Archive for February, 2010

By Justin McIntosh

Graffiti Magazine POSTED: February 23, 2010

Talking to Larry Keel on the phone you’d never get the impression his fingers move as fast as they do. With a laid back, almost lazy, southern draw, Keel’s voice could put even the most active mind at peace.

But on stage, Keel’s virtuoso finger-picking has lit up the crowd across the U.S., winning awards nearly everywhere he’s gone.

Come March 5, he’ll be returning to the Mountain State with his Natural Bridge band, to play a show at one of his favorite West Virginia venues, The V Club in Huntington.

Photo by Bright Life photography

Graffiti: Tell us a little bit about what’s going on with you.

Keel: Man, we’re just super busy right now. I’m sure like you all, you’ve had plenty of snow already.

Graffiti: Yea, we’ve had quite a bit.

Keel: I’m sure like you all, we’ve been rushing around, trying to get out of it. We went down to Alabama and Florida and all that end of it, trying to get out of it at the end of January. And now it’s all snowing down there. You just can’t get away from it.

But every thing’s going fine. We’re just trying to get all of our festivals in line for the festival season. That’s all rolling pretty smooth. We’re playing up in Delfest in Maryland. I love them, the McCoury Boys.

There’s one called Hookahville in Ohio. We’re playing that one, too. That’s a pretty big one. I love getting outside. With this snow, it’s gonna feel good to get outside and shake that cabin fever.

Graffiti: Are you playing All Good this year?

Keel: I’m not sure about All Good yet, but we sure would love to. We’re just trying to play a whole bunch of them and we’re just telling people to keep their ears out to the Web site.

Graffiti: You play quite a few shows here in West Virginia. What keeps you coming back?

Keel: We love the people of West Virginia. We’ve been playing there a long time and we’ve made a lot of great friends, including the Davisson Brothers, which are some great friends of ours. They’ve been really great friends and have introduced us to a lot of great people in West Virginia. We just love it, man. It’s a beautiful state and love to come back as soon as possible.

Graffiti: What are some of your favorite places to play?

Keel: As far as West Virginia?

Graffiti: A little bit of both. Within the state and elsewhere in the country.

Keel: We love playing at the V Club because everybody’s so nice there and have a great time. Patrick and them really treat you good. They’re jut wonderful folks there. I like all the different venues we play. We love the festival scene and we get to play a lot of theaters all over. We like a place where we can get the audience to come out and feel comfortable and we can get everybody on the same brain wave and just have a good time with it. That’s what makes a place special for us.

Graffiti: For a musician that’s accomplished so much, what keeps you motivated to keep practicing, to keep striving for improvement?

Keel: I love a lot of types of music. I’ll get to hear a lot of incredible musicians in all my travels and i Know a lot of amazing musicians and I play in a band with a lot of amazing musicians. The guys in my band are always learning and keeping on top of new music.

I get inspired by all that, big time; wanting to write my own music and hear my own voice and what I have to say about things. It just all inspires me — everywhere I go and everything I do.

Graffiti: Now, you’re new album was produced by Keller Williams.

Keel: We had a bunch of songs down, probably like 25 songs, and I couldn’t figure out which ones I wanted to put on one CD. So I had to call Keller Williams — he’s an old friend of mine, we’ve done a lot of recording together — and he helped me hone it down to a real CD and get some continuity to it. He added some of his flair  and some of his imagination to it and it turned out the way it did. We’re really happy with it.

I’ll add this little note, too. We were just in the recording studio with Keller again to record the second Keller and the Keels CD. That’s hopefully to be released out by June or so.

Graffiti: That’s pretty exciting.

Keel: Yea, he’s a fabulous guy. I’ve known him a long time — old friends from the northern Virginia area.

Graffiti: Are there any other artists you’d like to collaborate with at some point?Keel: Oh yea, there’s so many of them. We’ve been doing a lot of shows with Tony Rice playing in our band. He’s such a master at what he does and he’s such a wonderful person. I’ve very excited that we have more of those coming up.

Got some shows coming up with Adam Aijala from Yonder Mountain String Band that we’re really excited about. We did a big run down the Pacific Northwest, just he and I on duet guitar. He’s really fun and it’s nice bending some ideas off somebody like that.

