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Simple Music Video Series

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Simple Music Video Series: Bluegrass legend Peter Rowan pays tribute to Doc Watson

Posted By on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 2:01 PM

At each performance Peter Rowan gives, someone will inevitably yell out for the hits—"Panama Red," "Free Mexican Airforce," "Midnight Moonlight." There is nothing particularly wrong with that. Many artists in their 70s, like Rowan, might just lean on their earlier work and be burdened by nothing but the hits. But Rowan is not most artists. In fact, at 71, Rowan appears to be in the midst of an artistic renaissance, with his two most recent albums being as strong as any in his enormous discography. 2010's Legacy and 2013's The Old School show Rowan surrounded by both strong songwriting...

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Simple Music Video Series: South Carolina Broadcasters bring the strings

Posted By on Fri, Jul 26, 2013 at 4:04 PM

The Triangle will be seeing a lot of the South Carolina Broadcasters in the months to come. Besides playing the Bynum General Store on Friday evening, the group has dates lined up at Saturdays in Saxapahaw, opening Mandolin Orange's CD release at the Cat's Cradle, playing the Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh, and a showcase during the International Bluegrass Music Association's Wide Open Bluegrass festival later in September. But the Broadcasters are not confined to the Southeast or even this country: Award-winning fiddler Ivy Sheppard was recently invited to Switzerland by the Swiss Bluegrass Music Association to do a series...

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Simple Music Video Series: Luego TV's "Send Me On Time"

Posted By on Fri, Jul 12, 2013 at 12:08 PM

Patrick Phelan and his newly dubbed Luego TV project will release their third album, TV, next week. Recorded in Nashville along with his usual cohorts Jeff Crawford producing and Nick Jaeger on lead guitar, Phelan found inspiration from some unlikely sources: "The biggest inspiration for the record were some idols of mine: Eddie George, LeBron James, Jack White, Bill Clinton, Michael Jordan. I just thought about those guys during the record, especially Eddie George and Jack White, since they both lived in Nashville. Eddie George is just a renaissance man. He is the ultimate dude—Heisman trophy winner, NFL running...

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Friday, April 5, 2013

Simple Music Video Series: Kenny Roby's "The Craziest Kid Around"

Posted By on Fri, Apr 5, 2013 at 1:39 PM

I first encountered the name Kenny Roby while listening to a Whiskeytown bootleg from The Brewery, recorded Oct. 22, 1999. Not having been in the Triangle during the great alt-country hope, I never got to see the band for which he is best known, 6 String Drag. But after getting my hands on those records, I moved on to his solo material. At the time Roby was not playing out very often. The first time I was able to record him a few years later, he was playing fantastic original tunes while trying to be heard over a noisy...

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Simple Music Video Series: Old Quarter's "Wolves"

Posted By on Fri, Feb 1, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Today's session features Old Quarter, a band that, despite having released only one EP to date, is one of the more promising groups in the Triangle. Old Quarter carries the alt-country torch, so we didn't dream of doing this acoustic session anywhere but Slim's. Old Quarter's sound combines some of the best elements of traditional country with a rock 'n' roll propulsion, putting them in the same conversation that includes The Backsliders and American Aquarium. With only an EP out, they've got a lot further to go to stay in that conversation, of course. At least there's a full-length...

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Simple Music Video Series: The Debonzo Brothers' "The Way You Look at Me"

Posted By on Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 1:12 PM

The Debonzo Brothers are one of the hardest-working groups in Raleigh. Confident in their sound regardless of the publicity (or lack thereof) it garners, they can be seen at nearly every venue in the Triangle during the course of a year, from playing Sadlack's outside in December to a quiet acoustic performance at The City Tap in Pittsboro. Last year, they released One Damn Heart, a fine collection of alt-country tunes with a slight pop take. It's interesting to consider the musical influences driving the duo: Their father, Dave Debonzo, is quite the acoustic guitar player; see him perform...

