Saturday, April 29, 2017
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Tuesday, April 25, 2017
By Rob Nagy
A founding member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, Gary Tallent stands alone as the bassist that has helped guide the course of one of the most cherished acts in music history.
Nearly 50 years later, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Tallent, now 67, has released his long-awaited debut album, “Break Time.” Offering a collection of a dozen original compositions, the record showcases Tallent’s creative energy beyond The E Street Band as multitalented musician, songwriter, producer and vocalist.
“The making of the record was a great experience,” says Tallent, from his home in Nashville, Tennessee. “I’ve never really had a need to do this because I was busy producing other people, especially during the 10-year hiatus from Bruce. I had a lot of things to keep me busy. I finally decided at some point what else can I try? So, this is where we are today. Things have changed now. You don’t need a big record company behind you. I enjoy writing. I have my own studio and did most of the record there so it makes it possible to do things that couldn’t have been done 30 years ago.”
“The players on the record were all pros,” adds Tallent. “They were chosen because they understood the music that I was planning to put across. It was all pretty simple. Everybody came in and just played the songs and it’s done. I have a lot of friends that are great players in this town. The idea was to have a lot of different sessions, a lot of different players and a lot of different friends to appear on the record. The first session I think we probably cut half the album. It worked so well I ended up using the same people on the whole album, which is a great thing. Things don’t work out the way you plan sometimes but that was a good thing.”
“I sing and play guitar and it’s basically back to early days of rock and roll recording,” says Tallent. My goal was to go back to my love of ‘50’s rock and roll and choose songs that I have to kind of fit that mold and do those. I’m not trying to create any kind of new music. I’m really trying to pay homage to the things that excited me. The effort for me was stepping up as a singer and singing my own songs - that’s what the challenge was. I’m very lucky that I had people that I chose to start the record that made my part very easy.”
Standout tracks include “Bayou Love,” “Tell ’em I’m Broke,” “Today’s the Day,” “Promise To My Heart,” “Ants In Her Pants,” “Say It Out Loud” and “Stay Away.”
Released in the spring of 2016, “Break Time’s” supporting concert tour was put on hold by Tallent when the Boss came calling.
“This tour that we’re playing was actually planned for last year when Bruce called,” recalls Tallent. “When Bruce calls, we have to go. I’ve been with the band 45 years and it’s my first loyalty absolutely. We were going to do 21 shows and it ended up being 9 months, so I’m starting all over again. Luckily everybody has been supportive and they’ve come back and here it is a year later and we’re going to do it.”
“I’m not looking to sell out but hopefully people are interested enough to go to check it out,” adds Tallent. “I’d like everybody to give it a listen and decide if they like it, come out and see it live. Much like the E Street Band shows, it’s going to be more live. It’s going to be a great show all the way around, back to basics. Certainly, it’s put me out of my comfort zone as a sideman and stepping up to the spotlight. It’s a great experience. I’m just hoping to get some people out and have some fun with us. I’m looking forward to it.”
Born in Detroit, Michigan before relocating to the East Coast where he grew up in Neptune City, New Jersey, Tallent started playing with Bruce Springsteen in 1971. One year later the formation of The E Street Band came to fruition and the rest is history. Tallent has appeared on nearly every Springsteen album between 1973 and 1987 including “Greetings from Asbury Park” (1973), “The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle” (1973), “Born to Run” (1975), “Darkness on the Edge of Town” (1978), “The River” (1980), “Born in the U.S.A.” (1984), “Live 1975-1985” and “Tunnel of Love” (1987).
In addition to his long history with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Tallent has produced and played with numerous artists including Marshall Crenshaw, Steve Forbert, Gary U.S. Bonds, Jim Lauderdale, Sonny Burgess, Steve Earle and Southside Johnny among many others.
In 2013, the E Street Band was forever immortalized with their well-deserved induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“When I was 12 years old I imagined being Elvis,” recalls Tallent. “You seize the opportunities that interest you and you follow your heart and your skill and you do what you can with all of your might. One thing gathers into another.”