Contact Justin at jmcintosh@graffitiwv.com

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On Saturday, March 20th, PhilanthroPEAK Live will feature over six hours of music, visual arts, theatrical performances, live filming, as well as tabling for community businesses and nonprofits all united under one roof at Pack Place and the 500-seat Diana Wortham Theatre in downtown Asheville, located at 2 South Pack Square.

The all ages event starts at 5:00pm and tickets are only $10 in advance and $15 the day of the show. From 5:00-6:30 there will be an opening with beverages, a collaborative ceramics art demo by Gabriel Shaffer and Shay Amber, a Moog Synthesiser and theramin demo with Dave Hamilton, and music by Jenny Greer of Jen and the Juice; theatre music begins at 6:30. To purchase your tickets visit www.dwtheatre.com or call 828-257-4530.

PhilanthroPEAK is the title of the forthcoming Asheville arts/outreach documentary being produced by national 501(c)3 non-profit organization Concepts4Charity (C4C), which is a virtual organization involving people all across the country. C4C is devoted to raising awareness for community issues through sports and the arts within their mission of engaging citizens in philanthropy and/or the resolutions to community issues. PhilanthroPEAK is a film telling a story that takes action by discussing ideas for developing grassroots projects in Western North Carolina, while also promoting the goodwill and concerns of the local community.

A wide array of area musicians, artists and activists who appear in the project will be on hand for PhilanthroPEAK Live and patrons will get a sneak “peak” at some of the flourishing talent from the Asheville community. Funds raised from the evening’s events will help promote the awareness for C4C’s upcoming Hip Hop Culture class an after-school program to premiere in Asheville during the fall of 2010. Additional funds from tickets sales, donations, and raffle items will go toward the release and distribution of the final documentary presentation.

On the bill for the evening’s entertainment to perform are Aaron Price with Kellin Watson, Woody Wood, Jar-E, Underhill Rose, The Secret B-Sides, and Jenny Greer of Jen and The Juice. Scotch Tomedy comedians will be the masters of ceremony for the evening. Find out more about the performers here in a second blog about the event.

There will also Live demonstrations by:

  • The Bob Moog Foundation will be present with an interactive setup consisting of Theremins and Moog synthesizer equipment. Representatives will be on hand to answer questions about the Foundation’s efforts to build a Moogseum, restore archives, as well as work with you.
  • Local artist and author Shay Amber will be on hand for a ceramics demonstration

More about Concepts4Charity– This film rough cut sample features John Swan from Greenlife, Jennifer Pickering from LEAF, Bob Roberton from Mountain Roots Management, Josh Phillips Folk Festival, Underhill Rose and more.

A Film Taking Action
PhilanthroPEAK looks to take action, becoming acquainted with activists in the Asheville community, to discuss ideas for developing various grassroots projects that speak to the concerns of the community. Concepts4Charity, Inc. (C4C) provides a platform for Asheville citizens to weigh in on topics that hit close to home. PhilanthroPEAK has been engaging a diverse spectrum of community musicians/artists, educators; philanthropists and entrepreneurs throughout 2009 to get an inside look at initiatives in which they are currently involved.

Christopher Gaspar, an Asheville resident for more than five years, is the Vice President of Operations for C4C and the lead producer on the upcoming PhilanthroPEAK documentary project. Gaspar came to the greater organization with the idea for “A Call to Action” a voter registration documentary on HeadCount in 2008. Although this film was not focused on Asheville, some of the taping and much of the post production for the film was done right here in Asheville. Collaborating with a select few of the tremendous local media producers in Asheville for “A Call to Action” inspired Gaspar to come up with the idea of producing a film about WNC and the vibrant grassroots arts, culture and community therein.

“I consider myself a writer and community developer more-so than a filmmaker. However, I have been involved with media production since college and I understand the advantages of using story telling to get people engaged behind a common objective. It will be nice to introduce outreach programs into the community and uncover some of the incredible initiatives already established within the WNC region. Some groups don’t have the funding or technical expertise to bring their vision to the forefront and that’s where we (C4C) come into play and how we support individual communities”, Gaspar states.

