The New Mastersounds: Intoxicated by funk

The New Mastersounds On Stage One Thursday Nov. 6
The New Mastersounds
On Stage One
Thursday Nov. 6

From Leeds, United Kingdom, to the heart of American soul, The New Mastersounds (NMS) are intuitive to the sonic mold created by their audience.

Over the past 10 years, NMS have emerged as one of the prominent bands in a ‘new funk’ scene; NMS have an elevator-esque chill that fuses with popping funk and syncopated drums that results in a dancing frenzy on the top floor.

The band’s short instrumental songs, what Drummer Simon Allen refers to as a post-Grateful Dead jam band scene with a “snappy, quirky funk,” stretches across the pond. Distinctive as the Hammond organ (Joe Tatton) itself, the band shimmers, shines and grooves beyond belief.

But how does NMS create such a staggering impression on listeners so far from home?

“We have become more open-minded, because our fans are more open-minded,” said Allen

NMS are hard to stump, fueled by necessity, gritty grooves and the deep rhythms that leak through the cracks of a late-night dance club rage.

New generations of people flood in and overwhelm the band’s social media outlets, generating a word-of-mouth craze. It is what prompted guitarist and bandleader Eddie Roberts to move to the U.S.

Allen stressed how the band plays off the audience and therefore demonstrated the importance of a lighting crew; whereas some venues only have a spotlight on the band, lighting crews that illuminate the audience help the band to personalize each performance.nmstour1

“If it is too dark on stage, we cannot see each other in the band and audience members,” said Allen.

NMS engages the audience directly and harnesses their energy. All of this translates to a unique concept that Allen refers to as “believing in the groove.”

“We play a one or two bar groove and slowly begin to add texture,” said Allen.

By stripping the groove down and keeping it going, it makes the music consistent. Suddenly fans hip to the groove burst out in dance.

NMS generated this loop-like feel of today’s electronic music to give listeners something to hold on to.

At its core, NMS found a common interest in Black American music in the 1960s spun by DJs in Leeds. EDM Electronica was hip and the band quickly began to add this ammunition into their arsenal.

All natural, NMS did not cave to the luxuries of programmed loops and backing tracks, but imitated the four-on-the-floor bass drum, or house elements.

Their ninth studio album, “Therapy,” eases the pain with everything from deep funk and British wit to a 1974 George Benson-style instrumental of Bruno Mars’ hit “Treasure.”

The unexpected surprise had me rocking out to the album in reverse. From “Treasure” to “Detox,” I was coaxed into a mellow jazz, digging on Roberts’ solo guitar.

In combination with guest saxophonist Ryan Zoidis of Lettuce, on “Slow Down” and vocalist Kim Dawson of The Motet on “Soul Sister,” NMS have leaped beyond any musical spectrum.

Popping funk and tasty drum breaks rewind to my personal favorite, “Whistle Song,” where the band’s lips carry the melody.

NMS have toured throughout Europe, Japan and the U.S. and have collaborated with artists like James Taylor, Karl Denson, The Headhunters, Galactic, Lou Donaldson and more.

“Intoxicated by the funk,” NMS junkies linger “until last call when you dishrag home, sweaty and exhausted on a wave of euphoria,” according to the band’s website.

Before their return at Fairfield Theatre Company’s StageOne on Nov. 6, NMS will open for Maceo Parker at the Brooklyn Bowl (London, UK) on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.

“As we were halfway through the first gig, we knew that we had to come back [to FTC],” said Allen. Overall, the band was impressed with the setup, friendly staff and FTC’s attention to detail.

Generally, NMS draws a plethora of attendees from their 30s to 70s, said Allen. Those “a bit more connected” with live music appreciation usually find their way out to a NMS gig; but for the rest of us who are unexposed, it’s time to dig the funk before it’s too late.

