Ben Arnold – “Sinister Direction”
“Sinister Direction” will appear on Ben Arnold’s forthcoming album ‘Sunday Morning Meltdown’ which is scheduled for a January 2018 release. This song, as does most of Arnold’s music, has a rich soulfulness that is pleasing to the ears and lyrical sustenance for the mind, plus the delightfully distinctive tone of Arnold’s voice. So, if you get a chance to see a Ben Arnold show you should go. And be on the lookout for ‘Sunday Morning Meltdown’. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to hear the new album.
Sonofdov – “Fight Or Flight” Sonofdov is the musical work of singer-songwriter Dennis King. Sonofdov’s music was brought to my attention years ago when I used to blog for another blog. It was a great musical discovery and I’ve been a fan ever since. Anyways “Fight Or Fight” has all the elements of a great Sonofdov song: acoustic stripped-down feel, honest lyrics, and King’s voice has a humbly alluring timbre. Give this track a listen if you don’t believe me.
Square Peg Round Hole – “Hush”
“Hush” is off Square Peg Round Hole’s 2017 release ‘Five Years’. I am simply fascinated by Square Peg Round Hole’s ability to constantly create emotion filled sonically saturated soundscapes. This band is clearly gifted with amazing musical talents. Wow! Glad to see the band went for an ambient sound on this ep because they wholeheartedly make it work. Unfortunately, I don’t see any shows listed for Square Peg Round Hole now, but I hope that changes soon.
Black Horse Motel – “Bones”
I think I saw Black Horse Motel only once this year and that is unacceptable. I do remember hearing “Bones” performed live and it’s a great song. “Bones” is from Black Horse Motel’s 2017 release ‘Parable’. Sometimes you just need some good Americana/folk music in your life and Black Horse Motel dispense it in spades. YES!!!
Maitland – “Glimpse”
“Glimpse” is the title track from Maitland’s June 2017 album ‘Glimpse’. I’m so glad that I found this song while Bandcamping the other day. I know that I’ve seen Maitland perform at least once in the past and I think I liked that performance. Well, “Glimpse” is a resounding reminder that I should have been paying attention to Maitland all along. Maitland, please accept my apology—I’ll be listening.
I have seen A LOT of Illinois‘ shows over the years and last night’s show might have been the best to date. Illinois took the stage at Archie’s Big Heads (Hatboro, PA) at about 11:15PM and played nearly two hours of all Illinois with only two Tom Petty covers thrown in by request. A true “is this heaven” moment for any Illinois fan and anyone in attendance. If you missed this awesome show, the following photos and videos might help you to imagine what it was like to be there firsthand.
Val Emmich – “Lately (The Crazy)”
Singer-songwriter extraordinaire (excellent actor and writer to boot) Val Emmich released his newest single last week called “Lately (The Crazy)” “It’s about this feeling of being in a constant state of alarm, not being able to turn it off, even at night, in the comfort of your own home.” An optimistic sounding song in a time of madness. Thanks for the comfort, Val, I think we can all use some.
Mike Herz – “The Acrobat”
This song, “The Acrobat” is the title track from Mike Herz’s January 2017 release. On the album this track appears last and I wonder if it was always intended to be that way or was that beautiful robotically harmonic sounding “goodbye” the deciding factor? Anyways, a great song, that voice is confident yet warm, and I know a banjo when I hear one. Catch Mike Herz at Burlap and Bean – Saturday, December 9, 2017.
Illinois – “Summer”
Listening to a song titled “Summer” does not seem seasonally appropriate when winter is near. Or, maybe it’s the perfect song to remind us of those warm, sunny days. Either way, this song embodies the fundamental underlying essence of the band Illinois—FUN. But it’s no secret that Illinois’ strength lies in their ability to effortlessly conquer any music style with confidence. You’re in luck, Illinois plays Archie’s Big Heads – Saturday, December 9, 2017.