“Music has been so much a part of my life,” adds Tallent. “If I’m not playing it, I’m listening to it. If I’m not listening to it, I’m reading about it. I enjoy reading biographies of the people that influenced me. It really has dominated my life. Hopefully there’s always something to accomplish. I’m proud of what we’ve done as a band and love that, and have enjoyed the whole process.”
With deep ties to the region, Philadelphia holds a special place in the heart of Tallent.
“Philadelphia was very good to us in the early days,” recalls Tallent. “It really was a second home for the band and we appreciate all the years of support. You appreciate your fans, as we do. I know they’re mainly focused on Bruce, which is how it should be. I’ve always enjoyed my anonymity. I’ve had a great life without all the pressures that come with being Bruce Springsteen. I’ve always had a lot of freedom musically. I’ve always been left alone to play whatever I felt was the song and I feel that has been very satisfying. The other satisfying thing is to be able to live a normal life and not be recognized and not be so in demand. I’ve really had the best of both worlds. The fans are definitely appreciated. I would like them to know how thankful we are because we’d look pretty silly out there without them.”
Gary Tallent, with special guests Scott McClatchy and Shun Ng, performs at the Ardmore Music Hall, 23 E. Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, PA 19003, on Thursday May 11, 2017 at 7:30 P.M. For tickets, go to www.ardmoremusichall.com.
To stay up to date with Gary Tallent visit www.garrytallent.com
Monday, April 24, 2017
Sunday, April 23, 2017
Thursday, April 13, 2017
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Meet This Year’s Class
of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
By Rob Nagy
On Friday evening rock and roll royalty gathered at Brooklyn, New York’s Barclays Center for the 32nd Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
Members of this year’s inductees, YES, ELO, Journey, Pearl Jam, Joan Baez, and Tupac Shakur (posthumously), as well as Nile Rodgers in the Award for Musical Excellence category were on hand to take their prominent place among their legendary peers.
Rolling Stone Magazine’s Jann Wenner, co-founder of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opened the evening addressing the sold out crowd of 20,000 fans who had paid as much as $1,100 to attend the event, record industry dignitaries and stars of music and film.
ELO co-founding member and front man Jeff Lynne, backed by his touring band opened the performance portion of the show. Paying tribute to the late Chuck Berry, who recently passed away, they launched into an electrifying version of Berry’s classic “Roll Over Beethoven” followed by their classics “Evil Woman” and “Mr. Blue Sky.” ELO co-founding member Roy Wood was also on hand to accept induction along with Lynne.
Dhani Harrison, the son of the late George Harrison, who was a close friend of Lynne’s and co-formed The Travelling Wilbury’s together, followed with a lengthy speech before introducing Jackson Browne.
Preempting folk legend Joan Baez’s induction, Browne reminisced that the first album he bought at age 14 was a Baez record. Baez, who has aged better than many of her contemporaries exhibited the energy and passion that has always made her one of the most outspoken artists of her time.
The highlight of the evening’s inductees was the long overdue and highly anticipated induction of progressive rock giants YES. Band alum Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman, Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford, Alan White and Trevor Rabin were greeted by a thunderous applause before making their acceptance speech. Anderson, who was visibly elated by the honor and Wakeman, who chose this forum to display his comedic side, were particularly animated. Missing was YES bassist Chris Squire who died in 2015. Following their induction, YES took fans down memory lane with rousing renditions of “Roundabout,” joined by Geddy Lee on bass and “Owner of a Lonely Heart.” Lee and fellow Rush bandmate, guitarist Alex Lifeson, inducted YES.
Lee was later quoted as saying, “Yes is a very precise band. Chris Squire was one of the most inventive and original sounding bass players ever, so to play his parts, it’s one thing - to mimic his parts, and you can mimic anything if you practice enough, but to write those parts, it was sheer brilliance. It was a great honor for me.”
