbert a sense of liberty not enjoyed by most other local artists.Although in a sense he is extremely hemmed-in by the pre-recorded nature of his grooves, he has no one whatsoever to answer to when it comes to the composition of the material or how it is ultimately delivered in person. That freedom comes across in spades. While initially only seen at dodgy venues like the Guitar Bar or Metro Coffee House (or at private house parties and unlicensed shows centered around the local student community), his visibility increased greatly with a support slot at last fall’s Daniel Johnston show and a subsequent cover article in local music rag Murmur. Hilbert says his latest home-made CD is being reviewed in an upcoming issue of Paste Magazine, which is no small feat for such an under-the-radar guy playing decidedly offbeat music, which he incessantly and almost religiously terms “Death-Pop” for no obvious reason. Pick up on it. For this show, he appears as a featured guest of DJ David Rapp at Rapp’s weekly, retro-themed “Less Than Zero” night in the street level room of this bar near City Market. Sat., 10 pm, B & B Ale House.
This original, Atlanta-based modern-pop band’s regional profile seems to steadily increase. They’re known for hooky, guitar-o-centric arrangements and impressive vocal harmonies which at times resemble those of the Finn brothers from Crowded House. Yet, their material and delivery also shows the influence of distinctly southeastern modern pop, such as that of Jupiter Coyote and The Marvelous 3. It’s an odd combination, but then again, that’s what makes music fun, right? Sat., 10 pm, Wild Wing Café.