Tag Archives: Los Lobos

Wheels of Soul Tour Sandia Casino Amphitheater Albuquerque, NM

Wheels of Soul Tour
The Tedeschi Trucks Band, Mississippi All-Stars, Los Lobos
September 19, 2016
Sandia Casino Amphitheater Albuquerque, NM
Photographer/Writer: Jake Sudek

Monday night’s sky was full of stars and clarity, not only in regards to weather, but also what was to come for those attending an evening on The Wheels of Soul Tour. The night was a reschedule from an August date postponed due electrical storms. The great weather brought relief to many who were returning to the Sandia Casino Amphitheater from the cancelled show in August. By far, one of the hottest tours of the summer was the Wheels of Soul Tour in its second incarnation. This powerhouse tour de force consisted of the North Mississippi All-Stars, Los Lobos, and The Tedeschi Trucks Band. A characteristic of what has made these shows unique is the innumerable sit-ins and band mash-ups that occur on a nightly basis, set after set, seeing all sorts of collaborations, not only by the main names of each band, but also by the auxiliary players of the groups.


As standard for the tour, the show opened with North Mississippi All-Stars. This sibling based, driving trio presented with all the energy one would expect from a band with the term “All-Star” in its name. The group, Luther and Cody Dickinson on guitar and drums, and the deep end foundation of Danielle Nicole on bass. They wasted no time jumping right in for the eager crowd. Their 12-song set featured many blues standards infused with their own brand of improvisation and verve, notable enough that the legends that penned the tunes would have been proud.

Keeping true to their roots, the band covered such tunes as R.L. Burnside’ s “ Po Black Maddie”, Son House’ s “Death Letter Blues”, Muddy Waters’ “Rollin’ and Tumblin” and “Got My Mojo Workin”, Buddy Guy’ s “Baby Please Don’ t Leave Me”, T-Bone Walker’ s “Mean Old World”, and Jimi Hendrix’ s “Hear My Train A Comin”. As there were many deadheads in the crowd, remarkable excitement and warm receptions were detected at the performance of Elmore James’ “It Hurts Me Too” and the traditional “Deep Elem Blues”.


The sit-ins began mid-set, starting off with TTB vocalist Alecia Chakour lead vocals on Levon Helm’ s “Move Along Train”. Following this blues rocker, the remaining back up singers of TTB, Mark Mattison and Mark Rivers, joined the band with Chakour on Mississippi Fred McDowell’ s “Back Back Train”. The end of the set welcomed both Susan Tedeschi and Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo to lend guitar duties on “Deep Elem Blues”, “Mean Old World”, “Got My Mojo Workin”, and “Hear My Train A Comin”. The entire set was full of smiles and joyous exchanges, both onstage and off. The chemistry between the “D” brothers and Sistah Nicole is inspiring and magical. From the solid beat of the skins by Cody, the rambunctious flailing of Nicole’ s moves while being able to lay down consistent grooves and growling vocals, and the other-worldly slide work by Luther, the product of this southern equation shows that this group is as much a headliner as anyone else on the bill. It is often said that the opener for many shows leaves much to be desired, but in the case of the NMA, their exit left many only with the desire for more. With a minimal change out of equipment, Los Lobos took the stage to the raucous welcoming of the audience.

Being a local favorite for decades, the crowd’s eruption was still audible as they began their first tune. This group’s ability to effortlessly swing from Latin-infused themes to classic rhythm and blues progressions and everything in between makes them not only danceable, but intoxicating and entertaining. The highlights of the set were incredible and filled with notes that legends are made of. The first song of the evening was one of the group’ s more popular songs, “Mas Y Mas”, and featured accompaniment by Derek Trucks, TTB trumpeter Ephraim Owens, and TTB flautist, Kofi Burbidge. This salsa flavored instrumental clocked in at 14+ minutes and solos were given over to the onstage guests with equal latitude of that of the core members. The horn exchanges between Owens, Burbidge, and Los Lobos’ saxophonist, Steve Berlin, were tasteful and furious and built on each other until the release of the crescendo, leaving just as many giggling on stage as those watching. Trucks’ opportunity was not wasted either and saw encouragement by Cesar Romero to take the lead, adding a stringed complementary exchange equal to that of the preceding brass duel. Another highlight from the set was a cover of Marvin Gaye’ s “What’s Going On”. Tedeschi was employed for lead vocals and was joined by the vocal component from TTB. The piece was soulful and true to the original. Steve Berlin of Los Lobos traded duties of keys and saxophone, nailing both effortlessly. The band pulled out Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba” as one of their closing tunes. With help from Trucks, they took this number over the top and really stretched it out. As the mid-section began to diminish, the expectation was a return for the last stanza of lyrics, but instead the band shifted the tune into The Rascals “Good Lovin’”, exciting the crowd, both deadheads and 60’ s rock lovers alike.