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Simple Music Video Series: Patrick Dyer Wolf of Goodnight, Texas plays "Wristwatch"

Posted By on Fri, Jan 11, 2013 at 4:04 PM

In early 2012, Christy Smith performed a few songs from her Tender Fruit project for this video series. She brought along her duet partner, Patrick Dyer Wolf. After a few duo and solo tunes, we asked Patrick to play us a tune. As a sideman for The Tender Fruit, his delicate touches accented Smith's songs well. Today, his primary group is called Goodnight, Texas; in late 2012, they released their debut CD, A Long Life of Living, an upbeat and old-timey disc. The song we present today, "Wristwatch," falls between The Tender Fruit and Goodnight, Texas. It is a...

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Simple Music Video Series: "Painter Man Blues" by Dan McGee of Spider Bags

Posted By on Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 11:57 AM

It took us a while, but we were finally able to track down Dan McGee of the Spider Bags to come do a few songs. Between playing a get-out-the-vote rally in Durham, in-store performances and a number of recent club shows, Spider Bags have been busy of late. That's understandable, as their latest album, Shake My Head, is bound to turn up on a number of year-end lists. Today we present a song from Dan that is neither in his usual tempo nor at his typical decibel level—unless you happen to catch him doing a solo performance at places...

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Simple Music Video Series: Chip Robinson's "Angelita" and "Bells"

Posted By on Fri, Nov 9, 2012 at 3:13 PM

It was difficult not transforming into a complete fanboy when Chip Robinson came to perform several songs a few days ago. It was election night, after all. But midway through the first song, perhaps sadly, I no longer cared who won. After seeing and hearing the fire coming from Robinson as he performed a familiar "Angelita>Bells>Angelita" medley, I was day dreaming what it was like to see the Backsliders in the mid to late '90s. I was underage and a few dozen miles west, but I'd like to think I could have gotten into The Brewery or Local 506...

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Friday, November 2, 2012

Simple Music Video Series: The Human Eyes' "Born to Die" and "Let Me In"

Posted By on Fri, Nov 2, 2012 at 5:07 PM

"A Sight for the Human Eyes," the opening track of Guiding Eyes for the Blind, is mesmerizing—very dynamic and layered. I was surprised to learn, then, that Human Eyes leader Thomas Costello and company recorded the entire album at his home. Producer Ryan Gustafson had urged Costello to record a few songs that ended up turning into an album, released on cassette. A digital download of the album is available on their bandcamp page and is highly recommended. At the DiggUp Tapes day party during this year's Hopscotch Music Festival, the band made quite the splash. Their set from...

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Simple Music Video Series: Phil Cook & His Feat's "Frazee, Minnesota" and "Scorned"

Posted By on Fri, Oct 26, 2012 at 4:00 AM

If there could be good news from the fact that his full-time group Megafaun is taking some well deserved time off, it is that folks in the Triangle will get to see Phil Cook & His Feat perform more often. Thursday, Nov. 1, Phil and his brother Brad are involved in a very interesting project. They will be live scoring the documentary Without a Fight, which centers around how the sport of soccer can bring about social change in Kibera, one of Africa's largest slums. The event is part of a block party premier of the documentary, with food...

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Simple Music Video Series: Josh Moore covers Ryan Adams' "Tomorrow"

Posted By on Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 11:58 AM

Since his time with Beloved and Classic Case, Josh Moore has occasionally appeared with new music—opening a local show, releasing a sporadic seven-inch record, popping up to sing background vocals. With all of these appearances, it's puzzling as to why he isn't playing out constantly. As you'll hear in this week's session, despite covering another artist, the pureness of his voice is something to behold. There have been mentions of an upcoming solo project, and Moore recently released a clear-vinyl single featuring the songs "New Morning" (which you can listen to here) and "End of the Night." It is...

