Folk Duo Oakes & Smith Open For Will Evans, Jay Driscoll and Jeff Howard

By Emily Edelman

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Our blogger Emily recently chatted with folk duo Oakes & Smith briefly about playing at their first music festival, their full length album that was released last year, how their song writing process changes with 2 people and more!  They are so excited to perform as the opening act for Will Evans, Jay Driscoll and Jeff Howard at Infinity Hall Norfolk this Saturday, October 11th at 8pm!  For more details on the show, click here!

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Back in March, our blogger Emily also interviewed Will Evans!  Take a look back at that interview and check him out on Saturday night!

Listen to Will Evan’s interview!

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For Montbleau It’s All or Nothing

ryanmontbleauweb2014by @AuthorGriffin

I first saw Ryan Montbleau play just after the turn of the century. It was the early aughts, ’02 probably, maybe ’03.

Things were different then. Independent bands operated differently. They asked fans to sign mailing lists so they could mail them post cards with show listings, like… through the mail. No joke, all the guys in the band I worked for, we would add our own home addresses to our own mailing list so our parents would know where we were on a given night. We started young back then. A few folks had email, a few cell phones here and there, but neither were reliable sources of mass communication at the time.

Festivals in New England were smaller and fewer, farther between, but they were so, so good. moe., Max Creek, Percy Hill, Strangefolk, DBB, Seth Yacavone Band, The Disco Biscuits, Brothers Past, to a slightly lesser extent, rane…

…and always Ryan Montbleau.

Those days, in the circles I ran in, Ryan Montbleau was considered the singer/songwriter of jam, something I asked him about, actually. But in reality, I guess it just comes down to a gig is a gig and music is music. Ryan Montbleau is a son of New England and the Commonwealth, and a skilled purveyor of fine original songs. He can write serious hit numbers that speak to the masses, he always could. Jam festivals were just what was available to play around here then and Ryan found a home amongst the jambands and the jam promoters and the spin kids, to use his term in the song, 75 and Sunny, and they all loved his music, all of us did.

Still do.

Earlier this week, Ryan Montbleau released a new original single, All or Nothing, a collaborative effort with Tall Heights, the duo of Tim Harrington and Paul Wright also of Boston. It was released Tuesday across all digital platforms with a cover of Fast Car by Tracy Chapman as the B side. I’ve heard it, it’s fantastic. Strongly recommend it for your personal digital library.

The real treat in all this, however, is that the supporting tour with Ryan Montbleau (full band) & Tall Heights debuts this Wednesday 10/8 at Infinity Hall Norfolk and tickets are available, so this is not to be missed.

Ryan was kind enough to speak with me about all this and more, check it out:

Griff: So today I’m speaking with Ryan Montbleau. He’s just released a brand new single, All or Nothing, a collaborative effort with Tall Heights. Available Tuesday 9/30 on all digital music platforms. Of course we all visit ryanmontbleau.com for info & dates, and follow you on Twitter @ryanmontbleau but Ryan, welcome, tell us about the single.61b8da1c4ffbc8ef7fd214dc881295798172ab3b
Ryan: Yeah I’m putting out two songs that I did with Tall Heights. Tall Heights is a duo from the Cambridge/Somerville area near Boston. It’s two guys, Paul and Tim, they play cello and acoustic guitar and both sing. I met them a couple years ago here in Cambridge and we just kinda hit it off. I’ve done a bunch of shows with them since then and we’ve put together some tunes and we’ve just been recording this summer. So we put out a couple songs, an original, All or Nothing, and a cover of Fast Car by Tracy Chapman.
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Griff: That’s awesome, so are you going to put out more of the same recordings or kind of see where this goes or…

Ryan: Yeah, I’m working on a lot of different stuff, it’s funny man. I’m writing tons of new stuff, playing a lot of new songs at the shows. I mean, we’ll probably do more stuff together, I would bet, me and Tall Heights. We have other stuff we do live, but these were two songs we finished this summer and felt really good about and I just want to put it out. I want people to hear stuff. It’s been a while since I put out any recordings, and I’ve been working on a ton of stuff and it’s just like, I’m dying to get it out there so I’m psyched for people to hear some of it. I just want people to hear it.

