On May 5, Chris Robinson Brotherhood is adding to Betty’s Blends, the band’s live recording series, ‘Betty’s Blends,’ with Volume 3: Self-Rising, Southern Blends. Continue reading New live Chris Robinson Brotherhood album on the way
Fourth Lockn’ Festival as Hot as the Weather
Oak Ridge Farm, Arrington, VA
August 25-28, 2016
Photographer/Writer: Mark Robbins
The 4th installment of the Lockn’ Festival at Oak Ridge Farm in Arrington, VA proved to be a sizzling hot weekend. Not only was the music a blistering blur from well known to not so well known bands but the temperature held in the high 90s all 4 days (actually 1 night and 3 days) with the only relief given by the mist machines placed throughout the festival grounds. The festival, started by Peter Shapiro and Dave Frey, not only offers the best jam bands, as well as other genres, but also the best in local farm to table eats and craft beers and wine. New this year was a raised main stage which had a rotating center so when one band was finished with a set the center would rotate with the next band already in place.
Thursday night’s lineup kicked off with Vulfpeck, a funk band who had a great time on stage with Jack Stratton constantly running back and forth between turns on the keyboard. Antwaun Stanley, billed as a”special guest” has a powerful voice that filled the festival grounds and would be at home singing R&B, funk or gospel.
Umphrey’s McGee’s music was only surpassed by it’s outstanding light show. This band was the VIP for the weekend playing non-stop glory. It’s genre hopping, time and key changes may be off-putting to some but Umphrey’s McGee was non stop glory.
Finishing the night was Ween. Known for their unusually goofy lyrics, distortion and abrasiveness they more than lived up to their reputation. This is not a jam band and they don’t try to be.
Phish played two 2 hour sets Friday and Sunday nights. It’s hard to believe this band has been killing it for some 33 years now. With a set list that included “555”, “Ghost”, “Punch You in the Eye”, “Wing Suit” and much much more from the Phish song book the highlight was an a cappella cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”. Those who paid for super VIP tickets were treated to a private show by Anders Osborne between Phish sets.
Charles Bradley survived a difficult childhood and early adulthood to finally getting the praise he deserves. Strongly influenced by James Brown, Bradley is a true showman and has the soul and R&B chops to go with it. Whatever emotion he is feeling, joyfulness or sadness, the audience feels it as deeply. Bradley is one of those performers who has to be seen live to really appreciate how great he is. Turkuaz is big band funk. This nine piece band would have raised the roof if there was a roof to be raised. White Denim has been around since 2008. From their opening song, “Real Deal Momma” the band kept a soulful vibe going throughout their entire set.
My Morning Jacket is not only a great indie band but Saturday night they put on an outstanding Rock and Roll Show. Front man Jim James is an unstoppable force backed by an equally dynamite band. Originals mixed in with covers, a particularly moving “What the World Need Now” (Burt Bacharach and Hal David), made their set one of the more memorable of the weekend.
Tedeschi Trucks Band is all that needs to be said. From the rapid fire guitar of Derek Trucks to the sublime voice of Susan Tedeschi as well as a great band, this is as good as it gets. Their cover of “Bitches Brew” was so smokin’ that Miles Davis even smiled.
Hard Working Americans is a Neo Southern super rock band. “Mission Accomplished” should have been their closer instead of opener because when their set was over, judging from the crowds reaction, it was mission accomplished. With Todd Snider in front with vocals, dancing, and mugging for the crowd, the rest of Hard Working Americans cook with such intensity flames should be covering the stage. This band’s pedigree is second to none with Dave Schools (Widespread Panic), Neal Casal (Chris Robinson Brotherhood), Chad Staehly (Great American Taxi), and Duane Trucks (King Lincoln).
Galactic is the quintessential New Orleans funk band. With Stanton Moore on drums this band can do no wrong. Together for 20 years,Stanton Moore Ben Ellman, Robert Mercurio, Jeff Raines and Rich Vogel have visited every genre of music and conquered them all. For their Lockin’ set special guest harp player Lee Oskar, founder of War, joined them for “Slipping Into Darkness”, “Like a Rolling Stone” and a few others. Add vocalist Erica Falls to the mix and an extended set (Brandi Carlile could not appear due to illness) and there were a lot of happy campers.
