Monday, April 30, 2012

The Blues Is Alright: Follow-up on Jamie McLean Band Review

 


By Bobby Shiflett





I went to see the Jamie McLean Band play with the Matt Schofield Trio on April 21st, and was not disappointed. Indeed, it was a treat to watch these promising blues artists go through their paces. Both bands were tight and in the groove, and it was an excellent match-up. Workplay is an excellent venue for this type of show, with a friendly staff, and the sound was first rate.

The Jamie McClean wowed the small but engaged crowd with a variety of blues styles that moved from simmering to smoky to funky with equal ease. Jamie McClean proved himself to be a seasoned journeyman that can hold his own on any sized stage.

The Matt Schofield Trio followed suit. They quickly built up steam, and by the third song the band seemed to be in a comfortable groove. Though Matt Schofield is a soft-spoken Englishman, his style of playing is American influenced; borrowing a little of this and that from the likes of Freddie King and Stevie Ray Vaughn. He also threw in some New Orleans, funky, first line, spice for good measure.

Neither band broke any new ground, but that wasn’t to be expected. Both are adept at taking a variety of traditional phrasings, and serving them to an audience who expects straight ahead, no holds barred blues. Both bands delivered as expected.




(Original Article)

What if you had gotten the opportunity to see Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble when they were first catching fire and before they were too well known? Though we won’t have THAT particular opportunity ever again, we will have the opportunity to catch an exciting new fire-brand blues trio on their way up. On Saturday, April 21st, 2012, patrons of Birmingham’s Workplay Theater will have the opportunity to find out what festival goers already know: The Jamie McLean Band is a force to be reckoned with. They get their groove on by mixing swampy blues, funk and soul with road-worn, tried and true southern rock.

Slightly resembling Eric Clapton in appearance, Jamie also brings a journeyman’s skill to his guitar playing. He has cultivated an emotionally expressive style that is often reminiscent of Robin Trower. Jamie began his musical journey in early 2001 when he was taken into the Dirty Dozen Brass Band as their guitarist. Pretty soon he found himself touring the world, sharing dates with the likes of Widespread Panic, Nora Jones and Elvis Costello.

In an interview given to Rock Music Star, in March of 2011, Jamie talked about how his time with DDBB affected his guitar playing: “Prior to joining that band, I was a much flashier player. I was playing more notes, with more technique. …I quickly learned, that one note played, with all of your heart, can trump a thousand notes.”

In 2006, Jamie teamed up with Brian Griffin (drums) and Ben Mars (bass) to form the Jamie McLean Band. Ever since, they have been relentlessly recording and touring; playing dates at Mountain Jam, Gathering of the Vibes, and the Sweetwater Festival; as well as performing on the bill with Greg Allman, Drive By Truckers, Gov’t Mule, and Blues Traveler.

With five previous albums, all available on their website: , the Jamie McLean Band is set to release their latest, Live at Gibson, on May 8th. This first live release of the band features Jason Crosby (Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Santana, Dave Matthews) as well as American Idol winner and Birmingham native, Taylor Hicks.

I had the pleasure of previewing the 13 songs on the new release and was, overall, quite taken with what I heard. The southern-friend, “Country Living” kicks things off. It is an engaging up-tempo toe-tapper with a gritty flavor sure to appeal to fans of the Black Crowes or Mother’s Finest. Taylor Hicks helps out with the vocals and some harmonica. Without pausing to take a breath, the band goes into “I Been Low,” which is my favorite studio recording of theirs. Jamie lays down some ferocious slide-work on this pounding, barn burner as if setting out to summon the spirit of Dwayne Allman. After this, the JMB changes gears and plays a straight-forward and righteous blues tune called, “Crazy About You.” The guitar work on this is first rate and there is something haunting about it that conjures images of “The Sky is Crying.” However my personal favorite on “Live At Gibson” is JMB’s rendition of the Allman Brothers’ classic, “Midnight Rider,” which, once again, brings Taylor Hicks in to share the spotlight. A song of this caliber brings with it certain expectations, and, on this occasion, the band does not disappoint. This is a recording that they can proud of, and one day you’ll be proud that you got to see them …so make sure that you do.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