The lingering question of the night was whether Journey’s Steve Perry would show up and perhaps sing with his former band mates. Perry did attend, giving his fellow musicians, Steve Smith, Ross Valory, Aynsley Dunbar, Gregg Rolie, Neal Schon, and Jonathan Cain, who were all on hand, glowing accolades for their years of success together. Perry said “Speaking of fans – you’re the one who put us here. You are the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We would not be here if not for you and your tireless love and consistent devotion. You never have stopped. And from my heart I must tell you, I’ve been gone a long time, I understand that, but I want you to know, you’ve never not been in my heart. I love each and every one of you. Thank you so very much.”
Much to the disappointment to his fans Perry did not end up singing and, instead, current Journey front man Arnel Pineda handled the lead vocal duties. Journey performed “Separate Ways,” “Lights” (that Neal Schon dedicated to Perry), and “Don’t Stop Believin.’” Journey received the most fan votes for their induction. Perry opted to skip the post show press conference to likely avoid questions over is absence on stage during the band’s three song set.
Standing in for the ailing Neil Young, former late night talk show icon David Letterman made a rare appearance inducting Pearl Jam into the Rock Hall. Greeted by an extended standing ovation, Letterman, who is now sporting an unkempt white beard, opened his speech with a comical reference to Neil Young’s absence. “The truth is, the poor guy can’t stay up this late. I’ve known Neil Young for many, many years. We met a long time ago on Farmers Only dot com,” prompting rousing laughter and applause from everyone in attendance.
Pearl Jam received the most enthusiastic inductee response of the night. Following speeches by individual band members including the controversial Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam broke into a set that included “Alive,” “Given to Fly,” and “Better Man.”
Pearl Jam then anchored the evenings all-star finale featuring Neil Young’s “Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World,” and included Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Trevor Rabin and Neal Schon.
Legendary record producer Nile Rodgers with 300 million albums sold and 75 million singles to his credit received the Award for Musical Excellence. In addition to his guitar work with his and Bernard Edwards’ band Chic, Rogers endless producing credits include Philly’s own Sister Sledge. Mick Jagger and David Bowie.
Snoop Dogg inducted the late Tupac Shakur. Celebrity guests included Pharrell Williams, T.I., Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lenny Kravitz, (who performed a tribute to the late Prince), Alicia Keys, Pat Monihan, (Singer in Train who inducted Journey) and Indigo Girls.
Philly music luminaries Jerry “The Geator” Blavat, concert promoter Larry Magid and rock historian and veteran DJ Denny Somach were also in attendance.
HBO taped the evening for airing on April 29th at 8:00 P.M.
No Good Sister Celebrates album Release at the Boot and Saddle
By Rob Nagy
Armed with their debut full length album release “You Can Love Me,” Philly’s “No Good Sister,” featuring Maren Sharrow (vocals), Jess McDowell (vocals and guitar), and Meaghan Kyle (vocals) are poised to take their collective career to the next level.
“We are just so excited that we got to make this record,” says McDowell, from her home in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia. “We’ve had these songs for a while now and we’ve been performing most of them live for a good chunk of time now. We were holding back on making a full- length album because we didn’t want to do it too soon, it takes a lot of resources. So it was kind of a challenge getting to a point where, ‘OK we’re ready, we can put all the effort that we need to put in that we can get this funded and get it made.’ It’s kind of an intimidating process because you’ve got this material and if you set about recording it and you can’t fully fund it, like your Kickstarter doesn’t get funded, you end up half way finished or you finish it but the quality doesn’t turn out like you would have liked because you didn’t have the resources that you wanted. You don’t want to waste all the time that you spent developing the material and then release these songs in a way you’re not proud of. We, at a certain point had to take a huge leap of faith that we could do it.”
Emerging from the studio with an impressive collection of eleven songs, “No Good Sister’s” captivating three part harmonies and stellar songwriting will have you hooked from the opening track, “Just Tonight.” Blending traditional country music influences from a bygone era with a touch of blues and rock, the trio takes you on an infectious musical journey that will leave you wanting more. Standout tracks include “Reckless,” “Wrote You Off,” “This Time” and “Fireworks.”
