STANHOPE, NJ – JamFam Music & Arts Festival is thrilled to announce their list of Artists for their inaugural line-up taking place at Waterloo Village in Stanhope, NJ on July 24-26, 2020. Early Bird General Admission and VIP Packages are available for sale now. The festival is announcing the following acts, with more artists to be announced soon:
The scheduled headliners are New Riders of the Purple Sage & Melvin Seals and JGB. With an additional 20+ well known artists that include: Jazz is Phish, lespecial, Out of the Beardspace, Flux Capacitor, Creamery Station, The New Motif, Cousin Earth, Jabbawaukee, Muscle Tough, Dogs in a Pile, Higher Education, Waiting on Mongo, This Old Engine, Cosmic Jerry Band, Uncle Ebenezer, Jeb Jones, Soular Bone, Comfortably Floyd and more artists to be announced soon.
The New Riders of the Purple Sage will be performing their 50th Anniversary show at the JamFam Music & Arts Festival and dedicating the anniversary show to Buddy Cage. Buddy Cage a long-time bandmate who played the pedal steel guitar of the New Riders, who passed away last week.
JamFam Music & Arts Festival is a two-day/ two-night RV and/or car-camping event, igniting the concert and adjacent fields into a Jam Band oasis of continuous music taking place on two stages. The festival is nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of Northwestern New Jersey in the historic town of Stanhope.
Waterloo Village and the concert field have hosted numerous iconic recording artists and musicians mostly during the 1980s and ‘90s. The magic and mystique of Waterloo will be revitalized this year with the JamFam Music and Arts Festival. The bands that have played this historic venue in the past include Phish, The H.O.R.D.E. Tour, Lollapalooza, Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters, The Gregg Allman Band, America, Arlo Guthrie and The 25th Anniversary of Woodstock… just to name a few. The region’s best food and drinks will be available as well as numerous regional and local artists and artisans creating an enjoyable and interactive festival experience.
A limited number of 2-Day Early Bird Passes and VIP Packages are available now. 2-Day Festival & Camping Packages are available for $129 and 2-Day VIP & Camping Passes are $249. Single day passes will be made available when the full daily schedules are announced. Tickets are available at the JamFam website at www.JamFamMusicFestival.com/tickets.
“Our goal was to ignite the hallowed grounds of Waterloo and create a new beginning for this iconic venue while keeping the area spotless,” explained founder and producer, Michael Kestin. “The JamFam Music & Arts Festival will feature a ‘Leave No Footprint’ commitment to eco-conscious partying and music with an aim to protect the beautiful and lush landscape and environment. All camping guests will be given eco-friendly recycling and garbage bags to take with them upon exit. Littering of cups, cans and cigarette butts is prohibited.”
TREY ANASTASIO BAND, GOV’T MULE, AND BRANDI CARLILE SET TO HEADLINE THE THREE-DAY FESTIVAL MAY 29-31
Festival Returns To Bethel Woods Center For The Arts At The Historic Site Of The 1969 Woodstock Festival
Single-Day and Three-Day Passes Go On Sale Monday, February 10 at 10am via MountainJam.com
(Bethel Woods, NY – February 6, 2019)— Mountain Jam, one of the Northeast’s largest rock n’ roll music festivals, now in its 16th continuous year, has announced its lineup for the three-day music extravaganza May 29-31, 2020. The Festival will feature over 30 bands across three days including headliners Trey Anastasio Band, Gov’t Mule, and Brandi Carlile plus performances from Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit, The Head and the Heart, Grace Potter, Greensky Bluegrass, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Margo Price, Yola, Hiss Golden Messenger and many more across three stages (full lineup by day below). Additionally, the Festival will feature a special tribute performance in honor of Levon Helm’s 80th birthday featuring The Midnight Ramble Band and very special guests.
For the first time, both single day tickets and weekend passes for Mountain Jam 2020 will go on sale at the same time on Monday, February 10 starting at 10am. Ticket prices start at just $44.50 for single day lawn tickets. For a limited time, three-day early bird lawn tickets will be available for $99.00. This year, general car parking will be included in the ticket prices. For more information on tickets, reserved and lawn seating, camping packages, and more, please visit www.mountainjam.com.
