Saturday, June 27, 2009

Lauris: A Revelation!

By Duncan Strauss

I'm fortunate enough to host an afternoon drive music show called the Sonic Detour each Wednesday on WMNF, Tampa's 70,000-watt community radio station, and because I live in an entirely different part of the state (Jupiter Farms, a three-hour drive to Tampa), it just hasn't been practical for me to get plugged into the flourishing Tampa music scene.

That bugs me--during times over the last few decades when I've done radio &/or music journalism, I've also been steeped in my local music scene at the time, and a champion of it. My disconnect in Tampa, my inexperience with its artists and their work, has struck me as a real weak spot of my Sonic Detours.

So about a year ago, I invited Bev Capshaw, a longtime WMNF programmer and supreme expert on (and advocate of) the Tampa scene to start offering local music segments--she's done so ever since, including the first one a few months ago about Lauris Vidal and another one on Lauris two Wednesdays ago, tied to his involvement in the Citrus Circuit Tour, which also features The Takers, Truck Stop Coffee and Have Gun, Will Travel.

She's become such a fast, fervent fan of Lauris, that we've joked--on the air & off--about her having a crush on him.

In e-mailing her this morning with my take on the Citrus Circuit tour, which stopped last night semi-close to my house, at Propaganda in Lake Worth, I later realized the portion about Lauris Vidal might work as a blog post. Let's see:

"Lauris: a revelation! I totally get your crush. I mean, I've really been digging the EP since you did the first local music segment on him, but live (with that incredibly good, muscular, nimble rhythm section), Lauris comes across as an emerging major artist:

insanely gifted, adventurous in a host of ways, a great synthesizer of influences but clearly heeding a powerful muse to yield a wholly original blast of art (the unholy love child of David Byrne & Tom Waits, if those guys had a more pronounced reggae bent? or maybe that was just the 3 beers talking in my head!), plus all the things that spell "special":

unfettered, genuine joy in performing...ease, flexibility & spontaneity...charisma to burn...lotsa intriguing choices (from his instruments, to how he plays them, to how he hears & creates music, to the wonderfully quirky cover of "Paint It Black," etc.)

If I didn't have a few notable personal & professional responsibilities standing in my way, I'm half tempted to volunteer to go on the road as his roadie--just so I could see him perform every night!"

That's the end of that portion of the e-mail to Bev, but not the Lauris tub-thumping. You'd be well advised to get your hands on his EP, "Shoot, Shoot Your Skeletons," visit his
MySpace--and catch him live!

“Skeletons” by Lauris Vidal (mp3)(iTunes)(Amazon)

Catch Lauris Vidal and the rest of the Citrus Circuit Tour tonight (6/27) at the New World Brewery in Tampa.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Good Year Living Under These Dark Clouds

Lauris Vidal likes the ukulele. He really does. And he makes it sing. Along with banjoes, lap steel guitars and other instruments from years past.

Vidal's multi-instrumentalist tendencies evokes a post-Raindogs Tom Waits, but with a tenor voice. Vidal's urgent, bluesy folk music is an original, crafted from years developing his craft in Florida clubs.

The Daytona-based Vidal leads the Citrus Circuit Tour which blows through South Florida this week. Joining Vidal will be Tampa's Have Gun Will Travel, who are generating some serious buzz on the state's west coast. Joining the bill is Lake Worth roots rockers Truckstop Coffee and Gainesville honky tonkers, The Takers.

I'll be catching them on Friday. I can not wait

Citrus Circuit Tour

Jun 24, 2009, 8:00 PM Bank & Blues, Daytona Beach, FL

Jun 25, 2009, 8:00 PM Tobacco Road, Miami, FL

Jun 26, 2009, 8:00 PM Propaganda, Lake Worth, FL

Jun 27, 2009. 8:00 PM New World Brewery, Tampa - Ybor City, FL

“Good Years, Dark Clouds” by Lauris Vidal (mp3)(iTunes)(CDBaby)

“Land Of The Living” by Have Gun Will Travel (mp3)(iTunes)

“Taker Easy” by The Takers (mp3)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Punk/Folk Troubadours Hit FLA

Joey Cape

At a time when bands trim the Florida leg from their summer tours as a nod to the creaking economy, three exceptional singer/songwriters are headed to the Sunshine State.

Joey Cape, vocalist of the Southern Cal punk outfit Lagwagon, will lead the Punk/Folk Troubadour Revival into our sweatbox of a state. Joining Cape will be fellow punk folksters Jon Snodgrass and Cory Branan. The three sharing the same stage promises an evening a damn good music.

