Posts Tagged With: Ryan Kennemur

“Losering” live: four for four

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Saturday marked 20 years to the day since Whiskeytown’s epochal Strangers Almanac album made its debut, so we marked the occasion with “Losering 4” — the latest installment of Ryan Adams tribute shows that happen here in Raleigh on a semi-annual basis. And it was another wonderful night with some fantastic performances.

Bobby Bryson (returning from the first “Losering” show back in 2013) got things rolling with a “Come Pick Me Up” singalong. Ryan Kennemur, the one performer to have played all four of these “Losering” shows, gave me a lump in the throat with “Jacksonville Skyline.” Garland Mason’s rendition of “Be My Winding Wheel” kept that going. Christiane and Eric Scholz were two of the best voices I’ve heard in recent memory, and they also showed great deep-cut attention to detail; Christiane’s take on “Enemy Fire” was nothing short of astonishing. Johnny Folsom 4’s David Burney put a Man-in-Black spin on “When the Rope Gets Tight (Don’t Fail Me Now).” And Antique Hearts and friends closed out the night with another spectacular start-to-finish rendition of Strangers Almanac, all 13 songs.

All that, and the show drew a very nice turnout that raised $750 for the Food Bank of Eastern and Central NC. Grateful appreciation and all credit to the musicians who played; and to Dave Rose, John Booker and the rest of the Deep South crew for making it happen. Once again: Thank you, friends.

Bobby Bryson
“Do You Still Love Me”
“When the Stars Go Blue”
“Come Pick Me Up”

Ryan Kennemur
“Jacksonville Skyline”
“Choked Up”
“If He Can’t Have You”

Garland Mason
“Be My Winding Wheel”
“Oh My God, Whatever, Etc.”
“Oh My Sweet Carolina”

Christiane
“Enemy Fire”
“Please Do Not Let Me Go”
“Bartering Lines”

Eric Scholz
“Do I Wait”
“Friendly Fire”
“Tennessee Square”

David Burney
“Lucky Now”
“Let It Ride”
“When the Rope Gets Tight (Don’t Fail Me Now)”

Antique Hearts, Strangers Almanac
“Inn Town”
“Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight”
“Yesterday’s News”
“16 Days”
“Everything I Do”
“Houses on the Hill”
“Turn Around”
“Dancing With the Women at the Bar”
“Waiting to Derail”
“Avenues”
“Losering” (prefaced by a verse of Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69”)
“Somebody Remembers the Rose”
“Not Home Anymore”
Encore: “Drank Like a River”

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Come Dancing (with the women at the bar)

BruxesThe first time I heard Rachel Hirsh perform her spooky version of Whiskeytown’s “Dancing With the Women at the Bar” was just over two years ago, at 2015’s “Losering 2: A Tribute to the Songs of Ryan Adams” show. It really was fantastic and I said as much at the time, writing that I thought it was something “she really should record.” I wasn’t the only one who thought so, and I’m happy to report that Rachel has indeed recorded a very fine version with her band Bruxes  — which is now out in the world; you can take a listen on Spotify, and buy it on Amazon.

The original version of “Dancing,” of course, first appeared on Strangers Almanac, Whiskeytown’s alternative-country landmark, which was released on July 29, 1997. That makes this Saturday the album’s 20-year anniversary, and we’re going to mark the occasion in style. That night, Raleigh’s Deep South The Bar will host “Losering 4,” with Antique Hearts playing Strangers Almanac from start to finish — which they pulled off with amazing aplomb last year, so it should be great. David Burney, Christiane, Eric Scholz, Garland Mason, Bobby Bryson and Ryan Kennemur are all on the bill, too, and yours truly will be there to serve as host.

Tickets are $7-$10, with proceeds again earmarked for the Food Bank of Eastern and Central NC. Come on out.

 

 

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Twenty years after: “Losering 4”

Losering4Next month will make (gulp) 20 long years since Whiskeytown released its 1997 alternative-country landmark Strangers Almanac, and we’ll be marking the anniversary in style with another “Losering”-themed tribute show. Scheduled for July 29 — which was indeed the  release date for Strangers back in 1997 — “Losering 4” will feature Antique Hearts in a reprise of last year’s “Losering 3” show, when they played Strangers from start to finish with stunning precision.

