On Stage: Bobby Whitlock, a legend you may not know

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Also: Colin Quinn brings his one-man show to Sellersville

By Denny Dyroff, Staff Writer, The Times

bobby and coco

Bobby Whitlock (with wife Coco Carmel) was a key member of seminal bands such as Derek and The Dominos, but many fans may not know his name. He and Carmel play this weekend in Sellersville.

Serious fans of rock music — especially classic rock — are well aware of Bobby Whitlock and his many talents. Even casual fans are familiar with his music even if they’ve never heard his name.

For example, Whitlock and Eric Clapton were the key members of Derek and the Dominos. The classic songs “Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?” and “Bell Bottom Blues” were co-written by Clapton and Whitlock — as were many other Derek and the Dominos’ tunes.

Prior to that, Whitlock had played keyboards for Delaney & Bonnie and Friends. Early in his career, Whitlock was a session man with Memphis soul acts such as Sam & Dave and Booker T. & the MG’s.

Over the years, Whitlock and recorded and/or performed with such luminaries as the Rolling Stones, George Harrison, John Lennon and Yoko Ono and Dr. John. He also has released more than a dozen solo albums from 1972’s “Bobby Whitlock” to 2013’s “Carnival: Live in Austin, which he recorded with his wife CoCo Carmel.

This fall, Whitlock and Carmel, who is a guitarist, bassist and saxophonist, are hitting the road on “The Just Us Tour 2015” — a very special 11-date event presenting an all-acoustic evening of songs hosted in an intimate setting.

This veteran duo has worked with some of the most renowned guitarists in the world, and on this tour, which began on September 11, they have handpicked a different local guitarist to perform with them at each show.

The tour, which visits the Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) on September 20, is billed as “11 Cities, 5,000 Miles, and 10 Guitarists.”

 “When you have a band, you lose touch with the audience,” said Whitlock, during a recent phone interview from the couple’s Texas home. “What we do here — this is a personal experience for everyone. We talk about what is behind the song. We’re very vulnerable. The truth is there. There is no shroud covering us.”

The idea for the tour has its roots in Austin.

“Carmel and I play a residency here,” said Whitlock. “We’ve done over 350 shows at The Saxon in Austin. We just fell into this thing. We play and break in new songs and play old Derek and the Dominoes songs that everyone loves.

“A friend told me to check out this guitarist he knew and wanted me to jam with hm. The guy sent me one more video of the guitarist. I watched it and the guitarist was phenomenal. That guitarist’s name was Tolo Marton. He’s a great guitarist from Italy.

“Three months ago, we had a 6 p.m. show at The Saxon. I called and told him to show up with his Stratocaster and a small amp. He came to the club. CoCo and I played acoustic and he sat between us. It took it to another level. We call this tour the Just Us tour because it’s just CoCo and me.”

Carmel, who has performed with such acts as Dr. John, Phoebe Snow, Jon Bon Jovi, Albert Lee, and Billy Preston, said, “As opposed to having a band with us, having a guitarist with us is a great idea. We start out playing guitar and then Bobby moves to piano and I play sax. It gives these young guitarists a chance to play these songs they’ve idealized.”

When Whitlock and Carmel perform together, the chemistry is off the charts.

“Bobby and I have been together for 14 years,” said Carmel. Respect each other and give each other a lot of space. He tells me — hey, just do what you do. We just have that something that continues to work and grow.”

Whitlock said, “On this tour, we go back to the way we started. Our agent was booking a small tour so we put it out that we were having a different guitar player in every city we play. I don’t think we’ll ever have a full-time band again. We call our band ‘The Invisible Souls.’ You can’t see them but you can hear them.

“Everybody already knows the songs I’ve written. We’re just playing these songs and some new ones. The new material threads in like it’s always been there. We do back-and-forth vocals. I’m now singing the way I want to. My voice has matured.

“CoCo and I are a team. We’re in a farm on the edge of town. CoCo and I are friends, lovers, partners, husband-and-wife. People can see and hear and feel the special thing we have.”

The show at Sellersville will feature Pat Harrington as tie special guitar guest. Harrington is a guitarist from upstate New York who previously played in the band Electric Church.

“Pat Harrington is a great player,” said Carmel. “We’re really pleased to have him play with us.”

Video link for Bobby and CoCo — https://youtu.be/cSHXqcYrjD4.

The show on September 20 will start at 7:30 p.m. with Craig Thatcher as the opening act. Tickets are $25, $39.50.

Other shows over the next week at the Sellersville Theater are Albert Castiglia and Kim Brewer Band on September 17, Lez Zeppelin on September 18, Colin Quinn on September 19, Lee Dewyze on September 22 and Wishbone Ash on September 23.