Griff: I hear it (laughs). So you’re just coming off a huge set at Gathering of the Vibes with an all-star line-up including Marco Benevento, John Kimock & Jen Durkin, among many others, your tenth Vibes. Now, in certain circles, I’ve heard you referred to as the ‘singer/songwriter of jam’, you think that’s fair? And, believe me, that’s a complement, I’d love to be that…

Ryan: (laughs) Yeah! I mean, nah I’ll take it. For sure, man. I think that’s great, honestly. I feel that way. I feel like, I’m a singer/songwriter who has found a home in the jam world.

Griff: (laughs) Not exclusively, of course, but…

Ryan: No, of course not, I mean I just played this Americana music conference in Nashville last week and there are all sorts of Folk events… You know, one year we played main stage Vibes and then the same day we played main stage Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. And I’m proud of that. I think it’s really cool. Music is music. It speaks for itself. You don’t choose your audience, your audience chooses you so I’m just happy to do what I do and find a home wherever that may be, you know?

Griff: I do and that’s well said, brother. So what have you been listening to the past couple weeks? What are some things you’ve gotten into lately?

Ryan: My friends Greensky Bluegrass just gave me their new cd so I’ve been listening to that. And then… ahh… I was listening to Charlie Hunter, his record called Return of the Candyman, from a while ago. I used listen to it in college. He’s got vibraphone on there and I’ve got some shows coming up with Mike Dylan on vibes so… I’ve also been listening to Brazilian Girls.

Griff: Cool man, sounds good. Well I appreciate your time today, brother, thanks for doing this and I’m definitely psyched to see the show.

Ryan: Yeah, I’m looking forward to it man, that place is special. Can’t wait to play there again.

Griff: Thanks Ryan.

Ryan Montbleau plays Infinity Hall Norfolk this Wednesday 10/8 backed by a full band. Tall Heights opens the show and more. This is the opening night of their tour supporting the new single, All or Nothing/Fast Car by Ryan Montbleau & Tall Heights available now across all digital music platforms. You buy it.

Visit www.ryanmontbleau.com for all things Ryan Montbleau

Follow Ryan @ryanmontbleau
Follow Tall Heights @tallheights
Follow Infinity Hall @infinityhall
Follow me @AuthorGriffin

Kurt Elling Interview on WWUH 91.3 This Morning

ANNA WEBBER STUDIO ©2012

Kurt Elling is considered one of the most highly regarded jazz vocalists of our times. He’ll be leading a quintet on Wednesday, Oct. 1 at Infinity Hall, 32 Front St, Hartford. Details at www.infinityhall.com and 866-866-6306.

WWUH 91.3 FM features an interview with Kurt Elling – conducted by Chuck Obuchowski – on Tues, Sept. 30 at 10am. Chuck’s program, Out Here & Beyond, streams live at www.wwuh.org from 9am – noon, as do other morning jazz shows on Public Alternative Radio, which broadcasts as a community service from The University of Hartford. Listeners will also be treated to selections from several Elling recordings.

Dedicated to You, a tribute to the famous 1963 collaboration between singer Johnny Hartman and saxophonist John Coltrane, earned Kurt Elling a Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album in 2010; all 10 of Elling’s releases have received Grammy nominations.

WWUH presents jazz shows Monday – Friday mornings, and Tuesday – Friday evenings from 9pm – midnight. All programs can be accessed on demand for two weeks after their original broadcasts; a program archive is available at www.wwuh.org. The radio station has been one of Connecticut’s main sources of jazz programming since it began broadcasting on July 14, 1968.

 

I know you, Rider – an interview with John Rider of Max Creek

by @AuthorGriffin

I missed my calling.

As much as I enjoy interviewing musicians and writing about music for you all to read and especially songwriting (especially that), secretly, I’ve always just wanted to play bass in a band. Of course I don’t play bass or anything but whatevs, always wished for just that.