After FTC, NMS is heading south for their eighth year at the Bear Creek Music & Art Festival in Live Oak, Fla. on Nov. 13-16. Bear Creek is keen to legends like Bernard Purdie, J.B. Horns, Umphrey’s McGee, Lettuce, Dumpstaphunk, Tauk, Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds and The Main Squeeze.

“It’s incredible when musicians are standing on the side of the stage and start hopping on when they fancy a groove,” said Allen.

NMS finished their 2014 tour schedule strong with no intent to pump the brakes. They have a huge New Year’s Eve show planned in New Orleans and will  be in the studio,either in NOLA or Denver, in early January.

In the midst, NMS plans to release a new album for 2015. Allen says the album will feature American and New Orleans guest artists and will emerge after a month of dedicated studio time.

– Also published in Fairfield Mirror

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Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds: trick or tread at Fairfield Theatre Company

SisterSparrow-Fight-HiRes-300dpi
Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds @ FTC HALLOWEEN + Saturday Nov. 1

It only makes sense that Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds perform back-to-back nights at Fairfield Theatre Company on StageOne on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 because “one [night] isn’t quite enough” said lead singer Arleigh Kincheloe.

The eight piece collective is not just a soul band. It’s nitty gritty blues, dirty funk and driving rock that force you off of your feet. Melodic horn lines, soulful harmonica and a funky rhythm section back frontwoman, Kincheloe, and the results are mesmerizing.

“If you can span cultural gaps, you have something,” said Kincheloe.
 

In front of the microphone, Kincheloe is playful and captivates listeners with her powerful vocals. When you’re not bound by Kincheloe’s vocals or the fiery brass lines, it is uncertain if you can escape all that is Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds.

You may be familiar with tunes like “The Long Way” off of Sister Sparrow’s EP “Fight,” produced by Randy Jackson or “Make It Rain” with its staccato horn melody, syncopated drums and guitar and dirty harmonica solos.

“We are able to cover so much sonic ground (with Jackson on harp),” said Kincheloe. “Sometimes he’ll be playing with the horn lines, and others against the band.”

Is your costume ready?  -To be judged by the band-
Is your costume ready?
-To be judged by the band-

If you love live music, then you should check out Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds. It is the kind of music that leaves a little something left on the bone for everyone. It is for those, “That can get lost, for someone who has never seen a horn section live or never stood in front of a baritone sax,” said Kincheloe. “It’s a unique experience.”

A true testimony to the band’s growth is reflective in their audience. It is inspiring to Kincheloe when she sees a 13-year-old girl standing near a 75-year-old man.

“If you can span cultural gaps, you have something,” said Kincheloe.

The band has had a rigorous tour schedule, with over 150 shows a year, and recently made their first venture overseas to the Cotai Blues and Jazz Festival in Macau, China. Luckily for you, the Birds have a few weeks off until hitting Fairfield Theater Company on Halloween night, leaving, as Kincheloe said, “Time to cook up something special for the show.”

With a few tricks up their sleeves, and a possible rumor of a costume contest according to Kincheloe, this will be a show you don’t want to miss. Not to mention, their break will leave plenty of time for new material and to deal with the craziness of Halloween. More importantly, Kincheloe laughed, “[There’s] time to get our costumes together.”sslog

Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds will continue their New England run at Tellus 360 in Lancaster, Pa. on Nov. 6, The Spot Underground in Providence, R.I. on Nov. 7 and spend two nights at The Bowery Ballroom in New York City, N.Y. on Nov. 28 and 29.

Golem remembers journalist Daniel Pearl

Golem – Free concert @ Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts – Monday, Oct. 27 @ 7:30 p.m.

Band Golem in New York

New York City-based Klezmer rock band Golem will perform a free concert at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on Monday, Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m.

The concert is a part of the Daniel Pearl World Music Days Concert series in memoriam of the slain journalist Daniel Pearl, which aims to “use the power of music to reaffirm our commitment to tolerance and humanity,” according to the Daniel Pearl World Music Days’ official website.

