Circles Around The Sun Show Review

 

 

Going into this show I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, But as soon as I got to the venue I knew it was going to be a super laid back psychedelic experience.

Walking around and outside the venue were fans and members of the critically acclaimed band. It was hard to distinguish the members from the fans due to the fact that everybody was congregating and socializing together. No hiding out in the bus or green room before the show or big stage entrances, just a group of guys who love to play music and connect with their fans. I think that says a lot about the band’s gratification and appreciation of their fans.

As for the show, it was a fusion of many different sounds, some more detectable than others but all melodically placed and purposeful. Each note the band played was specifically played to give Adam and Neal the freedom to go back and forth in a game-like manner to perfectly execute the ancient art of weaving. Their extended jams held the audiences captivity and instantly had the same effect as the pioneers that the band is so greatly influenced by. I think the band was just as surprised as I was on how the small North Carolina town of Lexington showed up to support and join the kaleidoscopic experience the band had in store for them.
At the end of the night Circles Around The Sun left the crowd with an open invitation to come back and play anytime.

Leaving from their show in Lexington at The Highrock Outfitters they will be heading to Raleigh, Atlanta, Nashville, then back to the old north state to play in Asheville. To keep up to date with Circles Around The Sun follow them on Facebook, Instagram and check out their website

Todd Snider and His Lucky Way to Live

Written by: Mason P. Winfree
Todd Snider released his debut album titled Songs for the Daily Planet in 1994 and with it helped pioneer a subgenre of country music that functioned outside the conventional mainstream genre establishment. The album blended country and folk with rock-and-roll and the sound was so distinct and original, it landed Snider on the alternate radio airwaves. Ever since then, Snider has been a trailblazer in his respective field, he has released over a dozen albums, including two with the supergroup Hard Working Americans, and he continues to tour around the world performing his original blend of country and rock-and-roll for adoring audiences. Photographer Olivia Jewell Williams had the opportunity to talk with Snider over the phone from his home in Hendersonville, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville, where Snider lives with his dog, Cowboy Jim, about his trailblazing career, including his newest record Cash Cabin Sessions, Vol 3, and his life as a musician and wanderer.
The album, Cash Cabin Sessions, Vol 3, was released on March 15, 2019, and it is the first record Snider has released since 2016’s Eastside Bulldog. Snider described the new record as being the closest thing to his live show. For years Snider has mostly performed solo with just a guitar and a harmonica during his live performances, but would typically have a backing band come in the studio with him when he recorded an album, however that was not the case with this most recent release. The Cash Cabin Sessions is Snider at his most stripped down and his most vulnerable, which is something that he has always wanted to do. Snider’s lyrics on the record are at times funny, full of wit and even tenderness, and at other times haunting and melancholic. From the title of the album itself, Snider has already cracked his first joke (for there is no Vol 1 or 2), and that really sets the stage for the content of the album itself.
The album serves to be a personal one for Snider as it was inspired by a dream he had of one of his musical heroes, Johnny Cash. In the dream, Snider was standing in a room and Johnny Cash appeared to him. Cash told Snider that he was missing something in the corner of the room, and Snider went to investigate and ended up finding a song called “Just Like Overnight” that would find its place on the new album. It was also because of this dream that Snider decided to record at the Cash Cabin that was owned by Cash and operated as his studio in his later years. Snider described Cash as being the original troubadour and the musical and philosophical leader of Nashville. “His legacy and his authority still loom over the town,” Snider said of Cash.
Snider shed some light on what it’s like being a troubadour and sharing his personal and intimate life stories through song. He says that he doesn’t know an artist who got away with singing songs that didn’t actually happen to them. “People try because they would rather it not be personal, but it has to be. If you’re not being honest, then people just leave.” Snider cites Mark Twain as an early influence in how he has chosen to live his life as a troubadour and a wanderer. Twain was a huge fan of travel and it was prevalent in his works. “I liked to travel and I always liked Mark Twain. It seemed like a romantic life. I get to meet so many people. It really is a lucky way to live,” Snider said of his lifestyle. “If you want to be the kind of singer I am, you have got to be on the go. You have got to be looking for things.”
Snider is still very much on the go with tour dates throughout the spring and summer months, including two with John Prine on May 24 and 25 in Appleton and Madison, Wisconsin. Cash Cabin Sessions, Vol 3 is available wherever music is sold. Snider stands as a testament to the notion that you can be what you want to be and you can do what you want to do. He realized early on that this life was the only one for him, and he will continue to roam, write, and be a singer of songs for it is his passion; it is his meditation. He is an artist that is not in it for the money, but for the spiritual rewards that give back unto him.
Todd will also be traveling through the triad and playing in Winston-Salem on March 23rd at the Ramkat.