HOT OFF THE PRESSES!!! (OR BLOGGSES!!!) Birmingham's Sharbaby & the Rhythm Blues Band Featuring Tim Boykin Wins Big at Indie Music Channel

UPDATE! SharBaby wins big! As reported SharBaby & the Rhythm Blues Band performed live at the 1st annual Indie Music Channel awards show. They will be returning with 3 awards: 
    • Best Blues Song
    • Best Blues Live Performance
    • Best Blues Band 


    (Original Article Below)

    Local blues icon SharBaby Newport is nominated for six awards in the 1st Annual Indie Music Channel Awards!  SharBaby & the Rhythm Blues Band will perform live at the awards show on April 29 in Los Angeles.  Christopher Ewing, CEO of the Indie Music Channel, hosts the show at the House of Blues in West Hollywood beginning at 7:00pm.  The Rhythm Blues Band features Birmingham legend Tim Boykin on lead guitar, Jay Douglas on drums, and guest bass player Mark Ahearn from California.


    SharBaby is nominated in the following categories:

    • Best Blues Album of the Year - Sharbaby's 11 O'Clock Blues
    • Best Female Blues Artist - song: Keep Your Mind to Yourself
    • Best Female Blues Artist - song: Slippin'
    • Best Blues Song - song: Keep Your Mind to Yourself
    • Best Blues Band - song: Slippin'
    • Best Blues Live Performance - song: Bama Jama
     Peace & Happiness to you, SharBaby!

    BFP Music Events

    Saturday, April 28, 2012

    Garrison Starr and David Berkeley: May 5 at Urban Standard



    The music of Garrison Starr and David Berkeley can only be accurately described as sincere. Each song is a statement, a story, a conversation with itself.


    Garrison Starr, a country-tinged songwriter from Hernando, Mississippi, is set to release her seventh studio album, Amateur, on May 1st. Garrison’s music Between the Devil’s Rain and a Dying Language, the first single released from the album, hints at a more relaxed and experimental vibe for the album, with less of a country influence than some of her other work.


    David Berkeley is a soulful songwriter that reaches the highest level of sensitivity without sacrificing his manhood in any way. Berkeley is proof that there is still room for beauty in music. His song The Blood and the Wine showcases his emotional, minimalist songwriting as well as his mastery of the English language itself. He has released four studio albums and a book titled 140 Goats and a Guitar, which acts as a literary supplement to his latest album Some Kind of Cure.



    Together, the duo is a match made in heaven. Or maybe it was just made in a dusty hole-in-the-wall bar somewhere. Whichever way you like to think of it, the pair just makes sense. They are currently on tour throughout the US and will be stopping in Birmingham on Saturday, May 5 to perform at Urban Standard (2320 2nd Avenue North). This ALL AGES show starts at 7 pm. Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.urbanstandard.net.

    Whitechapel Comes to Zydeco


    By Doug Ward


    The name Whitechapel, for over 100 years, has conjured up images of foggy cobblestone streets and dead hookers to most folks. The London district was after all home to Jack the Ripper, history's most notorious serial killer. To those who have discovered Whitechapel, the Knoxville based death core band, it might bring mental images of Phil Bozeman, Ben Savage, Alex Wade, Zach Householder , Gabe Crisp and Ben Harclerode.

    Whitechapel has played the Warped tour and the Mayhem tour, sharing the stage with Job for a Cowboy, Cannibal Corpse, Behemoth, and The Black Dahlia Murders. They have played alongside Slayer, Marilyn Manson, Darkest Hour, Trivium ...the list goes on.


    These guys are a Juggernaut of ass kicking. Their 2007 debut  The Sonic Defilement,  released on the UK label, Siege Of Amida, paved the way for a record company bidding war between no less then eight labels desperately wanting to add Whitechapel to their lineup. The winner in that contest was no less then the mighty Metal Blade records. 