Mountain Jam will return to Bethel Woods Center For The Arts for the second year running. This year’s festival will again feature Gov’t Mule front man and GRAMMY Award-winning vocalist, songwriter, producer and revered guitarist Warren Haynes as co-presenter of Mountain Jam alongside Radio Woodstock and Live Nation, organizers of Peach Music Festival.
“Mountain Jam 2020 is a unique and highly curated festival, separate and apart from other music festivals,” says Gary Chetkof, founder of Mountain Jam. “We are thrilled to welcome Trey for the first time in our 16-year history, as well as to welcome back some old friends and to spotlight many of the great women making music today. The Levon Helm 80th birthday tribute will bring joy and tears and some very special guests. In addition, we continue to evolve the festival with lawn ticket prices that are lower than we have ever offered, as well as reserved seating options for the day or the entire weekend, and a VIP program that is second to none. On-site camping will be for RVs only this year, as we will utilize nearby campgrounds to offer our fans the best camping experience possible. And returning to Bethel Woods, a world class venue with the rich history of Woodstock, provides Mountain Jam with a special backdrop and amazing vibes.”
“I’m glad to be returning to Mountain Jam again after last year’s maiden voyage at Bethel Woods,” says co-presenter and performer Warren Haynes. “It’s a beautiful and historic site and a great place to host such a diverse three nights of music.”
“There is no better way to kick-off the 2020 summer season at Bethel Woods than welcoming back Mountain Jam for its 2nd year at our historic concert venue and Museum. We are excited for the cultural opportunity this represents for our guests and community,” said Eric Frances, Chief Executive Officer of Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.
Three full days of music will kick off on Friday, May 29th and will feature star performances from more than 30 artists across 3 stages. Fans can stay for the weekend with on-site RV camping packages as well as multiple off-site campgrounds that offer tent camping, or car-side tent camping, or Glamping options. Shuttles will run daily to the festival grounds. Travel packages (which bundle a ticket with a hotel) are available, as well as hotel accommodations with special discount pricing for Mountain Jam ticket holders. For more information please visit www.mountainjam.com.
This year’s Mountain Jam Festival will again feature a yoga program each morning. There will be on-site attractions including an expanded Hemp Village and Craft Beer Tap House, and the addition of a New York State Distillery Garden, featuring the best locally produced products. The Hemp Village will include vendors, activities, and panel discussions over the weekend, covering a range of topics currently being tackled in the cannabis industry, as well as a look into the future as legislation and legalization continues to evolve. The Museum at Bethel Woods will be opened exclusively for festival attendees free of charge. A wide variety of food (from gourmet and organic fare to comfort food), arts & crafts vendors, and artist encounters will be available.
Stay connected with up-to-the-date information on Mountain Jam 2020 on Facebook by liking @MountainJamFest, and by following @MountainJam on Twitter and Instagram.
Mountain Jam 2020 Lineup By Day (to date)
Friday, May 29:
Trey Anastasio Band
Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit
Andy Frasco & The U.N.
Saturday, May 30:
Gov’t Mule (playing 2 sets)
The Head And The Heart
American Son: Levon Helm’s 80th Birthday Celebration ft. The Midnight Ramble Band and Very Special Guests
Hiss Golden Messenger
Stephen Lewis and the Big Band of Fun
Hayley Jane and Friends feat. Reed Mathis, Michelangelo Caruba (Turkuaz) and Rob Compa (Dopapod)
Sunday, May 31:
Michael Franti & Spearhead
Ghost of Paul Revere
David Wax Museum
Sammy Rae and the Friends
The Rock Academy
About Mountain Jam
The Mountain Jam Festival is produced by Mountain Jam Productions, LLC, a collaboration between Chet-5 Festivals, Live Nation, Woodstock, NY’s legendary independent radio station, Radio Woodstock 100.1 (WDST), and Warren Haynes. Mountain Jam is a three-day, multi-stage event, featuring approximately 30 bands on 3 stages at Bethel Woods Center for the Performing Arts, one of the Northeast’s premier, natural amphitheaters and the site of the historic 1969 Woodstock Festival. Over the years, Mountain Jam has hosted some of the top names in live music, including Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, The Black Keys, Robert Plant, Beck, The Allman Brothers Band, Phil Lesh & Bob Weir, Jack Johnson, The Lumineers, Widespread Panic, Portugal. The Man, My Morning Jacket, Wilco, Gov’t Mule, Levon Helm, The Avett Brothers, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Steve Miller Band, alt-J, Ray LaMontagne, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Tedeschi Trucks Band, The Roots, James Murphy (of LCD Soundsystem), Mavis Staples, and many others.