Interview with Kevn Kinney of Drivin N Cryin

I had the chance to talk with founder and a 33-year member of Drivin N Cryin, Kevn Kinney. We talked about the band’s new and upcoming album, what’s on his current playlist and what Kevn likes to do when he gets home from traveling.

 

Started in the mid-’80s in Atlanta, GA Drivin N Cryin has been dubbed the band’s band. With never quite hitting the mainstream market the band still has a loyal and dedicated cult following filled with well known and inspiring musicians. They blazed the trail for the bands that don’t fit into a certain genre and being hard to market. The band loves to say that their music is for the misfits of society because the band is created from misfits.

 

 

 How do you think 2018 turned out for the band?

“Every year it gets a little better, we have a new guitar player his name is Laur Joamets.” and “we’ve been working together in Nashville on a new album that will come out in June”

 

What can people expect from the new album, especially with a new guitar player in the mix?

“The title of the record is “Live To Love Beautiful” there’s a song on there called “Free ain’t Free” it’s sorta my favorite, its an anthem.”  “It’s a story about a woman who’s all paid up, living in a neighborhood and her husband died. So she’s living in this house paying her taxes and the guy next door builds a house and then the whole neighborhood starts building houses and all of a sudden her taxes quadrupled and she has to move. Free ain’t free ya know?”  “It’s an eclectic mix of Drivin N Cryin, just like all of our records. Just a little bit of everything, we have always created our own little universe and we’re still living in our own world….It sounds like that.”

 

What are some memorable stories/gigs in NC?

“We use to play at Ziggy’s a lot, that was one of our favorite venues. I drove up there once to see the Ramones play there.”  “Chapel Hill was also one of our favorite places to play back in the 80s.” “Mitch Easter is from Winston-Salem, he was big on the early R.E.M productions. A lot of great bands come out of NC too, like a band out of Charlotte called Fetchin Bones that we opened up for in the 80s.”

 

How do you think you being from Milwaukee has affected the bands sound?

“Well, There are a couple of answers to that.”  “Sometimes as a writer, it’s easier to write about something when you get away from it. When I was living there it was hard to write about my feelings growing up there because I was in it. When I moved down south I had this southern tinged filter over things and I saw it a little clearer or less clear.”  “How I was lucky to get out.” “In the south, I saw things with a little different perspective, because things were slower here. One of our most famous songs Honeysuckle Blue sounds like a southern rock song but it was written about NYC and a homeless kid I saw on the streets. I felt like if I could take this kid and bring him down south he would have a different perspective as I did.”

 

I watched an interview a while back and you said one of Drivin N Cryin goals was to sound like a mixtape, so what would be on a good mixtape for you?

