College Street Music Hall – New Haven, CT – July 25, 2018
The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band rocked the College Street music hall as the second half of a night of great music that was shared with Beth Hart who performed first and also had a fanastic set. The two bands paired up in one night was outstanding.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Noah Hunt, who have written and recorded together for over 20 years, were completely in sync and gave the crowd a blazing set of blues twinged rock. With Shepherd on guitar and the occasional vocal he shared the stage with Hunt who sang the majority of the songs. Being together for so long they have their stage presence down to a science. Hunt sings and then steps back and Shepherd takes over with sizzling guitar solos and then Hunt steps in with the rest of the vocal. It’s a mix that completely works.
Shepherd who got his desire for the guitar from listening to greats like Stevie Ray Vaughn at a young age is now one of the best blues guitarists out there. He shreds his guitar and takes the audience on the trip with him. His hands move so adeptly and quickly note to note some of the time it’s hard to take it in how fast he moves, but it sounds fantastic. One of his guitars was so well used there is hardly any finish left on the front.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd holds the record for the longest-running album on the Billboard Blues Charts. Shepherd captivated the audience with his fast and mesmerizing blues/rock licks.
Known for his 1995 is release of his Platinum winning “Ledbetter Heights” which he recorded at the young age of 18. He and the band performed songs from that album that went back to his roots.
The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, consisting of Kenny Waye Shepherd – lead guitar and vocals, Noah Hunt – vocals, Kevin McCormick – bass, Chris Layton – drums and Joe Krown – keyboards.
If your a fan of blues guitar or just plain great guitar playing The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band is definitely one band to see. They sounded great and had the house on their feet more than once. If you haven’t seen them yet they are on the must see list.
Never Lookin’ Back
Ride of Your Life
The House Is Rockin’ (Stevie Ray Vaughan cover)
Hard Lesson Learned
Baby Got Gone
Down for Love
Heat of the Sun
Talk to Me Baby (Elmore James cover)
Born With a Broken Heart
Diamonds & Gold
You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now (B.B. King cover)
College Street Music Hall
New Haven, CT
July 25, 2018
The College Street Music Hall outdid themselves when they invited in an amazing duo of acts. Beth Hart and Kenny Wayne Shepherd gave the audience a memorable night of the blues and fantastic guitar that meshed perfectly on the same night.
Beth Hart opened the night up with her solid blues number “Tell Her You Belong To Me.” This is my second time seeing Hart and she gets better each time. This theater an intimate venue seating only two thousand people and she said her and the band loved it and felt so relaxed there. which was obvious by her comfortable banter with the audience.
The band accompanying Hart was Bill Ransom on drums, Bob Marinelli on bass, and her guitarist of 20 years, Jon Nichols all gave an excellent performance.
There are many female singers out there but I can honestly say Hart is my favorite. She fills each song with such feeling it’s palpable. Hart has the audience’s complete attention and gives her all with each song and it clearly shows. Many of her songs reflect a time in her life and some struggle she has lived through and come out the other side stronger. Both a talented singer and songwriter her feelings are conveyed in every song.
At one point she wanted to come down into the audience and sing but there was no way off the stage into the crowd so instead she sat on a box at the far end of the stage and sang. It didn’t matter where she was the audience soaked in every note.
When Hart performed the Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe McCoy song “Why Don’t You Do Right?” the song could as easily have been coming from a singer at a smoky club post WWII. She has such a dynamic voice that’s timeless and was made for the blues.
This Beth Hart concert is the best show I’ve seen this year. She is just as comfortable strutting across the stage belting out down and out blues as she is sitting at the piano singing a ballad to her mother brimming with emotion. She fills each song with such raw emotion and connects so easily with the audience. The audience showed their appreciation for her talent as they stood up more than once during the night and gave her a standing ovation. Hart is so genuinely appreciative and beamed at the applause.
The band really amped it up and proved their their versatility with the encore of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.” The audience was clapping and cheering the entire band as Hart’s set ended with a bang. Hart is not just a blues star she is a full fledged rock star.