About Chet-5 Festivals
Chet-5 Festivals is the Founder of the Mountain Jam Music Festival. Chet-5 produces numerous concerts and festivals in and around upstate New York and co-founded the Taste of Country Festival at Hunter Mountain. Gary Chetkof is the company‘s president and principal owner, and has been for over 27 years the principal owner and operator of Radio Woodstock, the legendary independent radio station broadcasting from Woodstock N.Y. and streaming globally via the iHeart media player.
About Warren Haynes
Visionay GRAMMY Award-winning artist Warren Haynes is a cornerstone of the American music landscape, lauded as one of the most formidable guitarists and vocalists of the modern era and a prolific songwriter and producer. He effortlessly cross-pollinates genres and unfurls solos that broil with passion in his distinctive, signature style. Throughout his prolific career as part of three of the greatest live groups in rock history – Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule and the Dead – and an acclaimed solo artist, he has become one of music’s most treasured storytellers and his artistry has led to thousands of memorable performances and millions of album and track sales. Haynes is a beacon of creativity and musical excellence that inspires fans as well as fellow musicians, evidenced by the diverse array of artists that he has performed and recorded with. As the front man of Gov’t Mule, Haynes along with his bandmates drummer Matt Abts, keyboardist Danny Louis and bassist Jorgen Carlsson, create consistently honest, organic and daring music, leading them to be recognized as one of the most timeless, revered and active bands in the world whose spot amongst rock titans remains unshakable. The enduring, globally revered group, has showcased its virtuosity, intelligence and breadth over the course of 16 studio and live albums. Their flexible interplay in the studio and on stage makes them a true living, breathing ensemble. Gov’t Mule has become a human encyclopedia of great American music while adding to that canon with their signature sound. For more on Warren Haynes and Gov’t Mule, please visit www.WarrenHaynes.net and www.mule.net.
About Live Nation Entertainment Live Nation Entertainment (NYSE: LYV) is the world’s leading live entertainment company comprised of global market leaders: Ticketmaster, Live Nation Concerts, and Live Nation Sponsorship. For additional information, visit www.livenationentertainment.com.
About Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
Located on the National Register Historic Site of the 1969 Woodstock festival just 90 miles northwest of New York City in the Catskills’ Sullivan County, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is a 501c3 nonprofit cultural center focusing on history, creativity, and community. Home to an award-winning museum devoted to the story of the 1960’s and a 15,000-seat entertainment venue, Bethel Woods is a must-visit tourist and cultural destination, attracting local, national, and international visitors. For more information please visit www.BethelWoodsCenter.org.
It’s hard enough for a three piece to capture a big sound, but imagine a three piece comprised of horns and percussion alone that has an ENORMOUS sound. That’s Moon Hooch. This Brooklyn trio has gone from subway platforms to festival stages, from supporting act to headliner over the last bunch of years, bringing us all along on the journey with them. They create a masterful sound that combines everything great about dance and jazz music into this expertly woven blanket of awesome and I cannot get enough of them. I feel kind of foolish that it has taken me this long to delve into their sound, as I have caught and enjoyed them at Northeast festivals for a few years. I just happened to see that they played in New York last night, and it was like a cosmic kick in the ass. Why have I not explored this incredible band yet?
Well, there is no time like the present I guess – right? These three gents are back for the new year with a fantastic journey through sound on a new record called Life On Other Planets. When I saw that they had a new album out in the world, I thought it a great time to listen hard and ride this sound for all it was worth. I have to say, I am enjoying the hell out of myself. I’m floored. There is so much twisted beauty and deep energy in this record. The songs have jagged edges and constant twists and turns, leaving a listener stuck in an endlessly freeing and ever changing dance. It’s delicious and exciting and I have no idea why I was so late to this party.