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Simple Music Video Series: Town Mountain's "Run Junior Run" and "Greenbud on the Flower"

Posted By on Fri, Oct 12, 2012 at 4:20 PM

When we set out to do this series, I wanted to represent all of North Carolina. Today, we feature friends from the western half of the state, Town Mountain. They are a traditional-leaning bluegrass band who should be included in anyone's discussion of the best Tar Heel bluegrass acts. Not only are they strong instrumentally, but lead singer Robert Greer is special. As far as traditional bluegrass bands go, if you don't have a lead singer with an authentic Southern drawl, it just doesn't seem right. Here we present two songs from their latest, and arguably best, release, Leave...

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Friday, October 5, 2012

Simple Music Video Series: Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express' "Willie Mays Is up at Bat"

Posted By on Fri, Oct 5, 2012 at 12:03 AM

Three years ago at another of her roots shows in the damp and dark Berkeley Cafe, local promoter Marianne Taylor turned me on to Chuck Prophet. At the time, he was on tour with his backing band The Mission Express, supporting the then-new Let Freedom Ring. Since that evening the album has not left my car. In doing this series, I had a list of "stretch" artists that I hoped might participate; Chuck Prophet and company were nearly at the top. When they agreed to come in, we had planned for him to only play a few songs solo,...

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Simple Music Video Series: The Weather Station's "Came So Easy"

Posted By on Fri, Sep 28, 2012 at 11:25 AM

A farm in Hillsborough provided the perfect warm-up for The Weather Station, the Canadian act making their first North Carolina visit to perform at Hopscotch Music Festival. The event lends itself to the discovery of new acts, and Tamara Lindeman had been one of the more intriguing selections to play Fletcher Opera Theater in Raleigh, a highly coveted performance hall. I had only listened to her latest release, All of It Is Mine Once, before seeking her out for a session. After hearing just one song performed live, the mix of The Weather Station's soft-spoken lyrics and beautiful finger-picking...

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Simple Music Video Series: The Morning After's "Higher Ground"

Posted By on Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 10:25 AM

A little more than two years ago, Rachel Koontz — then a bartender at my favorite sports bar on earth, Woody's City Market — told me she was starting a band. And she was serious too. Slowly over these past two years she has not only built a solid supporting cast around her with the help of local banjo ace Hank Smith (Barefoot Manner, Kickin' Grass, Monkey Navigated Robot) but also carved out regional notoriety that has translated into a fairly busy touring schedule. This success has come despite one obvious difficulty: The band's sound falls into three or...

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Simple Music Video Series: American Aquarium's "Jacksonville" and "Northern Lights"

Posted By on Fri, Aug 24, 2012 at 5:10 PM

When asking BJ Barham of American Aquarium about his then-recent recording session with Jason Isbell, an immediate smile came over an otherwise exhausted face: "Fucking amazing!" Not much more needed to be said. In today's session, we present two songs from the Isbell-produced album Burn. Flicker. Die., released this week on Last Chance Records. "Jacksonville" and "Northern Lights" are two of the quieter numbers from the album; at times, these are the songs that suffer most at American Aquarium shows. Here's to hoping the large crowd expected Saturday night at the Lincoln Theatre will pause for the quiet ones…...

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Simple Music Video Series: Shirlette Ammons

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2012 at 1:53 PM

It’s always a pleasure when an artist comes in to debut new material, as was the case recently with Durham emcee Shirlette Ammons. Apart from her work with the Dynamite Brothers, she’s been making a solo concept album as a tribute to and in the spirit of Gladys Bentley. "Bentley was a dyke performer during the Harlem Renaissance who was backed by a chorus of drag queens. Her show was one of the more popular shows in town. She often took popular blues songs and changed the lyrics to make them more raunchy,” Ammons explains. “During McCarthyism she toned...

