People’s Blues of Richmond Video Shoot, RVA | Music Photography

I was supposed to go home and pack for my jaunt across the country to transplant myself on the warmer coast for a few months… I’m supposed to do a lot of things. Sometimes I do…  and sometimes I don’t. I couldn’t just continue on my way home and pack when I got the call letting me know that the first video shoot for People’s Blues of Richmond was happening in Richmond that night. I would go and stay for an hour. I could be strict about that. I could enforce that for myself. About 15 minutes after arriving, I knew that I wasn’t going to be leaving in an hour to start packing, shit was happening, shit was about to happen and well, shit is far more important than packing ‘stuff.’  Stuff can be replaced, shit happening can’t.

& shit is happening with People’s Blues of Richmond. They have signed with Madison House and word of their prowess is quickly spreading. & it is rightfully deserved.  This band.  THIS band.  Seriously.  Damn.  They ARE my favorite. I have my favorite bands…there is a long list, duh. Lots of bands that I love. But this band. PBR has that it, when the music, the performance, the players, the determination and the drive come together to create something truly electric. They are the band that feeds my obsession for music photography.

They grabbed me the very first time that I saw them play at a packed The Camel years ago in Richmond, VA. Their show is gritty. Their show is raw. Their show is dangerous. Watching a PBR show is a pulse racing, elevating experience because you never know when something is going to explode, cuz something IS going to explode but you don’t know when they are going to catapult over the safety line of life. They start every show with a climax and have somehow found a way to sustain the fervor and excitement with which they play till the very last note. Till beyond the very last note. Fucking love this band.

 

get ready to feel the power of ‘gone gone gone’ from PBR directed by Julian Ashbee of Barking Iron, visuals by Dustin Klein of VIDEOmetry, and lighting by Alex McArthur of McArthur Lighting.

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/135489072″>PBR Gone Gone Gone</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user12660487″>Barking Iron</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

and I ended up staying way later and packed my car in 45 minutes with what I thought I would need in California.  Turns out I didn’t do that great a job with packing as I somehow forgot that I would need stuff like clothing for a west coast winter. All was okay as my camera and computer made it along with my Forever Lazy. Gone Gone Gone was a night not to be missed.

Forever Lazy

The Gabrielz | The Viper Room, LA | Music Photography

Back in April, a friend invited me to join her for a show at The Viper Room.  She had won tickets and knows my adoration of music and asked if I wanted to join her.  Heck yeah!  Ended up that … Continue reading

ThatWasThen and The New Peter Gabrielz | The Viper Room, LA | Music Photography

ThatWasThen was furiously rocking as I walked up the stairs at The Viper Room and I was stoked to hear loud genuine rock fill the room. ThatWasThen’s dirty guitars and soulful harmony provide an earnest fusion of modern and vintage rock in an electric live show. … Continue reading

President Sam at The Camel, RVA| Music Photography

 

Emma Oakley is quickly become a force to be reckoned with in the RVA music scene.  She is still in high school but has already logged in time on most of the best stages in RVA.  Her bands have rocked The National, Cap Ale House, The Camel, Canal Club, etc etc…  When I heard she had formed a new band, President Sam, I was very excited.  She would be fronting this band!  Singing her own songs with a talented group behind her.  Sam Partridge on drums, Mason Lloyd on bass and Rick Heretick on guitar.  I have to admit that I felt terrible on the cold night of their debut.  I’ve been under the weather but had to put on my big boy pants to make it to their first show and I am so happy that I did.  As soon as they started rocking, I started to feel better.  Emma is dedicated to making music and I am excited to see all the places this girl is going to go.  So proud of you Emma!

 

The Southern Belles at Rapture | Charlottesville, VA| Music Photography

The Southern Belles make me want to learn to hula hoop, they make me want to roll around in the grass and put flowers in my hair.  They are exactly what I want on a summer day, or on a really freakin’ cold winter’s day in Charlottesville.  It was a happy day to realize that I could join them at their monthly gig at Rapture in Charlottesville, VA.  The Southern Belles vigorously crank out a combination of psychedelic funky rock with a firm foundation in country.  The night at Rapture would be even fuller with the addition of the musical genius that is Stephen Kuester on his lap steel.  I love the twang and how rich the sound can be with a lap steel (and a master playing it.)  The boys are all chock full of talent, each one of them sings and I’m always blown away when Tommy belts out Floyd while his fingers nimbly run up and down his keyboard.  Damn, Tommy!  Do IT!


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The Southern Belles | The Broadberry, RVA| Music Photography

7/23/14

I made it back to RVA (Richmond, VA) in time to get a good nights sleep before The Southern Belles put a cap on the Rock and Roll Highway adventure with a show at The Broadberry.  Getting to catch them a 2nd time on my journey was a treat as they are one of my home town bands that I have been introduced to this year.  The take you on a country, jazzy, rock and funky journey of psychedelic fun.