Gaspar initiated the fusion of these local filmmakers, musicians, artists, event organizers, activists and other movers and shakers. C4C held a kickoff retreat in the spring of 2009 to bring together some of these talented people to not only be interviewed or perform on film, but also to network and forge strategic plans. While post production on the project does not start until this summer, a rough cut sample is being hosted on YouTube which outlines some of the people involved: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFEWYAHqp1A.

The WNC filmmakers that are involved in the making of PhilanthroPEAK are:
David Bourne with Bourne Media, Kurt Mann with American Green, David Schmidt with Acapella Audio, and Patrick Haney/Caley Lyles/Joel Suttles/Eric Larson of Stellar Media.  PhilanthroPEAK Live on March 20th will mark the last major capstone phase of filming for the documentary which started production last spring and continued throughout the year at various events throughout Asheville. This event, PhilanthroPEAK Live is the last phase of filming for the documentary.

Project Distribution
PhilanthroPEAK will help unite the Asheville community and promote it to the rest of the country utilizing various grassroots platforms for distribution and promotion, including:

  • National Broadcast Television
  • Community Television Outlets
  • Regional Cable On Demand
  • Online Social Networking and Video Streaming
  • Film Festivals and Entertainment Events

Project Goals for PhilanthroPEAK

  • Promote sustainable outreach and highlight current initiatives facilitated by citizens of Western North Carolina.
  • Identify social concerns and underserved needs within the Asheville community.
  • Develop a program or initiative that addresses the concerns of regional population.

Hip Hop Culture Program Video

PhilanthroPEAK Live is currently calling out for more non-profits and businesses within Asheville to take part in this event. There is a small fee ranging from $20-$50 for a table at the event. This will include two free tickets to the concert, the company name listed on the program guide, website, as well as being listed in the PhilanthroPEAK documentary credits. Organizations will keep 100% of proceeds raised from donations or products sold during the event (ie. T-shirt sales, Raffles, donation jars, etc).

To register your organization please contact: Ms. Cynthia Sun at csun@concepts4charity.org or call 877.656.2469.

About Concepts4Charity

Concepts4Charity, Inc (C4C) is a national 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to engaging youth in philanthropy through the development of sports and arts programs. C4C’s recent documentary, A Call To Action, featured many high profile artists including tour heavyweights Bob Weir(The Dead), Trey Anastasio(Phish), Dave Matthews, Grammy winner Bela Fleck(The Flecktones) and outspoken activist Michael Franti(Spearhead). C4C hosted the premiere of the documentary at the HBO Screening Room in Times Square.

Concepts4Charity, Inc Contact Information
Christopher Gaspar; cgaspar@concepts4charity.org; 877-656-2469; Concepts4charity.org

March 20th Event Details at a Glance:
PhilanthroPEAK Live
produced by Concepts4Charity
Saturday, March 20th
Diana Wortham Theatre

All Ages
Tickets $10 adv/ $15 d.o.s.
2 South Pack Square
Asheville, NC 28801-3521

http://concepts4charity.org/events/87(event site for tickets)

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Interview by Scott Preston

Cincy Groove Magazine February 15, 2010


Connecting traditional songs of yesterday with their own original and inventive sounds of today, Larry Keel & Natural Bridge create astonishingly powerful acoustic music rich in heritage, heart and hot licks! With a style that evokes both atomic rock energy and dynamic tonal purity, Keel and his ensemble are intent upon taking their instruments and their voices to their fullest potential for emotion and amazement. While paying respect to the legacy left by the forefathers of bluegrass, Keel bridges the gap between traditional and contemporary American Mountain Music. Larry Keel & Natural Bridge includes flatpicking guitar master Larry Keel (guitar, vocals), Jenny Keel (bass fiddle, vocals), Mark Schimick (mandolin, vocals), and, Jason Flournoy (banjo, vocals).

Larry Keel & Natural Bridge will also be sharing the stage with Cincinnati, OH’s own Rumpke Mountain Boys on 2/25/10 At Victorian Midnight Cafe in Columbus, OH and on 2/27/10 at Play By Play Cafe in Cincinnati, OH.

Cincy Groove: So I understand you are working on an album with Keller Williams?