    Soon after signing with Metal Blade came the release of an impressive second album, This Is Exile. A powerful, compelling tale of world domination. The first week's sales alone topped 6000 and propelled the band forward to worldwide touring and over 55,000 copies sold (and still counting.) 

    Whitechapel's next release A New Era Of Corruption  brought a new producer on board, Jason Suecof (The Black Dahlia Murder, Job For A Cowboy) and guest spots from Deftones' Chino Moreno and Vincent of The Acacia Strain. The songwriting abilities of the band having grown phenomenally at this point. 

    A New Era of Corruption proved to be an even more dynamic, powerful recording. Flash forward to November 8, 2011 and the ep Recorrupted, which is powerful, evil, creative, and completely insane . Lyrically songs like section 8 seem to be composed from the mind of a manic depressive sociopath (I mean that in a good way... Ever see that video of the guy who built a tank from a D5 bulldozer and destroyed half of his hometown? I can see him listening to Recorupted as his soundtrack.) 

    Whitechapel is currently on tour in the US and Canada with a stop
    at the Hellfest in Clisson, France on 15/06/2012 .


    Check them out at in Birmingham at Zydeco 05/05/2012

    The Banditos on Tour



    The Banditos are going on a Southeast tour. Jeffery Salter, guitarist and lap steel player for the band has PROMISED me video of the tour.  



    Banditos are going on tour and we need your help. If you are in the area of a show or have some friends in the area, send them out, then talk them into letting us stay on their 7 couches.

    May 13 - The Alley Cat - Carrolton, Georgia
    May 14 - Nashville Tennessee
    May 15 - JJ's Bohemia - Chattanooga, Tennessee
    May 16 - Shakedown Street - Raleigh, North Carolina
    May 17 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    May 18 - Goodbye Blue Monday - Brooklyn, New York
    May 19 - The Bowery Electric - Manhattan, New York
    May 20 - Roxy and Dukes Rockabilly Road House - New Jersey
    May 21 - The Handlebar - Greenville, South Carolina
    May 22 - Tattooed Moose - Charleston, South Carolina
    May 23 - Awendaw Green - Charleston, South Carolina
    May 24 - Live Wire - Savannah, Georgia
    May 25 - The Pour House - Charleston, South Carolina
    May 26 - The Hummingbird - Macon, Georgia
    May 27 - Atalanta, Georgia

    http://www.facebook.com/BANDITOSBAND

    Friday, April 27, 2012

    1st Annual International Jazz Day: 4/30/2012

     

     
    In November 2011, the UNESCO General Conference proclaimed April 30 as International Jazz Day. In celebration of the inaugural Jazz Day, a series of star-studded concerts headlined by UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock will be held in Paris, New Orleans, and New York April 27 and 30. These inaugural celebrations, and those to follow, will raise awareness of the role of jazz music in bridging ethnic, racial, and cultural divides and promoting international understanding.


    The celebrations will kick-off in Paris on April 27 with a full day of events including live performances, master classes, and discussions featuring Marcus Miller, Barbara Hendricks, and Hugh Masekela. And on April 30, a special sunrise concert will take place in New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz.


    On the evening of April 30, UNESCO, the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations will co-sponsor a star-studded concert in the UN General Assembly Hall featuring performances by Tony Bennett, Wynton Marsalis, Esperanza Spalding, Lang Lang, Angelique Kidjo, Shankar Mahadevan, Chaka Khan, and many more. The confirmed hosts are Morgan Freeman, Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas, and Quincy Jones.

    Throughout the concert, jazz experts and artists including Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terence Blanchard, Ron Carter, and Jimmy Heath will participate in an interactive web chat backstage during the performances. Join the chat beginning at 23:00 UTC (7:00PM EDT) and watch the live stream of the two-hour New York concert beginning at 23:30 UTC (7:30PM EDT) at http://conx.state.gov/digital-diplomacy/. Follow the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #jazzday.

    Thursday, April 26, 2012

    Birmingham's Thothamon: This is Heavy

    By Doug Ward 



    Birmingham's Thothamon is a rare breed of Metal band. The music sounds like it evolved outside of the influence of that whole “tune low and play fast” school of music. The band's impromptu motto is exactly the opposite-”Low and Slow Forever”.


