Dixie Dregs – Dawn of the Dregs Tour 2018 – Ridgefield Playhouse – March 14, 2018

The Ridgefield Playhouse hosted the Progressive jazz/rock fusion band Dixie Dregs for a tour many thought would never happen. The Dregs original members have reunited this year to the delight of many long time hard core fans. The Dixie Dregs original members are Steve Morse on lead guitar, Andy West on bass, Allen Sloan on violin, Steve Davidowski on keyboards and Rod Morgenstein rounding out the band on drums. This is the 45th anniversary reunion tour and though through the years other members have come and gone it was fantastic that the five members who started the band were able to come together for this tour.

The crowd enthusiastically awaited the bands arrival onstage. The energy in the air was palpable. Many in the lobby and theater were reminiscing about when they saw the Dregs the first time or the last time they saw them. One thing was clear though that this reunion of the original Dregs was an eagerly anticipated event. It was obvious that throughout the years the band has garnered a mass of loyal fans referred to as “Dregheads.”
Getting these original members of the Dixie Dregs together after four decades was something most didn’t expect. Even though in recent years it seems many bands of the 70’s era are regrouping for one last tour and run at pleasing long time fans, each of the members of Dixie Dregs have gone on to live their separate lives and some even had other polar opposite careers. Allen Sloan is a physician and Andy West a video game designer. Rod Morgenstein went on to add his percussion talents to many bands including Winger. Steve Morse is probably the most active in the music world over these previous decades as he has been playing as lead guitarist for Deep Purple while also performing with Flying Colors and The Steve Morse Band.
They perform jazz, rock and bluegrass with a classical overtone to their music. What may be called progressive country rock with a hint of jazz fusion. Their tempo and rhythm change up in one song keeping your ears entertained with the changing sound and tones and variations in the beat. With that being said it has always been hard to categorize the Dixie Dregs into one genre.
The night was a mix of the broad range of cuts from various albums in the bands history. The majority of the selections were from the Freefall album. They also performed “Take If Off The Top” and “Day 444” off the What If album. It was as if they had been playing for all these years together and each song was performed flawlessly.
The second set included “Cruise Control,” one of the better known Dixie Dreg songs. The set crossed over from the heavier rock influenced to a more classical sound. This set showed the range of the band and their ability to fuse different genres into a consistently enjoyable set that satisfied the audience and left them wanting more. The band returned to the stage for the encore with “Bloodsucking Leaches.”
It was indeed a rare chance to see a classic lineup play so well and enjoy their time onstage together again. They had and continue to have a unique sound. With many bands saying they’re performing farewell tours in the last few years, it’s hard to know if you’ll ever see this combination together again. If you do get the chance to catch the Dixie Dregs on this tour do try get out and see them. You won’t be disappointed and this chance may not come again.

 

 

http://dixiedregs.com

Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
Setlist
Set1:
Divided We Stand
Free Fall
Holiday
Assembly Line
Twiggs Approved
Take It Off the Top
What If
Country House Shuffle
Moe Down
Odyssey
Set 2:
Violin Solo (Allen Sloan)
Northern Lights
Go for Baroque
Day 444
Refried Funky Chicken
Leprechaun Promenade
Wages of Weirdness
The Bash
Cruise Control
Encore:
Bloodsucking Leeches

The Dixie Dregs coming to Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, CT

Critically acclaimed and six-time GRAMMY®-Award nominated musical virtuoso’s, THE DIXIE DREGS (a.k.a The Dregs), are gearing up for a national U.S. tour starting February 28. The performances will mark the first time in 40 years the original band–Steve Morse (guitar), Andy West (bass), Allen Sloan (violin), Steve Davidowski (keyboards) and Rod Morgenstein (drums)–will share the stage. Tickets are on sale now.

The “DAWN OF THE DREGS” 25-date tour–with additional dates to be announced soon–will take the band across the country starting on February 28 in Clearwater, FL and make stops in Atlanta, Charleston, Washington D.C., New York City, Boston, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, Milwaukee, Boulder and Phoenix, among many others,before wrapping April 25 in Dallas, TX. For more information about the “DAWN OF THE DREGS” tour and to purchase tickets, visit: http://dixiedregs.com/.

“This tour is the result of the overwhelming requests we’ve received from a loyal audience of die hard Dregheads, and new fans who have never seen us perform live, but discovered the band for the first time through Steve’s membership in Deep Purple, or Rod as the drummer for Winger,” said Dreg’s bassist, Andy West. “We can’t wait to play for them all,” adds West.

For guitar aficionados, Steve Morse needs no introduction, and his place in the pantheon of guitar greats is certain. But in fact, his career started with the DIXIE DREGS. The band traces its true beginnings to the band Dixie Grit, which started in a Georgia high school with Steve on guitar and Andy West on bass. Dixie Grit morphed into the DIXIE DREGS at the University of Miami School of Music, where Allen Sloan (violin) and Rod Morgenstein (drums) joined up with Steve and Andy, who were the “dregs” of Dixie Grit.

