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items tagged with Redstone Room

“Resistance” Transforms Potential Into Maturity: Lewis Knudsen, “The Way of Most Resistance”; July 23 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2015-07-18 18:42:37

Lewis Knudsen. Photo by Mike Aubrey.

Lewis Knudsen kicks off his album The Way of Most Resistance with a track titled “Death & Cats,” featuring the slightly ominous lyric “Death and cats are taking over / You better look over your shoulder.”

It’s not the most musically arresting track on the record, but in addition to its great title and chorus, it has a gently infectious (and not at all ominous) slink in both verse and chorus. It’s a low-key charmer announcing that Knudsen’s artistic potential has quickly become confident maturity.

I liked much of what the singer/songwriter/guitarist/pianist and his band were up to on last year’s Joy, Pain, Love, Songs – although its mishmash nature made it hard to divine how its disparate threads could or would be woven into a coherent artistic vision.

While Knudsen admitted that his 2014 album was a collection of unrelated songs, he said via e-mail that he conceived The Way of Most Resistance as an “alt-funk/neo-soul” album. That description is a bit of a stretch given the restraint in tempo and dynamic range – and how well Knudsen’s voice and his band fit within them.

The sax, keys, and bass on “Fire Inside Me” fit that funk/soul description, but the vibe on Resistance seems more rooted in the carefully orchestrated pop of Badly Drawn Boy. (Remember him?) Knudsen’s palette isn’t quite so broad, but his arrangements (as on his previous album) make smart use of saxophone, violin, and vocal textures, while his heartfelt singing and the wit in his songwriting complete the package.


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Back from the Bottom of the River: Walter Trout, July 21 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2015-07-08 11:33:26

Walter Trout last month at Royal Albert Hall

Last year was meant to be a celebration of 25 years as a solo artist for Walter Trout. For much of the year, it looked more like an obituary.

“Provogue Records for the last five years has been planning this big push,” explained the guitarist/singer/songwriter in a phone interview promoting his July 21 performance at the Redstone Room. “They financed a biography to be written of me; they financed a documentary to be made about my life; they released all my back catalog on collector’s item vinyl. And the whole record label was going to call 2014 the Year of the Trout. And to me, being an artist, my ship had come in.”

Trout – a five-time nominee in the Blues Music Awards’ Rock Blues Album category and a veteran of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers band – also had a new album, The Blues Came Callin’. “I’ve got this label and they’re way behind me, and as soon as the record started to come out, I was sick and I canceled an entire year of touring.”

Fast forward to the present. Another new album, Battle Scars, is nearly finished and is slated for release in October. One line from one track neatly summarizes, with a light touch, the fact that Trout missed his own party: “My ship came in and sailed away again.”

You won’t, however, hear the man complain – which is clear by his use of the vague and grossly inadequate word “sick.”

In late May of 2014, Trout had a liver transplant.


Read More About Back From The Bottom Of The River: Walter Trout, July 21 At The Redstone Room...


Keepers of the Golden Egg: Shook Twins, April 16 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2015-04-02 17:46:26

Shook Twins

Shook Twins came into possession of the magical, giant golden egg in 2010. According to the story on the band’s Web site, Laurie Shook happened upon a young man holding the thing, and when she asked about it, he said a woman gave it to him and told him to sign it and pass it on to the next person.

Laurie Shook was that person, and she promises on ShookTwins.com that she will eventually hand the egg off to somebody else: “Until then, it shall be musical!”

In that way, the egg is being passed every night Shook Twins perform – including almost certainly April 16 at the Redstone Room. Laurie and her identical twin Katelyn don’t appear eager to part with it, but they turned the egg into an instrument: Laurie filled it with popcorn (making it a giant egg shaker) and mic-ed it (making it a drum).


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Rekindling the “Fire”: Ben Sidran, December 9 and 10 in Davenport
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2014-11-26 15:16:53

(Editor's note: The venue for Ben Sidran’s December 9 lecture has changed since this article was published, and admission fees for both events have also changed.)

Ben Sidran is best known as a jazz pianist and producer; for his work with the Steve Miller Band (he co-wrote “Space Cowboy”); and as host of public radio’s Jazz Alive and VH-1’s New Visions series. But he also holds a Ph.D. in American studies, and his 2012 book There Was a Fire: Jews, Music, & the American Dream displays not only the storytelling gift and playfulness you might expect from an accomplished songwriter, but also an erudite and thoughtful mind befitting his academic credentials.

It’s the mingling of those different facets, however, that makes the book such a compelling read: a love of tales, a deep curiosity about history, the use of personal narrative to ground points in contemporary and emotional life, the creativity to unearth surprising connections, and the jazz artist’s willingness to follow a muse or idea wherever it might lead.

All those components will be evident when Sidran visits Davenport as part of the Jewish Federation of the the Quad Cities’ “Jews Rock” series: a solo lecture and performance based on his book on December 9 at Temple Emanuel, and a performance by the Ben Sidran Quartet on December 10 at the Redstone Room.


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Killing the Band for the Better: Darlingside, November 12 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2014-10-30 11:13:59

The band Darlingside drew its name from an old chestnut for writers – the instruction to “murder your darlings.” (Killing your darlings would be “darlingcide,” which is made softer and more enticingly opaque as Darlingside.)

All the band members met at Massachusetts’ Williams College, at which they heard that advice in class.

Guitarist/singer Don Mitchell explained it this way in a recent phone interview promoting his group’s November 12 show at the Redstone Room: “You should be willing to get rid of the things that were initially what made you excited about the work, because those ... tend to be the clever ones; those ... tend to be the most indulgent moments. You might need ... to blow up the song in order to put it back together and continue to move forward.”

That’s an important lesson for songwriting, but it also applied to this band as a whole, which has over the past year-plus reinvented itself – shifting from an atmospheric, earnest rock band to a folk outfit.


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