I cannot believe that it has been almost a decade since I first saw Matisyahu perform “Close My Eyes” with his musical idol and mine, Trey Anastasio at Bonnaroo in 2005. After that joyous performance, I attended one of his concerts. And, in 2008, I saw him play at the Jammy Award Ceremony with Rose Hill Drive and his bandmates Aaron Dugan and Rob Marscher (formerly of 2001 Jammy nominees Addison Groove Project). They played a Flaming Lips song, and that night was one of my favorite moments in music.
How many more Dead tribute bands does the scene really need? There’s truly already plenty out there. Even if the music is structured to be boundless and open for continuation, it seems like bands could better serve the music with an improvisational spirit, but playing originals instead of Dead covers. Indeed it takes a special group of musicians who understand the music inside out and have the ability to diversify the extensive catalogue instead of simply parroting it.
I moved to Colorado in 2010 to pursue my Masters degree in education. I chose CU because it had a strong program for my discipline, but I’d be lying if I said the town of Boulder, itself, held no sway in my decision. Having wandered in a proverbial desert of live music for five years, I was a deeply dehydrated Deadhead who needed an oasis to slake my thirst. Occasionally, a noteworthy band played at The Santa Fe Brewing Company or an hour south at one of Albuquerque’s few ramshackle venues, but these were rare occasions.
Mainly known for his work in Bright Eyes, guitarist and vocalist Conor Oberst is in the midst of a coast-to-coast tour showcasing his new solo album, Upside Down Mountain. Recently, Oberst played a nearly sold-out show at The Boulder Theater in Boulder, Colorado.
I have been going to shows regularly for over 15 years. Somewhere along the line, I came to understand that live music is my adopted religion and venues of great renown are, collectively, my house of worship. Being a Deadhead, in particular, is a sect onto itself. Until recently, I only understood this spiritual manifestation in the abstract.
Few people are truly aware of the extent of Buddy Guy’s influence. If you do not think that he is one of the greatest guitarist’s of all time, then your favorite guitarist probably does. Without this legend, other legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton, and Jimmy Page would not have been who they are. Guy was the bridge between the blues and rock n’ roll.
Few musical journeys span as long and varied as Jorma and Jack's. As pioneers of the premier San Francisco electric sound with Jefferson Airplane, something else much bigger was meant to spawn and thrive for decades to come. Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady have held the foundations of their lifelong band and partnership Hot Tuna together for over forty-three years.
When Yonder Mountain String Band gets the chance to play in Boulder, Colorado, they don’t pull any punches. The supposed “warm-up” show at the Boulder Theater the night before New Year’s Eve was filled with high-energy performances and dazzling musicianship that left the capacity crowd satisfied and happily exhausted by the time the music stopped at 1:30.
The legend of the Delta Blues is a somber story. Its grandfather died at the age of twenty-seven under debated circumstances. The legacy that Robert Leroy Johnson left Mississippi was a new style of guitar playing and singing that would eventually become the predominant defining form of American roots music. Nearly every style of American-born music can be structurally traced back to blues. Jazz and Rock ‘n’ Roll is blues music, and wouldn’t have been birthed without that foundational backbone.