Colin Quinn

Quinn’s visit to the Sellersville Theater will feature two of his infrequent on-the-road standup performances. The show has an unusually long title — “Colin Quinn Live: Based on the hit off-Broadway show The New York Story.”

In “Colin Quinn Live: Based on the hit off-Broadway show The New York Story,” Quinn, a Brooklyn native, takes a nostalgic look at the rise and fall of his hometown, the city formally known as New York — from its modest beginnings as Dutch outpost to the hipsters of modern Williamsburg. He takes aim at the prejudices, paranoias and peculiarities that make New York City the crossroads of the world. 

Quinn has written and starred in five shows — “Irish Wake,” “My Two Cents,” “Long Story Short,” “Unconstitutional,” and “The New York Story” — two of which he collaborated on with Jerry Seinfeld as director. “Long Story Short” was also filmed as an HBO special that was televised in 2011.

“The show has changed some since the Off-Broadway production but it still has a lot of other stuff in it,” said Quinn, during a phone interview Wednesday evening from his New York home. “I stretch off the bag to get to make it fit. That’s the benefit of doing standup comedy.

“I talk about social media and what it means — how it affects everything. Nobody makes eye contact anymore. People express their emotions through symbols on their smart phones. And, I do general stuff from earlier days.

“The show runs straight through without a break. Intermissions aren’t made for comedy. Most of the show is scripted with maybe 15-20 minutes of improv. But, calling it scripted is playing fast and loose with the word. It’s better to say that there is a loose outline.”

Quinn hasn’t taken the show outside of New York very much since it began on Off-Broadway.

“I did it in central Connecticut and it did well there,” said Quinn, who first became known nationally from MTV’s “Remote Comtrol” and then cemented his popularity as a cast member of “Saturday Night Live.”

“A lot of it is just about ethnicity in general. I developed it in Long Island where white ethnics live — where the Irish-Americans live. A lot of stuff is also about political correctness. I just don’t like political correctness.”

Anyone who has ever seen Quinn perform onstage or on television knows that already.

“I’m taking the show back to Off-Broadway on October 20,” said Quinn. “I’ll be at the Cherry Lane Theatre for three months.”

Video link for Colin Quinn — https://youtu.be/M5-rHqbp4vE.

Quinn will have an early show at 6 p.m. and a late show at 9 p.m. with separate admission for each. Tickets are $29.50 and $45 for either performance.

hank & cupcakes

Hank & Cupcakes

Another respected rock-and-roll couple will be playing in Philadelphia on the same night. On September 20, Hank & Cupcakes will headline a show at Bourbon and Branch (705 North Second Street, Philadelphia, 215-238-0660, bourbonandbranchphilly.com).

Hank & Cupcakes are a Brooklyn-based indie pop band formed in seven years ago in Tel Aviv, Israel. The group consists of husband-and-wife duo Sagit “Cupcakes” Shir (drums, vocals, piano) and Ariel “Hank” Scherbacovsky (bass guitar).

“We met when we were in the Israeli Army,” said Cupcakes, during a recent phone interview. “In Israel, everyone has to go into the Army. We were in a touring band together in the military.”

They formed a band together in Israel after their army days and then got married. In 2007, they moved to Cuba for awhile.

“We were bored with our life in Israel and Cuba came up as an ideal place to be,” said Hank. “We were going there to study music at Havana University. We spent six months in Havana studying Cuban music — especially drums.”

The next location for Cupcakes & Hank was New York City. With Brooklyn as their home base, they played shows across the United States and all around Europe. And, they recorded their debut album “Naked!”

“Our first album was recorded in Germany,” said Hank. “We had just gotten signed to a publishing deal with a company based in Berlin. So, we went to Germany to make the album even though we were based in Brooklyn.”

Hank & Cupcakes are ready for another relocation.

“We’re moving to Atlanta, Georgia,” said Cupcakes. “We really liked it when we were visiting there. There is a great music scene in Atlanta. And, it’s well-located for our good cities.

“We love the South and the Southeast and we have a lot of fans in the Midwest. We also love Philly and Washington. Johnny Brendas in Philly is one of our favorite places to play.”

The duo’s current tour is in support of their new album “Cash 4 Gold,” which was just released in the states on September 5.

“We spent all of last year recording the album,” said Cupcakes. “A lot of the songs were already in our repertoire. It’s mostly me writing the songs and Hank producing them — but lately Hank has started writing some.

“When I’m writing a song, it’s usually the lyrics that come first. Other times, we’ll be jamming and I’ll start improvising. I’ve already written three new songs for the next album.