Founder and frontwoman Annette Ezekiel Kogan grew up playing piano and wanting to learn traditional Eastern European folk music. Her passion led to her discovery of the accordion because Kogan “wanted something to carry around.”

Golem has been fusing Klezmer, a musical tradition of the Ashkenazi Jews, with a modern edge and contemporary sound for over 10 years. Their punk rock gypsy twists and early jazz influences on these traditional tunes make the “music feel alive to the young,” said Kogan.

“Our philosophy is you don’t need to know anything about it. Jewish traditional music is accessible to all,” said Kogan.

The Washington Post stated that the band “produces the sort of music you’d expect if the shtetl were filled with punks instead of peasants.” This is apparent after their many years on the road, four studio albums and increase in popularity.

Their newest album release, “Tanz” (2014), meaning dance in Yiddish, “has gained a massive following in Mexico,” said Kogan.

On the title track, “Tanz”, upbeat drums and trombone melodies bring the lyrics to life as Kogan and vocalist Aaron Diskin, sing “Tanz, Tanz, Tanz, Dance.” The combination of English lyrics and Yiddish tradition are the perfect remedy to get you out of your seats.

As if this fusion of cultures and the band’s history were not enough to convince you to attend the concert thus far, they were also featured on the FX series “Louie.”

“It was in the episode ‘Into the Woods’ where there was a 90 minute flashback … when Louie remembers his childhood smoking pot,” said Kogan.

This is the band’s first time with the Daniel Pearl World Music Day Concert series. They are excited to perform at the Quick Center and will be “remembering and keeping Pearl’s memory alive,” said Kogan.

“We refuse to go away,” said Kogan “[Our music] is the one kicking, screaming and won’t back down”.

Trevor Hall: Finding Bliss Through Music

Details: Trevor Hall on Stage One Oct. 29
Trevor Hall on Stage One Oct. 29

Like meditation, a yoga to clear the mind, music encapsulates us in time and when we open our eyes we are overwhelmed by its spirit. From the towering trees to the green forests of Vermont and the northern woods of Maine serenity is born. The forest speaks and Mother Nature accompanies us in solitude.

It is true, Acoustic singer-songwriter, Trevor Hall, has become product of his humble surroundings.

After eight years of touring the country, Hall made this retreat with his wife in order to reconnect. Amongst the trees, they became one with their environment, “we buried our feet, hands, heads and hearts into our Mother Earth … Listening to and learning from Her Great Song,” said Trevorhallmusic.com

“I didn’t know if or when I was coming back,” said Hall.

While away, Hall began to transform this silence into music. The forest brought back vivid memories of other ‘quiet places’ that hall had visited, especially those of India and Nepal. His collection of poems, lyrics and memories blossomed into a tranquil bliss, thus ‘The Chapter of the Forest’ was born.

“These songs are for my own healing purposes,” said Hall.You do not have to retreat to the forest, live in an ashram, or study in India under a classic Baul musician, like Hall had done, to find spirituality.

Its is the power and simplicity that will spark your own inspirations in life. Through mediums of music, painting, drawing, or from sitting in silence we find bliss.

“The main common denominator is the intention,” added Hall. So in this cluttered world we can create our own intentions, using these powers for our own self healing.

“I’m not trying to teach anyone,” said Hall. “As a kid different things were important to me…as you grow, experiences shape and humble you. [Now] I hope I’m more humble.”

Over Hall’s career he has performed with artist such as Ziggy Marley, Steel Pulse, Matisyahu, Stevie Nicks, Ben Harper and Colbie Caillat. In addition, Hall’s “Other Ways” was featured on Shrek the Third: Motion Picture Soundtrack (May 15, 2007).

Upon his latest release, ‘Chapter of the Forest’ (June 17 2014) was awarded the number two spot on iTunes singer-songwriter charts and claimed seventeenth for overall albums. In its immediate success the album remains only a small portion of the Small Is Beautiful Tour, Fall 2014.