Even so, as much as I’ve secretly always wanted to play bass in a band, doing it for over 40 years sounds like a lot to me. Like, a lot… but not for John Rider of Max Creek.

max-creek

Creek has been making records and touring for their loyal fan base for over four decades from Connecticut to Costa Rica and way beyond, and John Rider has been there on bass for all of it. He’s the last remaining founding member even though the core front line of guitarist Scott Murawski, keyboardist Mark Mercier and Rider on bass has remained intact since the mid-70s. Creek is rounded out by the percussion team of Bill Carbone and Jamemurrell Stanley, neither of whom were alive when the band was founded, myself either for that matter. (source:maxcreek.com)

Let’s be clear: Max Creek does not need to do interviews. But, to John’s credit, he likes what he’s seeing Infinity Hall do for music in Connecticut and he was kind enough to take the time to speak with me about it and about his band and we can’t thank him enough for it. Hope you enjoy!

Griff: Today I have the privilege of speaking with John Rider, he’s played bass in Max Creek for over four decades who, this Saturday 9/20, will be performing at Infinity Hall Norfolk. Of course we all visit maxcreek.com for show info and follow the band on Twitter @maxcreek but John, thanks for taking the time today, thank you for doing this.

John: Sure, happy to.

Griff: So last year marked the 30th Anniversary of Creek’s double LP ‘Drink the Stars’ which was recorded live over several shows in 1982 and released the following year, and the band celebrated by offering up the 30th Anniversary Edition digital release of ‘Drink the Stars’ available on itunes, Amazon, Spotify and other fine online outlets…

John: And actually we’re considering putting it out again, this time on vinyl because people have been asking for that. I had rediscovered some of the original masters and such so we’ll see what can happen with it all.

Griff: Wow, a little inside baseball there, nice. You heard it here first. (Laughs) So what stands out in your memory about those shows, where were they and what were they like, the nights you recorded ‘Drink the Stars’?

John: They were at Cell Block 11 which was down almost underneath (Interstate) 84 in Hartford on the West Hartford line. Cell Block 11 was (laughs) owned by a guy, the reason he called it Cell Block 11 was that he had been in prison in New Jersey and that was his cell block. He thought that was a great joke, but he was a big supporter of Max Creek. Mainly because we always brought capacity crowds to the place, about 8 or 9 hundred people, there might have been a thousand for those particular shows. But we brought in a sound company who had done all our recordings up to that point called The Nineteen, which was out of Glastonbury. They had a studio there but they loaded all their equipment into a truck and recorded it from the truck parked outside the place. So, have you actually seen the set?

Griff: Just on the wall at Telefunken, actually. I just have the digital copy myself.

John: See way back when, whenever you had classical recordings they were always, because they were so long, they always came in box sets of two or three discs and the box itself had the leather book-type binding with the gold leaf across the spine saying what it was…

Griff: Oh, sure. Sure.

John: Right, so we were of the feeling that this was classic Creek that we were recording so we put it in a classical-style box and so the whole idea was that it was like the classical record set kind of thing. It was a lot of fun making it, it was probably the best… the most enjoyable album that I’ve worked on because it was totally live, very little post production in the studio. It was a pleasure to work on that particular one.

Griff: Nice. It’s amazing to hear you tell it, to hear about another time in Connecticut music. Clubs under 84 in Hartford, The Nineteen in Glastonbury, it’s really a history lesson, that’s awesome. In general, what do feel the biggest difference is between touring then and now, what stands out to you as better or worse or easier or harder than it was in the late 70s/early 80s?

John: Well, you know it’s not too different at all, really, except at this point and time, we don’t put up with as much. It’s like, you know, there were lots of things in the 70s & 80s, sleeping on floors and couches for one, that we don’t do anymore. (Laughs) Fortunately you get to the point were you can require certain things, but as far as road wear and tear and everything else it’s very much the same. Any bands that are new, starting out, I’m sure have the same frustrations. You can talk to other bands like in an airport or something, a newer band or an established band and it’s like they’ve all got the same stories so…

Griff: Just fewer in your case. No, I get that. I find that some musicians, the longer I hang out with them, I notice they tell the same road story or band anecdote more than once, do you have a favorite yourself? Is there a go-to war story you like to tell?