If you get the chance to see Beth Hart absolutely do it, you will not regret it. She is a truly genuine talent and so very down to earth with her well earned fame. If there is one concert to see this year make it Beth Hart.
Tell Her You Belong to Me
If I Tell You I Love You (Melody Gardot cover)
Baby Shot Me Down
House of Sin
Spiders in My Bed
Love Is a Lie
Lay Your Hands on Me
I’ll Take Care of You (Bobby “Blue” Bland cover)
Why Don’t You Do Right? (Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe McCoy cover)
Take It Easy on Me
Mama This One’s for You
Leave the Light On
CD/DVD set will be released on April 13th, 2018 via Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group
Watch Hart Perform
On March 7th, 2017, the GRAMMY nominated “powerhouse vocalist” (Rolling Stone) Beth Hart performed a very special, intimate concert at NYC’s Iridium Jazz Club, which featured songs from her latest album ‘Fire on the Floor’ and from throughout her career. Now, 13 years after the release of her incredibly successful live release, ‘Live at Paradiso,’ Hart is treating fans to a DVD/CD release of this standout performance with ‘Live From New York – Front & Center’, out April 13th via Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group. The performance is also featured on the Season 8 premiere episode of Public Television’s critically acclaimed concert series, Front and Center (airing now, check local listings).
Known for her visceral, soul-baring vocals and dynamic range, Hart is riding a creative tidal wave following the release of her critically acclaimed 2016 studio album, ‘Fire On The Floor’, as well as her just-released studio collaboration with guitarist Joe Bonamassa, ‘Black Coffee.’ Leveling audiences with her incredible power and celebrated burnt-honey vocals for 20 years, Hart has just launched a 16-date coast-to-coast US tour, which will be followed by a European tour in April-May 2018.
Hart has had an incredible career, beginning with the release of a fistful of hit albums through the ’90s, then reigniting in the post-millennium as both a solo artist and the head-turning vocalist for guitar heroes like Joe Bonamassa, Slash and long-time collaborator Jeff Beck. But it’s in recent times that Beth has truly blossomed, selling out ever-larger venues in cities around the world, including New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Berlin, Milan, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen. She is recognized as one of the great live vocalists of our time, with a voice “reminiscent of Etta James and Janis Joplin” (Music Connection), topping Billboard’s Blues Album Chart and receiving numerous GRAMMY and Blues Music Awards nominations. Dubbed “the ultimate female rock star” by The Blues Magazine, the Guardian has praised her “daring, brooding performances” and The Times has called her “Extraordinary.”
‘Live From New York – Front And Center’ will be released as a 2-disc DVD/CD set, mixed in 5.1 stereo, featuring never before seen bonus material, including an exclusive interview with Hart. The audio from the performance will also be sold separately as a digital release.
01 – Let’s Get Together
02 – Baddest Blues
03 – Jazz Man
04 – Delicious Surprise
05 – Broken And Ugly
06 – St. Teresa
07 – Isolation
08 – Tell Her You Belong To Me
09 – Fat Man
10 – Love Gangster
11 – Leave The Light On
12 – As Long As I Have A Song
01 – Let’s Get Together
02 – Baddest Blues
03 – Jazz Man
04 – Delicious Surprise
05 – St. Teresa
06 – Tell Her You Belong To Me
07 – Fat Man
08 – Leave The Light On
09 – Can’t Let Go
10 – As Long As I Have A Song
Bonus DVD features:
* Full Band Bonus Content (Love Gangster – Broken And Ugly – For My Friends)
* Acoustic Bonus Content (Isolation – My California – No Place Like Home)
* Beth Hart Interview
This hot August night was extra steamy with the arrival of smokin’ Joe Bonamassa and his blues-rock performance at the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, CT. He was classily dressed in his now signature suit, cool shades and slicked back hair.
Bonamassa noted that he had played at the Oakdale theater in the round 27 years ago when he opened for B.B. King as a young upcoming and obviously talented blues guitarist. He was at the time only 13 years old. Though he admitted the when and where he was eluded him until reminded by a stagehand just exactly why he remember the place, there was a déjà vu moment when he arrived at the venue.