Hall has teamed up with LoveYourBrain, an outreach campaign born from professional snowboarder Kevin Pearce’s inspiring story and award-winning documentary, The Crash Reel. LoveYourBrain is a social movement geared toward improving people’s lives through music, yoga and a mindful approach that focuses on brain injury prevention, rehabilitation and overall brain health’ (Trevorhallmusic.com).

“I am thankful for everyone’s support,” said Hall. “I share my inspiration in hopes to inspire others.”

The Small Is Beautiful Tour is not only supporting LoveYourBrain, but also an ashram in Allahbad, India. One-hundred percent of the proceeds collected from “Love Your Brain” t-shirts sold will go back to Pearce’s foundation in addition, all donations collected will go to the ashram, home of Hall’s Guru, where underprivileged and orphaned children are given the chance to improve and traditional Vedic education.

“The person I learned the most things from were the people who didn’t tell me what to do,” said Hall.

Throughout the tour these intimate moments and experiences have bled into each and every performance. Hall explained how each venue has its own intimate atmosphere and Fairfield Theatre Company’s Stage One is no exception.

“Being naked, musically, on stage” said Hall, really helps the purity and intimacy of each performance. From the journey that is ‘Chapter of the Forest’ we remember and try to live in the moment.

Hall will be accompanied by upright bass and percussion along with special guest Cas Haley. The trio will be ending the tour at Stage One on October 29th, 7:45 P.M.

 

Pink Talking Fish: Hooked on Fusion

Pink Talking Fish Doors @ 7:00 P.M. Show @ 7:45 P.M. Tickets: $20 all
Pink Talking Fish
Doors @ 7:00 P.M.
Show @ 7:45 P.M.
Tickets: $20 all

If you are not already familiar with Pink Talking Fish, then we will let the music speak for itself.

Mashups, elaborate setlists, jambands, dance grooves, and a Psychedelic rock from deep outer space echoes from the biggest names in music.

Founder and bassist, Eric Gould came up with the idea of a fusion tribute to three of his most beloved bands: Pink Floyd, The Talking Heads and Phish. The intent is to “heighten people’s passion for music by creating something fresh,” added Gould. Collectively, the musicians of Pink Talking Fish are equally inspired by these crossroads as are their fans.

“If you enjoy the adventure of music, this is the epitome of music adventure,” said Gould. Pink Talking Fish embarks on a great journey filled with rhythms you know and love.

When Phish’s “Sand” is placed into the groove of The Talking Heads “Slippery People” or  Pink Floyd’s “On The Run” overlaps Phish’s “You Enjoy Myself” you know something magic is happening.

“PTF doesn’t just do one thing,” said Gould. Their sets get you up off your feet because, lets face it, we all love to dance. You will hear everything from the hits to rare tracks that are all carefully calculated into an exciting performance.

Gould thinks of each PTF gig as a journey, that leaves something for everyone. In their rendition of Phish’s  PTF incorporates Pink Floyd’s “Brain Damage” without straying from Phish’s Reggae feel. Gould explained the first verse of “Brain Damage” is Reggae, but then in the bridge they shift back to Floyd’s original feel.

The band is further driven by the concept of setlists. Gould has always been intrigued by the construction of sets and how they influence the audience. Gould, in his former electronic dance band Particle, was in-charge of creating the set and it really shows in PTF.

Setlists are “musical candy to read on paper,” exclaimed Gould. “And people are salivating over it.”

“The design is the fun part for me,” said Gould. It’s an intellectual journey that gives the audience more than a fusion of cover songs. PTF is reinterpreting feel, improvising and calculates a mass of musical energy. Not only is it pure fun, but becomes a real treat to musicians and non musicians alike.

Furthermore, “If you are a musical geek like I am you can loose yourself, but also be challenged as the story unfolds,” said Gould.