Hemming – “Counting Stones
Hemming is a Philadelphia, PA based artist but it took me seeing Mondo Cozmo last February for me to hear her music for the first time. Well, I never claimed to be the sole discoverer of all great music. I always welcome your music suggestions. Anyways, this song sounds SO GOOD. And if I don’t get my chance to see Hemming live this Sunday at Boot & Saddle then I’ll be very upset with myself.
Strand Of Oaks – “Passing Out”
“Passing Out” is from the forthcoming album ‘Harder Love’ original recordings (January 19, 2018 digital release) by Strand Of Oaks. “Harder Love feels like Hard Love in an alternate dimension. A whole lot stranger and even more raw, it’s like the tripped out, spiritual brother to its predecessor.” Based on this song alone I can kind of see where that description comes from. It’s no “Goshen 97” and that’s where my appreciation of Strand of Oaks comes from. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing—just something different and different can be good. Strand Of Oaks’ Winter Classic 2017 starts tonight (Saturday and Sunday) at Boot & Saddle.
Let these photos provide you with some of the sights from Saturday night’s Ben Arnold Band double set show at Burlap and Bean (Newtown Square, PA). The musicians for this performance were Ben Arnold (singer, songwriter, guitar, keys), Matt Muir (drums, vocals), Erik Sayles (guitar) and Jonathan Colman (bass, vocals). Plus, special guest, Bob Beach on harmonica for a few songs. As usual, Ben Arnold and band gave another fantastic performance and the music sounded delightful. Also, Burlap and Bean is such an amazing listening room and it’s always nice to see a show at this venue.
Ben Arnold has a forthcoming album to be released January 2018. Having heard a mini-set of new material tonight, I say—GET EXCITED.
Originally Banners was supposed to tour with Echosmith and play the Theatre Of Living Arts (Philadelphia, PA) on 11/9. I was so excited when I heard that news. Then the Echosmith tour was postponed and Banners would no longer be a part of it. That was terrible news because all I wanted to do was see Banners perform live again. Is that too much for a music fan to ask!?!
I remember I first heard Banners music on AltNation and immediately knew that his music was something special. The first thing from Banners’ music that caught my attention was THAT VOICE. It’s a voice with such an amazing sound that I would gladly listen to endlessly and having heard it I would never want to lose that sound. That voice belongs to Liverpool born singer-songwriter Michael Nelson who goes by the stage name Banners. So, you can imagine how excited I was when the AltNation Advanced Placement Tour came to The Foundry (3/10/16) and Banners was on the bill with The Moth and The Flame along with Pop Etc. That show was SO GOOD, and I got to see some great bands.
Anyways, when I found out Banners would be playing the Mercury Lounge on 11/6 I knew that missing the opportunity to see Banners live again was not an option. This show had “I WANT TO GO TO THERE” written all over it. So, I went there. Banners had the closing set of Monday night’s early show at the Mercury Lounge. Banners played a full-band performance with a real rock show experience. The set list included songs from Banners latest ep ‘Empires On Fire’ (released last Friday) as well as other material. There were even times of comical stage banter. It was nice to see an artist who truly seemed to be grateful to play to a sold-out crowd full of fans. It was perfect.
Dean Lewis @ Mercury Lounge (11/06/17)
The opening set belonged to Dean Lewis. He played a solo set alternating song-by-song between playing the keyboard or the guitar. Up until Monday night I had no knowledge of Dean Lewis’ music. And sometimes it’s nice to go into a show with a clean slate and no preconceptions about an artist’s music. Then you can leave it all up to the performance to decide whether you like what you heard. Thankfully Dean Lewis did not disappoint, and I enjoyed his entire set. I’m going to have to do some Dean Lewis music shopping now.
Well, if my thoughts have failed to convey the fact that I am a huge fan of Banners’ music then I apologize because that was my intent. Also, I am a new fan of Dean Lewis’ music and am wondering why no one ever mentioned his music to me before. Oh well, I’ll call it a better-late-than-never moment. I must thank Banners, Dean Lewis, and the Mercury Lounge for a great night of music and a memorable show.
On a side note, I wish I brought my real camera because these iPhone photos are sad. Hehe 🙂
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