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items tagged with Redstone Room

Something to Write About: Paul Thorn, March 8 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2011-03-02 15:59:34

Paul ThornThe cliché says that good writers mostly write what they know, so it’s little wonder that Paul Thorn has crafted an under-the-radar career as a respected songwriter and performer.

The title of his 2010 album is Pimps & Preachers, and he speaks of both from experience: His father was a minister, and his uncle was a pimp. “When I was a kid, them was the two guys that I hung around a lot,” Thorn said in a phone interview this week. “I got to witness what went on on both sides of the tracks of life – the dark and the light side of life.”

That uncle also taught the future songwriter to box and served as his trainer, and in 1988 Thorn fought (and lost to) Roberto Durán, considered one of the sport’s greats. Thorn also used to skydive.

In the mid-1990s, Thorn was plucked from a day job in a furniture factory and a regular gig singing in a pizza joint, signed to a major-label contract. And the first concert he ever attended was a Sting show – at which he was the opening act.


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Music as Savior: Buffalo Clover, February 26 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2011-02-22 21:12:28

Buffalo CloverMost bands dubbed “Americana” focus on a thin slice of roots music, but the Nashville-based outfit Buffalo Clover lays claim to a wide swath, all with a smart pop sensibility.

The band’s official biography says its styles range from “underdog gypsy punk to Motown boxcar blues, [and] vaudevillian acid rock to train-wreck folk,” and those labels are accurate both in terms of genre and vivid, mature execution. On any given night, Buffalo Clover might cover James Brown, Etta James, or Neil Young, and that also offers some sense of what appears to be a nearly boundless comfort zone.

The band – which performed at last year’s River Roots Live festival – will play the Redstone Room on February 26 and features two members from the Quad Cities area: singer/songwriter Margo Price (an Aledo, Illinois, native) and guitarist/banjoist Matt Gardner (who went to high school in Bettendorf).

That local connection is one reason to check out the emerging band, but Buffalo Clover has the goods, too. Pick Your Poison, the band’s 2010 release, demonstrates its expansive grasp in the span of three songs.


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Attention Grabber: Fitz & the Tantrums, February 7 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2011-01-19 11:25:30

Fitz & the Tantrums. Photo by Alicia Rose.There are breakup songs and breakup albums, and then there’s Fitz & the Tantrums – a breakup band.

Singer/songwriter Michael Fitzpatrick will be bringing his soul six-piece to the Redstone Room on February 7, and the group’s music is as infectious as its origin story is serendipitous. Esquire last year named Fitz & the Tantrums one of its “10 SXSW Bands to Add to Your iPod Now,” and that’s just one of the accolades the band has acquired in its two-year existence.


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Anything but Simple: Monte Montgomery, November 17 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2010-11-10 11:00:23

Monte Montgomery. Photo by Jens Christensen.Monte Montgomery’s guitar-playing is so distinctive, dexterous, and seemingly ingrained that it sounds like he might have had the instrument in his cradle. So it’s surprising that he could have just as easily played the trumpet.

His first instruments were trumpet and piano, and he said he only took the guitar seriously “when I no longer had a piano or a trumpet at my disposal, and my Mom had an extra guitar. That’s what I had. I often joke about, ‘Mom, what would have happened if we hadn’t lost that trumpet?’ ... I think fate had other things in store for me.”

He’s similarly matter-of-fact about his decision to abandon electric guitar for an acoustic. “I could do a lot of things on acoustic I was relying on electric for,” he said in a phone interview earlier this week. “So why not leave the extra guitar at home and the additional two heavy amps I was carrying around for my electric, and just play acoustic? It really was kind of just that simple.”

The playing by Montgomery, who will be performing at the Redstone Room on November 17, is anything but simple. In 2004, Guitar Player magazine named him one of the 50 greatest guitar players of all time, and he’s been called the acoustic Hendrix.


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Fully Invested: Band of Heathens, November 4 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2010-11-02 13:54:11

Band of Heathens

The opening track of the Band of Heathens’ One Foot in the Ether is classic electric alt-country, but a listener unfamiliar with the Texas quintet would be wise to withhold judgment or expectations. “L.A. County Blues” casually segues into soft harmonies recalling the 1970s in “Say,” and then “Shine a Light” digs heavily into soulful, organ-heavy gospel.

That diversity of styles befits a group with three primary songwriters who each play multiple instruments, but it also reflects an understanding of the essential similarities shared by different branches of roots music.

“I’ve never seen blues music or soul music being very far away from country music or bluegrass,” singer/songwriter Ed Jurdi said in a recent phone interview promoting the Band of Heathens’ November 4 performance at the Redstone Room. “The approach is slightly different in terms of who’s singing the song and what they sound like.”

Songwriters Jurdi, Gordy Quist, and Colin Brooks – with bassist Seth Whitney and drummer John Chipman – are celebrating the fifth anniversary of their band this month, yet rather than settling on a sound, Band of Heathens has embraced a stylistic sloppiness.


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