“The high is seeing these songs come to life in album form,” says McDowell. “The songs having that life, and the way they all kind of fit together feels really rewarding at the end of the process.”
“We’re really proud of the record,” adds McDowell. “We think it turned out really well. We’re hoping people are going to love it and be as excited about it as we are. I feel like we put together a really great finished product that is going to serve us well.”
Produced by Philly’s own Mike “Slo-Mo” Brenner, a highly regarded musician in his own right, No Good Sister found Brenner to be an invaluable asset in the studio.
“He’s done so much for us,” says McDowell. “He came in with incredible arrangement ideas and took what we were doing and gave it a little more direction and a little more vision. He’s been a huge help, helping us create a focus and get serious. He’s a great communicator while giving us feedback in a non-confrontational way.”
Converging in a Philadelphia apartment in 2012, as a creative experiment to explore what their three part harmonies would yield, Sharrow, McDowell and Kyle knew that it was creative destiny that they should meet and No Good Sister was born.
“It’s a really special magical thing when you find that,” says McDowell. “It’s worth keeping it together because it’s just a once in a lifetime vocal blend. I’ve never had a vocal blend like this with two other people. Megan will still say, ‘Oh my God the hair stood up on the back of my neck when we sang this song or that song.’”
It didn’t take long for “No Good Sister” to get noticed. Winning an open mic competition at World Cafe Live at The Queen in Wilmington, DE a month out of the gate, the trio was named “Standout Performer of 2013.” Winning recording studio time, they went into the studio the following year to record their three-song, self-titled debut EP.
Honored by 93.7 WSTW-FM (Wilmington, DE) with a “Hometown Heroes Award,” they were named the 2015 Artist to Watch by Ticket to Entertainment and won WSTW’s Wilmington Flower Market Battle of the Bands.
Rapidly becoming veterans of the road, No Good Sister continues to build an audience throughout the U.S. and abroad performing at clubs, theaters and festivals, including the Martin Guitar Main Stage at the 54th Philadelphia Folk Festival.
Opportunities to share the stage with Arlo Guthrie, Parker Millsap, Shakey Graves, The SteelDrivers, Eilen Jewell, The Kruger Brothers, and Kim Richey, among others continues to fuel the trio’s exposure.
“Sounding classic and vintage country is intentional,” says McDowell. “That is definitely a huge part of my background. There was a long period where I was really obsessed with blue grass, Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley, and got really into that for a while. Spent a lot of time listening to Loretta Lynn, Patsy Kline and Kitty Wells, all these old country singers.
We all lean this way. The umbrella term that works for us is Americana. Because we’re doing some things that are a little bit country, but then there are other things that are blues or early rock and roll. The main thing for all of us was not to get too pigeon holed into one thing. We wanted to make sure we weren’t getting ourselves into a box where we were required to do things a certain way because that was the style of music we were making. We want to write the song we want to write and have that flexibility.”
“We’re not in our 20s,” adds McDowell. “We’re not hip anymore and we’re not going to apologize for that. We don’t see it as a liability. I’ve had a lot of life experience and I have more to say. Not to say that there aren’t people in their 20s that aren’t experienced and have a lot under their belt, but I feel that I have more to say now and a sense of myself now in my 30s. We’ve all made peace with that because we started out feeling like it’s too late or nobody is going to be interested. We’re grown women and have a lot to say. We’re going to work it as a strength rather than feel apologetic about it. For us, the arts make life worthwhile and worth living.”
No Good Sister will perform at Boot and Saddle, 1131 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147, Saturday April 22, 2017 at 8:30 P.M.
To stay informed about future shows, visit www.bootandsaddlephilly.com.
To stay up to date with No Good Sister visit www.nogoodsister.com
Heather Maloney Showcases New Songs
at the Kennett Flash
By Rob Nagy
Out of New England emerges singer songwriter Heather Maloney, a seductively hypnotic vocalist whose poetic delivery will leave you breathless and clamoring for more.
