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items tagged with Redstone Room

Letting the Chips Fall: David G. Smith, “First Love”; April 30 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2016-04-27 13:33:36

David G. Smith. Photo by Roger D. Feldhans.

When Blue Grass, Iowa’s David G. Smith recorded his last studio album, he actually cut enough material for two records. Given the consistently topical/political nature of 2014’s One House, a listener might expect the leftovers to taste a little like ... leftovers.

As the singer/songwriter/guitarist said in an interview last week – in advance of the local album-release show for First Love – “This one covers quite a bit of territory. ... This record is a little bit more on the softer side of things, maybe a little more introspective. It’s funny how a group of songs can seem to fit together.”

Indeed, it’s easy to hear that the record is bound in sorrow; half of the songs deal with lives and loves lost.


Read More About Letting The Chips Fall: David G. Smith, “First Love”; April 30 At The Redstone Room...


The Best Kind of Schizophrenic: Sean Watkins, April 14 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2016-04-01 11:03:53

Listening to Sean Watkins’ fifth solo album, What to Fear, you might get whiplash trying to follow the wild swings in lyrical tone in just its first half. The title track opens things with an acidic attack on the media told from the perspective of the media, and it’s followed by the earnest, bite-sized confessions of “Last Time for Everything.”

“I Am What You Want” has menace and attraction in equal measure, as the narrator gently threatens to bend its target to his will: “But I swear you’ll learn to love me. / Darling, would I lie?”

“Keep Your Promises II” returns to a clever lyrical refrain from his previous album: “Just keep your promises. / Don’t let them leave your lips.” And that admonition to a serially dishonest partner segues back into a heartfelt love song in “Everything.”

Watkins, one-third of the platinum-selling Nickel Creek (with his fiddler sister Sara and mandolinist Chris Thile), doesn’t apologize for those abrupt shifts. In an interview last week promoting his April 14 Redstone Room show, he said: “If they like the songs, they like the songs. ... It’s all very me. It’s sincerely coming from me, and something that I feel is part of my musicality, so that’s okay. ... I’m not worried too much about the schizophrenic aspect, because I’m being honest.”


Read More About The Best Kind Of Schizophrenic: Sean Watkins, April 14 At The Redstone Room...


Rock Solid: The Cerny Brothers, “Sleeping Giant”; November 13 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2015-11-10 23:49:03

The new album from the Cerny Brothers – originally from the Quad Cities area and playing the Redstone Room on November 13 – is called Sleeping Giant, and it delivers on the promise: It’s a beast awakened, building on the explosiveness of several tracks from the duo’s 2013 self-titled record.

The rock vein is apparent in songs that grow in intensity, but also with the addition of electric guitars to many songs. The album seems designed for radio play and immediate audience connection, and it works as intended. The amazingly consistent duo of Scott and Robert Cerny has produced another front-to-back-solid record, amiable and accessible.


Read More About Rock Solid: The Cerny Brothers, “Sleeping Giant”; November 13 At The 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.


Read More About “Resistance” Transforms Potential Into Maturity: Lewis Knudsen, “The Way Of Most Resistance”; July 23 At The Redstone Room...


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.


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