There was no shortage of rocking on this piece or the band encouraging the audience to sing along. Again, the band and guests seemed to experiencing as much exhilaration as the people laid out in front of them, shaking their bones. The energy continued to build and at the point that the climax seemed like it could be taken no further, the band dropped right back into “La Bamba”, closing the set with satiated, exhausted exaltation.

Before The Tedeschi Trucks Band took the stage, the promoter, John Nichols, came out and addressed the audience. He wanted to let everyone know that without the compassion and integrity of the bands, this evening would not have been such a great success. He added that the evening’s show was actually turned into a fundraiser by the groups to contribute to a local charity, New Day, which aids in getting teens off of the street, back into education, and re-inspiring their potential for the future. This announcement of humanity put a smile on many in the sea of faces and when Nichols finally said,”……and would you please welcome…….”, the entire venue responded with such a long and deafening salute that it was only the opening chords of the TTB original “Let Me Get By” that finally capped the revel as the third and final set took off. This energetic, bluesy gospel number was prolonged and gave all sections the ability to show for the crowd. Burbidge’ s Leslie solo stood out and received a round of rousing upon completion.


Tedeschi vocals, accompanied by the backup singers, added to the grit of the number. “Laugh About It” was up next and showcased more of Tedeschi’ s control in the vocal department. This beautiful, laid back piece is uplifting and warm. “Don’ t Know What It Means” showed that the front woman of this band has pipes that don’t bend or tire easily. This funky tune had great accents from the horn section, including a voracious solo by TTB saxophonist Kebbi Williams, who once he started blowing notes didn’ t stop, clutching his horn and shaking it. A fantastic rendition of Clapton’s “Keep On Growing”was delivered next. Its punchy structure gave way to accentuated beats of enthusiasm, both rhythmically and melodically. Lee Dorsey’s “Get Out of My Life Woman” was up next and as Tedeschi stepped away from the mic, as TTB’ s Mike Mattison took center stage to lead the band through this number.
What guitar inspired night would be complete without a number from the late Stevie Ray Vaughn? “The Sky is Crying” bought out the first sit-in of the TTB set, seeing the return of Cesar Romero. His exchanges with both Tedeschi and Trucks reinforced the fact that this man is not pigeonholed to any genre, nor his comfort or command diminished outside of his usual band members. “Right On Time”, a dark, speak-easy tune, gave rise to the spotlight of another outstanding member of the TTB horn section. Elizabeth Lea let loose on the trombone, as her swollen cheeks blew grit with every line, accompanied by great slide work and complement by both Trucks and Tedeschi.

Welcoming Luther Dickinson to the stage, the band delivered a double punch of goodness with “I Want More” and Santana’s “Soul Sacrifice”. The interplay in call and response fashion and straight ahead searing leads between Dickinson and Trucks brought obvious laughter between the two string marauders, as both appeared impressed and motivated by each other, fueling the fire of brilliance. B.B. King’s, “ How Blue Can You Get?” waltzed out of the gate in true blues fashion and gave all the dancers in the hall the opportunity to catch their breaths and witness in genuine spectator fashion the talent of the band. This number, again, showcased the front lady’ s ability to soulfully present herself on guitar and verse. The set closer came in the form of another Clapton rocker, “Had To Cry Today” and saw the return of Hidalgo to the stage. This tune has both the complements of hard-driving, distorted chords and softer, melodic vocal sections. The jam, again, seemed unending and spiraled higher and higher with every measure and continued to grab everyone’s attention.


With a curfew looming, the band returned to the stage for their final piece on this epic excursion. Bob Dylan’ s, “You Ain’t Going Nowhere” was an even-keeled choice that with its lightness and smooth tempo gave everyone on stage the ability to shine one more time. The fact that this was a reschedule instead of a cancellation and that all three bands returned to the Land of Enchantment, despite that the formal tour had ended weeks ago, speaks volumes about these players and their level of commitment to their fans and the overtly obvious enjoyment they receive playing together, demonstrated by displays of affection visible on stage. All performers, whether guest or host on stage, leaves every turn with toes intact and the girth that everyone receives feels more like family than fame. The proof is in the pudding and the universe willing, if the Wheels of Soul takes on another formation, anyone and everyone should witness this amazing ensemble of talented performers.