Phil Lesh has a lot of good friends. With members of the Dead, Phish (John Fishman, Page McConnell, Anders Osborne, Joe Russo) and The Infamous Stringdusters, this group could have had their own festival. Getting a late start, travel problems for Lesh then a blown amp, the fans patiently waited as the new rotating stage turned to the opening strains of “Scarlet Begonias”. Through a set of Dead covers and an extended jam, Phil Lesh and Friends were welcomed back anytime.
Keller Williams has a good time and so does everyone else who is there to hear him. Dressed in a dark suit, white shirt, white tie, and no shoes, Williams comes to preach. “Palm Sunday”, “Who Was John”, “St Stephen”, “Sampson and Delilah” and more made this set a must hear for the weekend. Performed on the much smaller Blue Ridge Bowl Stage and earlier than the normal starting time (10 AM) it was still wall to wall people (if there were walls) who knew this was not a set to miss. Williams was backed by his three piece band and 4 singers who preached to the heavens.
Phil Lesh’s friends today were Chris Robinson Brotherhood (who had their own set) and Gary Clark, Jr.. Sunday’s show went off without a hitch with more Dead covers and Gary Clark, Jr. showing his blues licks on “Good Morning, School Girl” and “Wang Dang Doodle”. Lesh and friends, no matter who they are, can do no wrong.
Gary Clark, Jr. is not as famous as he should be. His style encompass fuzz rock, blues, r&b, hip-hop, soul and even a little jazz. His crackling “Bright Lights” set the tone for the rest of his rock blues appearance.
Chris Robinson Brotherhood has announced the release of Betty’s Blend’s, Volume Two: Best Of The West on June 2. Recorded and mixed live by the legendary Grateful Dead archivist Betty Cantor-Jackson, the nine-track collection features performances captured throughout The CRB’s 2014 summer tour of the western United States, including“Rosalee” from the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, “Shore Power” from Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, “Burn Slow” from Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom in Denver and a standout 15-minute plus version of “Vibration & Light Suite” from Theatre Deville in Vacaville, CA. In addition to CRB originals, the set includes a pair of covers: “They Love Each Other” by The Grateful Dead and “Driving Wheel” by Tom Rush, both of which are invariably highlights of The CRB’s live shows.
True to the band’s farm-to-table aesthetic, Betty’s Blends, Vol. Two will be issued by Robinson’s label, Silver Arrow Records, as a limited edition release with only 2000 2-LP sets, 2000 CDs and 2000 downloads available.
“Off we go on another sonic adventure through the ears and mind of the one and only Betty Cantor-Jackson,” says Chris Robinson. “Clear some room, lay on the music and let the high times commence!”
In addition to Betty’s Blends, Vol. Two, The CRB is set to release a 2-song CD sampler in an Alan Forbes-designed CRB tote bag for Record Store Day 2015. The tracks on the sampler will include “Shore Power” from Betty’s Blends, Vol. Two plus The CRB’s version of the Buddy Holly song, “Love’s Made A Fool Of You” with The Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh playing bass.
Chris Robinson Brotherhood will be touring throughout summer 2015, including a number of high profile festivals. Upcoming dates include:
April 2 – Byron Bay, Australia – Bluesfest
April 3 – Byron Bay, Australia – Bluesfest
April 4 – Melbourne, Australia – The Corner Hotel
April 6 – Sydney, Australia – Metro Theatre
April 30 – Big Sur, CA – Loma Vista
May 1 – Big Sur, CA – Loma Vista
May 2 – Calpine, CA – Sierra Valley Lodge
May 5 – Nevada City, CA – Miners Foundry Cultural Center
May 6 – Arcata, CA – Humboldt Brews
May 8 – Bend, OR – The Domino Room
May 9 – Seattle, WA – Neumos
May 10 – Portland, OR – Revolution Hall
May 12 – Salt Lake City, UT – The State Room
May 13 – Salt Lake City, UT – The State Room
May 15 – Denver, CO – Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
May 16 – Denver, CO – Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
May 17 – Bellevue, CO – Mishawaka Amphitheater
May 22 – N. Lawrence, OH – The Ville
May 29 – San Diego, CA – North Park Observatory
May 31 – Napa, CA – BottleRock Festival
June 19 – Steamboat Springs, CO – Steamboat Free Summer Concert Series
July 10 – Summit Point, WV – All Good Music Festival
July 11 – Marshfield, MA – Levitate Music Festival
July 17 – Lowell, MA – Lowell Summer Concert Series
Jul 25 – Floyd, VA – FloydFest
Way Over Yonder Festival 2014
Jackson Browne, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Heartless Bastards, and Jamestown Revival
Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica, CA
Chris Robinson Brotherhood
For all of Allen Erwin’s photos from Day 2 at Way Over Yonder Festival stop by Honest Tune’s Facebook page: Honest Tune Facebook – Way Over Yonder Day 2, Photo Gallery
Sons of Mudboy
May 29, 2013
Luther Dickinson stood at the front of the stage, drenched in sweat, microphone in one hand and the other cocked back to accentuate the lyrics he was delivering like the deftest of MCs. It was towards the end of yet another marathon Wednesday night set by the Sons of Mudboy, and Dickinson had the crowd in the palm of his hand. That’s what the residency has turned into; two months into their weekly gig at 1884 Lounge in Minglewood Hall, the band is ever-changing, but one thing remains the same: the friends, family, and neighbors that faithfully arrive each week know that anything and everything can happen.
