Forecastle Wrap-Up Reviews

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Jul 162013

J. L. Puckett at the C-J offered his take on Forecastle in today’s (7/16) issue.
Rachel Haas and Lori Keong at Paste Magazine have a Day 3 review up, with a gallery of photos by Julia Rickles and Haley O’Brian.
Adam Gold at Rolling Stone reviewed The Black Keys and others at Forecastle.
Elsewhere in the Louisville blogosphere:
Hoosier HitsBraden Lammers has reviews of Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3

Don Krekel Orchestra at The Comedy Caravan

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Jul 092013

This was the first time in ages that I have seen the Don Krekel Orchestra, a 17-piece big band. The Comedy Caravan was packed, for a send-off concert featuring trumpet and flugelhorn player Charlie Niehoff, who is relocating to Nevada with his wife. Krekel says of Niehoff: “Charlie has left a giant music footprint in the Louisville area. He was/has for many years been a regular member or first call sub for many musical groups in this area including The Ovation Orchestra, The Crusade For Children Orchestra, The Roger Dane Big Band, The West Market Street Stompers, The Rascals Of Ragtyme, The Don Krekel Orchestra, The Wednesday Night Band and The Masterpiece Brass Quintet.” The band opened with “Time After Time,” followed by a short, fun arrangement of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Barbara Polk sang a medley of “Some of these Days” and “After You’ve Gone,” with lyric alterations in honor of Niehoff. “My Foolish Heart” featured Niehoff’s burnished flügelhorn. Guest June Kelly-Roy joined Polk for an entertaining version of the warhorse “Why Don’t You Do Right.” The final song of the first set, “Outback Blues,” gave almost all the musicians the opportunity to shine with solo spots.

After a brief intermission, the classic sound of Count Basie was featured on “And That’s That,” followed by “Stardust.” Saxophonist Miles Davis took over singing duties for “The Tender Trap” and “Embraceable You.” Regrettably, after just a few more songs, the power went off, and the second set was cut short. One of the things which impressed me about the performance was how the big band did not overwhelm the relatively small space. Krekel told me that, in part, this was due to the acoustics of the room, and also due too the dynamics he employs in leading the band. Bon voyage, Mr. And Mrs. Niehoff, and thanks to the Don Krekel Orchestra for a most entertaining evening.

Rusted Root at Diamond Pub

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Jul 092013

The crowd and band were in synch when Rusted Root played the Diamond Pub on June 13. The last time I saw them was at Bellarmine, back in 1996 and I hadn’t been keeping up with the band. More’s the pity, as their spirited music is unlike that of most bands. There might be a touch of Santana in the percussion, and of vintage Jefferson Airplane in the harmony vocals and lead guitar, but the end result is Rusted Root music. Highlights of the almost two hour concert included “Cat Turned Blue” and the anthemic “Send Me on My Way.” One of their songs that made it to local radio back when, “Welcome to My Party” was great fun as well. The band has a new album, The Movement, which includes many of the songs played here, including the fun “Monkey Pants.” I didn’t see any tapers, but Rusted Root does have a number of concerts available for download at

Bumper Jacksons At Haymarket

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Jul 092013

The Bumper Jacksons‘ first Louisville appearance, on a lazy Sunday (June 2) at the Haymarket Whiskey Bar, was a delight. The Washington, DC duo of Jess Eliot Myhre (clarinet, washboard, vocals, ukulele, kazoo) and Chris Ousley (guitar, banjo, ukulele, vocals, mouth horn) took the audience on a musical journey to another era. Much of the repertoire was from their new release, their album Big Horn Mama, including Robert Johnson’s “Hot Tamales,” and “He May Be Your Dog, But He’s Wearing My Collar,” a 1923 song by Rosa Henderson. “Exactly Like You” featured Myre’s warm clarinet alternating with her kazoo. Ousley played and sang a touching tribute to his grandmother, Doc Watson’s “Long Journey Home.” Most of the concert was more upbeat, though, with a long stretch back in time for “Darktown Strutters Ball,” originally recorded back in 1917 by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. Local old time band Trapper Keepers opened, with early string band and mountain music.

Appalatin CD Release Show at Headliners

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Jul 092013

Appalatin has just released its second album, Waterside, and celebrated with a party at Headliners. And party they did, with giveaways of their new disc and other merch, not to mention having some of their musical friends join them onstage. As the band’s name implies, Appalatin plays music (mostly original), with roots based in the folk traditions of Appalachia and Latin America. They heated up the room with “Kentucky Soul Fly Free” from the new disc, followed by “A Little Bit of Love” and the title track “Down By the Waterside.” Many friends of the band joined for guest spots, including Andrea Davidson. A highlight was the arrangement of the classic “Shady Grove,” featuring John Gage, who was acknowledged by the band for his encouragement early on. They closed with their version of “My Old Kentucky Home” and a Brazilian instrumental featuring lots of percussion and chanting. For those not familiar with Appalatin (are there any of you out there?), this band’s instrumentation includes acoustic guitars, panpipes, percussion, harmonica, bass and more, woven together in a way that is very danceable and enjoyable.

Review: John Cowan at Uncle Slayton s

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Mar 032013

By Martin Z. Kasdan, Jr.
It’s been a long time since I last saw John Cowan, and it was good to catch up in the cozy environment of Uncle Slayton’s on January 25. Cowan has trimmed his band down to a trio, with Jeff Autry on guitar and Shad Cobb on fiddle, providing a remarkably full sound in conjunction with Cowan’s always amazing electric bass and singing. Neither I nor Cowan would claim that he is a jazz artist, but going back to his days with the groundbreaking New Grass Revival, improvisation has been part of his musical language. Indeed, early on he played “East Meets Wes,” with a nod to Mr. Montgomery. His eclectic set included a medley of The Moody Blues’ “Tuesday Morning” > Led Zeppelin’s “Going To California” > Allen Toussaint’s “On Your Way Down.” He covered Dave Alvin’s “King Of California” tastefully, followed by “Good Woman’s Love,” on which he set aside his bass and showed that he can still hit and hold the high notes. More traditional sounding fare included “Bristol Town,” “Dark As a Dungeon,” and a feature for John and Shad, “Black Blizzard.” Cowan brought NewTown back for a rousing finale.