Friday, February 25, 2011

Neil Young LOUD

The Providence-Fall River corridor loves Neil Young--more specifically Neil Young tribute band Forever Young, as a sold-out crowd brought their coolers on Friday night to hear this Rhode Island ensemble.

They've played the Narrows a time or two, and the crowds seem to continue to build.

Guess they know how to do Neil Young right!

Songs included "Heart of Gold," "Down by the Riverside," "Mr. Soul" and many other favorites, particularly those with piercing guitar, often courtesy of Mark Cutler. This group, and their fans, like it"Neil Young LOUD."

Well all right!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Robert Cray. Wednesday, February 23, 2011. 'Nuff said!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Solo Sarah: The Voice, The Songs w/ A Sense of Humor

Sarah Borges, longtime backed by The Broken Singles, is now solo, no doubt due to the economics of keeping a band on the road along with her ensuing motherhood in July.

She opened Saturday night for Los Straitjackets at the Narrows, armed with nothing more than her guitar. I figured she'd be backed by her husband, guitarist--and Broken Single--Lyle Brewer. He was otherwise engaged, so it was up to her.

The Taunton native more than pulled it off. But not surprising, really, considering she has a powerful voice, a vault of terrific songs she wrote or covered (add to that Ricky Nelson's "Travelin' Man"), and a saucy sense of humor that might earn her recognition as "the Bette Midler of acoustic music."

Plus, she's a road-hardened and talented guitar player in her own right.

In short: Sarah Borges 2.0 seems to have found its footing quite nicely. We look forward to more shows, and more recordings too, in the years ahead. Welcome, Solo Sarah!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

England Swings

Former Van Morrison back up singer James Hunter made the room his own Friday night at the Narrows.

It was a sellout! Thanks to all who made it possible!

It was soul from the 50s and 60s updated through the voice, guitar and songs of Mr. Hunter, who came to us from "across the pond," where I think R & B has always been better appreciated. England swings America better than we do.

Bostonian Jesse Dee opened and received a standing O for his R & B interpretations.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Narrows Hits Historic Mark: Six Days A Week

From what I remember it's never been achieved in the Narrows' 9 year history: MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturday.

Monday, March 21: Peter Wolf. Sorry sold out. Good for him. He's worked hard over the past couple years recording and promoting his music. He's better than ever!

Tuesday, March 22: Jazz guitar great Al Di Meola makes his Narrows' debut. Me and my rock 'n' roll friends used to say back in the 1970s when we heard a high level local guitarist: "He's like Al Di Meola."

Wednesday, March 23: Pianist George Winston, the Windham Hill records guy, makes his Narrows debut. I was browsing at a record store the other day and came across a George Winston tribute to The Doors. Never knew that.

Thursday, March 24: Leon Redbone. Last time he was here, I was "backstage" with him taking his photo. No flash, he told me. I said, hey, my camera needs flash or the picture won't come out right. He said don't worry, it will be fine. He was right. Came out cool, didn't it?

Friday, March 25: Aztec Two Step, along with Buskin & Batteau: Despite never really having a big hit, Aztec Two Step are a strong draw in these parts. That's because they're some of the hardest working folks you'll run into. Good guys too.

Saturday, March 26: Chely Wright. To my ears, she had one of the best recordings of 2010. Here's my write up.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Our Grammy Winners

Below are the Narrows' artists who won a Grammy on February 13, 2011. Congrats!!!

Best Americana Album
Mavis Staples "You are Not Alone."

Best Traditional Folk Album
Carolina Chocolate Drops "Genuine Negro Jig."

Best Compilation for Movie...
Our guy, the late Stephen Bruton along with T Bone Burnett for "Crazy Heart."

Saturday, February 12, 2011

And The Grammy Goes To....

Sunday night, it's the Grammys, and artists who have played the Narrows are on the docket. Here's who:

Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals
Leon Russell & Elton John's "If It Wasn't For Bad." Leon Russell has played the Narrows a couple of times, if memory serves. This recording is kind of a "hand up" from Elton to his idol who has fallen on tough times particularly health wise.