Larry Keel: Yeah we just did some work in the studio about 2 weeks ago. Spent 2 days in the studio and got a lot done. I’m not sure of the exact release date, I’m waiting on Keller to make an announcement about that. It’s some really good stuff, it’s a continuation of Grass, but it’s what we are doing now. It’s really some high energy music.

Cincy Groove: How long have you known Keller?

Larry Keel: I met Keller about 1999. We were always playing the same clubs here in Virginia. We always ran into each other and had a great time playing music together. Just managed to stay in touch with each other, its a beautiful thing.

Cincy Groove: Who are some other people you have played with?

Larry Keel: Actually, just recently I played a bunch of shows in the Pacific Northwest with Adam Aijala from Yonder Mountain String Band. We had a great time and I just wanted to put it out there that there will be some East Coast shows coming up with Adam and myself. You can get a taste of it on Youtube, I believe there are a few videos up there from the west coast tour. The dates with Adam should be coming out in February.

Cincy Groove: I know you are proud of this, Tell me about the Fishin and Pickin website.

Larry Keel: Its something I have been wanting to do for a long time. Touring around being a musician I end up meeting a lot of fisherman and also a lot of great musicians who like to fish as well. So we decided to combine two things we really love playing music and fishing. We started this website and are offering advertisement to fisherman and at the same time putting out news about fishing and music. It also gives people who enjoy fishing and music to come together and talk about it. In the process of working on this project I meet a lot of people who organize fishing tournaments or just big events down on the river. They always need music at their events but can never get it worked out. The title “Fishin and Pickin” came from when I would be pickin and Jenny would ask me “What are you doing, thinking about fishing?”. I would say “I don’t don’t know sort of”. She said it should be picking first then fishing. In my mind I got my priorities straight, I named it Fishin and Pickin (laughing). We are always adding new material to the website and the new music I have coming out will be released the website as well.

Cincy Groove: I see that you have played Jorma’s Fur Peace Ranch here in southern Ohio. Did you have a good time?

Larry Keel: Absolutely, it was quite an honor, I got to play with Jorma and David Bromberg. It really was an amazing experience. Jorma is doing it his way and having a great time doing it. He is just a really nice guy.

Photo by Bright Life Photography

Cincy Groove: Has music always been something that you have wanted to make you main focus in your life?

Larry Keel: I have always wanted to pursue a music career. When I decided to make music my career focus, I had a friend in Orlando, FL give me a call. He said there is a want ad in the newspaper for musicians. It was for a gig playing music at the Tokyo Japan Disneyland. We went down and auditioned and they really liked what we were doing. So they sent us out to Tokyo Disneyland for 6 months. We played 6 days a week and about 7 half hour shows per day. We would play for a half hour and then be off for a half hour. I was playing most of the time, but I did get to see the country and the people were really wonderful. It was a culture shock, I was only 18 and hadn’t been out of the Blue Ridge Mountains up until going to Japan.

Cincy Groove: What was it like playing Telluride for the first time back in the early 1990’s?

Larry Keel: An amazing experience. I wasn’t much of a competitive player at that point, just did my own thing. But in 1993 I played in the guitar competition and ended up winning. A lot of good things happened from winning that and really helped launch my bluegrass career. When I first went out there it was under the advice of my good friend Mark Vann from Leftover Salmon, who has since passed, I miss him a lot. When I won the guitar contest I got to play up on stage so at that point I was really nervous. I had never played to a crowd of that size at that point in my career. I went back out to Telluride in 94 and 95. In 1995 I took my band out with me. In 95 I played in the guitar competition and won, which was a great honor once again. Then my mandolin player, Danny Nicely won 1st place in the mandolin contest. The guy that was playing banjo for us Will Lee, I believe won 2nd place in the banjo contest. Then the band as a whole won the band competition and had the honor of opening the festival with our own set. That was a great year for us and we felt a lot more confident in our playing at that stage in our career. We still love Colorado to this day and try to get out there at least once a year.

Cincy Groove: How did your NYE show go at the Grey Eagle? I heard it was quite a spectacular event.

