The Outlaw Roadshow-NYC Review (Part 2)

Written by Jessica Klausing

                           Original art credit by  Man On Fire Design

                           Original art credit by Man On Fire Design

Day 2: More Surprises

Outlaw Roadshow continued with another night of stellar music in Manhattan. On Friday Outlaw fans were teased with the promise of a “secret set.” It is quite obvious by now that the secret set is always Counting Crows. However, this year, rumors leaked of Rob Thomas joining the band onstage as a special guest. Festival attendees were highly encouraged to “RSVP” early on the website to ensure priority access into the venue. About an hour before the show started, a huge line had already formed inside the bar. 

Usually most people only show up for the “secret set,” and as great as those main acts were, I want to take a moment to encourage everyone to give the other Outlaw bands a listen. After all, Outlaw Roadshow is about supporting new music. You will be pleasantly surprised and may discover some new favorites.  I know I did. Day two had an impressive lineup of eight talented bands worth checking out.

 

The Harmaleighs

The Harmaleighs’ folk music paints a watercolored portrait of a journey through difficult times.  Each simple, rhythmic strum is a delicate brush stroke that slowly builds the melodies up into a faster, livelier pace.  Their poetic lyrics dare to show vulnerability that adds to the depth of their bittersweet sound.

Haley Grant and Kalee Jasperson are the mistresses of timing and pace. The opening song, “Hesitate,” begins with a gorgeous a cappella part that launches right into an instrumental jamboree without rushing the song.

Recommended Tracks:

Pretty Picture, Dirty Brush: “Pretty Livin,” “Hesitate,” “Doll Made of Glass,” “Last One Standing,” “Sticks and Stones,” and “I Keep Ticking On.”

 

Don DiLego

Don DiLego plays a mix of country rock and jangly pop. His newest album, Magnificent Ram A uses vivid storytelling lyrics with a bluegrass influence. “Up in Smoke” was my favorite and perhaps the most whimsical track on the album.

The analog synths and sonic effects champion him as a country rocker among the best of his kind, but it is DiLego’s compelling voice that keeps me coming back.

Recommended Tracks:

Drive Like Pirates EP: “Drive Like Pirates” and “Different Man.”

Magnificent Ram A: “Idiot Heart,” “Don’t Bury Me Alive,” “Up in Smoke,” “I’m On Fire,” “Drive Like Pirates,” and “A Wishful Poem.”

 

Kathleen Sieck

Just imagine: It’s an Autumn evening in the countryside. You sit back and relax on the porch with a glass of wine as you watch the sun set on a golden pasture, reminiscing over that long, lost love. As tears stream down your cheeks, that warm, tingling feeling of your old lover still lingers on your lips.

This is what I envision when I hear Kathleen Sieck’s haunting reflections. With a gorgeous voice, old country melodies and emotive lyrics, her Americana music is bound to strike a chord in the coldest of hearts.

Recommended Tracks:

Where the Sleepers Lie: “Sea Shanty,”Good Day,” “Stay Beside Me,” “Bury Me High,” “Where the Sleepers Lie,” and “Sad Song.” 

 

Corey James Bost

Corey James Bost has a unique and evocative indie rock sound. He doesn’t write traditional guitar ballads filled with morose lyrics, folks. Instead, his music pulls you down a dark route of psychedelic melodies and imagery. You get the sense he’s battling some inner demons.

My favorite song is “Kingdom Come.”  The lyric, “This is earth, this isn’t heaven,” pulls us back to the harsh realities of romantic disappointments while the drumming builds on the emotional intensity. His music is a beautiful reflection of sorrow without being overly EMO or too pretentious.

Recommended Tracks:

Herritage: “Heritage,” “Hide in the Shade,” “Features,” “I’ll Let You Down,” “Nothing You Can Do,” “I’ll Let You Down,” and “Kingdom Come.”

 

Love & The Zealous

Love & The Zealous serve up a hearty, soulful helping of the gospel blues with a generous side of Southern Rock.