Best Rock Instrumental Performance
Los Lobos "Do the Murray."

Best Country Instrumental Performance
The Infamous Stringdusters "Magic #9."
Darrell Scott "Willow Creek."

Best Americana Album
Los Lobos "Tin Can Trust."
Mavis Staples "You are Not Alone."
I should mention that our Darrell Scott is a member of Robert Plant's "Band of Joy," which is up for a Grammy in this category.

Best Bluegrass Album
Peter Rowan "Legacy."

Best Traditional Blues Album
James Cotton "Giant."
Charles Musselwhite "The Well."
Jimmie Vaughan "Plays Blues, Ballads and Favorites."

Best Contemporary Blues Album
Bettye LaVette "Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook."
Hubert Sumlin "Live! In Chicago." This is actually a Kenny Wayne Shepherd album featuring our guy Hubert.

Best Traditional Folk Album
Carolina Chocolate Drops "Genuine Negro Jig."
Maria Muldaur "Maria Muldaur."

Best Contemporary Folk Album
Richard Thompson "Dream Attic."

Best Compilation for Movie...
Our guy, the late Stephen Bruton along with T Bone Burnett for "Crazy Heart."

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Night Blues

Mid-winter blues with former Muddy Waters guitarist Luther "Guitar Jr" Johnson backed by The Magic Rockers, Friday night at the Narrows.
Not only was the music hot, Mr. Johnson and the band spiffed up for the occasion. We like that.

It's going to be a bluesy late winter & spring at the Narrows. Robert Cray February 23; Joe Louis Walker February 26; Tommy Castro March 19; Joe Moss April 15.

Not to mention blue-eyed British soul man James Hunter February 18, and Blues Traveler front man John Popper April 28.

Did I miss anyone?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Check Out Patrick Norton's Blog

Narrows honcho Patrick Norton has created a blog!

He brings a serious insider's knowledge of the doings of the Narrows' artists. Plus he has a passion for music.

You can access his blog through or by clicking here.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

JTE Keeps Getting Better

Harlem River Blues--Justin Townes Earle--When we booked him in 2008 at the Narrows, we expected someone special and probably out there alone on the edge. Heck, he's the offspring of the fabulous and famously troubled Steve Earle. Something probably rubbed off. We saw it in his performance--and in his world-weary eyes--and we hear it in this latest recording. Harlem River Blues is a project we suspect Springsteen strives for when he's pursuing his inner Woody Guthrie. A touch of Woody, Johnny Cash, and some gospel too. Check out this performance on David Letterman's show--it's got all 3! And Paul Shaffer on organ too!

A practical note: Justin is a likable singer, so you can play him in the car when you're with those who don't appreciate rough hewn vocals. You know--they roll their eyes when they hear Bob Dylan or Woody Guthrie, or come to think of it, Justin's dad, Steve. "He can't sing," they tell us. "Yes, but it's a great song, and it's authentic," we reply. "Yes, but why can't he sing?" Maybe a good question, but not one that needs directing at Justin's work, although he's not Bing Crosby either.

Great songs (all originals), fine performances, understated production values and Americana lyrics like "I was wastin' my night, calling in my favorite songs on the local radio" that warm this old deejay's heart. See him sing those in a record store performance, which includes his dad getting a call on his cell phone just before his son starts playing. Cool.

BTW:I took the photo above shortly before he played the Narrows in 2008. He was hanging around, alone, outside on Anawan Street, drinking coffee (I presume) and apparently chain-smoking. Man, he had an edge. BTW part two: Justin is active on Twitter. You can follow his shenanigans if social networking is your thing.

Friday, February 04, 2011

A Welcomed Melting

We put away the ice picks for at least a little while!

Jeffrey Gaines' warm vocals and songs raised the temperature for the audience Friday night, despite the glazing of the region in seemingly interminable ice.

It was his Narrows debut, and he attracted a good number of new faces to the Narrows. Welcome! We hope you'll visit us on a regular basis.

Boston-born Mieka Pauley opened with a strong set that attracted new followers.