PTF at Chill

On Thursday Oct. 16, Pink Talking Fish comes to Stage One at Fairfield Theatre Company. For anyone who hasn’t been to Stage one “Its an intimate environment,” said Gould. You can dance, hang out and really get close to see what the musicians are doing on stage.

The Pink Talking Fish Tour continues across New England at North Star Bar (Philadelphia) Oct. 17, The Cutting Room (NYC) Oct. 18, The Westcott Theatre (Syracuse) Oct. 23 and The Putnam Den (Saratoga Springs) Oct 24.

It’s uncertain what sets Gould has planned for Stage One, but after hours of PTF you might be more than hooked.

For more Pink Talking Fish: Watch their full set @Putnam Den 4.19.2014

Mountianfilm on Tour Inspires Fairfield

See: Event DetailsThat’s me, suspended from a narrow highline anchored by two balloons floating high above the clouds.

My heart was pounding. It was the adrenaline that I truly craved. I inched my feet, one in front of the other, with eyes locked straight ahead. I could not look down. The air was cold, but I could feel the propane burning and its smell grew in strength. My peers cheered from both balloons. Suddenly their voices fled along with my grip and it felt like I had been falling forever.

I had become another victim to Mountainfilm on Tour, an initiative that brings inspiring short films to viewers all across the world.

Local Tour Host Cindy Johnston, could not have explained the initiative better when she quoted its mission statement verbatim: “Mountainfilm is dedicated to educating, inspiring and motivating audiences about issues that matter, cultures worth exploring, environments worth preserving, adventures worth pursuing and conversations worth sustaining.”

The films range from four to 25 minutes in length and cover all types of genres from outdoor adventure, sustainability and pure adrenaline. For 2014, there were 10 shorts that included skateboarding, mountain biking, highline and personality stories. These dialogues were given a proper introduction that encompassed awareness and culture.

“Most people expect big adventure,” said Johnston. “And we give them exactly that.”

However, Johnston went on to explain that action can get boring after a while because it is the people who make up the stories. In this view, Mountainfilms is able to “showcase different personalities” and leaves viewers with a “different outlook,” added Johnston.

Johnston brought up several accounts where viewers approached her the next day, week or month after the film. After two girls viewed a film about an unicyclist riding on aggressive mountain bike trails, they each bought the other unicycles for Christmas, recalled Johnston.

“It made them feel like they could do anything,” added Johnston.

Mountainfilms have been inspiring people since 1979 after its birth in Telluride, Co. It was created by a group of climbers who wanted to climb all day and watch videos of climbing at night, a simple idea that blossomed into so much more.

It speaks for itself as one of America’s longest-running film festivals. For 35 years, Mountainfilms has hosted single event and multi-day shows in schools, colleges, communities and theatres which reach an estimated 40,000 people in over 100 locations on five continents. Furthermore, the festival continues to reduce their footprint by creating “as near zero waste as possible,” according to mountainfilm.org.

In 2009, Mountainfilm on Tour began to work with the Fairfield Theatre Company and continues to bring jaw-dropping shorts to the community. Where else can you go on a weeknight to “hit the alps” or free fall from the Karsts of China?

Contributed by Mountainfilm
The Karsts of China.                                                            Contributed by Mountainfilms

Additionally, Mountainfilms is sponsored by the Outdoor Sports Center in Wilton, Conn. and the Long Trail Brewing Company. As you walk into FTC, on Tuesday, Oct. 21, you will be in the midst of the action. The latest equipment will be on display by Outdoor Sports Center and beer tasting to follow.

Don’t worry, because Mountainfilms on Tour is only the beginning. There are several 35 to 45 minute films that are equally inspiring, but are too long. On Nov. 23, there will be a Gravity Ski film and in the spring a Gravity Mountain bike series. Johnston explained that these will consist of two longer-length films and two shorts.

All of the films are “underlined with indomitable human spirit,” said Johnston. They address how we are going save the world and simultaneously make us feel good. That is the power of these films and nobody is safe from its ability to suck you right into the eyes of the adventure-seeker himself.