John: You know, it’s like one of those things I would think that probably… Mark (Mercier) seems to come up with those stories more than I do, and of course some of those stories I wouldn’t care to see in print…

Griff: (laughs) Absolutely.

John: I got a lot of em, but none that I’m ready to specifically share in a public nature.

Griff: Thats even better, I love that answer. What are you listening to yourself these days?

John: Lately it’s been mostly Creek actually, the band is just starting to write again and so I’ve been listening to a lot of that and getting that together, but normally I just listen to a real eclectic mix of things. Everything from pop that my son puts on, my younger son. My older sons are into Phish and The Grateful Dead and Max Creek oddly enough, but ahh, I go back to my old Gordon Lightfoot roots, always loved that guy and that’s were it’s been the past couple weeks.

Griff: Nice yeah, Iron & Wine is a band I listen to all the time, guy named Sam Beam, and I don’t know this for a fact, but listening to his music, he also is a Gordon Lightfoot fan, so when you’ve got some time, brother.

John: Sure.

Griff: John, again, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time today, anyone gigging for 40 years doesn’t need to grant interviews so it’s really very kind of you. I’m excited for the show Saturday in Norfolk and I know Infinity is very excited for some Creek as well…

John: Well, you know what, it’s partly because that when we started out in Hartford things were good. There was Mad Murphy’s on Union Place, and there was a couple of other places down there to play, and every year we’d play in Bushnell Park at night or sometimes they’d block off Union Place and have a giant block party and we’d play on the railroad station steps. That was in the 70s and it was a happening scene down there which has been lost. Largely because the whole live music scene in Hartford had sort of deteriorated so I’m very happy to see that the Infinity Music Hall has come in to Hartford and will hopefully revive that scene somewhat.

Griff: Me too. And thank you, I thoroughly enjoyed the little bit of history lesson on the Hartford music scene, sir, that was great, thanks. Just finally, what advice do you have for young folks starting out, what’s your secret to longevity? How do you play in a band for over forty years?

John: (laughs) It’s like when we got to ten years we had a big celebration at Trinity College and it was broadcast on the radio and we figured, ok well that’s probably it, another couple years and we’ll be done. Then 20 years came along and we said, ok better celebrate that. Then five years later we were still together, so ok so 25 years…

No, you know, I think we’ve all done the same thing you have to do in any marriage that lasts, you’ve all got to give and take, a lot of compromises and by doing that you end up staying together, whether it’s a marriage or a band. If you’re constantly just at each other, that’s not a band that’s going last very long. That’s a band that stays together long enough to make a big hit but they don’t even speak to each other off stage and that’s not going to last, there’s a lot of that that’s gone on. So I would say you’ve got to be willing to make compromises in order to last.

Griff: And you gotta love it, right?

John: Oh well, that’s the other thing, you’ve got to have the passion for it.

Griff: Well said. We will see you Saturday, John, thanks again.

Max Creek plays Infinity Hall Norfolk THIS SATURDAY 9/20 at 8pm! Can’t miss it! The band will also be performing at the legendary Nectar’s in Burlington, VT for their ‘Creekend at Nectar’s’ October 17 & 18, sounds pretty cool, just sayin… maxcreek.com for info and dates
Follow Max Creek @maxcreek
Follow Infinity Hall @InfinityHall
Follow me @AuthorGriffin

Until next time, thanks for clicking. Reading is good too. Thanks!

I know you, Rider – an interview with John Rider of Max Creek

by @AuthorGriffin

I missed my calling.

As much as I enjoy interviewing musicians and writing about music for you all to read and especially songwriting (especially that), secretly, I’ve always just wanted to play bass in a band. Of course I don’t play bass or anything but whatevs, always wished for just that.

Even so, as much as I’ve secretly always wanted to play bass in a band, doing it for over 40 years sounds like a lot to me. Like, a lot… but not for John Rider of Max Creek.