    You can hear what seems like a direct lineage to Black Sabbath and St. Vitus but there's more...an almost Meat Puppets like energy. The overused description of raw actually fits here, but there's something else... Stories.


    You See kids, once upon a time the metal gods actually weaved tales from literature into music. Robert Plant's interest in J.R.R. Tolkien was a great part of Zeppelin's fourth album . The band Black Sabbath was inspired not only by the Boris Karloff film of the same name, but by the writings of Dennis Yates Wheatley. Hell, the first time the term Heavy Metal was used was in the 1962 novel Soft Machine by William S. Burroughs.


    Thothamon is keeping this literary tradition alive. The name comes from a character in The Phoenix on the Sword by Robert E. Howard and their music spins tales that reach from the Norse sagas all the
    way to H.P. Lovecraft . "The new material has some Tolkien inspired songs," said Colt McCormick, the band's lead guitarist. "One called Dark riders... and another we are working on about Gollum. His tale is perfect for Doom...he loves the ring but wants so bad to be rid of it. An inner struggle." 


    The trademark low and slow “ doom” metal sound of Colt McCormick and John Bella, the band's two original members, has evolved its way through three drummers and four vocalists before reaching its current sound, which now includes Ryan Lamb on lead vocals.


    “ We were going to add a second guitar but I added a Big muff peddle to my gear and decided it filled
    out the sound where we only needed one guitar” Said McCormick.


    If its anything like The Doom That Came To Sarnath , My Heel, Your Throat  or most of the band's past material, expect it to be slow....heavy....and much deeper then you hear on the surface.


    These guys are a bit of an underdog in the Birmingham scene . Willing to play “anytime, anywhere
    with anyone “ that kind of attitude should go a long way.


    Thothamon gives you everything you should expect from a hard working local band. The style of Metal they feel they are called to play is not the “ New thing out,” it's a tried and true form that will be around for a long time, long after some of today's metal offshoots are forgotten . These guys have a pure sound. Their songs actually mean something. They have a fantastic attitude toward both fans and other local bands...they really deserve a listen.


    Watch for them June 18th at Matthews Bar and grill.


    Thothamon on Facebook 
    BFP Music Events

    Sunday, April 22, 2012

    SharBaby & the Rhythm Blues Band featuring Tim Boykin Nominated for Indie Music Channel Awards


    Local blues icon SharBaby Newport is nominated for six awards in the 1st Annual Indie Music Channel Awards!  SharBaby & the Rhythm Blues Band will perform live at the awards show on April 29 in Los Angeles.  Christopher Ewing, CEO of the Indie Music Channel, hosts the show at the House of Blues in West Hollywood beginning at 7:00pm.  The Rhythm Blues Band features Birmingham legend Tim Boykin on lead guitar, Jay Douglas on drums, and guest bass player Mark Ahearn from California.


    SharBaby is nominated in the following categories:
    • Best Blues Album of the Year - Sharbaby's 11 O'Clock Blues
    • Best Female Blues Artist - song: Keep Your Mind to Yourself
    • Best Female Blues Artist - song: Slippin'
    • Best Blues Song - song: Keep Your Mind to Yourself
    • Best Blues Band - song: Slippin'
    • Best Blues Live Performance - song: Bama Jama
     Peace & Happiness to you, SharBaby!

    BFP Music Events

    Friday, April 20, 2012

    Singer-Songwriter Steve Norris His New CD is “I Just Can’t Help Myself”



    Steve Norris is a singer/songwriter from Helena, Alabama who has played around the Birmingham/Tuscaloosa area since the mid 90’s. Steve was born and raised in Northport where he first started strumming during high school. His new CD is titled “I Just Can’t Help Myself” and includes some of Birmingham’s best musicians and singers.

    Included are 5 original songs, 3 songs by local friends, and 3 not so main stream cover tunes. The CD is dedicated to a pickin’ buddy, Gary Greene, and his song is reprised at the end with a verse sung and played by Gary.