The night started out with gritty sound of “This Train” to warm the audience up for “Mountain Climbing”.
Bonamassa crooned out “Blues of Desperation” off the album of the same name which debuted a #8 of Billboards top 200. He played cuts off this fantastic album including the searing, slashing jam on “No Good Place For the Lonely” that left the audience cheering.
A master at changing up the pace he slid into the heartbreaking and soulful “Breaking Up Someone’s Home
” On “Boogie with Stu”, a Led Zeppelin cover, Reese Wynans got a chance to shine on the keyboard.
The instrumental “Black Winter/Django” was seven and a half minutes of pure showman with riffs and hand movements that were so intricate they memorized the crowd. He finished the song motioning the audience to raise out of their seats. Those who weren’t already standing rose up and continued to stand right though a stirring rendition of Zeppelin’s “How Many More Times” and into the stomping cries for an encore.
They finished up the night with a tribute to B.B King and a rendition of his “Hummingbird”
At the age of 40 he has a longstanding career and has accompanied some the guitar greats of our age. He played with Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton and too many others to name. Mentored by Danny Gatton in his youth and introduced to the stage since his early years, he is now touring worldwide to sold out houses. Bonamassa’s name has become one of the most recognizable names in the blues scene and he has earned his place among the greats by paying his dues over time.
Bonamassa has topped the all artists by having 15 #1 Billboard Blues Albums. Funny thing about the blues. It seems if you don’t suffer the blues you’re not taken as seriously. Bonamassa did not have to suffer much of the low down, down and out life of the early blues masters like the 3 Kings (BB King, Albert King and Freddie King) he admired and even did a tribute tour in honor of, but he has all the feeling and style that makes a truly memorable blues guitarist stand out.
This year’s touring show includes a horn section consisting of Lee Thornburg playing trumpet and Paulie Cerra on saxaphone. Anton Figs was on drums and bassist Michael Rhodes. The three women vocalists all hail from Australia. Juanita Tippins, Mahalia Barnes and Jade Macrae gave a soulful, deep performance. Each woman is a standout singer but together they were wonderful and rounded out the band perfectly, especially on “Slow Train” which showcased each in a solo.
Bonamassa’s baritone resounded throughout the hall as he seared through a mix of his own music and a intermingling of covers from other great artists that he gave his own distinct flavor. He has already made his mark in the blues world and I hope he will continue to entertain for many decades to come. It was a great performance by the entire band and I hope he does not wait 27 more years before he revisits the Oakdale Theater again.
If you get a chance don’t miss his show. This is a guitarist everyone should see at least once. But, if you do see Bonamassa once will not be enough.
Bonamassa’s band members:
Anton Fig – Drums
Reese Wynans – Keyboards
Lee Thornburg – Trumpet
The Garde Arts Center audience was taken on a blues train on May 26th with a great performance by Grammy award winner, blues guitarist and singer Robert Cray. Cray is 63 but his energetic performance and crisp clear voice leave no indication of his years. He still sounds as good as he did in the 80’s. Better actually as his voice has a deeper tone and resonance while he can still hit the high notes with strength and ease.
Cray’s guitar playing and solos are a delight to hear. He and the band knew each note so well. They mesh and change tempos with ease leading up to and following Cray’s solos. Band members bassist Richard Cousins, keyboardist Dover Weinberg and drummer Terence Clark all performed flawlessly.
The set started with “The Same Love” followed by “I’ll Always Remember You.” Cray’s soulful voice echoed in the Garde. Cray then sang on to “Poor Johnny.” He makes the most difficult of riffs look easy.
They played “It Doesn’t Show” and you could hear a pin drop with the exception of a shout or two from the audience as they got softer and softer on the notes.
Cray was appreciative of the audience and he acknowledged how good the music sounded in the Garde Arts Center and that it was an excellent venue to play. He also localized the song “Phone Booth” to the audience’s delight by saying “I’m back in New London baby” to cheers from the crowd.