Creek has been making records and touring for their loyal fan base for over four decades from Connecticut to Costa Rica and way beyond, and John Rider has been there on bass for all of it. He’s the last remaining founding member even though the core front line of guitarist Scott Murawski, keyboardist Mark Mercier and Rider on bass has remained intact since the mid-70s. Creek is rounded out by the percussion team of Bill Carbone and Jamemurrell Stanley, neither of whom were alive when the band was founded, myself either for that matter. (source:maxcreek.com)

Let’s be clear: Max Creek does not need to do interviews. But, to John’s credit, he likes what he’s seeing Infinity Hall do for music in Connecticut and he was kind enough to take the time to speak with me about it and about his band and we can’t thank him enough for it. Hope you enjoy!

Griff: Today I have the privilege of speaking with John Rider, he’s played bass in Max Creek for over four decades who, this Saturday 9/20, will be performing at Infinity Hall Norfolk. Of course we all visit maxcreek.com for show info and follow the band on Twitter @maxcreek but John, thanks for taking the time today, thank you for doing this.

John: Sure, happy to.

Griff: So last year marked the 30th Anniversary of Creek’s double LP ‘Drink the Stars’ which was recorded live over several shows in 1982 and released the following year, and the band celebrated by offering up the 30th Anniversary Edition digital release of ‘Drink the Stars’ available on itunes, Amazon, Spotify and other fine online outlets…

John: And actually we’re considering putting it out again, this time on vinyl because people have been asking for that. I had rediscovered some of the original masters and such so we’ll see what can happen with it all.

Griff: Wow, a little inside baseball there, nice. You heard it here first. (Laughs) So what stands out in your memory about those shows, where were they and what were they like, the nights you recorded ‘Drink the Stars’?

John: They were at Cell Block 11 which was down almost underneath (Interstate) 84 in Hartford on the West Hartford line. Cell Block 11 was (laughs) owned by a guy, the reason he called it Cell Block 11 was that he had been in prison in New Jersey and that was his cell block. He thought that was a great joke, but he was a big supporter of Max Creek. Mainly because we always brought capacity crowds to the place, about 8 or 9 hundred people, there might have been a thousand for those particular shows. But we brought in a sound company who had done all our recordings up to that point called The Nineteen, which was out of Glastonbury. They had a studio there but they loaded all their equipment into a truck and recorded it from the truck parked outside the place. So, have you actually seen the set?

Griff: Just on the wall at Telefunken, actually. I just have the digital copy myself.

John: See way back when, whenever you had classical recordings they were always, because they were so long, they always came in box sets of two or three discs and the box itself had the leather book-type binding with the gold leaf across the spine saying what it was…

Griff: Oh, sure. Sure.

John: Right, so we were of the feeling that this was classic Creek that we were recording so we put it in a classical-style box and so the whole idea was that it was like the classical record set kind of thing. It was a lot of fun making it, it was probably the best… the most enjoyable album that I’ve worked on because it was totally live, very little post production in the studio. It was a pleasure to work on that particular one.

Griff: Nice. It’s amazing to hear you tell it, to hear about another time in Connecticut music. Clubs under 84 in Hartford, The Nineteen in Glastonbury, it’s really a history lesson, that’s awesome. In general, what do feel the biggest difference is between touring then and now, what stands out to you as better or worse or easier or harder than it was in the late 70s/early 80s?

John: Well, you know it’s not too different at all, really, except at this point and time, we don’t put up with as much. It’s like, you know, there were lots of things in the 70s & 80s, sleeping on floors and couches for one, that we don’t do anymore. (Laughs) Fortunately you get to the point were you can require certain things, but as far as road wear and tear and everything else it’s very much the same. Any bands that are new, starting out, I’m sure have the same frustrations. You can talk to other bands like in an airport or something, a newer band or an established band and it’s like they’ve all got the same stories so…

Griff: Just fewer in your case. No, I get that. I find that some musicians, the longer I hang out with them, I notice they tell the same road story or band anecdote more than once, do you have a favorite yourself? Is there a go-to war story you like to tell?

John: You know, it’s like one of those things I would think that probably… Mark (Mercier) seems to come up with those stories more than I do, and of course some of those stories I wouldn’t care to see in print…

Griff: (laughs) Absolutely.