“Songs from the new album make up 60 per cent of our live show. The album songs sound better live than they do on record. We’re really a live-oriented band. And, it’s just the two of us — bass and drums.”

Video link for Cupcakes & Hank — https://youtu.be/CxsaG27UJIM.

The show at Bourbon and Branch will begin at 8 p.m. with a trio of opening acts — Harrowgrove, Kim Jong Ill and The City Music Project. Tickets are $7 in advance and $10 at the door.

Other shows over the next week at Bourbon and Branch will be The Stammer, The Head, Uncle Father, Oscar and The Icks on September 17, The Late Saints, This Way to the Egress, and Black Horse Motel  on September 18, MI$TRO with Yung Nilo on September 19, and The Plums, Up The Chain, The Dawn Drapes, and Tiger Left, Tiger Right on September 22.

the mynabirds

The Mynabirds

When Saddle Creek recording artists Georgie James broke up a few years ago, Laura Burhenn stayed with the Saddle Creek label and embarked on a solo project called The Mynabirds.

On September 23, The Mynabird will be in Philly for a show at Boot and Saddle (1131 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, 215-639-4528, www.bootandsaddlephilly.com).

Burhenn recorded The Mynabirds’ first album “What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood” with producer Richard Swift in 2010 and then spent a year performing with Conor Eberst’s Bright Eyes touring band.

In 2011, Burhenn and Swift reunited to record The Mynabirds’ sophomore album “Generals.” The album, which was also released by Saddle Creek, met with positive reviews. The album, which made many of the various “Best Albums of 2012” lists, was a powerful statement — a protest record for 2012 and concept album with a timeless feel.

The Mynabirds’ first album was a quiet disc characterized by Zen meditations and introspection. “Generals” headed in the opposite direction — loud, powerful and extroverted.

It has been a three-year wait for a new album by The Mynabirds but it was worth it. “Lovers Know,” which was released on August 7 on Saddle Creek, features 12 songs — emotive songs that reach out and touch listeners. Every song is stellar. It’s personal and confessional — and there isn’t a weak track on the disc.

Now, Burhenn and her band are on a coast-to-coast tour in support of the new disc.

“I’m booking a van myself and going out on tour,” said Burhenn, during a recent phone interview from her home in Los Angeles. “It’s still pretty DIY.

“I started writing songs for the new album when I was still on tour with Postal Service two years ago. I wanted to write the most emotionally vulnerable and open songs that I ever have. My producer Bradley Hanan Carter really helped me. I loved working with Richard Swift for my first two records also. He was really great.

“I was an English major when I was at Catholic University. When I was writing these songs, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t hiding behind metaphors. It was a really difficult record to write. It’s all about heartbreak.

“After I came back from the Postal Service tour, the longest relationship I had ever been in was dissolving. ‘Generals’ was all about knowing. ‘Lovers Know’ is about not knowing. I was inspired by William Faulkner. It’s about me being on the road, getting lost and then finding myself.

“Early last year, I went to a friend’s studio in Nashville and then brought the tracks back to L.A. The record is put together a lot like a hip-hop cut-and-paste — put together like a real collage.”

Burhenn did a lot of work on the album in New Zealand.

“Bradley (Carter) is from Auckalnd and he wanted to work with friends of his there,” said Burhenn. “He was going there to visit his family. I looked at my air miles and realized I could go to New Zealand cheap — $72 round trip to Auckland. So, I went.”

Now, Burhenn’s travels are taking her across America.

“I’m really proud of the live show,” said Burhenn. “We’re able to re-create most of the album live onstage. I like for there to be differences between live siongs and the album.

“The bigger challenge — every record I’ve made is different so it’s a challenge to put a set together. But, we’ve got it down. It’s pretty holistic.”

Video link for The Mynabirds — https://youtu.be/GwfBq7bsuzg.

The show at Boot & Saddle will start at 8:30 p.m. with opening acts The Downtown Club and Bad Bad Hats. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.

bad bad hats

Bad Bad Hats

Bad Bad Hats is an indie rock band from Minneapolis, Minnesota featuring Kerry Alexander (vocals, guitar), Chris Hoge (drums), and Noah Boswell (bass).

“We all met at Macalester College in Saint Paul when we were students there,” said Alexander, during a recent phone interview from Minneapolis. “It just happened — and then worked out really well.

“Before I started working with Chris and Noah, I was playing a lot of open mics at a coffee shop near school. I played a fair amount of covers and was making demos on my computer with GarageBand.

“I grew up in a musical household. My mom plays viola. I took violin lessons when I was younger and also studied piano. When I got older, I didn’t see how I could make the music I liked with those instruments. So, I picked up guitar when I was about 13. I was listening to Michelle Branch and Alanis Morisette. Letters to Cleo was the band that got me rocking out more.”