Along with fronting Lagwagon, Cape explored his poppier influences with Bad Astronaut and the cover band legends Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. On the link below, Cape does a heart-wrenching version of Bad Astronaut's "Killers and Liars." I love the line, "Lying is like murder, It's easier each time." Definitely a songwriter with something to say.

“Killers and Liars (Acoustic)” by Joey Cape (mp3)(iTunes)

Snodgrass is a label mate of Cape and fronted the great and under-appreciated Drag The River. Snodgrass recorded his first solo album earlier this year and is about to release a vinyl and cassette album only (so very old school - schweeet) with good friend Branan. Below is a classic DTR track for your listening pleasure.

“Me & Joe Drove Out To California” by Drag The River (mp3)(iTunes)

Branan is a new name for me, but sign me up. Cory evokes Conor Oberst or Jeff Tweedy in his voice and phrasing. The more I listen, the better it gets. You are going to hear of this guy again. Seriously.

“A Girl Named Go” by Cory Branan (mp3)(iTunes)

Looking forward to their southernmost gig at Propaganda at Lake Worth. However, I suspect the New World Brewery date in Tampa will be the state's can't miss show.

Tour Dates:

Sun. 6/21 - Atlanta, GA : The Earl

Mon. 6/22 - Savannah, GA : The Jinx

Tue. 6/23 - Jacksonville, FL : Jack Rabbits

Wed. 6/24 - Gainesville, FL : Common Grounds

Thu. 6/25 - Tampa, FL : New World Brewery

Fri. 6/26 - Orlando, FL : Will's Pub

Sat. 6/27 - Lake Worth, FL : Propaganda

Sun. 6/28 - New Smyrna Beach, FL : Beachside Tavern

Tue. 6/30 - San Antonio, TX : Rock Bottom

Wed. 7/1 - Houston, TX : Walter's On Washington

Thu. 7/2 - Dallas, TX : Double Wide

Fri. 7/3 - Denton, TX : Andy's Bar

Sat. 7/4 - Austin, TX : Red 7 (Punk Rock BBQ)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Summer Dream for a Southern Surprise

Old Crow Medicine Show

Enveloped by the warm, sultry blanket of a south Florida summers, it is time to reach down to the bottom of one's soul for a wish - perchance a dream. 

My dream, my need, is a Big Surprise.  More specifically, the Big Surprise Tour.

The near magical combination of Old Crow Medicine Show, David Rawlings and Gillian Welch, The Felice Brothers, and Justin Townes Earle in one hoedown show is nearly a fever dream. Perhaps the finest collection of Americana musicians going - in one show and one stage.

Billed the Big Surprise Tour, the shows will be broken down into two 90-minute sets with an intermission for a smoke and a beer.  The bands are set to share the stage, playing each others' songs, traditional tunes and covers.

Just a handful of dates have been announced.  Still no dates south of Knoxville.  But that is where the dream comes in.  A dream where this rag-tag group of pickers and players make its way to Florida - during the height of hurricane season.

Yes, I know its a dream.  However, the schedule at the Pompano Beach amphitheater is light this August.  Hell, just get south of I-10 and I'll be there. 

Tour Dates Below: 
AUGUST 2009 
04 – Hampton Beach, NH @ Casino Ballroom | more info 
05 – Boston, MA @ House Of Blues | more info 
06 – New York, NY @ Beacon Theatre | more info 
07 – Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory | more info 
09 – Charlottesville, VA @ Charlottesville Pavilion | more info 
10 – Cary, NC @ Koka Booth Amphitheatre | more info 
12 – Louisville, KY @ Waterfront Park | more info 
13 – Nashville, TN @ Riverfront Park | more info 
14 – Knoxville, TN @ World’s Fair Park | more info

Download: Don’t Wake The Scarecrow by The Felice Brothers (mp3)(iTunes)(Amazon)

Download: Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show (mp3)(iTunes)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Like Milk and Gasoline

Musically, something is happening in Tampa.

The latest compilation of Tampa Bay area bands, Tales of Lust & Longing, documents the rising tide of talent in the area. It is a thoroughly enjoyable listen from BAAMO. (thanks, Duncan!).

Catching my ear on the first listen was "Milk & Gasoline" by St. Pete's Experimental Pilot, who consist of brothers Robert and Stephen Vessenmeyer. The acoustic duo and longtime area musicians team up with a kicking back-up band on this tale of a struggling couple searching for for a way out. With a driving rhythm section, the song is reminiscent of a Hayes Carll tune.

I've been replaying this song for a week - taking special pleasure when Stephen whispers "All it takes is a spark" as the band kicks it into another gear.

Milk & Gasoline” by Experimental Pilot (mp3)(iTunes)(CDBaby)