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Early Elton Trio, Rockwood Music Hall, NYC: Seeds shall be sown in New York City February 25, 2012

Posted by Anton A in American music, Early Elton Trio.
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Folks who’ve been following along here have already met John Conte and Jeff Kazee, of Southside Johnny’s Asbury Jukes and Poor Fools, and Rich Pagano, singer and drummer in Prisoners Of Second Avenue.  Not content with juggling so many projects, these three talents periodically team up as the Early Elton Trio.  Their name is pretty much self-explanatory; they re-create the earliest Elton John tours, when Elton first went globe-hopping as the head of a power piano trio along with bassist Dee Murray and drummer Nigel Olsson.


Jeff, of course, pounds the ivories.




John holds down the bass end




while Rich fires every song with his adroit drumming.




John displayed heretofore unknown skills on the mandolin for a heartfelt rendition of Country Comfort.



It was a night for reviving old memories, singing along and dancing to a host of fine old songs in a small, convivial room.  The Early Elton Trio attracts a friendly, enthusiastic crowd.  I look forward to their next gig.



The setlist: Ballad Of A Well Known Gun, Burn Down The Mission, Levon, Border Song, No Shoe Strings On Louise, Tiny Dancer, Son Of Your Father, My Father’s Gun, Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters, Country Comfort, Dirty Little Girl, Madman Across The Water, Friends, Bad Side, Take Me To The Pilot.


More pictures can be found by clicking this link.


Ashley Davis, Joe’s Pub, NYC: It’s beautiful, let’s go roaming the wild mountainside February 23, 2012

Posted by Anton A in Ashley Davis, Irish music.
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Celtic singer Ashley Davis gave a delightful, captivating performance at Joe’s Pub. It was an intimate show in a small, comfortable room with excellent sight lines and great sound.

Ashley is a lass from Kansas who early in life became fascinated with the music of her ancestors, went to Ireland to study it, and has since become one of its foremost practitioners as a living art. She hops back and forth between traditional folk songs, old poems that she’s set to music, and songs that she’s written by herself and in collaboration. In concert, the songs seem to form part of one stream that’s been flowing on for centuries and remains present for anyone with a mind to dip in for refreshment and renewal.

The title of her latest recording, Songs Of The Celtic Winter, hints at the fact that Ashley has conceived a four-album cycle of songs inspired by each season of the year. This one is the first; we were treated to almost every song on the album. She transported us variously from moonlit skies to festive banquet halls and back to quiet wintry scenes.

Her voice rings pure and clear. She was accompanied beautifully by her band.




Cormac De Barra played the Celtic harp wonderfully.




Megan Hurt’s violin added haunting textures.




Two fellows on traditional stringed instruments and Irish percussion added to the mix. Gawain Mathews literally backed the ensemble on piano.



Together, the group wove one sonic tapestry after another that seemed to glimmer and linger in the room. There’s always been something in Celtic music beyond words that calls to my mongrel Scottish soul. Ashley and her band awakened that feeling in me once again, and for that I thank them sincerely.

More photos can be found here.