    Steve wrote one of the tunes after encouragement from a high school classmate. “All Those Years Ago” is for his Tuscaloosa County High School Class of 1970.

    Area artists include members of the popular band “Crooked Road”: Dan Farmer, Marc Navez, Kent Peterson and Tommy Young. Other artists are Melody Musick, Joe Casey and Gary Greene with backing vocals by Judy Daussman and Janet Hall O’Neil, (yes, the Fox 6 News anchor). Steve plays acoustic guitar and is the lead vocal.

    The new CD, “I Just Can’t Help Myself” is available on Steve’s website at www.JourneymanGeezer.com where you will also find a link if you prefer mp3 files.
      
    BFP Music Events

    Thursday, April 19, 2012

    Gorilla Music - The DIY Battle of the Bands

     By Tommy Black



    Gorilla Music has been presenting their version of Battle of the Bands in the local music scene for the past several years, an event featuring around ten bands “battling” on a Sunday afternoon and throughout the night.

    The way it works is the bands sell tickets in the weeks leading up to the showcase, and the performance slots are given out based on ticket sales. The band selling the most tickets gets to headline, while the band selling the least gets to kick the event off.

    Judging is based on crowd reaction. Not on crowd reaction during the performances ,however, but at the very end of the night, after all bands have played. The winning band of course, moves on to the next level, which is, you guessed it, another battle of the bands.

    Most bands play the Gorilla Music events just to perform where they normally wouldn't be able to, that is,  if not for the competition. Zydeco, current host of the event and a legendary club in the local scene,  has seen the likes of Five Finger Death Punch, Dope, Mushroomhead, David Allen Coe, and many more inspiring performers. The idea of playing the same stage as some of their idols is alluring to many local musicians just getting their start.

    The bands are also willing to do what they must in hopes they'll get the chance to grace that stage again, hoping the competition will allow them to somehow get booked in the future. Most, though, never get that opportunity, no matter what the crowd's response during Battle of the Bands. So many of these bands will continue to play the Gorilla events in order to continue playing the better venue.

    One issue with these battles is that 10% of ticket sales, as generated by each band, is supposed to be distributed back to the band. Most original bands play the local club scene with no guarantee of payment at most venues, or a very small guarantee at best. That makes the idea of a little cash from their ticket sales a nice bonus. There have been rumors that some bands have had difficulty getting paid though (Source disclosure: I experienced this first hand, my band, Skarstruck placed 2nd overall and, frankly, we never saw a penny).

    As mentioned above, judging is done at the end of the night, after the last band has played based on crowd reaction as each band's name is mentioned. Many bands lose out as their ticket holders leave the venue before the end of the night. Needless to say, the band that plays last generally wins, as their “fans” are still present to react when the name is called. There are no judges, just an MC over the event with sole power to decide the winner based on his own interpretation of crowd response. This tactic might seem to favor the better ticket salesman rather than the better band. 

    So knowing all of this, why do these events still continue to be successful? Bands are desperate to get a good show. With the current economy, it's harder to get people to pay to come out to bars. With these battle of the bands, having ten bands booked means a promise of 50 people in the audience even if every band only sells 5 tickets. Most bands sell 10-20 tickets, with the most selling usually 35-50. That makes for a very packed room. 

    Based on our estimates, Gorilla Music makes on average $3000-5000 per Battle Of The Bands, with little to no legwork. The bands promote, sell, set up and tear down. The booking of the club is the only responsibility of the promoter. The bands make these events work, and they really should be rewarded as such. It's not like Gorilla is taking any risk in these events. They know bands will show up, and will sell tickets, because they want a premium slot.

    If our estimates are correct it's easy money for Gorilla Music. The bands, unfortunately, haven't realized that these events aren't doing anything for them that they couldn't do for themselves.

     BFP Music Events

    Wednesday, April 18, 2012

    Bands and their Vans: Hail the Titans (Part One)

    This July, Montgomery's Hail the Titans will be doing a 17 day show that will start here in Montgomery, going up to New York, then coming back down the East Coast to end in Atlanta. 17 days, 17 shows. At the moment, they have about half of those venues booked and confirmed. What they don't have is a reliable van.