Larry Keel: It was truly a wonderful time. Bawn in the Mash opened up and absolutely killed it, they did a great job. Dwayne Brooke then performed, he is a gypsy jazz style guitarist, had a great set and I also played some with him. My brother Gary Keel was tearing it up, he was really on fire that night. A lot of folks came out and it was a great time.

A blast from the past – here is a link to some photos I took of Larry & Jenny Keel, along with Mark Vann (Leftover Salmon) back on 1.19.2001 at Stanleys Pub in Cincinnati, OH

Larry Keel & Natural Bridge:
Larry Keel (Guitar)
Jenny Keel (Bass)
Mark Schimick (Mandolin)
Jason Flournoy (Banjo)

Tour Dates:

Feb 19 2010 Mountain State Brewing Company – Thomas, West Virginia
Feb 20 2010 123 Pleasant St. – Morgantown, West Virginia
Feb 25 2010 Victorian’s Midnight Cafe – Columbus, Ohio
Feb 26 2010 Rex Theatre – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Feb 27 2010 Play by Play Cafe – Cincinnati, Ohio w/ Rumpke Mountain Boys
Mar 5 2010 V Club – Huntington, West Virginia
Mar 6 2010 Dantes Bar – Frostburg, Maryland
Mar 14 2010 Elk River Inn and Restaurant at Snow Shoe – Slatyfork, West Virginia
Mar 17 2010 PJ Kelly’s – w/ Davisson Brothers Clarksburg, West Virginia
Mar 18 2010 The Double Door Inn – Charlotte, North Carolina
Mar 19 2010 New Earth Music Hall – Athens, Georgia
Mar 20 2010 Pour House – Charleston, South Carolina
Apr 2 2010 Pisgah Brewery – Black Mountain, North Carolina
Apr 10 2010 GREENFIELD LAKE AMPHITHEATRE – KELLER and the KEELS at Greenfield Lake Amphithea Wilmington, North Carolina
Apr 17 2010 Clementine – Harrisonburg, Virginia
Apr 30 2010 French Broad River Festival – Hot Springs, North Carolina
May 5 2010 SHEPHERDSTOWN OPERA HOUSE – Larry Keel & Adam Aijala (YMSB) Shepherdstown, West Virginia
May 29 2010 DEL FEST – Cumberland, Maryland


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Yonder Mountain String Band’s Adam Aijala is teaming up with fellow guitar virtuoso Larry Keel for a short run of acoustic shows in the Southeast. Get ready to watch these two bad-ass guitar players tear it up with their wild riffs and antics from their experiences picking and jammin’ together backstage, at festivals throughout the years, and their recent tour out West this past December.

Larry Keel is a world renowned, internationally touring, Mountain Music Troubadour. At 18, Keel ventured overseas to work at the Tokyo, Japan Disneyland, as a “Western Land” musician; playing 6 shows a day, 6 days a week for a solid year. Talk about getting your chops down! Early on, Larry established himself as a phenomenally talented flatpicking guitarist, winning top honors at guitar competitions across the country. Throughout his career, Keel has released 13 albums and is featured on 9 others.

While he honors the pioneers that introduced bluegrass and mountain music into popular culture, Keel allows his music to evolve and embrace sounds and styles that inspire him, all along the way. He has collaborated and shared the stage with many of his own legends including Tony Rice, Sam Bush, Vassar Clements, Curtis Burch, Peter Rowan, Darell Scott, Jim Lauderdale, Jack Lawrence, Mark Vann, Vince Herman, Mike Marshall, Darol Anger, Keller Williams, amongst others.

Keel has weathered the changing tides of traditional bluegrass, country, jam rock, roots reggae, and even the currently emerging indie-alt scene always honoring the pioneers that introduced Bluegrass and Mountain Music into popular culture. He is an ever evolving musical force that stands in ongoing defiance to all genre expectations. Don’t bother trying to pigeonhole the music of Larry Keel. He’s untamed and untamable.

When not performing with his MIGHTY ensemble, Natural Bridge, Larry collaborates regularly with powerhouse pickers in shows and events and instructional workshop situations across the country. Often, these music events coincide with another of Larry’s natural-born passions: FISHING. This year marks the beginning of his completely original recreational concept, FISHIN AND PICKIN, that serves as an on-line resource and networking hub in all things to do with fishing, the great outdoors, music, camping, enjoying life to the fullest!