Alexander and Hoge started writing songs together in 2010 and recorded a collection of demos that would later become their first EP. The addition of Boswell in 2012 solidified the line-up.

Afternoon Records signed the trio and released its EP “It Hurts” in early 2013. Bad Bad Hats just released their debut LP “Psychic Reader” on July 17th.

Bolstered by the experimental touches of the album’s producer Brett Bullion, “Psychic Reader” draws from the influences of all three members and explores a variety of musical styles over the course of 33 minutes.

“With the songs we wanted to make and the sounds we wanted to make, it was time to go into the studio and do an album,” said Alexander. “It took about a month-and-a-half to make.

“There are 10 songs but it’s only just over 30 minutes. The songs are short and sweet. We’ve been practicing a bunch of them and found that we’re actually playing them a little slower live. But, we’re bringing a drummer with us and we’re going to pump it up on this tour.”

Video link for Bad Bad Hats — https://youtu.be/ZOUC6m82xEc.

Other acts coming to Boot & Saddle this week are Nick Diamonds and Small Feet on September 17, Teenage Bottlerocket, PEARS, Mannequin Pussy, The Weaks on September 18, Algiers and Dark Blue on September 19, Dogs On Acid, The Past Haunts (ex-Piebald), Spill, Spelling Reform on September 21, and Potty Mouth, Marge and Hoop on September 22.

on an on

On An On

Another band from Minneapolis will be visiting the area on September 18 when On An On plays a show at MilkBoy Philly (1100 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, 215- 925-6455, www.milkboyphilly.com).

On An On, an indie rock band that was formed just over three years ago in Minnesota, features Nate Eiesland (vocals, guitar), Ryne Estwing (bass) and Alissa Ricci (keyboards).

The band put out its first album “Give In” in 2013. The trio is now touring in support of its recently-released sophomore album “And The Wave Has Two Sides.”

“Alissa and I grew up together in upstate Minnesota,” said Eiesland, during a recent phone interview from L.A. “We went to day school together in Brainerd. Ryne and I met in college. We kept crossing paths and got to know each other better.

“We just started playing shows together. We connected right from the start. But, we were playing and living in different cities — me and Liss in Minneapolis and Ryne in Chicago. We needed to live in the same city so Alisa and I moved to Chicago.

“That was back in 2012. Soon, we started touring a lot. We were nomads for several years. We were never in one place for more than a few weeks. After ‘Give In’ our touring slowed down.

About two years ago we settled down in Minneapolis. It was more just a home base. We didn’t do many shows while we were there because we didn’t want to overplay Minnesota.”

“And The Wave Has Two Sides” came out on Roll Call Records on July 24 this year.

“Some of the songs on the new album started years ago,” said Eiesland. “Some we written on the road when we were touring ‘Give In.’ When we settled down, we really started working on the songs.

“Coming up on a year ago, we went to L.A. to make the record with producer Joe Chiccarelli at Sunset Sound. What a great studio that is. So many amazing records have been done there.

“Our manager sent Joe some demos and he got back to us within an a hour. We were really excited that he wanted to work with us. We spent two-and-a-half months on pre-production, recording and mixing. It was the longest we ever spent on a recording.”

The team came up with a groove-oriented pop/rock record that puts people in a dancing mood.

“We played live in the studio,” said Eiesland. “That was the main driving force. We wanted to get back to the sense of people playing in a room. We wanted to get that energy into the microphone. It was a huge perk working with Joe because he’s not too heavy-handed.

“Our live show is a little different every night. It’s about 60/40 with new and old songs. We play a lot of new stuff — and a lot of older stuff that people still want to hear.”

Video link for On An On — https://youtu.be/me3p6AmGzEI.

The show at MilkBoy will start at 8:30 p.m. with opening acts Eliot Sumner and Dosh. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. 

in the pocket david u

David Uosikkinen of In The Pocket

Minnesota has a huge amount of residents who trace their roots to the Scandinavian countries — Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway. David Uosikkinen, a local musician who has been a mainstay on the Philly music scene for decades, also has Scandinavian roots. His family came from Finland.

“I just toured Europe with the Hooters’ ‘35 Alive’ tour,” said Uosikkinen, during a phone interview last week. “We went to Norway, Sweden, Germany and Switzerland but we didn’t get to Finland. We did 30 shows over there. It was a great test of our stamina. Fortunately, everyone came back with all limbs attached.”