“Devil is a Woman,” delivers playful keys alongside a ripping guitar, with Richard Love ferociously chanting the infectious hook, “I am the devil, you better run, Run/ Whisper in your ear and you do just what I want/I can breathe fire, baby, fire/ Come around my way and I’ll bite you, baby, I’ll bite you, baby.”

Love belts out the woes and hardships with a passionate intensity that could bring a proud man to his knees begging for spiritual forgiveness.

Recommended Tracks:

Expand Your Mind: “Devil is a Woman,” “Horses,” and “Wild Child.”

Love & The Zealous Live EP: “Dock of the Bay” and “All in All.” 

 

Nate Leavitt

Nate Leavitt’s sound is modest and stays within the quieter realm of folk. His songs are musical therapy for anyone on a rebound from heartbreak.

Leavitt’s delicate guitar compliments his soul-baring, tender vocals. The soft harmonies and graceful piano make heartbreak quite a beautiful place to be after all.

Recommended Tracks:

Someone Send a Signal: “Someone Send a Signal,” “Take Me Back,” and “When I Was With You.”

You, Me and the Silence: “You, Me and the Silence,” “Where Did Your Love Go,” and “Taking the Long Way Home.” 

 

Andrew Leahey & The Homestead

Andrew Leahey & The Homestead can crank out electric rock n’ roll anthems without having to sugarcoat any feel-good content. The album Skyline in Central Time was written after Leahey had a brain operation. His songs offer a raw look into how it felt to be alive during his long recovery.

The band showcases the Hammond organ, bluesy rooted harmonies, and solid country melodies that proudly pay tribute to the American heartland. If you like Gram Parsons, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, then you’re bound to like these guys.

Recommended Tracks:

Skyline in Central Time: “Little in Love,” “Better Medicine,” “The Good Life,” “When the Hinges Give,” “Penitentiary Guys,” “10 Years Ago,” “Shot,” and “Who Wants an Easy Love.”

 

K Phillips

I first saw K Phillips & The Concho Pearls play a gig a month ago in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, the band’s set had to be cut short, but when I heard “Kat’s Song,” I knew I had to hear more!

K Phillips is simply a Motown dream: gritty lyrics laced with sarcastic wit, a smooth, soulful vocal delivery backed by country rock guitars, bluesy percussion, and keys. “Get It” is my absolute favorite song. The infectious hooks paired with jazzy saxophone with the risqué “this is the sound of sin on sin, this is sound of skin on skin,” will have you swaying to this sultry delight.

Recommended Tracks:

American Girls: “Sherriff’s Wife,” “Get it,” “Kat’s Song,” “Not My Baby Anymore,” “You Don’t Hafta,” and “To Dance With You.”

 

To be continued for part three...

The Outlaw Roadshow-NYC Review (Part 1)

Written by Jessica Klausing

    

 

 

Day 1: Who Wouldn’t Want to Be an Outlaw?

October may be the season of crisp air and colored leaves but to a music fan it means Outlaw Roadshow in New York City! What’s so special about this festival besides that entry is free? The Outlaw Roadshow is a three day celebration of indie artists for music fans that are eager to discover something new. To many of the Outlaw veterans this event has become a big family reunion. This festival has spawned lifelong friendships that have resulted in many creative collaborations. A few of these collaborations have included stunning artwork by Frank Germano (Man On Fire) and artist Felipe Molina, along with official Outlaw Roadshow wine from Standing Sun Winery.

Founded in 2011 by Counting Crows lead singer Adam Duritz and Boston music blogger Ryan Spaulding of Ryan’s Smashing Life, The Outlaw Roadshow has showcased a lineup of over thirty bands in Austin, Nashville, NYC, Tel Aviv and now Toronto!

This year Outlaw Roadshow has partnered with crowdfunding platform PledgeMusic, which offered free music, t-shirts, stickers and other cool band swag for fans to enjoy.

This was my first Outlaw Roadshow and I am very excited to share my experience watching every one of the amazing bands that performed at The Bowery Electric.

I will be breaking this review up into three parts. Each part will cover the bands that performed on that particular night.