The members of the DIXIE DREGS remained committed to attending the University of Miami School of Music, which hosted a lively and talented musical community during their tenure, including future greats Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius, T Lavitz, and Bruce Hornsby, among many others. In 1975, the group’s demo album, The Great Spectacular, was recorded at the University of Miami and then re-released on CD in 1997.

After graduation, the band moved back to Augusta where Steve Davidowski (keyboards) completed the band. The band paid its dues and honed its skills playing in bars and venues throughout the South in the mid-70’s. They established themselves in the firmament of American instrumental music, seamlessly fusing rock with progressive and jazz elements to create a uniquely instrumental-driven style that has stood the test of time.

Based on a short demo and a tip from former Allman Brothers keyboardist Chuck Leavell along with legendary Allman/Dregs tour manager Twiggs Lyndon, Capricorn Records signed the DIXIE DREGS to record Free Fall (1977). The success and critical acclaim of Free Fall announced the DIXIE DREGS to the world, and after its release, they would become a cult-favorite band that would have a lasting influence on much of modern rock.
Keep your eyes on www.dixiedregs.com and www.facebook.com/TheDixieDregs for all the news.

Jesse Colin Young

Jesse Colin Young

The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center

Feb. 18, 2017

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 List
Set 1 : Young Solo
Songbird
Sugar Babe
Four in the Morning
Sunlight
Desire
Set 2 with Jesse Colin Young Band
Ridgetop
Sweet Good Times
Walk the Talk about Love
Cast a Stone
What’s Goin’ On/Mercy, Mercy Me
Lightshine
Statesboro Blues
Right Here, Right Now
Darkness, Darkness
For Orlando
Get Together
Encore
T-Bone Shuffle
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris

 

 

Jackson Browne

Jackson Browne at Tanglewood

June 21, 2016

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Our friend Patrick Markham, a lifelong musician from northern Virginia, enthusiastically messaged me about seeing the best concert he has ever seen at the Filene Center at the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Va.  It was one of our favorite artists “Jackson Browne”. So we made arrangements to see his show at a similar venue in the northwest hills of Massachusetts.
It was the first day of summer 2016 and there is arguably no better way to spend the evening than enjoying a cool breeze watching Jackson Browne sing as the sun sets over the Berkshire Mountains. The Shed at Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts is a great venue set in the rolling mountains. It offers the choice of seeing the performers up close under the shed in seating or bringing their own seat or blanket and enjoying the music under the stars as the sun sets.
Browne began the night with “Rock me on the Water”. He recalled memories of his early years struggling to make it in the music industry. His easy banter with the audience made for a comfortable evening and his exceptional band consisting of Val McCallum (guitar), Mauricio Lewak (Drums), Jeff Young (keyboards), Bob Glaub (bass), Alethea Mills (Vocals) and Greg Leisz (guitar, lap steel, pedal steel) all meshed seamlessly giving the audience a night full of magical music.
Browne spoke of friends in his life. He sang the song “For a Dancer”, which he wrote after a friend died a few years back. This night it was also sung in memory of those who died in the tragic shooting in Orlando this month, as well as their families and friends. They ended set one with “Doctor My Eyes” and left the crown anticipating more to come after the break.
After a 15 minute intermission the band returned for the second set. This set consisted of mostly the hits from his early career with lyrics the crowd sang along with. Browne upped the tempo, sending the crowd to their feet. Many ran up to the stage and at one point Browne said it was ok to go back and sit down and return to their seats. That lasted for about one song and the crowd returned to the stage.
Never one to shy from political statements Browne sang “Which Side”, a song off his album “Standing In The Breach ” released in 2014. A song relevant in the current political and social climate in America.
Browne did two encores. Encore one was an ever popular cover of the Eagles “Take it Easy” done with a Jackson Browne twist.  Followed by “Our Lady of the Well”. He ended the night with “I Am a Patriot”, a Litte Steven cover. This sent the crowd home on a positive note.
The performance was just around 3 hours of great music with an exceptional band.  Everyone we saw seemed to thoroughly enjoy the night. If you have haven’t seen Jackson Browne and you get the chance, DO IT!!
He sounds just as wonderful as he did early in his career. Some performers’ voices change and it gets harder as the years pass to keep the sound their fans recognize when performing live. This is not true with Jackson Browne, after many years and multiple albums his voice is as true and spot on as it ever was. Browne’s last song sounded as good as the first. His songs, old and new, still play daily on the radio and his sound is as relevant as ever. Pat Markham was right, this was a concert well worth taking in and ranks as the best concert we have seen this year.
By Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris  www.georgebekris.com

Set List :
Set 1:
Rock Me on the Water
Just Say Yeah
Looking Into You
Linda Paloma
Fountain of Sorrow
The Long Way Around
Call It a Loan
I’m Alive
For Everyman
For a Dancer
Doctor My Eyes
Set 2:
The Birds of St. Marks
Play Video
Your Bright Baby Blues
Which Side
These Days
Somebody’s Baby
Boulevard
Redneck Friend
The Barricades of Heaven
Late for the Sky
In the Shape of a Heart
The Pretender
Running on Empty
Encore:
Take It Easy (Eagles cover)
Our Lady of the Well
Encore 2:
I Am a Patriot (Little Steven cover)