NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL 2019, FORT ADAMS, RHODE ISLAND

July 26-28, 2019 As the sun dipped to meet Naragansett Bay a few Sundays back, the 60 years since the first Newport Folk Festival seemingly came full circle. The Fort Stage crowd serenading Rambling Jack Elliott, and the dozens of singers and musicians paying tribute to the spirit and songs of Pete Seeger (who appeared at the first Newport in 1959) with one last chorus of “Goodnight, Irene”. On what would have been the troubadour’s 100th birthday, it was producer Jay Sweet who encouraged the audience to have the last word and shower the stage with the love shared by all who performed and attended over the course of the three days. That the Lead Belly lyrics so simply convey love lost and always eternal, was a fitting coda to a closing set that left me more than a little teary. In a good way. Let’s just say that there are moments as a photographer when you have to put the camera down, and take it all in, and this was one of them. Welcome to Newport Folk. Newport 2019 was true to form. Full of collaboration, a few surprises and plenty of discoveries. But what was most different about […]

RatDog with the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Greek Theatre

July 2, 2014 Hard to believe that the Dead offshoot, RatDog, has been at it for almost 20 years. The band, formed by Bob Weir not long after the death of Jerry Garcia, has become the longest running gig for any founding member outside of the Dead. In that span, guitarist Weir has taken on the appearance (and the role) of elder, bringing along a younger fan base that never experienced Winterland, Oakland or MSG. RatDog is a kindred unit, well suited to Weir’s truly unique guitar talents (inspiring legions of kids to be “rhythm” guitarists, myself included). Jay Lane on drums helped get the whole thing going with Weir in 1995, Furthur’s Jeff Chimenti provides the keys, Rob Wasserman is a wonderful bass player and frequent Weir collaborator, and Steve Kimock an important figure in the jam band world and occasional member of other Dead related projects. Brit Robin Sylvester fills out this version of the band on bass, as well. With Furthur on hiatus, both RatDog and Phil and Friends shows take on more importance and delight, each diving headfirst into the Garcia canon, adding a twist on interesting covers and exploring their leader’s compositions with abandon. The […]

Moonalice, The Mint

August 6, 2011 “Moonalice is a band of seasoned musicians who feel that live music should be a communal experience where the listener and musicians feed and derive inspiration from each other. Their songs try to speak to everyone, mixing a variety of genres with extended musical improvisations that evoke a sense of adventure and exploration.”  So says their story on www.moonalicetv.com, the first HTML5 driven band site that allows fans to HD stream any live performance to their iPads, iPhones, etc.  What, are these guys from the future?  Well, for sure, behind the mythology that is Moonalice, behind the gloriously handcrafted homage posters for each and every show, behind the jam rock immersion and the Dead elephant in the room, stands a band of the now.  Look under the hood, and you see great touring musicians of 30+ years, the likes of which just only seem to be getting better, and no doubt, they lean heavily toward their tied-dyed twirling brethren.   The Phil and Friends, Other Ones, Dave Nelson Band, Hot Tuna, Jefferson Starship, Bruce Hornsby CVs merely fortify the obvious.  But Moonalice is not just of, or about, the past.  Wrong.  They climbed on top of the social […]