Take the track Candlelight, for example. It kicks in with a great dance beat, layered with pulsing horns. I’m finding myself dancing in my chair and wishing I was in a club watching this live so my body could move the way the music is making it want to. Self control is not my strong point! I don’t know how anyone listens to this and sits still. Beyond that, these guys are simply stellar players. I am also really into the song This Is Water with its soaring into horns and building percussion, leading into a dirty get down that travels through a maze inside my head. Suddenly those horns get deep and sexy in their groove before climbing back into that dance chaos. It’s so incredibly cool. There is so much like that through the record. Every song is a different exploration, but every song makes you want to get up and MOVE.
There is something so tasty in the groove that this band brings forth. It’s not typical. It’s full of ups and down, backs and forths, twirls that go deep into the earth before soaring into the atmosphere. Check out the track Too Much Hooch too – loaded with wonderful chaotic horn blasts between smooth sensual climbs and falls before it descends back into the dance crazy energy. I wasn’t aware three guys with horns and drums could create such an enormous sound. I never really knew I could get as into a record so free of vocal, but these guys make me want to move. I have only been able to catch them on festivals with a shorter set, so I can only imagine the energy of a hot club and a headlining spot. I’m incredibly intrigued and I want more. Moon Hooch has dates posted through February all over the place in the US before hopping over to Europe in March, so get out and catch them in support of this fantastic new record, Life On Other Planets. I recommend it highly! You can check out the band on their website for album information and tour dates at https://www.moonhooch.com/
In case you are living under a rock today, we are here to let you know The Peach Music Festival has released their initial lineup and opened up early bird ticket sales. I hopped on over to take a look at the poster and let me just say…
If there is any festival you need to be at this year, this will be it. Setting up from their home base at gorgeous Montage Mountain, PA, the festival will gather friends from July 2nd to July 5th with fireworks every night. Massive headliners like Umphrey’s McGee and moe. are blazing forth from the lineup poster – and OYSTERHEAD. Freaking Oysterhead is poised to be the festival surprise winner for 2020, mark my words. I have been a disciple of Les Claypool for 25 years so the opportunity to see him tear it up would be a dream. In addition to that fat bag of awesomeness, festival favorites like Twiddle, JRAD, and Aqueous can be found below on the lineup poster. The incredible Dopapod is there too. Keller, Goose, Magic Beans, Kitchen Dwellers, more and more… There was seriously way too much girlie “squeeeee” in my voice as I read these names off, one by one. We have been able to catch so many of these incredible bands over the years at separate festivals and shows, and the opportunity to catch them all in one weekend has me seriously excited in the pants.
Peach is one of those festivals that I have been wanting to go to for years but just have not been able to make it happen. This is poised to be the first year A Perfect Mess is there to give our readers the full on low down. I’m already on the website trying to secure tickets under the payment plan, and judging by how my log-in screen is just spinning around and around forever, so is everyone else. You can head on over and get your early bird passes at http://PeachMusicFest.com
The jam scene is overflowing with artists and fans who want you to help them change the world. There is no shortage of folks who are ready and willing to tell you how we as humans are ruining everything with what we eat, how we commute, where our clothes come from and how we live. There are not nearly as many though who are out there putting their skills where their mouth is to make a real, genuine difference for the world. Dopapod is one of those artists willing to put up or shut up, and if I didn’t have incredible amounts of respect for them before, I sure as hell do now. They have a plan, and you can help.
The band has released a fantastic new track called November. It’s currently streaming now on the very Dopapod date of 11/11, but it’s not just here to tickle our ears with amazingness. It’s here to give us the opportunity to put up or shut up ourselves. We are going to plant some trees, friends. First, we are going to dance it out to the sweet synth magic, killer drum sounds, grooving bass lines, and soaring guitar of this incredible track. It reminds me of a lot of the vibe that came out of MEGAGEM, with a bit of that orchestral jam and hard hitting vibe. It’s a really fantastic track, recorded at the same time in Blackhawk, CO. The song is amazing, but the words hit harder than anything. ” The smoke has burned a hole, through the walls that kept us cold. We fell asleep with fire in hand, we need a different plan.” That’s it right there.
