I needed some of what singer-songwriter John Moreland would refer to as "God's Medicine" -- a night of literate, acoustic music, people and spectacle.
The countrified, poppy aesthetic of the Mastersons, a Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter duo, was forged at a festival in Colorado where the pair first met by chance.
I slipped into the Gramophone shortly after opener Leif Vollebekk, an acoustic troubadour from Montreal, took to the stage. As the crowd chattered and clinked their glasses, Vollebekk stood alone with a grateful grin on his face, projecting silken, Dylan-esque fingerpicking and vocals toward the Gramophone's bar wall.
Expanding upon sounds first captured in their childhood, the Spring Standards offer listeners a dulcet escape into a vivid world of folk, story-telling and hushed instrumentation.
"You should have seen that girl go shaky at the knees," sang Blitzen Trapper's Eric Earley halfway through the Portland, Ore. band's set. His words proved applicable to more than doting young girls; they illuminated the reactions of every Blitzen Trapper and Drive-By Truckers fan at the Pageant on Saturday night.
I double-parked a red Jetta toward the back of Off Broadway's parking lot as I tossed the butt of my smoke through the cracked window. Hold Steady fans of various ages milled through the parking lot and headed on across Lemp Ave. with a hungry gate that could only be satiated by bar rock. I crunched across the gravel of Off Broadway's entrance/porch and found myself amidst other like-minded music fans, basking in the warmth of Tim Barry's acoustic folk.
Jessica Maros and Tyler James formed Escondido and recorded their February 2013 debut album, "The Ghost of Escondido," in a single, live session.
I don't know why I hadn't realized before, but Ween and Halloween go together better than their morphemes.
This year, Mike Doughty released a crowd-funded album that included re-recordings of old Soul Coughing songs -- mainly the best of "Ruby Vroomm" (1994), "Irresistible Bliss" (1996) and "El Oso" (1998). The record's name ridiculously lists all 13 tracks, but Doughty shortens it to "Circles" or "Circles Super Bon Bon..." for press purposes.