Meanwhile, Adam Aijala was born in Worcester, Massachusetts and spent the majority of his childhood in the nearby town of Sterling. As a young teen, Adam loved skateboarding and listening to punk and hardcore music. He was exposed to such bands as Black Flag, the Dead Kennedys, and the Descendents.

In 1986, at age 13, Aijala began playing electric guitar and taking lessons. He learned power chords first, playing dozens of short punk tunes. In his early years of high school, he added metal bands like Metallica and Slayer to his repertoire. Shortly after, Adam’s musical tastes began to shift. He began listening to Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and even the Grateful Dead. Desiring a new sound, Adam picked up his first acoustic guitar at age 17. He started listening to Bob Dylan and in college, Old and In The Way.

During his years at UMass Amherst, Adam played whenever he could as he studied Forestry. After graduation in 1995, and after a couple of major knee surgeries, he played several open mics around Worcester; strumming his originals like “Left Me In A Hole”, along with Dylan covers. He worked in the forestry field until 1997, when another knee injury forced him to rethink his career choice. It was at this point that Adam decided to pursue his career in music, moving to Nederland, Colorado. It was there where he met Jeff Austin, Ben Kaufman, and Dave Johnston…and the rest is YMSB!

Akin to Keel, Yonder Mountain String Band has always played music by its own set of rules. Bending bluegrass, rock, jam, and countless other influences that the band cites, Yonder has pioneered a sound of their own. With their traditional lineup of instruments, the band may look like a traditional bluegrass band at first glance but they’ve created their own music that transcends any genre. Dave Johnston points out “What could be more pure than making your own music.” Yonder’s sound cannot be classified purely as “bluegrass” or “string music” but rather it’s an original sound created from “looking at music from [their] own experiences and doing the best job possible.” The band continues to play by their own rules on their new record The Show.

“With me and Adam it’s just the guitars and doing our thing and doing some really cool freaky material and it is just so comfortable and that’s the way the music should be,” Keel said. “There shouldn’t be no hidden agenda just really soulful playing and writing and getting down to business. It is the most serious blessing of the whole thing. I grew up being so inspired by seeing and hearing all of these players like Sam Bush and Tony Rice, and even a lot of names you don’t hear or have never heard of, so it is like full circle for me to now get to stand in that circle with them and make music and trade riffs and feelings off of each other. It is the most amazing thing and I can’t believe it is happening sometimes.” ~ Dave Lavender, Herald Dispatch

For this tour with Keel and Aijala, expect more bending, twisting, and genre defying feats of guitar mastery and fiery vocals; rooted firmly in a tradition that is rich within both of their individual music!

West Coast Tour Samples:

Americana Roots posted an audio archive from their show at Mississippi Studios in Portland, Oregon: Set 1, Set 2

Check out some video archives from the West Coast tour:
Full show from the Tractor Tavern
“They”- Mississippi Studios
Instrumental- Mississippi Studios
Instrumental- Humbolt Brews
Burl Galloway song- Humbolt Brews

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“How to See the Sunrise” live @ the Grey Eagle in Asheville 5.23.09 Ben Sollee w/ Jonathan Scales on the steel drums

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Casey Blake I take5 Correspondent • published February 12, 2010 12:15 am

Asheville Citizen Times- Take 5


The Jonathan Scales Fourchestra plays Friday night at Mo Daddy's. The Jonathan Scales Fourchestra plays Friday night at Mo Daddy's. (Jon Leidel/Special to the Citizen-Times)

Where does banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck meet rapper Jay-Z? At the top of Jonathan Scales’ list of musical influences. The Asheville-based musician, heading up the Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, will be bringing the quartet’s innovative steel pan sound to Mo-Daddy’s on Friday.

Scales fell unexpectedly in love with the steel pan, an instrument born in Trinidad and Tobago, while pursuing a degree in musical composition at Appalachian State University. Originally a saxophonist trained in classical composition, Scales found himself more involved with his extracurricular steel pan activities than the instrument he was studying in college. “It just felt more natural to me than my sax,” he said. “My saxophone teacher wasn’t very happy with me, but he’s proud of me now.”