Dickinson is the de facto leader of the band whose line-up is always in flux. Depending on who’s available, on any given night the entire roster can and will change. As May came to a close, the group that kicked off the evening included the actual sons of Mudboy & the Neutrons: Luther and Cody Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars, Black Crowes, etc.), son of Jim Dickinson; Ben Baker, son of Lee Baker, and Steve Selvidge (the Hold Steady, Big Ass Truck), son of Sid Selvidge. The band was joined by original Neutron Jimmy Crosthwait, drummer Robert Barnett (Big Ass Truck), Paul Taylor (the Merry Mobile and others), and George Sluppick (Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Mofro). Seemingly everyone on stage had a connection to one another, be it blood or musically.
It’s been a ride watching the band develop over the past two months. While they have played together for decades, to watch a band literally sprout on stage over the course of time has been a treat. The band can seemingly play anything and everything, and the first set started with the bluesy intro jam, which was followed with by the folksy, shuffling “John Henry > Judge Bouche.”
One of the intriguing features of the band is their versatility â€“ the ability of nearly everyone on stage to swap instruments at any time. So, while Luther is by trade a guitar player â€“ it has always been his instrument of choice be it with the Allstars or while he was with the Black Crowes â€“ he started the show on bass but over the course of the show also played guitar and keyboards. Likewise, Taylor moved from guitar to drums to bass with little to no loss in play quality.
The addition of Sluppick for the night brought an added element to the line-up. One, he’s a damn fine drummer,Â Chris Robinson wouldn’t have tapped him for his band otherwise. Two itÂ allowed allowed for Taylor to spend a little more time on bass and guitar.
This musical dexterity was on display during the finest moment of the first set, “Codine.” During this Buffy Sainte-Marie tune that Jim Dickinson had in his rotation, Luther laid down a steady bass line while Taylor unleashed a furious guitar solo. Jim Dickinson’s version of the tune had an edge to it, but the Sons’ version is spacey in an Allman-esque way. And, with two drummers on stage and dual guitars, it took on that tone exponentially.
The second set opened with more players on stage. With the addition of local saxophone players Jim Spake and Art Edmaiston (Mofro) and bass player John Stubblefield (Lucero), there were 11 people crammed onto the tiny 1884 Lounge stage. The collective started with the soul of Wilson Picket’s “Land of 1000 Dances,” Â segued into Jr. Walker’s “Shotgun,” and it eventually evolved into a gritty take on the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows.”
The transition into the song seemed a tad disjointed as they went from one tempo into something completely different, but that’s kinda expected given there were nearly a dozen people on stage, some of whom had probably never played together.Â Accentuated by the haunting saxophones and reverb-drenched guitar from Selvidge, Luther delivered the lyrics with a growl. As the jam progressed the band settled into a nice pocket, and Luther broke out the slide to deliver one of his trademark solos. The band’s eventual transition back into “Shotgun” was a much smoother affair.
The band genre-jumped again to close the show, going from the Beastie Boys’ “Mark on the Bus” into a jam that touched on Sly & the Family Stone’s Â “I Want to Take You Higher,” with Taylor laying down some downright funky bass lines.
As the show came to a close, it was evident that there’s true musical chemistry between the core members of the group. There are some connections that take years and years to nuture and some that are instantaneous, and each Wednesday, the Sons of Mudboy seem to display both.