Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ten Out of Tenn 9/29

Sometime last year I heard about this touring group of musicians know as Ten Out of Tenn. As you might guess they are Ten musicians based out of Nashville, TN. The current line-up is the Vol 3 and features Kyle Andrews, Andrew Belle, Jedd Hughes, Madi Diaz, Joy Williams, Sarah Siskind, Ashley Monroe, Mikky Ekko, KS Rhoads, and co-founder Trent Dabbs. Last night Vol 3 made its way to Berklee's The Red Room @ Cafe 939.

The performers each take turns highlighting each others songs with each performer getting to spotlight 2 of their own songs. One thing is clear these guys (and girls) enjoy playing with each other. Take Joy Williams 'perma-grin' for example. Another member called living on the bus with all of them like being at summer camp, including the smells.

This year's group is quite eclectic, where Ashley Monroe and Jedd Hughes were a bit more country, Kyle Andrews was a bit more electronica/pop. Mikky Ekko and Berklee Alum's Madi Diaz got everybody moving and KS Rhoads was a bit reminiscent of the Mat Kearney show I attended last week, right down to freestylin' about his short stay in Boston at the end. Sarah Siskind stripped it down for a solo version of her song Lovin's for Fools, which has been recorded by Bon Iver and Joy Williams smile shone through on her "Charmed Life", which was co-written by Trent Dabbs and featured on
the "Grey's Anatomy" finale last year. Andrew Belle's "Static Waves" was a highlight for me with Joy Williams stepping in gracefully on back-ups, and Trent Dabbs "Your Side Now" really resonated with me.

One of the most fascinating aspects of this set-up is watching the musicians share the spotlight with such ease. Moving from keys to bass to guitar or from lead vocals to backing vocals, this was clearly a collaborative effort. If this tour is anything like the last one we will soon be seeing these individuals up here in Boston again for sure.

Next week Ten Out of Tenn Vol 2. alum Erin McCarley will be joined by Landon Pigg for two shows 10/9 & 10/10 at The Red Room @ Cafe 939. Another show not to be missed.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mat Kearney / Diane Birch 9/23/2009

So about a week ago, LiveNation started offering a 'passport' which would get you into all* shows for the rest of the year at various LiveNation venues/clubs across the country for $49.99. I thought it about it for a minute but then noticed the * which usually means there is a catch. The catch was it wasn't any show at House of Blues it was a limited number of shows, and only if those shows are not sold out. So is it really worth the hassle? Not for this guy.

I still managed to get into last week's Rusted Root/The Kin show (thanks to The Kin) and to last night's Mat Kearney/Diane Birch show (thanks Steph & Katarina). Both shows were great. The Kin are playing a show here Oct 16th and if you haven't heard these guys I would definitely recommend checking out their MySpace (

Mat Kearney was a last minute show and I have to be honest I wasn't too familiar with the newest album. 2006's Nothing Left To Lose was one of those albums that I could listen to start to finish on repeat, especially when I first got it. I was glad to see that the show was heavy with tracks from that album. The new album stuff worked well also especially the title track "City of Black & White" & "Closer to Love" both featured in the encore. Check out a unique rendition of "Closer to Love" featuring basketballs for percussion from Mat's tour blog

Opening this show was Diane Birch who not too long ago played a headlining show at Berklee's Red Room @ Cafe 939. Diane's soulful voice is a mix of Carole King and Grace Potter. She can bring it down real slow or get the crowd moving and clapping like a revival. Her album, aptly titled Bible Belt features the single "Nothing But A Miracle".

To close the evening in honor of the birthday boy Bruce Springsteen Mat's band brought out Diane and her band for a rousing version of "Dancing in the Dark".

The crowd seemed a little more interested in the drinks or each other, but the hits got some great reactions. A large group up front seemed to be singing along with Diane and while Mat seemed to be struggling to get audience participation the somewhat reluctant crowd played along. Overall a great show.

Next up Ten Out Of Tenn Tuesday at The Red Room @ Cafe 939.