Cray got his start in music in the 1960’s in Newport News Virginia. That’s where he played in his first band, The One-Way Street. He then moved west and in while living in Oregon in the late 70’s formed the Robert Cray Band. Many decades later he is a world renowned blues and soul wonder. Cray has five Grammy Awards and 15 nominations. In 2011 Cray was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.
They introduced two of his new songs “I Don’t Care” and “Aspen” off the Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm newly released EP. This was recorded in Memphis and produced in collaboration with Steve Jordan.
The Opening Act was John Fries and Corina Malburn. The duo played songs off their newly released EP “Unreleased.” I really liked their music. It was upbeat and entertaining. John Fries on guitar and Corina Malburn on Upright Bass gave a great performance with a rich sound. Do go see them if you get the chance.
The Fox Theater darkened and the band begins to play. The crowd looks at the stage anticipating Beth Hart’s arrival. An electric guitar continued to moan in the dark. Beth Hart began singing the first lines of a song, her voice echoing throughout the theater. Suddenly she surprised and thrilled the audience when a lone spotlight lit up the singer dressed in a sparkling mini smoothly entering the theater from behind the crowd. The spotlight followed her as she passed by patrons, touching a few shoulders and hands along the way, as she sung “Don’t Explain” a Billie Holiday cover. Hart paused in the isle turned and faced the enthusiastic crowd to croon out the blues. She swung around and glided up onto the stage, not missing a beat. This woman has big stage presence and a voice to match it. Everyone was already fixated and cheering Hart on and the second song had not even begun.
The second number was “As Good as it Gets,” which was a number one single of Hart’s in Denmark. She has had many releases in Europe of various songs that have topped the charts. She is well recognized for her blues and soul songs worldwide and has released the albums “Seesaw” and “Live in Amsterdam” with fellow blues artist Joe Bonamassa.
Beth Hart and her band consisting of guitarist Jon Nichols, bassist Bob Marinelli and drummer Bill Ransom meshed so well, they knew their show and played perfectly. Jon Nichols made his multiple guitars used during the performance wail, moan and he also sang backup vocals.
Hart has such incredible range and rich tone. She brings the audience right down into the depths of her low down blues. She sings with such conviction coming from a life of knowledge of pain and suffering that she transfers into such beautiful music you feel every note. Hart’s “Lift Me Up,” a song she wrote for a sister who passed away was soulful and beautiful. The raw emotion in the song had people feeling it in the audience.
Hart’s husband Scott asked her to include the song “Leave the Light On,” off her platinum album of the same name. Before the song he made an impromptu appearance on the stage running over to her at the piano and giving her a little hug.
The evening was well rounded with heart aching blues off Hart’s newest album “Fire on the Floor,” including the title song from that release that told of the heartbreak of desire and love. These soulful ballads were alternated with lighter songs from the same DVD. The rock song “Fat Man” was popular as well with a catchy with toe tapping, driving beat.
The band played a mix of songs from some of Hart’s large catalog of releases since 1999. She also sang a cover of Tom Wait’s “Chocolate Jesus.” Hart alternated between shimmying across the stage, sitting, kneeling and playing on the piano. Her energy was passionate and boundless.
The band came back onstage for an encore of “No Place Like Home” followed by Hart’s 1999 single “LA Song (Out of This Town)” from her second album “Screamin’ for My Supper.”
I was totally blown away by this concert. I have heard her music and loved her voice, but seeing Hart perform in person was a treat I will not forget. Hart was humble, thankful for her success and honest about her struggles in life. Her sharing that made the show even more memorable. To realize what she has gone through in her life and for her to come out so positive and happy on the other side makes you want her success to continue for a long time. If you get the chance to see this woman and her band perform do it. Do not hesitate for a moment. If you are a blues lover or just a lover of great music this is a night not to miss.