The song is inspired by the climate crisis we are facing as humans on Mother Earth. She’s ill, and we are responsible for her cure. To quote drummer Neal “Fro” Evans on his Facebook post promoting the track, “She is our home, and we are all behind on rent.” Truth. We have been taking a lot and giving back little to help replenish her, and it’s time for that to change. The band is donating 100% of all profits from this song to the organization “Trees, Water, and People”, a non-profit that plants trees in North and South America. (read more about them at www.treeswaterpeople.org)
The band is streaming this song on Spotify and all other platforms so you can hear it and love it, but if you head over to their bandcamp page, you can donate to make a difference. It won’t take much. Every dollar donated is one tree planted. That’s a pretty easy way to make a change. So dig down in those couch cushions, clean out the cup holder in your car, shake the change from the bottom of your purse, and buy some trees. Just buy one tree if it’s all you can afford. That beautiful tree will make oxygen for us all to enjoy.
I remember my first discovery of Aqueous about four years ago. I was just starting to feel them on my radar as I was delving into the scene. I loved the dance and funk fueled rock jams they were throwing out there, and I loved that they were so fresh in their sound. I got to see them open for Twiddle in Stroudsburg, PA at the Sherman when I wasn’t totally familiar with their catalog yet and danced my ass off. The following summer was my first really getting into festivals and they were just EVERYWHERE. Every lineup that dropped that spring had them on it. They seemed to be on so many things at once that I was wondering how the heck they were pulling it off. Teleporting? Holograms? We were able to catch them several times that summer. I thought at that time that these guys must be the hardest working band in the jam scene. I know now that I was right, and that it has paid off.
As a band, these are some of the most polished and dedicated players doing it out there right now. They pour themselves intro their craft – heart, soul and body – so completely. You can hear it in every lick and beat they put out into the universe. As people, they are some of the nicest that I ever had the chance to have a mildly intoxicated, taco-gifting tent interview with at a festival. That kind where it’s too loud to hear much of anything said in response to your questions, so you spend as much time as you can just making sure the band knows they are making people happy with their music. Because they truly are. Their last full length record, Color Wheel, blew my mind more than a little bit and remains one of the best albums that came out of 2018, in my opinion. I was delighted to learn they were dropping an EP, and curious as to what it would give us.
The record, Burn It Down, is a funky four track trip through rock, dance, and jam flavor and it’s dropping with a fresh style and just a touch of delicious throwback. “Come and Go” is absolutely my favorite song on the record. It’s got a clean and steady drum beat with fantastic vocals and guitar fire, lit up over a hot bass line. This is a constant hip shake track with singable vocals and I am completely unable to sit still listening to it. It’s got an almost Duran Duran thing happening in the vocal. The band caught such a cool vibe when they wrote this song and it holds strong from start to finish. I really want to check this out live! The title track, “Burn It Down”, is a straight dance rock hop with those awesome vocal harmonies and hip shaking bass and drum groove. The guitar work is straight fire on this track and you won’t be able to help but sing along. This song is amazing and makes you MOVE!
“Little Something To Me” is a slick trip of a track that grabs you with those harmonies and holds you with that sexy groove. This song has something really cool with its stepping drum beat and dirty rock guitar flavor. The final track, “On The Edge”, reminds me of pop rock in the late 90’s and listening to it just shot me back to my early 20’s. I love that about music. Some artists are so good at capturing a groove or a vibe and injecting it into the new music they are writing so that their listener is jolted to another time and space in their soul. Aqueous has gotten really good at this. I don’t think most bands can pack this much flavor and punch into a 14 minute, four song EP – but Aqueous did it. Burn It Down is straight fire.
You can catch Aqueous playing with Twiddle at The Capitol Theater on November 29th and 30th. These two bands put on an incredible show and we really hope to be there. Mostly, I am really wanting to hear these new songs live. Aqueous remains one of the best live bands I have ever had the pleasure of rocking out to, and I can’t say enough that you should be checking them out! Give your ears a taste of Burn It Down as soon as humanly possible. You need this in your life.
This is a review I put off accidently for WAY too long.
We happened to catch this band this past summer at a festival as an opener and we were so floored, we couldn’t stop talking about them. We listened to this album all the way to the festival and then again all the way home – and for weeks after. This young band threw so much of what I expected from them right out the window with their unique sound and feverish energy. Then life happened and my review never got posted for 800 reasons, most of which revolve around me being a basket case. But I can’t let the year slip past me and not talk about this fantastic band. They are called One Time Weekend, and their 2019 release Weekend at the Circus is going to be your new favorite record. Don’t take my word for it. Just go listen.