Uosikkinen will bring the latest installment of the live performance side of his “In the Pocket” project to the Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com) on September 19. The band will introduce the new song in its repertoire — Tommy Conwell’s “Walkin’ on the Water.”

Uosikkinen is the drummer for the Hooters, one of Philadelphia’s all-time favorite bands. For his In the Pocket project — both live and in the studio — Uosikkinen uses a revolving lineup of Philadelphia’s most celebrated musicians to perform covers of tunes from Philly’s rich rock music history

“When I produce any song for In the Pocket, I grab a cool group of guys and do sessions,” said Uosikkinen. “I do it old school with everybody playing together. And, all the sessions are saved on video. I use ProTools to record the music. I use the console and then run it through tape. It just gives it that nice hug.”

“Walkin’ on the Water” is the title song of an album that was released in 1986 by Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers.

“I chose it because it’s an autobiographical song for Tommy Conwell,” said Uosikkinen. “It’s early, brash Tommy Conwell from the time of his first indie record and his album on Columbia. And, the story of the song is terrific.

In the Pocket’s version of “Walkin’ on the Water” features Dave Hause (The Loved Ones) on lead vocals, Tommy Conwell (The Young Rumblers) on guitar, Steve Butler (Smash Palace) on guitar, Eric Bazilian (The Hooters) on bass and guitar, Wally Smith (Crosstown Traffic) on keyboards, David Kershner on trumpet, Bobby Michaels on tenor saxophone, Mike Hood on trombone, Samuel Uosikkinen on background vocals and David Uosikkinen (The Hooters) on drums.

“We cut the song in April at Studio Four with (producer) Phil Nicolo on the board,” said Uosikkinen. “We’ve used Phil and Studio Four for the last handful of releases. We also videotaped the recording session.”

The new recording was the 13th installment of In the Pocket’s series of re-imagining Philly music classics. The other classics are “Fall in Philadelphia,” “Beat Up Guitar,” “A Woman’s Got the Power,” “I Saw the Light,”  “All My Mondays,” “Open My Eyes,” “You Can’t Sit Down,” “Soon You’ll Be Gone,” “Change Reaction,” “Disco Inferno,” “Punk Rock Girl” and “I Ain’t Searchin’.”

“This was 13th In the Pocket song,” said Uosikkinen. “We’re going to keep on doing it. We started in 2010 with ‘All My Mondays.’ Every song we do has to be Philly-oriented. There has to be a Philly connection.”

Video for In the Pocket’s “Walkin’ on the Water” — https://youtu.be/_RwqKABzpxg.

In the Pocket’s show in Ardmore will start at 9 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 day of show.

The Ardmore Music Hall will also present Leftover Salmon (featuring Bill Payne of Little Feat) with special guest The Brummy Brothers on September 17, Marshall Crenshaw, Jonathan Edwards, and Garland Jeffreys In-The-Round on September 18, George Porter Jr. & the Runnin’ Pardners on September 20, and the Wailers with special guest Jah People on September 23.

the fratellis

The Fratellis

The international flavor will also be on display on September 22 when the Fratellis headline a show at the Theatre of the Living Arts (334 South Street, Philadelphia, 215-222-1011, http://www.lnphilly.com).

The Fratellis are a rock-and-roll band from Glasgow, Scotland featuring lead vocalist/uitarist Jon Fratelli (born John Lawler), bassist Barry Fratelli (born Barry Wallace), and drummer/backing vocalist Mince Fratelli (born Gordon McRory).

They rose to international stardom on the success of their Top 10 hit singles “Chelsea Dagger” and “Whistle For The Choir.” Since their formation in 2005, the Fratellis have released four albums — “Costello Music” (2006), “Here We Stand” (2008), “We Need Medicine” (2013) and their new album “Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied” (2015).

“The new album was mostly written last summer,” said Jon Fratelli, during a trans-Atlantic phone interview last week from his home in Glasgow. “We recorded it in October.”

“Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied” is an 11-song power-charged album recorded in Los Angeles with Tony Hoffer, producer-architect of both their debut album and of Jon’s solo album “Psycho Jukebox.”

“It’s not a chore to go to Los Angeles,” said Fratelli. “It’s quite the opposite. We just wanted to work with Tony as our producer. Almost all the records I’ve made have been made in L.A.

“With the Fratellis, it’s mostly me doing the songwriting. I just let the songs come out. I just try to let myself get out of the way enough to let the songs come — and to stay awake enough. We don’t think about making a record until the songs are already there.

“We have the Beatles in our DNA. You can’t escape it, can you? My record collection hasn’t evolved since I was 17. I never felt a need to add to it. The Beatles are there. Dylan was my second love — and the most important one. It’s all basic rock.”