Brick Briscoe

Frank Funaro, Brick Briscoe and Sal Maida. Photo by Jessica Klausing

Frank Funaro, Brick Briscoe and Sal Maida. Photo by Jessica Klausing

Brick Briscoe had my full attention as soon as he took stage in the Map Room. His vocals reminded me of a whiskeyed-up Michael Stipe. What I liked best was that his clever blend of jazz and punk sets him apart from the progressive rock genre. Briscoe performed a tongue-in-cheek set backed by Cracker’s Frank Funaro (drummer) and Sal Maida (bass).

Be warned: Briscoe is not afraid to tell it like it is! With exclamations such as “I got your ‘kiss my ass’ right here!” in “You Scare Me” and “You can be a dumbass anywhere,” in “Heading to Kanorado,” his music offers bold, thought-provoking messages intertwined with melancholic guitar parts.

Recommended Tracks:

Travel & Leisure: “60 Seconds with Colleen,” “Don’t Let Her Back into the House,” “Lullaby,” “Running to Main Street,” and “Stenographer.”

Lovers & Amateurs: “The Dig,” “ShamRock, TX,” and “You Scare Me.”

What Happened to Me (2000-2014): “Heading to Kanorado,” “She Let the Balloons Go,” “Pittsburgh-Hampton Inn,” “Go Away a GoGo,” “Running to Main Street,” “Burn Much Brighter,” “Stenographer,” “60 Seconds with Colleen,” and “JacktheRipper.” 

 

Kim Logan

Kim Logan performs downstairs at The Bowery Electric. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

Kim Logan performs downstairs at The Bowery Electric. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

I like to refer to this artist as the beautiful pin up girl of Honky Tonk. Kim Logan's stage presence is mesmerizing--that of an Old Southern Rock soul with shimmering eyes, a playful innocence, and a vocal range that belts out the devilish woes of the past.

Her sultry, bluesy voice pulls you deeper into a bayou of power, sin and love with no chance of ever coming back. Logan delivered a heartfelt set with sympathetic lyrics that portrayed a wealth of experience. “Devil Makes Three” tells the rebellious tale of living with a troubled boyfriend while “Donnie” relives the moment of heartbreak from a failed relationship. Even if you’re not much of a country fan, her music is too intelligent to ignore. 

Recommended Tracks:

Kim Logan: “Devil Makes Three,” “Gentleman,” “Voodoo Man,” and “Donnie.”

 

Alan Wuorinen

Alan Wuorinen performs acoustic set. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

Alan Wuorinen performs acoustic set. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

Alan Wuorinen took stage with his acoustic guitar and delved right into folklore that inspired an instant audience sing-along with hand clapping. He entertained us with stories of exes, arcades and zombie survival tips. Very important.

After his set, it was recommended that I check out Wuorinen’s band, The LongWalls. I did and found them to be quite comely on the ears—a fitting vibe for a long afternoon drive in the countryside.

Recommended Tracks:

Field Guide for the Zombie Survivalist: “Zombies!,” “Marmalade” and “Coal Miner.”

 Keep Boston Safe 2016: “Too Many Prayers.”

Dark Academy: “Playwrights,” “Saturday” and “Brave Arms.”

 

Brothers in Yarn

 

Brothers in Yarn. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

Brothers in Yarn. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

The wind was knocked out of me as soon as frontman Shawn Fogel took the mic. Don’t be fooled by all of the electronic gadgets on stage, this group understands the importance of sound without auto-tuning it to death.

Each song on the EP is based off of a different book that Fogel read in attempt to rid his writer’s block. My absolute favorite was “The Mind’s Editorial,” which is based on City of Thieves by David Benioff. The euphoric harmonies made this song pure magic to me. Long after the show, I am still listening to it on repeat.

Recommended Tracks:

Volume 1 EP: “Simple Math and its Consequences” and “The Mind’s Editorial.”