Also on the bill will be David Burney, Christiane, Eric Scholz, Garland Mason, Bobby Bryson and Ryan Kennemur, all playing other songs from Ryan’s catalog over the years. If I may be so bold as to make a request, I’m hoping for a song or two from this year’s Prisoner.

I’ll be there to serve as host, of course, and the proceeds will benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC. So pencil in July 29 for Deep South the Bar, and get tickets here.

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Losering 3: Somebody Remembers the Rose

LoseringBoardWhile I wouldn’t exactly call it a headphones record, I’ve always considered Whiskeytown’s 1997 magnum opus Strangers Almanac to be more of a private home-listening experience than a live-performance artifact. It’s a truly brilliant album and one of my favorites, but it also has enough radical shifts in tempo, tone, mood and instrumentation to seem truly daunting to pull off onstage.

Nevertheless, I’m here to tell you that Raleigh’s Antique Hearts absolutely nailed it Friday night at our third “Losering” tribute show at Deep South The Bar. Playing the album start to finish and in order, they pulled off everything with an aplomb that left me awestruck, even the album-closing “Not Home Anymore” (which frontman Zach Gregory jokingly called “a studio song”). I cannot imagine how much work it took to get to this level; everyone involved did the material and themselves proud.

So did the opening acts, who both played some non-Strangers Ryan Adams songs. Shane Smith went deep into the catalog with “Wish You Were” from 2003’s unjustly maligned Rock n Roll, and also worked in Ryan’s arrangement of the Taylor Swift 1989 song “Shake It Off.” Ryan Kennemur went deeper still (assisted by Stacy Chandler in the role of vocal/fiddle foil) into the way-back Whiskeytown catalog with “Desperate Ain’t Lonely” and even “Lo Fi Tennessee Mountain Angel.”

All in all, it was another lovely evening, and it raised $724 for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. I expect we’ll do this again next year on or about the same date, July 29, for the 20-year anniversary of Strangers Almanac. Thanks to Dave Rose, John Booker and the rest of the Deep South staff for making it happen — and to Antique Hearts, who put a massive amount of work into getting this right and did it brilliantly.

AntiqueHearts

Shane Smith
“Firecracker”
“Wish You Were Here”
“Touch, Feel & Lose”
“My Winding Wheel”/”Shake It Off”
“To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High”

Ryan Kennemur with Stacy Chandler
“Starting to Hurt”
“I Don’t Care What You Think About Me”
“Angels Are Messengers From God”
“Desperate Ain’t Lonely”
“Bar Lights”
“Don’t Wanna Know Why”
“Lo Fi Tennessee Mountain Angel”
“If He Can’t Have You”

Antique Hearts, Strangers Almanac
“Inn Town”
“Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight”
“Yesterday’s News”
“16 Days”
“Everything I Do”
“Houses on the Hill”
“Turn Around”
“Dancing With the Women at the Bar”
“Waiting to Derail”
“Avenues”
“Losering”
“Somebody Remembers the Rose”
“Not Home Anymore”
Encore: “Drank Like a River”

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Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight

Losering3As covered at length in “Losering” as well as on this very blog, Whiskeytown’s 1997 masterpiece Strangers Almanac is an album I’ve never quite gotten over. Alas, Ryan Adams doesn’t seem to have much use for it himself these days, as evidenced by the fact that his current live setlist doesn’t include a single Strangers song (which is too bad, because those songs would fit his current bluegrass direction perfectly). Nevertheless, Strangers still means a great deal to a lot of Ryan’s oldest fans — especially those of us in his long-ago hometown of Raleigh, where it remains an essential local-music artifact.

This Friday, July 29, marks 19 years to the day since Strangers Almanac was first released, but I very much doubt that Ryan will mark the occasion in any way. So what the heck, we’ll do it for him. Friday night, Raleigh nightspot Deep South The Bar will host another “Losering”-themed tribute show, with Raleigh’s own Antique Hearts and friends playing all 13 Strangers tracks. Opening the proceedings will be Ryan “Showtime” Kennemur (veteran of the first two “Losering” events, in 2013 and 2015) and Shane Smith; yours truly also returns to serve as MC.

With proceeds earmarked for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, it’s for a good cause. So come on out and sing along if you’re in the vicinity, or even if you’re not.