    "We don't have faith that the van's going to make it to New York," Hail the Titan's Josh Carples told The Local Scene in a recent interview. Not only is their current van nearly 30 years old and, but it is also has a track record of breaking down on them. In addition, it is currently lacking in certain "luxuries" (as the band puts it), such as heating, air conditioning, a radio, or break lights.


    Not only is the van a way for the band to transport themselves and their stuff from show to show around the Southeast, but it also acts as a second home for them while they're on the road. When a floor can't be found for them to lay their heads on between gig and travel, and when money is too tight for a hotel room, they can find someplace safe to park the van and sleep in it.


    New vans aren't cheap. In order to afford this upgrade, Hail the Titans have started an IndieGoGo fundraising campaign:



    When you donate to IndieGoGo, not only are you helping a band get a new van, but you're also getting something back in return. Some of the goodies offered include buttons, posters, shirts, hoodies, and even a home-cooked meal made by the band themselves!


    In addition, the Organic Hippie of Montgomery is hosting a car wash this Friday, April 20th, at 11 a.m., to help raise money for the band. In addition to getting your car washed, there will be a dunking booth, stenciled t-shirts, Bad Mustache Beanie merchandise, and, most importantly, CUPCAKES!


    Best part (besides the cupcakes) is, the car wash only costs $4.20. Hard to beat that, huh?


    Hail the Titans explain more about the car wash in the video below.



    Hail the Titan's Wes Andrews says that the band could probably travel without the van, but it would require "3 or 4 cars and we'd be broke because of the gas."


    "Broker," interjected his band mates.


    In the band's first year, "with everyone working day jobs and doing mostly weekends and stuff," says Carples, "we still had more than 50 shows." He continues that they try to stay out of town as much as possible.


    The Local Scene will keep you posted on dates and venues of the 17 day July tour when they become available.


    Amber O'Shea is a published author and professional photographer aspiring to become a music photojournalist, reviewer, and videographer for the Rolling Stones. Her work can be found on www.themusiclocalscene.com
      
    BFP Music Events

    Monday, April 16, 2012

    Lydia Loveless at Rogue Tavern


    By Jamison Taylor

    Lydia Loveless will light up Birmingham this Saturday night supporting her new album Indestructible Machine/Bloodshot 2011. With her fiery red locks, scorching vocals and punk rock roots, it is sure to be a show everyone will be talking about. The 21 year old Ohio native will bring her booming voice to Rogue Tavern May 12th to do what she does best.


    Loveless is not your typical Country/Americana artist, of course with label mates that range from Ryan Adams and Justin Townes Earle to Charlie Pickett, this "off Music Row" line-up screams ALT-COUNTRY. 

    Loveless cites Hank Sr, Loretta Lynn, Charles Bukowski and Britney Spears as her influences. (That's right, Britney Spears!) This writer hears more of a Lucinda Williams/Pat Benatar in her raspy voice with a touch of 70's country gold around the edges. She's bringing her band who sound more like a rock set-up. Loveless handles rhythm guitar duties with Todd May on lead and backing vocals, (husband)Benjamin Lamb on bass, Rob Woodruff on banjo/guitar and (father)Parker Chandler on drums. It should be the way any Alt-Country/Americana show should be….LOUD!

    Rogue Tavern is located at 2312 2nd Ave N B'ham www.roguetavern.com.


