About five months ago while on a roadtrip and listening to NebraskaFoxhound (Chris Kasper and Kiley Ryan) agreed that someday they would like to perform that entire album live. That day came this past Tuesday at The Fire when Foxhound played Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska in its entirety. As much as I wanted to hear a set of Foxhound originals I was glad that I witnessed this special performance by Foxhound. As Kasper explained, Nebraska is the only Springsteen album without the E-Street Band and doesn’t feature the rock saxophone. When I listened to Nebraska (for the first time ever) on Spotify before the show I thought it sounded so different than the Springsteen radio hits that I’ve heard – and the missing E-Street Band and no rock saxophone must be the difference. All in all, Foxhound took great respect of Springsteen’s music and delivered an excellent performance. The incredible talent of Chris Kasper and Kiley Ryan as the musical duo Foxhound is amazing.
Earlier in the night Jeremy Quentin opened the show with a solo set. I think a nice solo, acoustic set by a good singer-songwriter is always a treat. Plus, it’s been a while since I last saw a Jeremy Quentin (Small Houses) set so it was nice to hear Quentin again.
American Hangups is the musical duo of Todd Henkin (The Great Unknown) and Kristen Sylvester (Spirit and Dust). This was the second show ever for American Hangups and they had a fine performance. I liked the folk, singer-songwriter, almost minimalist style in which they performed. I’m not sure if the looseness of the set was intended but it did make things entertaining at times. I definitely would like to see American Hangups again.
Monday night Chris Kasper and band (Phil D’Agostino, Daniel Bower, Kiley Ryan and Pat Hughes) opened the sold out show with Good Old War at Union Transfer (Philadelphia, PA). Here’s a video of Chris Kasper performing “Reason to Believe” a song from his most recent release The First Hundred Years Are The Hardest. All in all, that was an excellent show.
When I heard that Foxhound was going to play at Milkboy Coffee (Ardmore, PA) I knew I had to be there. And when I found out Toy Soldiers, Up The Chain, and Reverend TJ McGlinchey were on the bill too – my Saturday night plans were decided.
Foxhound is the collaborative duo of Chris Kasper and Kiley Ryan who create and play music that is of the folk, country, and Americana end of the musical spectrum. Oh my, Kasper and Ryan sound so good as a duo. I’ve always been a fan of Chris Kasper’s music because he is such a phenomenal singer-songwriter. I’m so glad that in Foxhound we finally get to see Kiley Ryan take the spotlight and she shines so brilliantly in it. Ryan has a wonderfully precious voice that your ears will adore and she is quite the songwriter too. I’m so excited to see where Foxhound goes from here because Saturday’s performance was great.
Next on the bill was Toy Soldiers – another one of my favorites. If I had to pick my two favorite things about Toy Soldiers they would be: great music and unreal energy. Which are two things we definitely got to experience on Saturday so I was pleased.
The show went on with a set by Up The Chain and closed with a set by Reverend TJ McGlinchey band. Now, I know I’ve seen both of these artists in the past and I’ve heard their music but I’m not sure if I was listening. Well, I know for a fact that I was listening to their music on Saturday night and I really liked what I heard. So, Up The Chain and Reverend TJ McGlinchey, I’m letting you know now — I’m all ears.
Sometimes I wonder how I could be so lucky to have seen so many great shows. Wow!
Friday night Chris Kasper performed at World Cafe Live (downstairs) opening for ALO (Animal Liberation Orchestra). Kasper is currently on tour with ALO. His touring band consists of Daniel Bower (drums, vocals) and Will Wright (bass, vocals). But for Friday night’s show, the hometown show, there were a few special guest musicians added. Chris Kasper was also joined by Andrew Keenan (pedal steel, guitar), Jaron Olevsky (keys, accordion), and Kiley Ryan (vocals). I’ve seen plenty of Chris Kasper performances and Friday night’s set was my favorite to date. It had everything: a setlist with songs spanning the entire Flying Boy Trilogy, killer musicianship, an overwhelming beautiful vibe, and some incredible musical moments. Kasper and band even did a nice tribute to Adam Yauch (MCA) by performing the Beastie Boys’ “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)” that had a phenomenal folk rock feel. It’s performances like this that keep me coming back show after show.