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Save the date: July 29 for “Losering 3”

Losering3Next month will bring the 19-year anniversary of Strangers Almanac, Whiskeytown’s 1997 magnum opus and one of the great albums in Raleigh’s local-music history. To mark the occasion, there’s going to be another “Losering”-themed tribute show, put on once again by the fine folks at downtown Raleigh nightspot Deep South The Bar.

This will be the third such tribute show, following very successful “Losering” events in 2013 and 2015. And this year’s model features the band Antique Hearts playing Strangers start-to-finish — plus Ryan “Showtime” Kennemur from Dragmatic, Shane Smith and more.

We’ll have more details closer to the date. For now, please note that proceeds will again benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. So mark your calendar, and come on out.

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“Yesterday’s News” at the Berkeley Cafe

SACoverShowAs noted in the “Losering” preface, my story with Ryan Adams began at downtown Raleigh’s Berkeley Cafe, where I sat down to interview him after a show more than 20 years ago and things went kind of disastrously awry — a fitting metaphor for the whole story. The Berkeley has changed a good bit over the past two decades, shrinking down to just the Cafe space after the music hall was converted to a pipe/tobacco shop two years ago. But it remains a live-music venue; and with ownership by veterans of the late, lamented Sadlack’s, it’s still a repository of cool, funky vibes of old.

All of which is to say it’s fitting that the Berkeley will be the site of a very intriguing show this weekend, aimed at those with fond memories of Raleigh’s Whiskeytown era. As part of Guitartown’s “Cover Album of the Month” series, Jeff Mullins and Ryan Kennemur will perform Whiskeytown’s 1997 magnum opus Strangers Almanac on Saturday night under the name Yesterday’s News. And as you can see from the poster, it’s even free (although donations are encouraged).

Ordinarily, I would not miss this for the world. Unfortunately, however, it falls on the same weekend as the  Texas Book Festival in Austin, Texas. So I’m afraid that being there in spirit will have to do, but you should go.

UPDATE (10/20/2015): And here is how it went.

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“Losering 2” — the lineup

Losering2headerMajor kudos once again to Dave Rose, proprietor of downtown Raleigh nightspot Deep South The Bar, for executing another stellar poster-design job for “Losering 2: A Tribute to the Songs of Ryan Adams” — happening at Deep South on April 11 as a sequel to the first “Losering” tribute show that happened back in May 2013. I’ll be your host for the evening, introducing the acts as they delve into the Ryan Adams/Whiskeytown songbook. As to who will be performing, the lineup goes like this:

Members of I Was Totally Destroying It
Members of New Reveille
Debonzo Brothers
Stephen Chandler Wilson (The Arcane Heart)
Season & Snare
Kasey Tyndall
Aslan Freeman (Unifier)
John Massengill (Old Quarter)
Charles Marshall (Balsa Gliders)
Ryan “Showtime” Kennemur (Dragmatic)
Mark Cimerro (Meatbox)

No word yet on repertoire, who will play what — but it did not take long for a “Summer of ’69” joke to pop up on the event’s Facebook page:

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“Losering: The Songs of Ryan Adams” — wish you were here

DMMCBack in Whiskeytown’s prime, I really wanted them to break through to widespread popularity, which seems a bit odd in retrospect. Sure, it would have been fun to watch from close range; but I can’t say why I was rooting for them beyond a vague belief that a large audience was going to provide some measure of validation. There was closure that only a large crowd singing along with “Sixteen Days” was going to provide.

Fittingly and belatedly, that happened last night, sort of. The fine folks at Deep South The Bar in Raleigh put together a tribute show inspired by my book, “Losering: The Songs of Ryan Adams,” and I got to emcee. And about halfway through the show, while members of the band Old Quarter were playing “Sixteen Days” — the song I thought was going to be Whiskeytown’s big breakout hit way back in 1997 — I was hollering along with everyone else in the soldout house and feeling chills about the experience.

Ghost has got me running
Away from you, away from you, awaaaaaay…

It was a truly wonderful night, very much a feeling of being among friends and fellow fans; as much a tribute to the milieu Ryan came out of as to Ryan himself. There were multiple highlights, some of which went like this:

Aaron Menconi, shortly before asking why he started that damn country band.

Aaron Menconi, shortly before asking why he started that damn country band.

