Saturday, January 31, 2009

Michelle Shocked Rocked

Michelle Shocked debuted at the Narrows Friday night, playing her quirky, spirited folk alt.rock mix to a packed house. Your humble blogger stopped by to see her before the show and she was just rarin' to go.

She took that energy to the stage where she chatted, played some pretty mean guitar, sang the heck out of tunes, and even called her main squeeze David on her cell (below) to sing him a song.
As part of her encore, she left the stage and walked over to the Narrows' piano, which was quickly miked for her performance. She played a new song, at first not quite remembering how it went. But then she kicked into gear.

Because she was debuting so much new material, not to be released on CD until April, she asked the crowd not to record her. That's probably why the show was not carried live on as many of our concerts are.

Monday, January 26, 2009

First New CD for Tom Rush in 3 Decades

Tom Rush is releasing his first recording of new material since forever toward the end of February.

Your humble blogger heard a selection from it on the Saturday folk program on WGBH radio. Dug it!

Tom, a Narrows fave (that's him signing autographs during his September, 2008 visit), is one of the good guys in addition to being a fab performer.

Learn more about his new recording at

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect

Maybe you think a rock guitar whiz like Sonny Landreth doesn't have to practice. Well, above is a photo of Sonny practicing a riff "backstage" at the Narrows, about 15 minutes before Friday night's show. Your humble blogger came upon Sonny by accident--and couldn't help noticing that he expressed verbal frustration apparently for not playing something the way he wanted. "Shoot" or "darn" or perhaps something a bit more emphatic.

Practice makes perfect as the crowd saw during the concert. Flawless sliding and riffing, and a tight bass and drum behind him, brought the packed house to its feet. After the show many people expressed, sometimes almost tearfully, how much they appreciated the performance.

Lovely blues songstress and picker Danielle Miraglia (below) opened for Sonny, and knocked the crowd out with her singing, songs and mastery of the guitar. People pounded their feet for an encore--a rarity for an opening act--and the only thing preventing it was the lack of time. Great job for this promising artist from Revere, MA!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Why Jon Bon Jovi?

If you saw Narrows' fave Bettye LaVette at the Inaugural event at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday, you might have wondered why she had to share the stage with Jon Bon Jovi.

They sang "A Change is Gonna Come," and Mr. Bon Jovi looked like he was put on the bill because he's famous, not because he was a good match for the song.

As we know, Bettye could have killed with that tune, if she didn't have to step aside for Mr. "I'm A Cowboy on a Steel Horse I Ride."

And speaking of cowboys, who dug up the "Anti-Hank" Garth Brooks? (Kinky Friedman has dubbed Garth as the "Anti-Hank" btw.) And why did Herbie Hancock apparently play in the wrong key? And did you see Narrows' alum Tao Rodriguez-Seeger up there with his grandad?

If you get HBO, you can see the show on demand and maybe come up with some answers.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Paul Geremia Paws the Piano

Master acoustic guitar blues dude Paul Geremia kicked off his show Friday night at the Narrows by tickling the ivories! Photo above.

Blues cat Russ Mello--who bears a striking resemblance to Doobies' guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter--opened the evening.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bettye LaVette Sings at Inaugural Event

Narrows fave Bettye LaVette, who performed at the Narrows a few days back (see below), is performing Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial event in DC as part of Barack Obama's inauguration celebration.

More here.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Kicking Off 2009 Bigtime with Bettye LaVette

The Narrows kicked off 2009 with soul sensation Bettye LaVette Friday night to a packed house.

It was Bettye's 2nd visit ever to the Narrows and our first show in the new year.

The night was carried live on and should be available in their archives soon.

Bettye recently wowed Pete Townsend and Roger Daltry at a Kennedy Center tribute to The Who. She performed "Love Reign O'er Me" for the event, which ended up on Your humble blogger asked her fab band before the show whether they were going to play the tune. Turns out they haven't had a chance to learn it. Chances are they will!

Nonetheless, Bettye and her band cooked a cool night to a sizzle with sweet soul, blues and damn-near-The Rolling Stones-rock 'n' roll! One patron beamed to your humble blogger that this show may go down as the best of 2009! And we're just getting started with a line-up that features David Bromberg, Michelle Shocked, Richie Havens, Sonny Landreth and many other greats.

Opening Friday night's show was spunky Erin McKeown who charmed the crowd with her "out of the box" approach to folk singing, as you might guess from the photo below.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Aztec Two Step Steps Up To Help

Narrows favs Aztec Two Step are stepping up to help those who may have lost their job. Here's an announcement from their website:

For you folks who’ve lost jobs or have suffered other calamities and are concerned about paying your rents or mortgages, your car payments or utility bills, with nary a thought about purchasing an Aztec Two-Step CD in the coming months, write to me at and we will send you a free CD of your choice to help lift your spirits in these difficult times. And for those of you who can hardly afford a tank of gas let alone come see us play, we'll do our best to get you in to see one of our shows in 2009. Keep the faith.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Best of 2008--The Nortons Weigh In!

As your humble blogger awaits the thawing of his pipes, he decided to post the top concert lists of a prominent family at the Narrows--The Nortons.

Patrick is the president and the booking guy; his wife Maggie helps at the door and wherever she is needed; and their two sons, Ben and Owen, pitch in, sometimes helping their dad with the equipment on the stage or engaging in some other task for youngsters who still haven't even reached high school age! These guys are growing up surrounded by the likes of Odetta (RIP) Richie Havens and other musical icons. Not a bad way to help your children learn about the arts!

All are volunteers. So here are their thoughts on the best shows of 2008, in no particular order, except as noted:

Patrick Norton's picks:

Bettye LaVette
Eric Lindell
Sonny Landreth
Marcia Ball
Chuck Prophet
Justin Townes Earle
Narrows Arts Fest
Shelby Lynne
Eilen Jewell (Dec)
Johnny Winter (Dec)

Maggie Norton's picks:

Bettye LaVette
Johnny Winter (Jan)
Marcia Ball
Mavis Staples
The Radiators
Watermelon Slim and The Workers
Narrows Arts Fest
The Iguanas
Taj Mahal
Crooked Still
Eilen Jewell (Dec)

Ben Norton's picks

10 Narrows Fest
9 Coco Montoya (Hey Ben, come to think of it, I liked that show too!)
8 Los Straightjackets
7 Surprise Me Mr. Davis (Ben, a creative choice)
6 Mavis Staples
5 Eric Lindell
4 Taj Mahal
3 Bettye LaVette
2 Dickey Betts
1 Johnny Winter (Dec)

Owen Norton's picks

Bettye LaVette
Eric Lindell
Johnny Winter (Jan)
Narrows Arts Festival
Taj Mahal
Mavis Staples
Sarah Borges
Drunk Stuntmen (Hey Owen--thanks for remembering the Stuntmen!)
Graham Parker