To be honest, the only thing I know about ALO is their song “Barbeque” that I first heard on WXPN several years ago. Now don’t get me wrong, I really liked that song but I never took the time to get to know any more music by ALO. So, I entered Friday’s show with an open mind and open ears. WELL, now I must confess that ALO really knows how to jam. Oh my, it was such a fun vibe during their set. After playing for about an hour ALO took a 15 minute break and would return for their second set. Sadly, I had not prepared myself for that much fun and I was far too tired to stay but I did witness one fine set by ALO. By the way, ALO, you might want to tone-down your stage backdrop because it’s so amazingly radiant that it’s mesmerizing.
Studio 34 is a lovely space located at 4522 Baltimore Avenue in West Philly. It is a place for yoga, healing, and arts. Since 2008 Studio 34 has been “fostering wellness and community through healing and creative arts”. And if you’re lucky you’ll be able to attend a live musical performance by some great artists like I did last night.
If I wasn’t running so late I might have caught all of Chris Bathgate’s set instead of one and a half songs but even in that short amount of time I truly enjoyed what I heard. Chris Bathgate (MI) is a singer-songwriter who performs solo but uses a looping technique to add layers and depth to his music. While some artists use looping and it ultimately distracts from their music Bathgate uses looping impressively. It was such a beautiful moment to be able to really listen to Chris Bathgate’s music in that space.
After a short break Small Houses (MI) took to the stage. Small Houses is Jeremy Quentin (vocals, guitar) with a guy playing drums and another guy singing harmonies. Small Houses produces acoustic, folk music with a minimal approach. Hearing Quentin voice with those harmonies was a wonderful listening experience. Great set!
Then it was Hezekiah Jones’ turn. The Jones in attendance this time were Raphael Cutrufello (Hezekiah Jones: vocals, guitar), Kiley Ryan (Kiwi Jones: violin, vocals), Phil D’Agostino (Pepe Jones: bass), Brad Hinton (Pocono Jones: guitar, vocals), and Kevin Killen (Psycho Jawn Jones: drums) — filling the room with a unique folkesque style. It’s no secret that I’m a real fan of Hezekiah Jones music because it is so good. Last night’s performance was fantastic. Hezekiah Jones sounded great. I think that was the first time I heard “Borrowed Heart” live – thanks to Nina for the request. “Borrowed Heart” is a song that allows Kiley Ryan’s voice to shine – yes, she can sing. Of course the set was filled with all the favorites and it felt so perfect to be sitting in Studio 34 hearing all the phenomenal music. And thanks to an overheated amp we got an extra special treat – Hezekiah Jones unplugged. It was amazing to hear Hezekiah Jones music unplugged and it’s moments like those that will stay with me forever.
“Borrowed Heart” is an absolutely beautiful song. It’s the voices of Raphael Cutrufello, Kiley Ryan, and Andrew Lipke that are individually powerful and undeniably breathtaking. The music on this track is stunning and that buzzing lap steel (provided by Brad Hinton) is mesmerizing. Excellent contributions by all the Jones’ involved in this song for giving it such a full and complete sound. “Borrowed Heart” is a welcomed haunting and a great listening experience.
It’s said that “Borrowed Heart” syncs exactly with a scene from Bride of Frankenstein (a 1935 classic). Wow, that really speaks to how creative and truly an artist Raphael Cutrufello is. Brilliant!