As he should be. Scales has introduced an instrument traditionally designated for Caribbean beaches and cruise ships into a successful jazz-fusion quartet. “Some island music generally has just one vibe that’s about being happy, having good times,” Scales said. “I feel like the music I write has a wider range of emotions and musical elements. I just want to stretch it further.”

Careful to respect the steel pan’s diverse potential, Scales clarified, “Let’s just say you won’t find me on a cruise ship. I appreciate that sound, but it’s just not what I’m about.”

Scales formed the original Fourchestra in 2007, and after several incarnations over the last few years, he has found a group of musicians he hopes to stick with. Scales is sharing the stage with rock ‘n’ roll drummer Ryan Lassiter, blues guitarist Duane Simpson and bassist Shannon Hoover. “I tend to write some pretty complicated music, and these guys can execute it like nobody else can.” Scales said. “They are just phenomenal players. They’re really my dream team of musicians.”

Scales, who has previously shared the stage with acts like The Wooten Brothers Band, Toubab Krewe, Ben Sollee and Futureman, has been touring the East Coast with the Fourchestra for about a year now. He hopes to release a new album with his dream team this fall.

“It will be a much more raw sound without all the production bells and whistles my other albums have had,” said Scales, who has previously released two well-received albums of his own. “This album will be that quartet — all us.”

After playing everywhere from New York to the steel pan birthplace, Trinidad, over the last year, Scales is excited to bring the Fourchestra’s sound back home to Asheville on Friday. “Asheville’s music scene is so receptive to different kinds of music; it makes it possible to really cultivate something original.” Scales said. “It should be a really special show.”


Jonathan Scales Fourchestra with Turbo Pro Project.
10 p.m. Friday.
Mo Daddy’s, 77 Biltmore Ave., Asheville.
Learn more:

Casey Blake writes about entertainment for take5. E-mail her at cblake@ashevill.gannett.com.

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by Mike Lisi

First published in print: Thursday, February 11, 2010

Times Union in Albany, New York

When Donna the Buffalo performs, the western New York jam band likes to make the most of its time on stage.And once they start playing, they don’t like to stop.

The five-member band played for almost four hours at a Jan. 3 gig in Tampa, rolling through 32 songs, including an instrumental version of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry” and a cover of The Grateful Dead’s “Peggy-O,” according to the band’s official Web site (http://www.donnathebuffalo.com). The group’s latest album is 2008’s “Silverlined.”

The band, which calls its fans “The Herd,” is on the road for a good part of the first half of the year. Their tour schedule brings the band to Troy’s Revolution Hall this week.

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Where: Revolution Hall, 425 River St., Troy

Tickets: $20

Contact: 270-0553; http://www.revolutionhall.com

— Mike Lisi

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February 6, 5:31 PMCharlotte Music ExaminerMonty Chandler


Jeb Puryear of Donna the Buffalo performs at the Neighborhood Theatre Feb 5th, 2010

Numerous opportunities for great live music were on tap for Charlotte music lovers Friday night.  The down side is you really had to choose which artists you were going to see from a talented selection available.

To maximize viewing opportunities, this writer chose to see Donna the Buffalo with Split Lip Rayfield opening at the Neighborhood Theatre.  That show started at 8PM.  Then at 11:20PM I snuck out of that show and headed across the street to the Evening Muse to see StephaniesId at 11:30.

Split Lip Rayfield is a three person Americana band out of Witchita, KS.  The group are made up of Eric Maris on Banjo; Wayne Gottstine on Mandolin; and Jeff Eaton on a single string Gas Tank Bass.  That’s right – a Gas Tank Bass made from the gas tank of an old car.  Check out the photos to see for yourself!  The guys sounded great with a definite folk rock progressive beat that had a large audience on their feet.

Photos of the Split Lip Rayfield performance..