Night 16 of The Rock and Roll Highway (Part 2) | Lincoln, NE | The Zoo Bar | Covington Rock

7/10/14 – Lincoln NE

After The Soft White Sixties, I didn’t know how the evening could get any better.  I mean, I was just rocked the fuck out, it is hard to come after that.  As I stood outside chatting with the boys of the Sixties, I heard a soulful jam coming out of the door, gaining in intensity, with those fast high hat hits that make my shoulders move.  I found my feet dancing towards the door and I yelled bye over my shoulder as the funky jams pulled me back inside the Zoo Bar.  This was soooo good – nasty jam music that makes your lip curl with that funky beat that gets the hips moving.
The drummer, Cal Harman, blew my mind when he opened his mouth, I had been forewarned but it still made my mouth fall wide when this skinny glasses wearing white boy opened his mouth and Barry White came out.  WHAT THE AWESOME!!!   A Ferocious Jungle Cat got everyone in The Zoo Bar dancing and grooving to a good time.  The stage was packed with talent.  I want everyone to look up their song “Lady” and listen to it right now.  You won’t be disappointed.  Then you should buy their album.

 

I must give a shout out to Pete and the fantastic staff at The Zoo Bar.  Easily, one of my favorite places from the summer’s tour.  This is a dive bar with history, with soul, with damn good acoustics too.  The music sounded great from every spot in the bar.  I don’t know if it was the shape, long rectangular with very high ceilings, yet still very intimate, that gives the special sound but lordy, music sounds good in here!!  I highly recommend going to this spot if you are ever passing through Lincoln, NE.  Pete and his crew have made a wonderful place that I am going to call my home away from home on this musical adventure.  I felt like a member of the Zoo family after minutes and I cannot wait to find myself at this wonderful spot again.   By the end of the evening, Pete had convinced me that I had to stay in Lincoln for one more night.  The next night was ZooFest, an annual festival that he puts on.  The whole street out front would be blocked off with a huge stage at one end and there would be music all night long….

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Night 5 of The Rock and Roll Highway | Albuquerque | Covington Rock

It was already afternoon by the time I woke, the night had been a gloriously late one with The Dirty Creek Bandits and Tyrannosaurus Chicken peeps and I didn’t make any plans for the next city after their show.  It was a Sunday, so I figured it would be my off day/night.  Have a leisurely drive and stop wherever I felt like it.
As I lay their chilling in the hotel bed (I splurged and got a room), I had an itching in my fingers and I pulled the technology closer….  I keyed up the map and saw that Albuquerque  was a little over 4 hours away.  Hmmm.  Albuquerque.  Hmmm.  I had a great time in that town on the 98′ cross country tour, very hospitable town (thank you Lee Francis).  I typed “Albuquerque live music” into the search bar, expecting nothing,  yet the first thing that popped up was Cactus Tractor at the Skarsgard Farm Folk Circus Festival!  All those words sounded amazing and awesome.  I used the Facebook search option and soon was grooving to a few beautiful tunes rich with a vibrant clarity.  How could I not experience this?  I found Cactus Trucker’s email address and sent them a message and hopped out of bed to pack.  By the time, I had thrown all my things in a bag, I had an email from the band telling me to drop on by the circus and I jumped in the car and pointed Elvira west.
Bye Texas!                                                                Hello New Mexico!
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The evening skies in New Mexico are a site to see.  It is epic in the vastness of beauty.  Land and sky going on and on, forever, and I lucked out with a sunset sky full of big white puffy clouds.  Love this part of the world.  I could easily get lost in creating landscape images like Phil Hawkins (well, not like Phil, he is incredible…but to dream to make images like Phil…..) but I was on a mission, a musical mission and so I snapped with my phone and let my camera relax till showtime.
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When I arrived, I met up with Meredith Wilder of the band Wildewood (they had played earlier in the day) and she was coordinating the event with Skarsgard Farms.  She gave me a lay of the land, I had found myself in the middle of a desert circus and it was gorgeous.  Jugglers, aerialists, musicians and revelers were everywhere.  I had definitely found the right spot to be on this night of The Rock and Roll Highway!

The band that attracted my music photography loving self to the event was Cactus Tractor and from the images on their site (great band photography) and the clips that I heard, I knew I was in for some great music.  It was a treat reading their description on their Facebook page.