Wheels of Soul Tour – Tedeschi Trucks Band at the Lawn at White River

Wheels of Soul Tour
Tedeschi Trucks Band with special guests Los Lobos, North Mississippi Allstars
Wednesday, July 27th 2016
The Lawn at White River, Indianapolis, Indiana
Photographer: Tyler Muir
Writer: Amber Jennings

White River State Park, located in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana, offers one of the state’s best amphitheaters, The Lawn at White River. The venue sits on the east bank of the river and offers concert goers sensational picturesque views when the sun slips behind the amphitheater and paints the sky with stunning sunset colors. The acoustics of the venue are a match of the view – amazing.


Grammy Award-winning Tedeschi Trucks Band, along with special guests Los Lobos and North Mississippi Allstars, played the venue on July 27, 2016 as part of their Wheels of Soul Tour. This year TTB released their new album, Let Me Get By and have been celebrating the success of the album. Recorded independently in their own studio, Swamp Raga, the album recognizes the self-reliance, connection and sense of family that has grown since the inception of the band in 2010.


North Mississippi Allstars kicked the evening off as fans settled into their seats. The founding brothers Luther Dickenson (guitar, lowebow and vocals) and Cody Dickenson (drums, keyboards, electric washboard) with Chris Chew (electric bass guitar) are known for their American southern rock/blues bringing the dirty south full throttle to the Midwest before Los Lobos took the stage.


The east Los Angeles, California band, Los Lobos, snagged the stage and initiated a set of rock and roll, Tex-Mex and zydeco with “Whiskey Trail.” Luther Dickinson would take the stage with the band for a cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s “300 Pounds of Joy” and “Gates of Gold.” Later in the set, Susan Tedeschi appeared for a Marvin Gaye cover, “What’s Going On.” The closing number of the set, “Más y más,” included Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, and the Tedeschi Trucks Band’s horn section.


As the sun slipped behind the stage and lit up the sky in wondrous colors, the Tedeschi Trucks Band appeared on stage. They opened their set with “Laugh About It,” a tune from the new album. Derek Trucks’s guitar intro set the song with a light and airy feel, while Susan Tedeschi’s vocals added a dimension to the evening, the breadth and depth of her voice matching the sinking sun. The band seemed to relax into a groovy strut for another new song, “Don’t Know What It Means.” The funky, slink groove showcased Tedeshi’s power on guitar with heavy brass accompaniment. They rolled into a cover from the Box Tops, “The Letter,” and dipped into the new album’s title track, “Let Me Get By,” a southern rock jam featuring heavy keys and vocals.


The set continued with a boozy strut, “Right On Time,” featuring Mike Mattison on vocals. Tedeschi sang the song in a lower pitch than usual, making a fitting harmony with Mattison. Mattison continued on vocals for a ZZ Top cover, “Goin’ Down to Mexico.” Trucks’s heavy guitar intro drove the 12-piece ensemble, while mixing lead guitar with Tedeschi.


As twilight settled, TTB slowed the evening down with a dreamy Derek Trucks Band cover, “Swamp Raga,” that segued into “Midnight in Harlem” from TTB’s 2011 Grammy award-winning album, Revelator. Gentle slide guitar and cascading drums gave way to Tedeschi’s vocals that blanketed the audience with a soft, dreamy feel. They continued with another Revelator track, “Bound for Glory,” a George Jones cover, “Color of the Blues’ and another cover, Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “I Pity the Fool.” They wrapped up the set with “The Storm,” a perfect set closer. Trucks’s intro was a taste of the solo he would rip into midway through the song, solidifying the title.


The band encored with a Sly and the Family Stone cover, “Are You Ready” and a James Taylor cover, “Fire and Rain;” the latter featured Mark Rivers on vocals with Mike Mattison and Tedeschi.


The show concluded about 15 minutes early but did not let the attendees down. It was a great Wednesday evening show on the Lawn.