On the heels of her critically acclaimed “Making Me Break” album in 2015, Maloney is on the road,
test-driving material for her impending follow-up album release, giving live audiences the opportunity to select songs that will make the final cuts.
test-driving material for her impending follow-up album release, giving live audiences the opportunity to select songs that will make the final cuts.
“The current tour, which we call ‘PROJECTOUR,’ is essentially a live presentation of all of my newest material at which the audience votes which song stuck with them and wants me to record on the next record,” says Maloney, from her home in Northampton, Massachusetts. “My show is a glimpse at the songs for the record I am getting ready to record.”
“Most of the PROJECTOUR shows are duo shows,” adds Maloney. “I put together a show with an incredible guitarist named Ryan Hommel. My first few shows of doing this, I had a number of people pretty flatteringly write all of the songs on the ballot. There are ballot slips, by the way. They get three votes for the top three. For the most part, people follow the guidelines. It’s been very enlightening to collect the data on what people are responding to and I’ve been surprised by what people choose. Songs that I maybe have stronger feelings for might not resonate as much outside of me. It’s been fun for me to get inside of people’s minds a little more from the audience.”
Raised in Hamburg, New Jersey, Maloney was a student of classical operatic singing, improvisational jazz vocals and music theory. Exposed to the Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Fleetwood Mac, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Bob Dylan, courtesy of her parent’s record collection; Maloney absorbed the classic songwriting and vocal performances of modern music. Fiona Apple, Alanis Morrisette, Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow, and Mariah Carey ultimately made it onto her play list of inspirations.
“I love the music my parents enjoyed growing up,” says Maloney. “Not only for the quality but the overall message, or at least, the emphasis on the message. One thing about my generation I’ve always been pretty bothered by is that music exists but it’s not the mainstream. I think there’s a real big thing missing there, although I think that is changing. I am feeling more excited and energized about what I’m hearing from people my age in music. People are really becoming active about what’s happening in the country and the world and more aware and that’s exciting to me. I think people are starting to release music that reflects that.”
During the latter part of the 2000’s Maloney worked and resided at a silent meditation retreat center in Massachusetts. It was here that her self- imposed silence and personal reflection found her expressing herself through songwriting.
“I think if I kept track of when the most music comes to me it would probably be in the winter,” says Maloney. “I do most of my writing when I’m in a quiet space and a little bit more on the introspective side of life. I definitely have my own theory about what winter does to a person. There has to be some value of being shut in by weather. For me I know it contributes to me being a little more introspective. I tend to read more and I tend to find things that uplift me and entertain me and for me, that’s playing and writing.”
The release of her “Making Me Break” album in 2015, which included appearances by Band of Horses (Bill Reynolds, Tyler Ramsey), The Wallflowers, My Morning Jacket and Darlingside, garnered rave reviews from The Huffington Post, Consequences of Sound and No Depression as well as SPIN Magazine’s “Artist to Watch.” The albums final track, “Nightstand Drawer” brought Maloney national attention when it was used in the TV series “Elementary.”
Prior to performing her own headlining concert tours, Maloney had worked as an opening act for Lake Street Dive, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Gary Clark Jr., Mary Chapin Carpenter and Colin Hay.
Collaborating with Boston based quartet Darlingside in 2014 on the Woodstock EP, a tribute to the Joni Mitchell song that Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young made a classic. Graham Nash praised Maloney’s rendition and was quoted as saying, “Delicious, really excellent.”
“There’s good reason to keep track of where your career is at, and the business side of things - that’s truly important,” says Maloney. “This business is so fickle and unpredictable. If I make plans to have a certain level of success, I think I might be met with a lot of disappointment. I’m really grateful for where I am at this point.”
Heather Maloney will perform at the Kennett Flash, 102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, PA 19348, on Sunday April 23, 2017 at 7:00 P.M. For tickets and information, visit www.kennettflash.org.