The band themselves are a four piece from Connecticut that have been turning heads all over the upper Northeast since their beginnings in 2016. For us down yonder in New Jersey, we hadn’t heard of them until they were popped on a particular festival this year in Upstate New York and flew into my sights. Their recorded material is polished and many sided. Their live show is bursting with energy and movement. Honestly, I can’t wait to see these guys blow up all over the festival scene for 2020 and if they are not everywhere, something is wrong with the universe. These kids have that thing. They have the drive, and they have the spirit. They are something special.
But let’s talk about this record. Weekend at the Circus is a wonderful blend of jammable rock infused with elements of pop punk, funk, and it’s not going to be anything you expect. The record opens up with energy infused Dongo Bongo with its body moving prog-type groove and fantastic vocals. There is so much in this song that makes me feel like a kid in the mid-90’s and it’s so cool. This band captures a vibe that isn’t easy to project and yet here they are, doing it perfectly. The second track Cavity has a slow start that pumps into a march before exploding into a really fun folk punk stomp that reminds me of Streetlight mixed with really fantastic vocals. I love this song.
The album has so many flavors. Omelet gives you funk scratch with screaming fast paced vocals that go into a hard rock breakdown. The song One Time Weekend is full of killer guitar work laid over some slow reggae feel with great vocals. I know I keep mentioning the vocals on this album, but they are stellar. Well written, well executed, singable as an audience member or just driving in your car. There is nothing better than that! But everything is that good. The bass lines are fire. The guitar work is incredibly intricate and complex without getting boring. The drums are steady and groove heavy. These guys are just really freaking good. One of my other favorites on the record is Dr. Funk with it’s plucky guitar intro that spreads over into a clap-along funky parade of sounds, complete with brassy accents and super fun groove. This album is simply one of the most fun from start to finish that I have heard in a long time. Every single song is good. No need to skip anything. How often can we say that about anyone’s record lately?
These guys have a bunch of dates left on their fall tour schedule, some with our friends in Catallus! Get yourself out there and see these guy do that thing they do. Here is hoping they add some New York and New Jersey dates for the new year! You can check out the album Weekend at the Circus on Spotify or wherever you like to listen to stuff. I like Spotify. And Spotify likes me. I am a huge fan of One Time Weekend and I suggest strongly that you put them in your ears ASAP. These guys might be young, but they are incredibly talented and it’s my prediction that you will be seeing them all over this summer.
The music in this scene never stops surprising me. When I first learned who MOM AND DAD were, my immediate impression was, “Ok…so you have one half of Dopapod, and it’s the rhythm. This is going to be magical!” And, well, I was half right.
MOM AND DAD is absolutely magical – and absolutely nothing like the rhythm of Dopapod. In fact, what I have learned is that to assume that sort of thing is to do these creative writing minds absolutely no justice. This three piece packs a massive punch of their own and it’s worth talking about. The band’s upcoming second album, 21st Century Blues, is a heavy stepping trip through multiple genres, styles, and concepts and reminded me that music can still be so incredibly diverse within one record. And I love that!
The album’s first track, Video Games, comes in hard and electric like a transformer fire. It has a great heavy sonic-rock type of flavor that is exciting and fun. Bonus: it’s super easy to sing along with! The second and title track, 21st Century Blues, is a bluesy (obviously) brooding modern tune about waiting for that return text or that social media “like”, and it’s absolutely necessary for the world today to hear. It’s hilariously accurate. I can see myself sing-quoting this super fun, electric feeling song for years to come. Don’t miss the fantastic solo at the 3 quarter mark!
One of my favorite tracks on the record is Caffeine. This song is an accurate audible representation of what my brain feels like on actual caffeine, which I consume in enormous quantities. I can feel each electrode firing with each drum hit, each bend of a guitar string, each electronic key sound. Plus the bass line in this song is creatively laid out and really cool. Another favorite of mine is Help Myself. It has a throw back dirty rock vibe with guitar solo fire and some really great vocals. All in all, this is a stellar record. It’s a super fun trip from a band who quite obviously doesn’t take themselves too seriously. They absolutely could, it would be well deserved seeing as they are incredibly solid musicians and stand out folks in this scene. But they don’t, and that makes me like them so much more. It’s also worth a mention that there was a SIX YEAR GAP between their last record and this one! I am sure there are some folks who have been waiting very patiently for this album, and they will not be let down.