Los Lobos’ 1976 debut recording ‘Sí Se Puede!’ to be released digitally for first time

Los LobosIn 1976, after Cesar Chavez helped get Coca-Cola to sponsor his groundbreaking Latin entertainment television show, The Mean Salsa Machine, television and music producer Art Brambila wanted to do something in return for Chavez and the United Farm Workers. The idea of Sí Se Puede! (Yes We Can!) came to him.

After reviewing over 120 songs and speeches from UFW marches, Brambila began to create the list of songs for the album. Inspired by his work, he wrote “Mañana Is Now,” the only all-English song, for the LP. As the song choices were coming together, he knew who he wanted to record and arrange the music — from East L.A., Los Lobos, then consisting of David Hidalgo, Louie Pérez, Cesar Rojas and Conrad Lozano. This would be the band’s first released recordings, a full two years ahead of their groundbreaking EP Just Another Band From East L.A.
Sí Se Puede will be released digitally-only on March 11, 2014 by Fantasy Records.
Track listing:
All arrangements and instrumentation by Los Lobos
1. De Colores —Los Lobos with Santa Isabel School Children’s Choir
2. Huelga en General — Los Lobos with Carmen Moreno
3. Yo Estoy con Chavez* — Los Lobos with Ramon “Tiguere” Rodriguez
4. Mujeres Valientes* — Los Lobos with Raul Bambila
5. Mañana Is Now* — Los Lobos with Geree Gonzalez and Tierra
6. Telingo Lingo – Los Lobos
7. Corrido de Delores Huerta #39— Los Lobos
8. Chicanita de Aztlan* —Los Lobos with Diana Cruz
9. Sangre Antigua – Los Lobos with Carmen Moreno
10. No Nos moveran* —Los Lobos with Geree Gonzalez, Carmen Moreno, Tierra and Conrad Lozano

Christmas Jam 23: The Formula Changed, but the Tradition Remains

On December 23, 2011, Warren Haynes Christmas Jam, in all its charitable glory, once again descended upon downtown Asheville, North Carolina.

Over the years, the Jam has become predominantly known for its unlikely ensembles and once-in-a-lifetime sit ins.

But upon viewing this year’s lineup, it was immediately obvious that the 23rd installment of the annual institution would hang its hat on beloved ensembles of times past and bands who have recently been on hiatus. On par with previous years, chairman of the Jam, Warren Haynes, rarely left side stage.

In discussing the Christmas Jam, it is always important to recall the event’s history, not only of origin, but of charity.

Christmas Jam was born from a simple idea: old friends who were members of different touring bands got together for an evening at a local club. It was a night of homecoming, camaraderie, and music with friends; the door money was donated to various charities. The event became a resounding success in the local community and as time passed, it grew in the most organic way.

Today, the charitable donations benefit Habitat for Humanity and the Asheville Civic Center (the city’s largest) is the permanent home for the festivities. The event sells out within minutes of going on sale each year, and 2011 was no different.

When it was announced that Phil Lesh & Friends and Gov’t Mule (who have not performed together in 2011) would anchor the line-up, the Warren and Jam faithful gobbled up the available tickets; the pre-sale tickets sold out in record time. In addition to the slated acts — which included scene veterans Los Lobos and banjo god Bela Fleck — the “special guest” list was nothing to scoff at. Notable names included Jimmy Herring, Kevn Kinney, Jeff Sipe, Mike Barnes, Bill Evans, and Audley Freed.

The evening began with Warren taking the stage as he has in years past, with an acoustic guitar and a smile. Opening the evening with Van Morrison’s “And It Stoned Me,” the mood was set as the subtle sounds of Haynes’ familiar voice soothed the gridlocked Civic Center throng, causing a hush and collective eye-shutting to fall over the room. It was a meditative moment that was probably as necessary for Haynes as it was for the fans. After all, everyone knew they were in for close to eight hours of high throttled jams.


Christmas Jam Band

Following the collective rumination, Haynes simply smiled as he looked adoringly at the patrons of the event that he holds so near and dear before introducing the first act of the evening, dubbed the “Christmas Jam Band.”

Featuring Kevn Kinney, Jackie Greene, Robert Kearns, Audley Freed and Brad Pemberton, the act opened with the Kinney-sung Drive-By Truckers classic, “Never Gonna Change.” The band amply fulfilled its duties and provided a nice warm-up set of solidly-played familiar tunes that included Elton John’s “Rocket Man” and The Beatles’ “I’ve Got A Feeling.”