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Simple Music Video Series: Kutchma's Orphanage and I'll Survive

Posted By on Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 12:33 PM

I don't know that there is a harder working musician in the triangle than Jason Kutchma. Rather writing, recording or performing live, he is a musician who does not allow his audience to be bored. As most people know, Kutchma has released two albums this year: The first was Welcome Home, by the rock band Red Collar, which he fronts. Then there was Pastoral, the roots-rock project of JKutchma & The Five Fifths. That's not to mention the album's companion book. Both records have different styles of presentation, but when stripped down to their barest bones, they are very...

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Friday, August 3, 2012

Simple Music Video Series: The War on Drugs' "I Was There"

Posted By on Fri, Aug 3, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Today's session is the first we shot at Capital Club 16. We had the bright idea of filming this outside, not taking into consideration the late-winter chilly wind or the general ambient noise that comes with being in downtown Raleigh. Despite an en route ambulance, a few cop cars and buses, it turned out pretty well. Granted, it is much easier to try these setups when your subject is both a friend and genuinely enjoys visiting your hometown. Adam Granduciel of The War on Drugs (TWOD) sat down with us and ran through several numbers off of 2011's Slave...

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Simple Music Video Series: Gross Ghost's "Devious" and "Leslie"

Posted By on Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Today's session brings us Gross Ghost, who came to Capital Club 16 to play a few songs on a bright Sunday afternoon in late June. At the time, the band was gearing up for their opening gig for Superchunk at the Cat's Cradle. No surprise, they sounded great. Mike Dillon and company are looking to spend the rest of the year writing and recording their follow-up to this year's excellent release, Brer Rabbit. They also plan to tour: "We've had a really great year in North Carolina, but it's time to take it to the streets elsewhere," Dillon says....

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Simple Music Video Series: Ryan Gustafson's "The Harbor"

Posted By on Fri, Jul 20, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Generally speaking, when we've shot these sessions people bring lots of gear. As we were ready to shoot Ryan Gustafson earlier this week at Gabe Nelson's f/Stop Grooves Studio, Ryan came in with just a guitar and capo, no case or tuner. After going over a few tunes on a picnic bench, he walked toward the studio handling the guitar as though he was carrying a wrench. Ryan came in and did three unreleased songs as well as a very interesting local cover song that we will post at some point in the future. Today's session features a performance...

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Simple Music Video Series: Damien Jurado's "Let Us All In" and "Working Titles"

Posted By on Mon, Jul 16, 2012 at 11:21 AM

There are times when you see a musician live for the first time and their songs hit you like a sledgehammer in the gut. Leading up to filming this session with Seattle based Damien Jurado, I had only heard a handful of his songs. The very quiet and gracious Mr. Jurado met me, a total stranger, outside of Kings Barcade for a brief ride to Amplified Art. We were on a tight schedule and had only 30 minutes to complete the session. In that 30 minutes, we went through three songs, each done in one take, and there was...

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Friday, July 6, 2012

Simple Music Video Series: Mandolin Orange's "Horse Tune"

Posted By on Fri, Jul 6, 2012 at 3:11 PM

When Mandolin Orange rolls back into town on Wednesday to play the Duke Performances Music in the Garden Series, they may not quite be the band you saw just months ago. Besides stepping out of their comfortable stomping grounds in the Southeast for their first Midwestern tour, they've also added Josh Oliver (formerly of the everybodyfields) to the fold. Given Oliver's track record alongside songbird Jill Andrews, he should complement the progressive direction in which Mandolin Orange seems to be headed very well. Those attending the Music in the Garden performance will also be treated to what is becoming...

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Simple Music Video Series: Django Haskins' "Elsinore"

Posted By on Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 2:16 PM

Back in February when we filmed this session with Django Haskins of The Old Ceremony, he alluded to a busy couple of months ahead. Since then he has done some overseas touring with Big Star, and his band The Old Ceremony signed with Yep Roc Records to release their next album, Fairytales and Other Forms of Suicide on Aug. 20. The selection featured in today's session, "Elsinore," is a song off that upcoming release. Seeing Django play solo is an infrequent occurrence these days and will become more so with an even busier couple of months ahead. Tomorrow he...

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