Unlike many bands, the members of the Fratellis have no prior history together before the formation of the group.

“We met through adverts placed on music message boards in Glasgow,” said Fratelli. “I had a bunch of songs and a small label in Glasgow wanted me to do an album for them.

“The three of us got connected and from the first time in the rehearsal room, it was obvious that it would work. We were shambolic from the start and shambolic for the next few years.”

Their path led them to the making of “Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied” — unquestionably their best album so far.

“We only spent about four weeks in the studio,” said Fratelli. “We‘re not the kind of band that will spend endless hours making a record. The new album was certainly the easiest we’ve ever made — easy to write, easy to record and it’s easy to listen to.”

Video link for the Fratellis — https://youtu.be/1yQ_grujECk.

The show at the TLA will start at 8 p.m. with opening act Grizfolk. Tickets are $19.


Finger Eleven

Finger Eleven, which is headlining a show on September 23 at the Electric Factory (421 North Seventh Street, Philadelphia, 215-627-1332, www.electricfactory.info), is a rock band from Burlington, Ontario, that came into existence in 1989.

The quartet — Scott Anderson (vocals), James Black (guitar), Rick Jackett (guitar) and Sean Anderson (bass) — has released seven total studio albums (six as Finger Eleven and one as Rainbow Butt Monkeys) with the album “The Greyest of Blue Skies” serving as the breakthrough disc. The band’s “Finger Eleven” album in 2003 went gold in the United States and platinum in Canada.

When Finger Eleven began writing the follow-up to its 2010 album “Life Turns Electric,” the four musicians all agreed they wanted to do something different. The result was “Five Crooked Lines,” which was released on July 31, 2015 on the Bicycle Music Company/Concord label.

Ever since they first started making music together in high school in 1990, they have experimented with a variety of styles such as hard rock, classic rock, heavy blues and textural pop. So, over a two-and-a-half year period, they decided to try a bit of everything over a multitude of writing sessions.

“When we went to write it, we were pretty aware that we wanted to do something different,” said Jackett, during a phone interview last week from his home in Toronto. “We wanted to take a different approach — a lot of writing without obsessing over small details.

“We took a lot of time to make this record because we focused on songwriting — on the skeleton of the song. We didn’t want to overproduce it.

“Over the last six to seven years, there was pressure on the band to keep going and doing what we’ve been doing. With the new record, right off the bat one of our biggest goals was to not repeat ourselves. This record was our biggest leap.

“After the first 10 songs, we thought if we released it, it wouldn’t be our best. We just decided to go away and not come back until we were ready. We spent a lot of time on the songwriting.”

When all the songs were ready, the band headed down to a home studio in West Nashville where producer Dave Cobb helped them narrow the list of songs to be recorded down to 12 and then record them at break neck speed.  The foursome knew it needed the record to capture the old-school atmospheres of some of its favorite classic rock records.

“The coolest part after doing so much writing was going to Nashville,” said Jackett. “We did the whole record — including the mixing — in 15 days. Usually, it takes us about six weeks to make an album.

“The band has always had a wide variety of music we like — as individuals and as a band. There are certain bands we all agree on — Pink Floyd,  Genesis, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles. Genesis — early Genesis — was really important.

“We went back to our original favorites. We embraced some of the old bands we loved like Black Sabbath. We’re all massive song fans and I think it shows in the songs we’ve written for the new record.”

Video link for Finger Eleven — https://youtu.be/umFxF-3W8CI

The show at the Electric Factory, which also features Three Days Grace, will start at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $35.


Jackie Green

Salinas is a small city in central California with a population of just over 150,000. It an area known for growing produce and even had a minor league baseball team called the Salinas Packers.

The city’s list of famous natives includes author John Steinbeck, singer-actress Vanessa Hudgens, and former Van Halen lead singer Sammy Hagar.

On September 23, the World Café Live (3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 215-222-1400, philly.worldcafelive.com) will present a show with Jackie Greene as the headliner and Lauren Shera as the opening act — both of whom lived in Salinas during their young lifetimes. Ironically, they never were in the city at the same time and their paths crossed later in their careers.

Greene, who grew up and still lives in the Sacramento area, is currently touring in support of his new album “Back to Birth,” which was released on August 21 on Yep Roc Records.

He has released six previous albums includingRusty Nails” (2000), “Gone Wanderin’” (2002), “Sweet Somewhere Bound” (2005), “American Myth” (2006), “Giving Up The Ghost” (2008) and “Till the Light Comes” (2010).

“I actually started writing the new album in 2012 and then put it on the back burner,” said Greene, during a recent phone interview from a tour stop in Seattle. “For five years, I had a lot of extracurricular activities.”