Setlist: Never Gonna Change, Ain’t Waiting On Tomorrow, Breath > Rocket Man, I’ve Got a Feeling

Download an audience recording of this set here


Bela Fleck and Friends

Bela Fleck took the stage following a brief changeover, something that was much appreciated at this year’s Jam. In previous years, the changeovers have been a dreaded time for attendees. With the smaller lineup, a majority of the equipment was backlined. Hence, the only true gear overhaul took place during the scheduled intermission midway through the evening.

Fleck took the same approach as Haynes had nearly an hour earlier, taking the stage accompanied only by his famous Gibson TB-75 Flathead banjo for an improvisational session that segued into the “Ballad of Jed Clampett,” wherein Bela once again affirmed himself as one of the premiere banjoists of the modern era, if not of all time.

As the closing notes of “Clampett” settled and the applause roared, friends — guitarist Jimmy Herring (Widespread Panic), drummer Jeff Sipe (Aquarium Rescue Unit), fiddler Casey Driessen (Sparrow Quartet), bassist Taylor Lee (Jeff Sipe Trio) and saxophonist Bill Evans (Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock) — took the stage for what would be a definitive set of the night, especially in the areas of discovery and musicality.

In 2006, Bill Evans recorded the Grammy-nominated album Soulgrass. It featured numerous artists including Fleck and is the centerpiece of the jazz-bluegrass fusion sound. Though Herring was not featured on the fusion-focused album, one could never tell by simply listening to his perfectly executed play. It was wonderfully evocative of Herring’s Jazz is Dead days or his sessions with Chick Corea. To boot, there was Fleck, who seemed to preside over the ceremonies in a similar fashion to the way Bruce Hampton presides over Aquarium Rescue Unit.

The set, which lasted just over an hour, was nothing short of beautifully integrated harmonious orgasmia. It was far from typical call-and-response jam. It was a group of soloists who have the innate ability to musically intermingle amongst one another, and they executed to perfection. All of this, in conjunction with two of the players (Fleck and Evans) who are — without reservation from any scholar — living legends, made the set one of those “only at Christmas Jam” moments.


Setlist:  Improvisation>Ballad Of Jed Clampett (Bela Fleck solo), Monkey See, Spanish Point, Scapegoat Blues#,  Soulgrass
# Neal Fountain on bass

Download an audience recording of this set here


Los Lobos

Los Lobos, the band that served as Ritchie Valens’ reincarnate with their rendition of “La Bamba” for the 1987 film, is hands down one of the most underrated, overlooked and unsung group of musical heroes on the scene today.

Though critical acclaim has met them at many turns and the devotion of avid followers runs deep, large commercial success has eluded them. This is perhaps best evidenced by the fact that Warner Brothers dropped the ensemble from their label in 1996 even though the East Los Angeles natives won a Grammy the previous year. These cats have folks like Eric Clapton, Mavis Staples and Elvis Costello on speed dial, but the response from the average music listener when Los Lobos is discussed is “who?”

In short, they were a perfect fit for Christmas Jam, an event whose lineup is curated by one of the most discerning ears in music, Haynes.

Opening with the title track from 1990’s The Neighborhood, the crowd was getting warmed up to the sound before subsequently being set afire by the electrifying solo from front man David Hidalgo that brought the number to a close. The segue-heavy set reeled through theyears of the veteran Hispanic rockers’ vast career.

Following the percussive heavy and intensely danceable “I Walk Alone,” a true standout from the band’s Live at Fillmore release, the band welcomed Haynes to the stage for a short ripping of a Grateful Dead-inspired rendition of “Not Fade Away.”

During “NFA,” Jackie Greene walked to the stage for the final number of the evening, a seamlessly segued “Bertha,” the Los Lobos contribution to the Grateful Dead tribute album, Deadicated.  The 10-minute tune was interplay at its finest, as the five guitarists called and responded to each other with precision. Finally settling into a rhythmic backdrop, Haynes took center stage  and prevailed above his peers with a spine chilling slide solo that eventually channeled Duane Allman through a tease of the Allman Brothers’ “Ramblin’Man.”

Never minding the obvious, in so many ways the closer was the perfect introduction to what was about to unfold.