Mountainfilms has granted all Fairfield University students member pricing to this event. Use the promotion code ‘stags” (all lower-case) when purchasing your ticket online or at the FTC box office.

Still not sure: watch Danny Macaskill  in #TheRidge where he ‘climbs aboard a mountain bike and returns to his native home of the Isle of Skye in Scotland to take on a death-defying ride along the notorious Cuillin Ridgeline’ (youtube)

Audience Starts to Rumble for Andy McKee

Photo Credit - Jason Dailey
Andy McKee plays Stage One FTC on Tue. Oct. 14 @ 7:45 P.M.                                        Photo Credit – Jason Dailey

Andy McKee, self-taught acoustic guitarist, continues to take his music to new levels through the use of altered tunings, percussive techniques, harmonics, tapping, rhythmic melodies and the style of playing over the guitar neck.

McKee became fascinated with the acoustic guitar at the age of 13, inspired by fingerstyle guitar playing. At the age of 17, he began to teach lessons and in 2001 made a name for himself after placing third at the National Fingerstyle Guitar Championships.

You may remember McKee from his hit track “Drifting,” which reached more than 50 million viewers on YouTube in 2006. In addition, songs featured on his 2006 album “Art of Motion” such as “Rylynn,” “For My Father” and “Into The Ocean,” all feature McKee’s creative approach on acoustic and harp guitar. Furthermore, McKee won the silver medal for fingerstyling by Acoustic Guitar Magazine in December 2008.

McKee realizes that it is much harder to make a name for yourself through YouTube today versus early 2000. “Yet, it is a good way to learn how to play guitar,” added McKee. “You have both audio and visuals.”

Currently, McKee is on tour across the United States and will be starting his east coast run at the Fairfield Theatre Company’s StageOne on Tuesday, Oct. 14. Expect to hear all of your favorites and more when McKee takes StageOne with two 45 minute sets.

When he begins to play his harp guitar, McKee said, “The audience starts rumbling and cameras are out.” It is captivating each and every time.

Songs from McKee’s most recent extended play “Mythmaker,” such as the title track, continue to push the envelope of McKee’s creative genius. In addition, the extended play incorporates electric guitar and piano elements in the pursuit of new textures.

McKee has never thought of himself as a percussive guitarist, but instead is driven by rhythm. In his track “Hunter’s Moon” off of his 2010 album “Joyland,” all techniques spill over intricate rhythms and soothing melodies. McKee begins the composition by playing the chords over the top of the neck of the guitar, while providing a steady backbeat on the rear body of the guitar with his right hand.

As the song progresses, McKee moves fluidly from guitar body to neck, playing the “ins” and “outs” of the instrument. Like all of McKee’s tunes, “Hunter’s Moon” is lyric-less, but follows a similar verse and chorus structure. At one point the guitar is tight and percussive, and the next moment McKee open fires on all strings, letting them resonate throughout the audience.

McKee is overall excited to be on the road touring and is looking forward to returning to both New England and Connecticut. “It is especially exciting because Connecticut is now home to one of the most renowned harp guitarist, Stephen Bennett,” added McKee.

McKee will bring originals in addition to his renditions of the rock band Toto’s song “Africa” and of Tear for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”

After McKee’s YouTube success, many guitarists aspire to learn from his technique. Currently, you can purchase guitar tabs on Andy McKee’s website and there are several tutorials of McKee’s songs on YouTube. With 10 years of teaching under his belt, McKee hopes to release an instructional DVD in the future.

After StageOne, McKee will head off to various venues throughout New England including, Regattabar on Oct. 15 in Boston, Mass, B.B. King Blues Club on Oct. 16 in New York, N.Y., World Cafe on Oct. 17 in Philadelphia, Pa. and Bridge Street Live on Oct. 18 in Collinsville, Conn..