In 2012 Greene, Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead and Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes embarked on an acoustic tour. They called themselves the Weir, Robinson, Greene trio, or WRG for short. In late 2012, the Black Crowes announced that Greene would be joining their lineup starting the following spring.

Last year, Greene hooked up with Steve Berlin, who is the horn player for Los Lobos and a top-flight record producer. Together, they made “Back to Birth.”

“Steve and I met over 10 years ago,” said Greene. “He produced a couple of my record in 2006 and 2007. We probably first met when I opened for Los Lobos. When it came time to make this record, doing it with Steve was a natural. He has a no-nonsense attitude and we’re not afraid to step on each other’s toes if we think something should be done differently.

“The recording went real smooth. We knew ahead of time what we were going to do in the studio because we didn’t have much time. We had a pretty straight-forward approach. I had about 40 songs when I first started making demos in 2012. I got 15-18 songs and then whittled it down to 10 or 11.

“This time, we knew what the 11 songs would be. They were written over the last five years. A couple of them had been floating around in our sets here and there. We recorded the album at Supernatural Studio in Oregon City, Oregon because Steve lives near there and because the studio had a good piano sound.”

The result was an album filled with well-crafted songs with insightful lyrics.

Referring to the new disc, Greene said, “We live in such a fast-paced, hectic environment, I wanted to make a record that would invite people to step back and take their time to listen. I wanted to make a record that would reward people who are willing to sit down and give it a couple of serious listens.

“Musically, this album is kind of a return to the simplicity of the records that I started with, although I feel like I have a much better idea of what I’m doing now. I think the lyrics are the parts that have really evolved. A lot of these songs explore the notion of a cyclical existence, and the sense that life goes in a circle.  I want the songs to come from a place that’s meaningful to me, but I also want to keep them as simple and direct as I can.”

Video link for Jackie Greene — https://youtu.be/olg2Wh0k9oI.


Lauren Shera

While Greene is a native Californian, Shera was a transplant to the Golden State.

“I was born in New York and my family moved to California when I was eight,” said Shera, during a phone interview last week from a tour stop in Portland, Oregon. “We lived in Monterey, Salinas and Carmel Valley. So, I pretty much consider myself a Californian.

“My family was very musical. Both my parents played so there was a lot of live music in our house. My mom plays piano and sings and my dad is a drummer. They used to have song cycles at our house with different musicians performing together. As I got older, I started performing in those song cycles.

“I started playing guitar when I was 13 because I wanted to put my poetry to music. I began writing poetry when I was 11 and was winning poetry awards when I was 13 and 14.

“When I was 18, I moved to Santa Cruz and then a year later I moved to Chicago to study at the Old Town School of Folk Music. I was learning a lot about guitar skills. I also was taking classes in songwriting and music theory. And, I learned how to play clawhammer banjo.”

Shera’s time in Chicago pointed the way to the future.

“It wasn’t until I moved to Chicago that I realized that music was something I wanted to do as a career,” said Shera. “I became more focused. While in Chicago, I wrote most of the songs for my ‘Once I was a Bird’ album. It was a very important and cathartic process. I moved back to Santa Cruz and recorded that album there.”

“Once I Was A Bird,” which was produced by Andy Zenczak at Gadgetbox Studios in Santa Cruz, was released on June 7, 2011. Her next album was “Gold and Rust,” which came out this year.

“There was a long gap between albums because I’m a slow writer,” said Shera. “It takes me awhile to compile songs for a record. After I made ‘Gold and Rust,’ I took my time releasing it. I didn’t want it to be an independent release. Then, I met Dave Frank from Big Sin Records and signed with them.”

After finishing the recording of the new album, Shera relocated again.

“I moved to Nashville in July 2012,” said Shera. “Many of the songs were inspired by things in California.  Knowing that I was about to be leaving California inspired some of the songs but I don’t think I ever planned to do a ‘Farewell to California’ album.”

Video link for Lauren Shera — https://youtu.be/pcx7ehbpKvU.

The show at the World Café Live will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance and $22 at the door.

Other acts coming to the Downstairs Stage are Here Come the Mummies and Weird Hot on September 17, Chris Kasper, Birdie Busch and the Greatest Night, and August John Lutz II (of Levee Drivers) on September 18, Kira Willey on September 19, John Byrne Band and Citizen’s Band Radio on September 19, John Fullbright and The Suitcase Junket on September 21, Brad Roberts of Crash Test Dummies and Clarence Bucaro on September 22.