Setlist: The Neighborhood > Don’t Worry Baby > Revolution > Rattlesnake Shake > Chuco’s Cumbia, La Venganza De Los Pelados, I Walk Alone, Not Fade Away* > Bertha#
* – with Warren Haynes
# – with Warren and Jackie Greene

Download an audience recording of this set here



As fans took their first break from the music, hotdogs were eaten, merch was purchased, babysitters were called, bladders were emptied, and all other standard-fare set break/intermission activities were tended to. However, one thing separated the experience from most other events of Christmas Jam’s size: the attitude and graciousness from one fan to the next. It was this, coupled with the always unique musical experience that Christmas Jam provides, that sets it apart and dare I say, above.

The camaraderie of fans who were enduring an extended show was, as it always is, remarkable. It proved that when good deeds and charitable acts are in the air, self-centeredness actually takes a back seat. It was a beautiful thing to watch and joyous to take part in.


Phil Lesh and Friends: Warren Haynes, Jackie Greene, Joe Russo and Jeff Chimenti

From the moment that Phil Lesh and Friends were announced for this installment of Christmas Jam, the buzz was high. On the night itself, expectations were even higher as many have longed for a trip back to the days of a Lesh-led band as opposed to what is currently going on with Furthur.

This outing by the less-than-well-rehearsed ensemble (that also featured Jimmy Herring for the majority of the set) not only exceeded the high expectations, but proved that Bill Kreutzmann had a valid point when he stated that Furthur probably should have asked Haynes to join their act.

The set was Phil back where he is supposed to be: in his element as a bandleader, in spite of the fact that he occasionally passed his duties off to the very able hands of Jackie Greene. It was the beauty of Phil’s voice again; an ingredient that Furthur simply seems to not have appreciation for.

Most of all though, it was Phil’s Zone and for Phil fans, it can only be hoped that Lesh, who sported a perma-grin for the majority of the evening, will get this band on the road in the very near future.

Rather than drone on and on about the perfection with which songs were played (minus a miscue or missed change here or there), what was most noteworthy about the evening was witnessing how much Greene has grown as a player since the days when most got to know him as the kid who looked like a young Bob Dylan.

Herring was present for the majority of the set, so between he and Haynes, one would suspect that Greene’s guitar work would take a back seat, but it was far from the case. Sure, Haynes and Herring are more mature players and have abilities that are uniquely their own, but “the kid” held his own, and at times visibly challenged the elder statesmen to duels.

Highlighted by a trance-inducing “Dark Star” and space-filled “Wharf Rat,” the stage never seemed crowded; the sound was anything but cluttered and the present talent seemed to further heighten Jeff Chimenti’s confidence on keys. The set was one of those where the line between musical enjoyment and spiritual experience is crossed pretty quickly. It was a great night to be in Asheville.


Setlist: Shakedown Street > Deal > Viola Lee Blues > Caution > Viola Lee Blues > China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider, Dark Star > She Said She Said > Jam > Dark Star* > Wharf Rat* > The Other One* > Sugaree*, Donor Rap
Encore: Angel Band
*with Jimmy Herring

Download an audience recording of this set here


Gov’t Mule

The moment that many had been waiting for arrived when the beloved quartet of Gov’t Mule ambled onto their platform before a legion of some of their most loyal. Though it has been less than a year since Mule’s last performance, for fans who are used to the band’s regular touring schedule, this one year with front man Haynes out in support of the Man in Motion has felt like five.

To resounding applause and subsequent choral accompaniment from the crowd, Mule launched into “Railroad Boy” in a manner that suggested that while the band had been off the road, they wouldn’t miss a beat. By the time that bassist Jorgen Carlsson trickled in, drummer Matt Abts began the call-to-arms beat of the number and Danny Louis began his organ swirl, the temperature in the venue had already gone up a few degrees.

Phil Lesh took over bass and Bill Evans sat in for a cover of Traffic’s “Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys,” which began with a degree of awkwardness that possibly could be attributed to the band’s seeming unfamiliarity with the number. At the time and even in hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best song choice, but by the time that the second bridge ended and the improvisation between Haynes and Evans ensued, Lesh had  delight written all over his face. It was the highlight of the entire night.

After another Haynes and Jimmy Herring face-melting series of solos during The Beatles’ “Dear Prudence” and a solidly-played Mule original, “Inside Outside Woman Blues #3,” the evening closed with the appropriate cover of The Doors’ “When the Music’s Over.” Followed by a simple “thank you and merry Christmas” from Haynes, the music was indeed over… but the memories will never leave.