The headliner for the night is the legendary Americana group and music festival favorite Donna the Buffalo.  The herd was definitely present and accounted for tonight!  Bluegrass, folk, zydeco, rock and lovely ballads were the rich mixture of diverse music emanating from this very talented group of musicians.  Normally the vocals for the group are split between Jeb Puryear and Tara Nevins, but tonight Tara had no voice.  She was barely able to speak.  Whispering with her before the show, she was disappointed in not being able to sing, but realizing there really wasn’t much she could do about it (other than make it worse by trying to sing) she took it in stride and decided that the show must go on.  That meant that Jeb would carry the load.  Something he did masterfully I might add!

Donna the Buffalo members are Jeb Puryear (vocals & guitar); Tara Nevins (vocals, guitar, electric fiddle, accordian,& scrubboard); Vic Stafford (drums); David McCracken (keyboards); Jay Sanders (bass).  Check out their sound on their MySpace page!

Photos of the Donna the Buffalo performance..

Then it was on to the Evening Muse to to enjoy the unique pop rock sound that belongs to StephaniesId.  With a set decorated in a little fluffy girlie stuff, the band set out to entertain a large audience with an almost 90 minute set of fan favorites ranging across all three of the bands albums.  StephaniesId is Stephanie Morgan (vocals, guitar); Chuck Lichtenberger (keys, vocals); Tim Haney (drums); Jacob Rodriguez (Saxophone); Justin Ray (Trumpet, French Horn).  An excellent horn section sets this group apart!

Photos of the StephaniesId performance..

Keepin’ it live,

Monty Chandler

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By Margaret Hair posted: Thursday, February 4, 2010 in The Steamboat Pilot


Lydia See/courtesy Jason Krekel and Ami Worthen, the musicians behind Mad Tea Party, are set to play a free show Feb 4th at Ghost Ranch Saloon.

Steamboat Springs — Holding her ukulele with intent to attack, Ami Worthen has barreled into rockabilly music with a wry sense of humor and lots of instrumental power.

As the leading voice of Asheville, N.C.-based duo Mad Tea Party, Worthen puts an amplified ukulele to work on songs that draw heavily on a variety of musical styles and cover topics from love to zombies. Her band — which also features multi-instrumentalist Jason Krekel on electric guitar, fiddle and drums — plays a free show at 9 p.m. today at Ghost Ranch Saloon.

When Mad Tea Party started playing about six years ago, the band was taking a more folk-oriented, early jazz direction, Worthen said. That kind of music fit her choice of ukulele as a main instrument, and it worked with her throwback-molded singing style.

There still are traces of those early influences in what Mad Tea Party does today, but the band evolves with its tastes in music.

“There are so many different kinds of music, so we have a lot of different incarnations as far as what genres we’ve focused on over the years,” Worthen said.

As classically danceable rock ’n’ roll from the 1950s and ’60s worked its way into Worthen and Krekel’s record rotations, those jangling rhythms also worked their way into Mad Tea Party’s musical mind.

“I play a really driving rhythm that’s almost like a snare drum or a Jerry Lee Lewis keyboard rhythm. … So I’m keeping the train going along rhythmically but also adding a chordal element to it,” Worthen said. “It fills in a space in the music that really helps it all gel.”

Krekel added a bass drum, marching snare and hi-hat cymbal to his stage setup, and Worthen applied her ukulele strumming to the newfound surf-rock sound.

“Through our desire to rock out more, we just figured out what we could do to make a fuller sound, and people are really surprised when they come see us — they can’t believe there are only two of us,” Worthen said.

After finishing a two-week tour of Colorado, Mad Tea Party plans to do a run of shows with fellow North Carolina-based, honky-tonk-influenced showmen Southern Culture on the Skids. Worthen said the two bands share an approach to making music.

“If somebody knows about them and their show, there’s a similarity to what we’re doing with our live show — just kind of fun and irreverent and rockin’,” she said.

If you go

What: Mad Tea Party

When: 9 p.m. Thursday Feb 4th

Where: Ghost Ranch Saloon, 56 Seventh St.

Cost: Free

Call: 879-9898

Online: Learn more about the band at www.themadteaparty.com.

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Jeb and Tara from Donna the Buffalo visited Late for Work with Tad Abbey  on WNRN on February 4th before their show at Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville. They chatted and played some tunes live on the air.

Check out the podcast from the interview at this link:  cvillepodcast.com/donna-the-buffalo-at-wnrn

Here is a video of them performing Locket and Key:

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