The Upstairs Stage will feature Goodnight, Texas along with The Wayside Shakeup on September 17, Christine Havrilla & Gypsy Fuzz and Mama’s Black Sheep on September 18, Not My Dogg on September 19, Occidental Gypsy on September 21, Judith Owen and Lily Mae on September 22, and

Byrne and Kelly on September 23. 

the black ryder

The Black Ryder

Another West Coast-based act will be playing Philly on September 22 when The Black Ryder takes the stage at Union Transfer (1026 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, 215-232-2100, www.utphilly.com).

Like Bobby and CoCo and Cupcakes & Hank, The Black Ryder features a musical couple — but it’s a couple with a twist. Their relationship as a couple initially existed both romantically and musically. Now, it is just musically.

The Black Ryder was formed in Sydney, Australia in 2007 by Aimee Nash (Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards, Percussion) and Scott Von Ryper (Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Percussion).

Their debut album “Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride” was released in 2009 in Australia. The album came out in America in 2010 on the Anti-Machine Machine label — the same year that Nash and Von Ryper moved to Los Angeles.

In February this year, The Black Ryder released its sophomore album “The Door Behind the Door” — again on the Anti-Machine Machine label.

“There were reasons for the long time between albums,” said Nash, during a phone interview last week from her home in L.A. “We moved from Sydney to L.A. in 2010 and started writing the record.

“We recorded it ourselves so we had to assemble a band. There were a lot of changes we were going through. There are a lot of challenges when you relocate to a country and don’t know anyone there.

“We actually finished the record a year before it was released. The music industry has changed so much. We have our own label released through a distribution deal. Things took time. There was no pre-written plan. We were just trying to join all the dots.”

And, there was the relationship thing.

“Scott and I were a couple when we made the first record and then there were a lot of changes,” said Nash. “It happened back in Australia. It was amicable. We didn’t really have a breakup song. We just reached the end of the road together that way.

“We still collaborate well musically. We’ve known each other for more than half our lives. Just because our marriage didn’t work out didn’t mean that we should let the music go. This is the third band we’ve been in together.”

There is a message behind the title “The Door Behind the Door.”

“One door closes and another door opens,” said Nash. “That way, you keep moving forward. I’m a ‘glass half-full kind of person.’ Bring in a band is hard work but we wouldn’t be doing it if we didn’t love it.”

Video link for The Black Ryder — https://youtu.be/POJk4WnZkPc

The show at Union Transfer will get underway at 8:30 p.m. with The Black Ryder as the opener and The Jesus and Mary Chain as the headliner. Tickets are $35.

The Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) will present Fighting Burrito Comedy Show with Jared Bilski, The Incredible Shrinking Matt & Jacquie, Chris Dolan, Rick Juliani, Eddie Finn, Nicole Yates on September 17, On The Funny Side Of The Street, with Chrsitine Lavin and Don White on September 18, “Halfway to St. Patty’s Day Party” with Beyond The Pale on September 19 and Open Mic with Sam Kwietniak on September 20.

The Grand Opera House (818 North Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-652-5577, www.thegrandwilmington.org) will host “The Wiggles Rock & Roll Preschool Tour” on September 23 at 6:30 p.m.

The Steel City Coffee House (203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, 610-933-4043, www.steelcitycoffeehouse.com) will host Spiritgrass on September 17, Anna Spackman and Lindsay Stiem on September 18, and Blue Bizness and The Dukes Of Destiny on September 19.

Chaplin’s (66 North Main Street, Spring City, 610-792-4110, http://chaplinslive.com) will present Pick Yer King and Above the Mendoza on September 18 and Chris Bernstorf, Brick Nova, The Spiritual and Kept on Hold on September 19.

World Café Live at the Queen (500 North Market Street, Wilmington, 302- 994-1400, www.queen.worldcafelive.com) will feature Apache Trails and Ali Sperry on September 17, Syleena Johnson and Legacy 215 on September 18, Shark Tape on September 19, and Nara Yoshioka and Tara Hendricks on September 23.

Burlap & Bean Coffeehouse (204 South Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square, 484-427-4547, www.burlapandbean.com) will present Antje Duvekot with Chuck Cannon on September 17, The Young Novelists with Emily Mure on September 18, and John Galla with Rivers on September 19.

Melodies Café (2 East Ardmore Avenue, Ardmore, 610-645-5269, www.melodiescafe.com) will host Momonita and Oakland Wallace on September 18, Duke Maroon along with Dead and Lovely on September 19 and Nathan Earl & Rachel Joy on September 22.

The Keswick Theater (291 N. Keswick Avenue, Glenside, 215-572-7650, www.keswicktheatre.com) presents Jackie Evancho on September 17, Dave Mason’s Traffic Jam on September 19 and Cheap Trick on September 22.

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