Setlist: Railroad Boy > Beautifully Broken > Thorazine Shuffle, Banks Of The Deep End, Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys*#, Dear Prudence@, Inside Outside Woman Blues, When The Music’s Over

* With Phil Lesh on Bass
# With Bill Evans on Saxophone
@ With Jimmy Herring on Guitar

Download an audience recording of this set here


Closing notes…

With that, the 23rd Annual Warren Haynes Christmas Jam was in the books. In some ways, it broke from tradition, but one tradition was held onto as steadfastly as it ever has been: music and goodwill are always a blend worth pursuing. In times that have brought about much uncertainty for many families across our beautiful country, Christmas Jam remains a beacon of light that is spiritually refreshing and authentic. Of course, the music was badass as well.


Click the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the Jam by David Shehi

Los Lobos head to the White House

"In Performance at the White House: Fiesta Latina" is a concert hosted by the President and Mrs. Obama on the South Lawn of the White House that will be broadcast by PBS.  The sixty-minute program, to be taped live by WETA Washington, D.C., on October 13, will celebrate Hispanic musical heritage and airs on the final day of National Hispanic Heritage Month, October 15, 2009 at 8 p.m. ET, on PBS stations nationwide.  (Check local listings.)  It will also be broadcast on Telemundo, the American Spanish-language television network, on Sunday, October 18 at 6 p.m. ET, and on V-me, the national Spanish language network partnered with public television, on Friday, December 25.  The program, part of the WETA "In Performance at the White House" series, will include Chicano rock band Los Lobos, Marc Anthony, Jimmy Smits, Pete Escovedo, Gloria Estefan, José Feliciano, George Lopez, Thalía, Tito "El Bambino", and the Bachata music group Aventura, with Sheila E. leading the house band.  Further talent information may be announced in the coming days.

"In Performance at the White House" has been produced by WETA since 1978 and spans every administration since President Carter's.  The series began with an East Room recital by the legendary pianist Vladimir Horowitz.  Since then, "In Performance at the White House" has embraced virtually every genre of American performance: pop, country, gospel, jazz, blues, theatre and dance among them.  The series was created to showcase the rich fabric of American culture in the setting of the nation's most famous home.

The evening concert will be streamed live by the White House on www.WhiteHouse.gov and available to stream on the series website on pbs.org after the broadcast.

Taj Mahal and David Hidalgo come together

Blues legend Taj Mahal and master guitarist/multi-instrumentalist David Hidalgo (Los Lobos) have collaborated with Mexican-American roots group Los Cenzontles (pronounced los senn-sont-less) to tell a timely story of hope, struggle and gratitude of the American worker. Traversing traditional Mexican, blues, cumbia and psychedelic rock styles, they create a distinctive, fresh and exciting sound. The November 3 release will be distributed through ADA Distribution.


Continue reading Taj Mahal and David Hidalgo come together

Mofro to host Blackwater Sol Revue

JJ Grey & MOFRO will perform live and host the 1st Annual Blackwater Soul Revue at the newly renovated St. Augustine Amphitheatre in St. Augustine, FL on Sunday, September 2.  This will be first public show at the theatre since undergoing a $3.5 million dollar upgrade.

The other artists on the bill, hand selected by Grey, include Los Lobos, Tony Joe White, The Lee Boys, The Legendary JC’s, Willie Green and Will Conner.

Grey describes the event and the line-up as only he can: “One day and one night of great music by people who possess distinctly regional flavor, and who sound like home in their own unique ways. All of this in a place inhabited by a spoonful of old school Spanish Minorcans, a dash of country fried Crackers, and a sprinkling of tourists from all over all of that stirred into a low country boil of beach, sun and bikinis in the oldest town in America.”


Sunday, September 2

The St. Augustine Amphitheatre 

1340 A1A South

St Augustine, FL


Wall to Wall Guitar Fest line-up announced

The return of Krannert Center for the Performing Arts’ biennial Wall to Wall Guitar Festival erupts September 13-15, 2007.  This three-day festival rejoices in all things guitar in a nearly-round-the-clock celebration and exploration of an instrument that holds an essential place in almost every musical tradition around the globe.

The Wall to Wall Guitar Festival, Take Two , boasts over 30 diverse musicians, from as close as Krannert’s Central Illinois backdoor all the way to the deep south, Hawaii, and beyond.  International artists taking part call places like India, Scotland, Spain, France, and Iraq home, but for three days this fall, they’ll all reside in this teeming guitar bazaar filled with uncommon collaborations, unbelievable legends, and undeniable energy.