“Well, I would have some rockabilly, and some bubblegum music, The Ramones, The Rolling Stones, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and Patti Smith. The Clash and The Cramps, Rock Pile, Elvis Costello, and Chuck Berry. The list could just go on but, my favorite playlist I have on my phone is called “VooDoo Bubblegum” It’s The Boxtops, The Archies, Ohio Express and then it has a lot of really weird psychedelic rockabilly stuff. There’s a bunch of stuff on there that I don’t even know the name of or who they are.” “I love all sorts of music and I’ve always made records that reflected that.” I also love “Call Me Maybe”, that’s on my playlist and “Feel It Still” my granddaughter also got me loving Ed Sheeran, that song “Supermarket Flowers” is one of my favorite songs.

 

So, talking about more recent artist’s who are some of your favorites?

“Well, ya know Ed Sheeran, I’m influenced a lot by my friends. Elizabeth Cook, and Aaron Lee Tasjan, Jason Isbell and Sadler Vaden. All of my friends also have some pretty eclectic records out. Elizabeth, one of my favorites shes never afraid to take a chance. She’s my Rock n Roll sister.” “Aaron produced our new album and Elizabeth actually sings on it”

 

The band toured all through 2018 and Y’all are gearing up to start touring this year. Any recent road stories?

“The cool thing with what we do, we’re kinda like journalists, we get to see a lot of the America we hear and see on the tv. We get to go through it and see it first hand.”  “I’ll tell you something that was eye-opening. The hurricane that went through Florida, and came up from North Georgia while we were driving from Florida to Mobile, Alabama up to Macon, Georgia.  We saw all that devastation in the Georgia part.” “It was stunning, there would be a driveway and at the end of it would be a huge pile of garbage bags and wood and that was the house. It was gone and the trees were gone and debris was everywhere.” “We have a song on the new record that’s called “Step by Step” and that’s what they had to do. People just had to do it bit by bit and step by step, one day at a time.”

 

What do you do when you get home from touring?

“I like to write in the mornings I’ll sit down at the table and write a little but not very often. My passion is cooking, I love to cook, I love trying new recipes.” “That’s my hobby, what I like to do is try going to a farmers market and look for things I’ve never done before. Like, I made tamales a couple of weeks ago. I had never made tamales before and it was fantastic, I was so pleased. It looked just like a tamale and I was like, ‘Wow, I made this!”. “I collect cookbooks and see what not to do and see what to do and come up with my own thing. I don’t follow recipes too closely like a standard stock is celery, carrots, and onions but for me, I use jalapenos and onions, fennel.” “ After 30 years of traveling I’m so sick of ordering off a menu and the closest thing to making dinner is going to subway and picking out what they put on your sandwich.” “So, the first thing I do when I come home is go to the grocery store and grab a few things and put together a stock.”

 

Why do you think “Straight To Hell” was such a success?

“First off the chorus is very catchy but, I also think it’s a love story and something we can all identify with” “We’ve all felt misunderstood and the song itself is misunderstood. People are screaming straight to hell like its a beer drinking song, but it’s not its a song about Romeo and Juliet if they grew up in the south.” “I think people can also add their own story to it. You can fill in a lot of the empty spaces.” But at the end, it’s always a sing-along song. I don’t really know why it’s such a success all I really know is when I don’t play it people get angry.”

Morgan Wade

With a voice that’s unmistakably Appalachian and skin covered in tattoos, Morgan Wade is one of the singer/songwriters that is part of a musical forefront that, in the past few years has taken over Nashville, Texas and other places alike. Honing a sound too gritty to be country, and carrying too much of a twang to be rock, I suppose you could say, Morgan Wade, falls somewhere in the Alt country side of things.