    The self penned Indestructible Machine is gritty and raw and is a far cry from her debut, 2010's 'The Only Man,' which had a slicker country feel. Loveless says of her new album "I just wanted it to sound raw and the way it would if you came to see us live" With songs such as 'Jesus was a Wino' and 'Steve Earle' Loveless the songwriter doesn't mince words…..or lyrics! 'Steve Earle' is a song written for a stalker she once had in Ohio who called himself "Columbus' Steve Earle". The first line of the song says "Well he read an article that said I like to do cocaine" she is candid and REAL. - Jamison Taylor


    "All of 20, she's got the songwriting soul of someone twice her age and a voice to die for. Her appearance at the recent SXSW made us full-on believers." —Boudin Barndance


    "Her defiant tone is matched by songs that put country and punk on equal ground, unvarnished and direct." --Chicago Tribune


    "Her defiant tone is matched by songs that put country and punk on equal ground, unvarnished and direct." --Chicago Tribune


    "Heir apparent of Loretta Lynn" --Twangville
    "Her name is Lydia Loveless and she is like nothing I've ever heard before. Looks a little like Pink, with just the right amount of fucked up like Shane MacGowen . . . It was one of those night where I looked around and couldn't believe there weren't more people there to witness such an amazing show." --Midwest Music

    BFP Music Events


    Friday, April 13, 2012

    Review: The Jamie McLean Band "Live At Gibson"






    by Bobby Shiflett
     




    What if you had gotten the opportunity to see Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble when they were first catching fire and before they were too well known? Though we won’t have THAT particular opportunity ever again, we will have the opportunity to catch an exciting new fire-brand blues trio on their way up. On Saturday, April 21st, 2012, patrons of Birmingham’s Workplay Theater will have the opportunity to find out what festival goers already know: The Jamie McLean Band is a force to be reckoned with. They get their groove on by mixing swampy blues, funk and soul with road-worn, tried and true southern rock.

    Slightly resembling Eric Clapton in appearance, Jamie also brings a journeyman’s skill to his guitar playing. He has cultivated an emotionally expressive style that is often reminiscent of Robin Trower. Jamie began his musical journey in early 2001 when he was taken into the Dirty Dozen Brass Band as their guitarist. Pretty soon he found himself touring the world, sharing dates with the likes of Widespread Panic, Nora Jones and Elvis Costello.

    In an interview given to Rock Music Star, in March of 2011, Jamie talked about how his time with DDBB affected his guitar playing: “Prior to joining that band, I was a much flashier player. I was playing more notes, with more technique. …I quickly learned, that one note played, with all of your heart, can trump a thousand notes.”

    In 2006, Jamie teamed up with Brian Griffin (drums) and Ben Mars (bass) to form the Jamie McLean Band. Ever since, they have been relentlessly recording and touring; playing dates at Mountain Jam, Gathering of the Vibes, and the Sweetwater Festival; as well as performing on the bill with Greg Allman, Drive By Truckers, Gov’t Mule, and Blues Traveler.

    With five previous albums, all available on their website: , the Jamie McLean Band is set to release their latest, Live at Gibson, on May 8th. This first live release of the band features Jason Crosby (Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Santana, Dave Matthews) as well as American Idol winner and Birmingham native, Taylor Hicks.

    I had the pleasure of previewing the 13 songs on the new release and was, overall, quite taken with what I heard. The southern-friend, “Country Living” kicks things off. It is an engaging up-tempo toe-tapper with a gritty flavor sure to appeal to fans of the Black Crowes or Mother’s Finest. Taylor Hicks helps out with the vocals and some harmonica. Without pausing to take a breath, the band goes into “I Been Low,” which is my favorite studio recording of theirs. Jamie lays down some ferocious slide-work on this pounding, barn burner as if setting out to summon the spirit of Dwayne Allman. After this, the JMB changes gears and plays a straight-forward and righteous blues tune called, “Crazy About You.” The guitar work on this is first rate and there is something haunting about it that conjures images of “The Sky is Crying.” However my personal favorite on “Live At Gibson” is JMB’s rendition of the Allman Brothers’ classic, “Midnight Rider,” which, once again, brings Taylor Hicks in to share the spotlight. A song of this caliber brings with it certain expectations, and, on this occasion, the band does not disappoint. This is a recording that they can proud of, and one day you’ll be proud that you got to see them …so make sure that you do.



    Jamie McLean Band @ Workplay Theatre w/ Matt Shofield
    500 23rd St South
    Birmingham, AL

    Saturday, April 21 – 7:30pm

    18+
    $12









    BFP Music Events