Building upon the intense momentum of the 2005 inaugural festival, Wall to Wall, Take Two, promises an even greater breadth of genres, variety of activities, and capacity for unexpected moments.  There will be nine mainstage concerts (most with multiple billings), six free performances in the Krannert Center lobby, the return of the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, GarageBand workshops presented by Apple Computer, guitar workshops at local music stores, Guitar Hero competitions (including a VIP competition on opening night), exhibits at Techline and the Center for American Music, a Krannert Center Youth Series performance, and numerous opportunities to dive into the instrument through commentaries, discussions, and interactive workshops—all assembled by Krannert Center’s director Mike Ross and his staff, in collaboration with the festival’s artistic advisor, David Spelman.

Spelman, the founder/director of the New York Guitar Festival. Spelman, who will also help launch the Adelaide International Guitar Festival in South Australiathis year, says he vividly remembers the “impromptu collaborations” that evolved in the 2005 festival, and expects “Wall to Wall, Take Two, to be even more exciting and full of surprises.”

The 2007 featured players include an all-star opening night line-up of Toubab Krewe, Sonny Landreth with Cindy Cashdollar (a 2005 participant), Campbell Brothers, the Yohimbe Brothers (with returnee Vernon Reid), Bob Brozman, and Led Kaapana.  They are joined for this three-day immersion by Rahim AlHaj, Pierre Bensusan, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Tim Brookes, Shawn Colvin, The Delta Kings, Ed Gerhard, Alex de Grassi, Buddy Guy, Fareed Haque, Goran Ivanovic, Jorma Kaukonen, Kaki King (another W2W alum), Los Lobos, Harry Manx, John McLaughlin, Tony McManus, North Mississippi Allstars, Paul O’Dette, The Romeros, composer Phil Kline, Dan Zanes (also a second-timer), and Natalia Zukerman.

Partners like Apple Computer and iTunes will bring the festival even closer through podcasted interviews with artists, special festival downloads, and opportunities to listen to music and readings from Wall to Wall musicians.  Regular updates will be posted at WalltoWallGuitar.com.  Single tickets and festival passes are on sale June 29 at 10am.  Festival passes include all nine mainstage events; passes must be purchased by July 20 for priority seating.  Festival pass prices range from $103 for students to $216 for standard admission. Tickets for individual shows will also be available for purchase.

For more information, visit www.walltowallguitar.com.

String Cheese Incident ends with summer tour, Big Summer Classic

The String Cheese Incident has announced their 2007 Summer Tour, and the end of an era as the band calls it quits.  In the fall of 2006, SCI announced it would make no plans beyond summer 2007, as SCI guitarist Billy Nershi would be leaving the group for other endeavors.

During their 2007 Summer Tour, the band will stop in cities they hold dear and will rework last summer's landmark tour, Big Summer Classic.

Post-Bonnaroo, they'll kick things off with three nights at New York's Beacon Theatre.  Then they'll head west, before heading to Salem, MO for the return of the Big Summer Classic, now a three-day camping festival on the weekend of August 3-5. 

In the tradition of the inaugural BSC tour in summer of 2005, the festival will feature friends and SCI offshoots.  Confirmed so far are Los Lobos, Yonder Mountain String Band, JJ Grey & MOFRO, The Wailers, EOTO and others will be announced. Visit www.bigsummerclassic.com for more information.

The tour will end at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado, where it all began. 


String Cheese Incident Summer Tour:

June 15 Bonnaroo Manchester, TN
July 12 Beacon Theatre New York, NY
July 13 Beacon Theatre New York, NY
July 14 Beacon Theatre New York, NY
July 21 Greek Theatre Berkeley, CA (w/ Sound Tribe Sector 9)
July 22 Greek Theatre Berkeley, CA (w/ Railroad Earth)
July 27 Venue TBA Oregon
July 28 Venue TBA Oregon
July 29 Venue TBA Oregon
August 3 Camp Zoe Salem, MO Big Summer Classic
August 4 Camp Zoe Salem, MO Big Summer Classic
August 5 Camp Zoe Salem, MO Big Summer Classic 
August 10 Red Rocks Morrison, CO
August 11 Red Rocks Morrison, CO
August 12 Red Rocks Morrison, CO