To stay up to date with Heather Maloney visit www.heathermaloney.com
Saturday, April 8, 2017
Friday, April 7, 2017
The Hooters John Lilley Joins The Melton Brothers at the Kennett Flash
By Rob Nagy
One of the most enduring bands to emerge from the Philly music scene, The Melton Brothers, featuring Dale Melton (keyboards and vocals), Dennis Melton (bass and vocals), Fred Berman (drums) and their latest addition John Lilley (guitar), have been delivering their unique blend of swing, R&B, country roots rock and blues to multiple generations of fans throughout the U.S. and abroad for decades.
Known for their infectious original compositions and interpretations of standards, The Melton Brothers earned a loyal following and praise from the music critics. Their highly visible presence saw them hit their peak in ‘70s and ‘80s flourishing in the Philly concert scene gracing the stage of area clubs, colleges and concert halls. Opening for music icons B.B. King, Muddy Waters, The Chambers Brothers, Buddy Miles, Procol Harum and The Kingsmen among many others, The Melton Brothers earned the respect of their music peers, engaging audiences with their memorable live performances.
Securing opportunities performing on WHYY-TV and the USA network expanded their creative reach. They soon became regulars performing at the historic Main Point, Grendel's Lair, Periwinkle’s, Guthrie's, the Cabarets and John & Peter's. Decades later they can be seen performing at the Tin Angel, Puck Live, Chaplin's Music Cafe, The Kennett Flash, Andy's and The Mainstay, not to mention local and regional concert series.
The Hooters’ John Lilley, a long time friend and fan, started sitting in with the Melton Brothers on a whim launching what has turned into a rewarding creative outlet for the veteran guitarist.
“I’ve known the Melton Brothers for 40 years,” recalls Lilley, from his home in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “Back in the day when I was playing locally I had a band and they had their thing. They were doing this cool jazz, swing, blues type of stuff. I used to see them all the time but I never played with them. I was at a wedding a few years back and they had the Melton Brothers playing there. Then they invited me to bring a guitar and an amp and sit in with them and I said, ‘Sure, it would be fun.’
“So I got on stage with them and I said, ‘Let’s just turn this thing up. Let’s not be safe, let’s have fun.’ It was great. I really enjoyed playing with them. I kind of brought this other element to them and kicked it up a notch. This was maybe two or three years ago. Then we talked on the phone and said how much fun it was and they asked me if we could do this again. I said, ‘Of course, that would be fun.’ So, they booked a couple gigs at some local places. We just started rehearsing and learning the songs. It’s been a lot of fun. Both those guys are incredible players. We are very intuitive with each other. It’s a different kind of Melton Brothers. These guys have been playing around forever. It’s got a bigger edge to it. We challenge each other musically.”
A departure from his high profile work with The Hooters, Lilley is excited to have the opportunity to stretch is expansive guitar prowess.
“The Hooter thing is the greatest thing that has happened to me,” says Lilley. “I grew up playing all different styles of music but people know me as what I do for The Hooters. I do so much more. I’m a jazz trained musician and get the chance to really play out with this kind of thing in a different way than I do with the Hooters. I really have a great time playing with these guys. We have a set, we have songs we play and sometimes we never know where the songs are going to go. We just take these departures and they come back at you and you go, ‘Wow that was great!’
“It’s really fun and really cool and we have a great time,” adds Lilley. “There are a number of songs that are main stage for them. They pay a lot of jazz, blues, swing, standards, and original songs. I play a lot of guitar solos and a lot of notes (laughs). It’s a lot of spontaneity.”
“I wish my Hooter fans would come out and see this because it’s a whole different thing,” says Lilley. “I would like that to happen.
I get to play all the jazz solos that I don’t get to do in the Hooters.”
The Melton Brothers will perform at the Kennett Flash, 102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, PA 19348, on Saturday April 15, 2017 at 8:00 P.M. For tickets and information, visit www.kennettflash.org.
To stay up to date with The Melton Brothers visit www.meltonbrothers.net