I love to get band perspectives on their cool records when I can, so I threw a few questions at MOM AND DAD guitar guy Ben Sword to see what came out!
APM: How did MOM AND DAD come together initially?
Ben:“Chuck and I have been playing together since we were seventeen. We both attended Berklee College of Music, where we met Neal. After scraping some songs and sounds together in Neal’s basement, we started playing shows in Boston in 2010.”
APM: What was it like writing the album? Were these songs that came together quickly, or grew slowly since your last release (2014)?
Ben:“Some of the songs on this album were written recently, and a few of them were written some years ago. Once we chose the songs to start tracking, piecing the album together came naturally. We even have a few tasty leftovers that we did not use for this album.”
APM: Any special recognition for folks who helped out on the album?
Ben:“NO!…….jk. We tracked drums and a few other things at Mountain Star Studio in Black Hawk, CO. Our good friend Jocko at More Sound Studio in Syracuse mixed and mastered the album. Sarah Kirsch gave us some incredible vocals on the song “Video Games.”Larry Elefante provided the photo that was the inspiration for the album cover.”
APM: What are your plans for 2020?
Ben: “Another album. Probably of the “consistently loud” variety.”
And there you have it, folks! 21st Century Blues is super creative and fun. Each song is an exciting individual and I love that aspect of it. On a first listen through, you have no idea what is coming next. Despite playing all over the place this past festival season, I have yet to catch these guys live. This record has made that a personal mission for me, so I hope their 2020 plans include a trip to play the tri-state area. If you are in the Denver, CO area, do yourself a favor and head out for the band’s album release show at The Larimer Lounge on November 7! Keep an eye to the band’s page for more shows and goods on what the band has coming up at http://www.momanddad.band . Check out 21st Century Blues as soon as you can! I recommend it highly!
Music is life. It’s a living, breathing thing that is ever growing and changing. More than that, music is this amazing blank canvas that we entrust to artists. On it, they create magic that tickles our brains and weaves us into memories, emotions, journeys and stories. This amazing thing happened as I started to write about music in this scene – my mind opened to all these explorations in sounds that I had no idea I loved so much. The most recent one of these that I have had the privilege to explore is Elephant Wrecking Ball. They have a new record out called Joy Front and it’s blowing my mind. So much of what I have always tried to bring to my readers is the vibe – the feeling of the music I am listening to. This record has made me feel things I have a heck of a time putting into words. Honestly, this is one of the hardest reviews I have ever tried to write.
If you are not familiar with Elephant Wrecking Ball, the band is a unique trombone-led trio of outstanding musicians writing a fusion of jazz-heavy art for your ears. Trombonist Scott Flynn, known for his work with bands like John Brown’s Body and Jazz is Phish (to name a few), bassist Dan Africano, also of John Brown’s Body and Ghost Light, and drummer Neal “Fro” Evans, most known for his work in Dopapod, make up this mastery of sound with a brilliant understanding of the way it weaves through the soul. It’s incredibly unfortunate that I am so new to what they are doing because I have become such a fan while just doing this review. I have been missing out.
The album Joy Front is the band’s fourth release and for anyone with a love of sound explorations, this is a must hear record. Within it are electronic elements woven into jazz, groove heavy drums and bass, and something profoundly sensual that is happening throughout the record from start to finish. If ever there was a group of songs to put on, dim the lights, and let your mind explore within itself, this is it. And I can say that from experience because it’s become one of my favorites to do that with.
On tracks like Practicing Underdog, the band members almost seem to play with one another as tempos change. You can go from a body moving bass groove into a drum solo all beneath the slinky sounds of the trombone as it rises and falls. Escape From Lemuria is a sexy, almost rocksteady feeling with a steady bass groove that moves you and soulful brassiness. I love how the trombone is out front, singing like a vocal. The title track from the record is another favorite of mine, and I love the way that the drums play under the quick bursts of brass before it all comes in strong and hard, and a little spacey for a moment with steady bass feels. The changes are just so cool. Its fun the way this music takes you places in your mind while you just move your body with the flow. There is so much to love going on in Joy Front.