Yes, another Tuesday night in April and you know where I was – The Grape Room, of course. It was the second show of the Chris Kasper/Chris Grunwald dual residency. So, this week’s show opened with a set by Patrick Dyer Wolf, a singer-songwriter from North Carolina. Wolf is on tour with Megan Slankard, a singer-songwriter from California. Wolf and Slankard were a nice addition to the Tuesday night bill and I enjoyed both of their sets. Chris Grunwald and band played next and brought some fabulously groovy vibes to the room and everyone seemed to be rockin’ along. Chris Kasper (with Philip D’Agostino and Kiley Ryan) closed out the show with a rather loose yet musically outstanding set. Only a gifted singer-songwriter like Kasper could have the audience hanging on to every single note. Ok, maybe I can’t speak for everyone but I know that look when someone is so into the music that they’re practically mesmerized. Everyone was treated to some of Kasper’s new material which sounds great. I was unaware of Chris Grunwald’s and Zach Djanikian’s drumming ability until I saw them fill in on drums with Kasper for a few songs each. Great set!
REMEMBER… there are 2 more Tuesdays left in April so I highly recommend you come to The Grape Room for the remaining shows of the Chris Kasper/Chris Grunwald dual residency.
The supermoon might have been close and bright but it still can’t outshine the musical beacon that is the North Star Bar (Philadelphia, PA).
It must be hard to be an opening artist at a bar especially when most of the audience is chatty and inattentive. Even still, John Mallinen played on with solo, acoustic, folk gems of sadness in an effortlessly mellow way. Unfortunately, it was some sort of sickness that got the best of John Mallinen and he was unable to finish his set.
Chris Kasper opened his set with “Bit Older” – a personal favorite of mine from his album ‘FlyingBoy’. The set continued with several new songs from Kasper’s forthcoming album. For this performance Kasper was joined by Kiley Ryan (vocals, fiddle, banjo, and glockenspiel) and Philip D’Agostino (vocals, upright bass). I’ve seen Kasper play live more times than I can remember and the simple truth is there’s no denying the fact that Chris Kasper is a brilliant singer/songwriter. Kiley Ryan plays fiddle excellently and has a lovely singing voice. D’Agostino is phenomenal on bass and can sing too. That’s correct; there wasn’t a drummer for this set. The last song was a cover of Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” –that was fun and unexpected. [video]Chris Kasper – “Miss Augustine” LIVE at North Star Bar (March 19, 2011) [photos]Chris Kasper at North Star Bar (March 19, 2011)
Kelly and the Ruths headlined the show with the closing set for their cd release show. Blame it on the Supermoon (hehe) but I couldn’t hang and only saw part of Kelly and the Ruths’ set. Stage center was upright bassist, singer, songwriter Kelly joined by other members on guitar, percussions, drums, and cello. From what I heard I can tell you that Kelly and the Ruths have a nice folk/pop style.
The music this night proved to be absolutely amazing and simply unreal.
Sunday night (May 9, 2010) I went to World Cafe Live to see Hezekiah Jones and Family perform Will Oldham’s music. I don’t know Will Oldham’s music so I decided to attend the show with the hope of hearing “I Am a Cinematographer” – the only Will Oldham song I know. Actually, the only reason why I know that song is because of Hezekiah Jones. I thought that I might hear a song or two that I recognized and not realize that it was a Will Oldham song but that never happened. Even still, Hezekiah Jones and Family had a real awe-inspiring set. And it was quite amazing to see the effort and skill they put into their performance to bring Will Oldham’s music to life that night. Unfortunately, like I said before, I’m not familiar enough with Oldham’s music to tell you the setlist but I do know that they closed the night with “I Am a Cinematographer” which was the icing on the cake.
All I have to say is – Hezekiah Jones (Raphael Cutrufello) and Family (Brad Hinton, Andrew Keenan, Joshua Park, Kiley Ryan, Joe D’Amico, Daniel Bower, Philip D’Agostino, Michael Baker, Barbara Gettes, Bob Beach, and Emily Bates) played with such gusto as if they were some folk force to be reckoned with.