John: I got a lot of em, but none that I’m ready to specifically share in a public nature.

Griff: Thats even better, I love that answer. What are you listening to yourself these days?

John: Lately it’s been mostly Creek actually, the band is just starting to write again and so I’ve been listening to a lot of that and getting that together, but normally I just listen to a real eclectic mix of things. Everything from pop that my son puts on, my younger son. My older sons are into Phish and The Grateful Dead and Max Creek oddly enough, but ahh, I go back to my old Gordon Lightfoot roots, always loved that guy and that’s were it’s been the past couple weeks.

Griff: Nice yeah, Iron & Wine is a band I listen to all the time, guy named Sam Beam, and I don’t know this for a fact, but listening to his music, he also is a Gordon Lightfoot fan, so when you’ve got some time, brother.

John: Sure.

Griff: John, again, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time today, anyone gigging for 40 years doesn’t need to grant interviews so it’s really very kind of you. I’m excited for the show Saturday in Norfolk and I know Infinity is very excited for some Creek as well…

John: Well, you know what, it’s partly because that when we started out in Hartford things were good. There was Mad Murphy’s on Union Place, and there was a couple of other places down there to play, and every year we’d play in Bushnell Park at night or sometimes they’d block off Union Place and have a giant block party and we’d play on the railroad station steps. That was in the 70s and it was a happening scene down there which has been lost. Largely because the whole live music scene in Hartford had sort of deteriorated so I’m very happy to see that the Infinity Music Hall has come in to Hartford and will hopefully revive that scene somewhat.

Griff: Me too. And thank you, I thoroughly enjoyed the little bit of history lesson on the Hartford music scene, sir, that was great, thanks. Just finally, what advice do you have for young folks starting out, what’s your secret to longevity? How do you play in a band for over forty years?

John: (laughs) It’s like when we got to ten years we had a big celebration at Trinity College and it was broadcast on the radio and we figured, ok well that’s probably it, another couple years and we’ll be done. Then 20 years came along and we said, ok better celebrate that. Then five years later we were still together, so ok so 25 years…

No, you know, I think we’ve all done the same thing you have to do in any marriage that lasts, you’ve all got to give and take, a lot of compromises and by doing that you end up staying together, whether it’s a marriage or a band. If you’re constantly just at each other, that’s not a band that’s going last very long. That’s a band that stays together long enough to make a big hit but they don’t even speak to each other off stage and that’s not going to last, there’s a lot of that that’s gone on. So I would say you’ve got to be willing to make compromises in order to last.

Griff: And you gotta love it, right?

John: Oh well, that’s the other thing, you’ve got to have the passion for it.

Griff: Well said. We will see you Saturday, John, thanks again.

Max Creek plays Infinity Hall Norfolk THIS SATURDAY 9/20 at 8pm! Can’t miss it! The band will also be performing at the legendary Nectar’s in Burlington, VT for their ‘Creekend at Nectar’s’ October 17 & 18, sounds pretty cool, just sayin… maxcreek.com for info and dates
Follow Max Creek @maxcreek
Follow Infinity Hall @InfinityHall
Follow me @AuthorGriffin

Until next time, thanks for clicking. Reading is good too. Thanks!

Talking with Lead Singer, Kat Wright, from Kat Wright & The Indomitable Soul Band

Our blogger, Emily Edelman, talked with Kat Wright about how the band formed, their most recent EDP, their upcoming performance at Infinity Hall on Thursday and more!

Tickets for the Kat Wright & The Indomitable Soul Band and The Naked Stills concert on Thursday, August 28th at 8pm in Norfolk are still available!  For more info on the show, click here.

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Mary Fahl Set to Perform at Infinity Hall September 6th

Our blogger Emily Edelman recently conducted a phone interview with former lead singer of the October Project, Mary Fahl!  They discussed Mary’s latest record (Love and Gravity), her live album and live band shows, and her upcoming performance at Infinity Hall Norfolk!

For more information on her show, check out our website by clicking here.

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