The band is on tour through November 2nd and I can’t suggest hard enough that if you are able to, you get out and catch Elephant Wrecking Ball. This is sound explorations that go so many places. This is art for the ears. This is the soundtrack you have been looking for. The album is available on Spotify (if that’s your bag, baby) and other outlets. You can keep up with the band on their website at https://elephantwreckingball.com/
I am hoping they are in the tri-state area in the new year because this is a live music experience I look forward to having as soon as I can. See you out there, friends!
Let me start this off by saying that I despise my birthday. I don’t often have a good one, and sometimes they are downright terrible. Now that I have hit my 40’s, it just feels like a reminder that I am spiraling out of control into the great abyss. So this year, when I was asked to cover PEAK at Brooklyn Bowl, I decided this fine evening was going to be my birthday celebration. I had never been to Brooklyn Bowl at all (…I know, right?! How did that happen???) and PEAK shows have become some of my favorite outings. Plus they were there in support of TAUK who I had never seen live, and there would be beer, so why not? Birthday locked and loaded – lets go!
I said in my previous post that the first time I caught PEAK live was last year around this time. I thought then that they were one of the most fun live bands that I had seen in a very long time. Little did I know they would take that evaluation of mine and blow it to the moon this past weekend. Over the last year, through lineup changes and new songs, the band has become a performance powerhouse. Their live show is floor to ceiling energy exploding from start to finish and if you can manage to stand still during it, I just don’t know what to do with you. With masterful songwriting and outstanding stage presence, the band is already standing strong. Factor in how they bring forth exceptional vocals, explosive drums, groove heavy bass, and a guitar and key team that you would think have been working in tandem for decades, and you have one of the most exciting live bands to hit this scene in a long time. If you have not seen PEAK yet, you are missing out.
The show started out tamely and steadily with a trickle of crowd coming into Brooklyn Bowl. Folks were grabbing a quick bite or hovering around the bar for a pint and the music was trickling into their ears. You see, PEAK has these fantastic guitar solos and the stellar vocals. The music pulls you in and before you know what is happening, it starts that quick hip shake. I love reviewing shows because people watching in the crowd is one of my all time favorite pastimes. I stood off to the side and watched as ears perked up and people started to take notice. Slowly they were moving towards the stage.
As the show progressed, the beats got steadier and quicker and this magic started to spread through the room. People were coming closer to the band, bodies were swaying, and even the bowlers had taken notice and had started to migrate towards the stage from the side. By the three quarter mark, I was in the crowd dancing with everyone and watching as people remarked to those standing near them, “Who is this??? This is great!” It was a true delight to watch people taking notice of this band I had been enjoying watching the progress of for the last year. I was more than happy on numerous occasions to exclaim, “THIS IS PEAK!” (caps for yelling over music-effect)
By the end, I was more or less spilling my beer all over the place due to high intensity dancing fits. I would imagine it was NOT pretty, but the energy of the night was just infectious. Is this what a GOOD birthday is supposed to feel like? This was the best I have ever seen them play. They were so very on that night and the smiles between them showed it. My legs are still sore two days later from the dancing. Guitarist, vocalist, and founder Jeremy Hilliard and keyboardist and vocalist Johnny Young brought out some killer harmonies and seriously nasty solos. New to the band extraordinary bassist Josh T. Carter knocked it out of the park with his grooves and really displayed what an exceptional player he is. Drummer Kito Bovenshulte absolutely blasted the energy in the room with his steady dance beats and effortless style. He is just one of the greatest drummers on the scene right now. Think I’m lying? Go see PEAK.
Honestly, if I don’t see PEAK all over the late night festival scene this summer, there is something profoundly wrong with all of you promoters out there and you need to find new work. I know much of that crowd was there for the exceptionally awesome TAUK (who blew my mind with that Hendrix set…good god, dude…) but they were stoked with what PEAK put in their souls that night and their explosion of applause at the end of their set was evidence to that. I hope you were there to feel that energy in the room but if not, don’t you worry! They have more dates coming up and you can be there. Check the list below and follow the band on their website at http://www.peaktheband.com.