Don’t Explain (Billie Holiday cover)
Good as It Gets
I’ll Take Care of You (Bobby “Blue” Bland cover)
Lifts You Up
Baby Shot Me Down
Close to My Fire (Slackwax cover)
Chocolate Jesus (Tom Waits cover)
Woman You’ve Been Dreaming Of
Leave the Light On
Love Is a Lie
No Place Like Home
L.A. Song (Out of This Town)
The Jesse Colin Young Band performed at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center on Saturday, February 18, 2017. It was a two part show. The first set was all acoustic with Young solo on his guitar. The second set was Young accompanied by his band of young talented artists in their 20’s. It’s ironic that they are around the age he was when he was touring in the Youngbloods.
Jesse Colin Young’s career began on the east coast in 1964 but really took off when he became one of the founding members of the Youngbloods in 1967, during the summer of love in California. Their best known hit is the iconic and still well loved song “Get Together” which was a worldwide top ten hit.
“Get Together” has become one of the anthems of a generation that proclaimed peace, love and harmony and would see us all through the turmoil of the Vietnam war era. It is such a classic that no Jesse Colin Young article or concert would feel be complete without the song. It’s been included in numerous movies throughout the years.
After the Youngbloods, Young continued with his own successful career and solo albums. He recorded in his studio in Marin, California and started his own Ridgetop Record label until a fire ravaged his home and property in 1995. He then moved his family to Hawaii and began a new life that included writing and producing music in a new studio. He and his wife also started their own coffee plantation 2000 feet up the slope of the 8000 foot Hualalai Mountain Volcano.The organic coffee is called Morning Sun and is sold and shipped worldwide.
Young opened with his well known songs “Songbird” and “Sugar Babe.” Followed by “Four in the Morning,” “Sunlight” and “Desire.” Young told the audience how he had taken a hiatus from touring for 6 years and had not planned on returning to the road until he saw his son and fellow Berklee college students performing at a recital and was blown away by their talent. He then decided to start touring again and invited Aleif Hamdan (electric guitar), Jack Sheehan (saxophone), Donnie Hogue (drums), Jenn Hwan Wong (keyboard), Sally Rose (backup vocals), Virginia Garcia-Alves (backup vocals) and Young’s son Tristan Young (bass) to join him. Their youth and enthusiasm energized his desire to tour again and it’s evident he enjoys their energy onstage.
For the second set Young was joined by the band and they started the set with “Ridgetop.” This was followed by “Sweet Good Times” and “Walk the Talk About Love.” They then sang “Cast a Stone,” which Young wrote following the Boston bombing about the emotions felt during the anxious hours in the aftermath.
The band shows their versatility by changing it up with a mix of blues and soul songs. They played a cover of the Marvin Gaye songs “What’s Goin’ On” and “Mercy, Mercy Me.” The band moved smoothly between the blues, folk and jazz mix of songs. Sally Rose and Virginia Garcia-Alves added beautiful accompaniment to Young’s voice.
They performed another of Young’s acclaimed songs “Darkness, Darkness” off the album Elephant Mountain. The song was also an anthem of the 60’s but refers more to the soldiers feelings in Vietnam. Jesse then sang a song he wrote, “For Orlando” after the tragic Orlando, Florida nightclub shooting.
The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center is gem of a venue in Old Saybrook, CT, an intimate theater holding 250 patrons. It was a sold out concert and all of the patrons were happy to spend an evening with the band judging by the applause for an encore as the performance ended. The band returned to the stage and played a rousing rendition of T-Bone Shuffle.
It was a feel good performance with a legend and his band that everyone thoroughly enjoyed.
Jesse Colin Young Band Members:
Aleif Hamdan – Electric Guitar
Jack Sheehan – Saxophone
Tristan Young – Bass
Donnie Hogue – Drums
Jenn Hwan Wong – Keyboard
Sally Rose – Backup Vocals
Virginia Garcia-Alves – Backup Vocals
Set 1 : Young Solo
Four in the Morning
Set 2 with Jesse Colin Young Band
Sweet Good Times
Walk the Talk about Love
Cast a Stone
What’s Goin’ On/Mercy, Mercy Me
Right Here, Right Now