Cactus Tractor is a seven-person Bohemian Pop Folk Disco (beau-pop-faux-disc) band based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with four songwriters, toothsome harmonies, and a multitude of fun stringed and unstrung instruments. These include, but are not limited to, the hula horn (invented by Christy), the musical saw (which is dangerous), the violin (which is also dangerous if you’re standing just to the left), the accordion (which is heavy), the charango (which attracts a lot of attention despite its small stature—much like its player, Stef!), buckets-and-buckets-full of harmonicas (which often fall on the ground and cause great consternation), frogs (which croak when struck with a stick—try it out!), and tea towels (which, laid artfully over a snare drum, make for a proper English quiet-funky kit sound). “

As the Albuquerque Aeraelist Collective flew over head Cactus Tractor gave a rocking, folky, bluesy, fabulous show with some of the most beautiful harmonies I have ever heard.  They all played like a bajillion instruments as well (as listed out in their description above) and wow, those voices, they played their voices.  They weren’t up there merely singing, they were adding layers upon layers upon layers to the music with their song.  Their voices were all as finely tuned as the instruments they strummed, beat and blew.  I want to lay outside in a big grassy field, or more aptly on a blanket with the wide world all around and lay there and just listen and listen to them.  They somehow capture the sound of this part of the world, the music is as vast and encompassing as the land stretching out for miles and has a warmth and beauty to it like the setting sun while also being so clear and pure and simply beautiful as a Prickly Pear bloom.   I am enamored.

 

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Night 4 of The Rock and Roll Highway | Amarillo, TX | Covington Rock

I had asked my new friends at The Mercury Lounge in Tulsa where I should go in Amarillo and everyone unanimously said The Midnight Rodeo.  So when I got back to my nest for the night, after that amazing night of music, like, wow…blow me away night of music,  The Dirty Creek Bandits and Tyrannosaurus Chicken just knocked my socks right off, I googled The Midnight Rodeo to see what was going on.  There was a fella called Charlie Worsham playing.  His website said that he was the opener for Brad Paisley, so I knew he was country and had to be good as I know the name Brad Paisley, I don’t know his music other than its new country but I know his is big.

I love me some honkey tonk, ole classics, rockabilly, western, just haven’t explored new country, outside of the tv show Nashville.  Since I was going to Texas I had to add a bit of country to the tour and I figured it would be fun to pretend I was on an episode of Nashville all night.  I freakin’ love that show.   I reached out to the venue and tried to get a bit of sleep.  When I woke up, I had a message from The Midnight Rodeo saying  if I could make it to Amarillo by 7pm, they would introduce me to Charlie’s tour manager to see about photo permission.   It was a 5 1/2 hour drive and it was nearly 2pm.  No problem. Made it to Amarillo and found the place mostly on time, always on time, on the right time.  The peeps at The Midnight Rodeo are fantastic.  They welcomed me in and Winter gave me a full tour of the spacious dance hall/bar/club.  I loved it.  Texas does it big.  There was a racecourse of a dance floor that went around a bar in the middle of the room, 4?+ bars that were on the outside and a spacious stage.  The place is awesome and at night the lighting gets sexy and there is a lot of smoke.  A lot of smoke.  There were even ashtrays in the bathroom stalls.

This old smoke filled bar is something I’m not used to.

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The ladies room also had a giant comfy sofa and I took a lovely 20 min snooze.  Awesome music and amazing drives leave little time for sleep, so the sofa was a most wonderful surprise.  When I emerged from the ladies room, the bar had gotten packed with dancers and I mean DANCERS!  wow.  Those Texas men know how to spin their ladies around. There was one fella who looked like he was ready for front row at a Slayer concert, I saw him and wondered how his pretty, boot wearing lady convinced him to come to this bar…  Never judge a book by its cover and that long haired metal fella turned out to be the best country dancer in the place.  He swung his lady (and his hair) all over that race course dance floor.  He spun her, he flipped her, he boot scoot n boogied her all night long.  wow.  It was beautiful.    This was their warm up dance.  I forgot to video later due to my whooping and cheering as they flipped by. Yes to the men who can scoot and twirl a lady around the floor like that.

& then it was time for the show!!!   One thing is for certain, Charlie Worsham is an entertainer.  That fella knows how to work a stage.  He made every person in the room feel like he was there for them.  He held hands, he read notes, he sang happy birthday, he even let one girl attempt to play his guitar and he smiled at her even though she couldn’t strum to any sort of rhythm.  He made eye contact with each person there and I could see life long fans forming in front of me.  It was easy to see that he loves what he is doing and he wants everyone there to be as happy in the moment as he is.  Busting out covers of Michael Jackson, Hall & Oates, Ozzy Osbourne & Katie Perry made me grin and he had me 100% when rocked Eye of the Tiger.

After the show, the dj came out and everyone started rocking their way around the racecourse dance floor.  New Yorkers always find each other and I’ve spent so much time in that city with the ole day job that I feel >almost< like a proper new yorker.  There were friends from Columbia and were on an adventure weekend and had stumbled upon this wonderful place unlike anything in our pavement jungle.

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We were all standing and watching in awe when all of a sudden the music took a drastic change and a whole new sorta line dance started happening..except for that one couple doing the outercourse.

I had a great time at The Midnight Rodeo.  If you are in Amarillo, this is the place to go!