  Born and raised in the small town of Floyd, VA in the heart of the Appalachian mountains, the town has a modest population of 442 people, with the main source of the town’s popularity being FloydFest, the yearly music festival right off the Blue Ridge Parkway that brings in just over 14,000 people each year to the town, which Morgan and her band played last year and will be playing again this year. Although she plays guitar and sings now, her first instrument surprisingly was the classical violin. She attended lesson’s for what she thought was going to be fiddle but, turned out to be a classical violin class at the age of 8 and played recitals for several years before making it known to her teacher and her mom that the violin was not for her and she wanted a guitar. Morgan remembers her teacher saying to her mom that “if she can’t stick with violin then it would be a waste to buy her a guitar”, so her mom listened to the teacher and didn’t buy her a guitar but, Morgan’s grandmother did. After that, she taught herself a few chords and would sing and write but not show anybody, due to the fact she thought she couldn’t sing. Throughout her teenage years, she would play and sing in her bedroom while nobody was home. It wasn’t until she met her now boyfriend and band member, Joe Link that anybody ever said to her “I bet you can sing can’t you?”, and she’s been singing, that is in front of people ever since.

  Just like any good southern girl, she grew up with a slight obsession with Elvis Presley, he was one of her first influences when she started music and she still looks up to the king today. With her saying the week before we met and did this interview she was sick in bed for a few days and all she watched was Elvis documentary. Though she grew up with a strong bluegrass influence as well, Floyd is also known for their old-time country store where they host bluegrass jamborees every Friday where Morgan as a child would fall asleep in her grandfather’s lap listening to the music. But, still staying true to being born in the 90’s Morgan has a long relationship with the music of people like Shania Twain, not to mention her first concert were The Dixie Chicks.

  Playing music for years, Morgan’s first show wasn’t until she was 19, at “Dogtown” in her hometown of Floyd, her first show with her current band Morgan Wade & The Stepbrothers was there as well. Since then she has played hundreds of shows, solo and with multiple different bands up and down the east coast. Forming the current lineup was a bit of a mashup of musicians and ways of finding them. Morgan already had Joe Link her boyfriend and piano/ mandolin player in the band but she went about finding her bass player in quite possibly not the safest way for a 19 yr old girl but, she found him through Craigslist. So Morgan and 2 of her friends went to a random guys house, headed down to the basement and heard Ed Mcgee play and recruited him for her now band, there was also a drummer and guitarist there as well, they all played a few shows together and then that fizzled out, But she kept Ed, the bassist.  She eventually picked up her drummer, Bengy Wagner, and guitarist, Drew Sprinkle both of which had a punk rock background in music and formed Morgan Wade & The Stepbrothers. Since then, the band has been playing for roughly a year and a half and has released their first album “Puppets With My Heart” at the beginning of this year and are gearing up for a spring/summer tour to promote the record.

If you would like to catch one of Morgan Wade’s or Morgan Wade & Stepbrothers shows head on over to their website! You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with their latest releases and show dates!

Joey Nevada’s “The Ride”

Mount Airy, North Carolina native Joey Nevada is gearing up to release his first full-length album “The Ride” on March 30th, at the newly renovated Reeves Theatre in Elkin, North Carolina. With the first single “Sweet Southern Ride” released back in January, “The Ride” is Nevada’s second CD recording with the first, being an EP consisting of six songs titled “Never Heard The Words”. “The Ride” was recorded and Produced in James Brickey’s (lead guitarist for Joey Nevada) home studio, taking roughly 6 months in total.

The album is compiled of 12 songs ranging from good time songs that you would for sure here on a summer playlist along with songs that hit a little closer to home for the listener. With the new modern country feel but unlike others, Nevada isn’t straying away from the classic twang that makes it country. Tracks like “Better Than You” is a bit of a tongue-in-cheek breakup song that you can’t help but get a smirk out of. Then there are tracks like “Pieces To The Puzzle”, that are on the more serious side of things that explain how sometimes you have to “Fall flat on your face, to see this is where you’re meant to be”.  Joey Nevada and James Brickey co-wrote all 12 tracks and you can hear both of their influences, ranging from southern rock, pop, to even gospel.

If you would like to follow Joey Nevada and keep up with where he will be playing you can follow his Facebook and Instagram, check out his website as well. The CD Release will be at the Reeves Theatre in Elkin, North Carolina show starts at 7:00 PM and tickets are $5. Come out and support local music!