 

Workman Song

Workman Song. Photo credit by Baeblemusic

Workman Song. Photo credit by Baeblemusic

I found the Workman Song’s set to be as endearing as a cup of hot chicken soup on a cold day. This indie folk rock sound will enlighten the soul and question the human existence. Sean McMahon tells a tale of personal struggles with religious undertones.

His vivid storytelling, early Bob Dylan-esque chords and hypnotic vocal arrangements make up the perfect recipe of a folk album worthy of a listen.

Recommended Tracks:

Lamb: “Jesse Winters” and “Patient like a Lamb.”

 

 

Brandy Zdan

Brandy Zdan. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

Brandy Zdan. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

Watch out for this one: She’s fierce. She’s impressionable. She’s a total badass on guitar.

Brandy Zdan brought the house down with her soulful voice’s call to the broken hearted. Her songs are the anthem for those experiencing losses and looking for redemption.

Recommended Tracks:

Brandy Zdan: “Back On You,” “Cut N Run,” “Love to a Ghost,” “People Like Us,” “Courtship Of Wild Horses,” and “More Of A Man.”

 

Alan Semerdjian

Alan Semerdjian. Photo credit by Fensepost

Alan Semerdjian. Photo credit by Fensepost

Alan Semerdjian played a beautiful set that touched on the themes of coming of age. His poetic lyrics resonate with one’s inner dialogue such that it almost feels you’re watching a biographical movie.

The musical fluidity of the stringed instruments easily compliments Semerdjian’s smooth vocals.   

Recommended Tracks:

Quiet Songs for Loud Times: “For Blackbirds,” “You Can’t Teach Trouble to Sing,” and “Your Enemy.” 

 

Skunkmello

Skunkmello. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

Skunkmello. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

Skunkmello is a complete mind trip. The music weaves between the blues, country and the raggae-tinged electric rock that will keep the listener guessing where the song will end up.

That’s all part of the fun with this band. At first listen you may think you are listening to 1920s saloon music but, then an electric guitar rips through alongside some R & B vocals, taking the song in an unexpected direction.

Recommended Tracks:

Lowlife Dreams: “The Way Down,” “Two Dudes on a Moped,” and “Bukowski Blues.”

Stars & Stripes: “Stars & Stripes,” “Easy Come, Easy Go,” “Disco Cruiser,” “Gravity,” “Chocolate Milk,” “Mad Dog,” and “Bad Morning Blues.”

 

High Fascination

High Fascination. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

High Fascination. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

Today’s mainstream pop groups could learn a lesson from this band. Making good music can be as simple as going back to your roots. Andrew Weiss and his band rely on 70s style guitars, carefree lyrics and rich melodies reminiscent of late 60s psychedelic pop to drive the point across.

Their sound is very chill, much like Oasis. In fact, “Miss Valentine” sounds similar to Oasis’s “Champagne Supernova.”

Recommended Tracks:

The Optimist: “Paper Walls,” “Birthday Girl,” “Miss Valentine,” “Time Will Tell,” and “How The West Was Won.”

 

Morningsiders

Morningsiders. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

Morningsiders. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

The Morningsiders sound as though Foster The People abandoned their hipster vibe to play alternative folk music. Their music offers an honest voice to those awkward years of trying to fit in.

The line “I’m telling lies to get out socializing,” in “Dots” paints the simple picture of social anxiety. Morningsiders open doors into a world of acoustic guitars and vibrant percussions.

Recommended Tracks:

Unfocus: “Dots” and “Lucianne.”

 

The Life Electric

The Life Electric. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

The Life Electric. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

The Life Electric closed out night one on a high. The lower level of the Bowery Electric turned into a huge underground dance party. There were arms flailing, booties shaking, and feet stompin’ in delight to these indie rock fused disco beats. Yes, disco.

These guys are breaking down barriers by bringing the two genres together. The end results are lush harmonies, plenty of clashing guitars and dynamic synthesizers that keep the energy high and the music quite catchy.

Recommended Tracks:

The Real You: “Gone Gone Gone,” “The Real You,” “Ladders,” “Heartbeat,” “Perfect Soul,” and “A Ghost.”

To be continued for part two...