The Equivocators — Featuring my dear friend Scott Huler, they kicked things off with three songs from Whiskeytown’s Faithless Street album; “Midway Park,” “Hard Luck Story” and the title track. When Scott got to the “started this damn country band” line, I coached my 18-year-old son Aaron to yell out, “Why’d you do that?”

David Teeter (from the band Martha Ann Motel) — He brought out a couple of more recent Ryan solo songs, “Shadowlands” and “Desire.” And to make the absent guest of honor seem more present, David also played the recording of the infamous Jim DeRogatis voicemail, a legendary moment in artist-critic relations. Guffaws all around.

Ryan Kennemur — Continuing in a humorous vein, Ryan gave a nod to Mr. Adams’ touchier side by belting out a bit of Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69.” Then he got down to business, and his versions of “Turn Around,” “Avenues” and especially “If He Can’t Have You” were outstanding.

John Booker and Rachel Hirsh (I Was Totally Destroying It) — Major props go to John, who did a fantastic job with booking the acts for this show. And he and his bandmate Rachel did great with four songs — “Everybody Knows,” “Call Me On Your Way Back Home,” “Don’t Be Sad” and “Firecracker.” There was an enthusiastic audience sing-along on the latter song, and John needled me a bit for not giving it and the rest of Ryan’s Gold album sufficient respect in the book. Touche! Danny Johnson, who plays in about a thousand other bands, sat in.

Bobby Bryson — I’d never heard Bobby before, and he might have played my favorite set of the night with stellar versions of “A Kiss Before I Go,” “Let It Ride” (also much audience singing along here) and “Carolina Rain.” He showed absolute command instrumentally as well as vocally, and I loved his stage presence. Afterward, he presented me with a business card carrying the slogan Songs that gently rip your heart out. I believe it.

DeepSouthCharles Marshall and Richard Bolton (Balsa Gliders) — They put a couple of Strangers Almanac-era Whiskeytown classics through some unusual paces, quieting down “Waiting to Derail” and rocking up “Avenues.” Very cool, inventive versions that they clearly put some thought into.

John Massengil, George Hage and Danny Johnson (Old Quarter) — The aforementioned “Sixteen Days” sing-along went over great. So did “Jacksonville Skyline” and a lovely reading of “Houses on the Hill.” Meg Johnson sat in on vocals (and also with Jack the Radio). Felt like being at the Brewery back in the day.

Jack the Radio — Speaking of sing-alongs, there was a raucous one on “Come Pick Me Up,” maybe the most exuberant of the night. “O My Sweet Carolina” and “Lucky Now” rounded it out.

Adam Lane and Jeff Mullins — Ryan Kennemur returned for an exceptionally sweet harmony vocal on “Desperate Ain’t Lonely” (which they rehearsed once, outside in the parking lot, and Ryan had to read the lyrics off his phone — perfect). They also offered up a couple of nice rarities, “Onslow County” and “Oh My Sweet Valentine,” which never fails to put a lump in my throat. Last night was no exception.

Ryan Mullaney and Ashley Gray — Two fine singers teamed up to harmonize on “Desire” and the Gold standard “When the Stars Go Blue” (take that, Tim McGraw).

Wylie Hunter (Wylie Hunter & the Cazadores) — Back to Whiskeytown days with “Dancing With the Women at the Bar,” and Heartbreaker‘s “Be My Winding Wheel.” Really glad to hear both.

ChipNYNYChip Robinson (Backsliders) — He sat at the piano and covered “New York, New York,” reading lyrics he’d scribbled out by hand. Fascinating, weird and pretty great, made even moreso because he was wearing a Wu-Tang Clan T-shirt. I snagged the hand-written lyrics for my archive.

Debonzo Brothers — Jeff and Keef with another long-lost favorite, “Hey There, Mrs. Lovely” (yay!), plus Heartbreaker‘s “In My Time of Need.”

Be The Moon — And in the closing slot, this trio from Burlington offered up the resurrected Whiskeytown song “Am I Unstable.” It was fantastic, featuring box drum and an arrangement that Peter Blackstock’s memory placed in the ballpark of the original (which Whiskeytown only played live once, nearly 13 years ago).

All told, the event raised $579 for the Future of Music Coalition. I could not be happier, and prouder of everyone involved. Thanks to all the musicians, and especially to Deep South impressario Dave Rose for making it happen.

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