Sounds Good: Robert Randolph @ Granada, Iron & Wine @ Midland

For those that don’t know (which is probably about all of you), my favorite band is Richmond Fontaine.  It’s a band, not a dude…  

I know you’ve never heard of them.

They’re an alt-country (I guess) group from Portland who spend most of their time in Europe due to their critical success there that has surpassed the interest here in the US.  They write songs about drunks, thieves, and other grubby aspects of life in the West.

I could write 10,000 words about their albums, their lyrics, why they rock a dog’s ass.  But that’s not my purpose here.  My purpose, as a guide to all things worthwhile, is to let you all know that their lead singer and songwriter, Willy Vlautin (an award winning novelist) got one of his short stories turned into a movie.  It’s called The Motel Life, and it’s opening around the country here in the next week or so.  The movie stars Emile Hirsch, Stephen Dorff, and Dakota Fanning.

From the NY Times:

“The Motel Life,” based on Willy Vlautin’s 2006 novel, vividly captures a milieu of seedy motel rooms, gambling dens, strip joints and garish sports bars. A weathered, sagacious Kris Kristofferson, as a used-car dealer and father figure to Frank, adds credibility. Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash’s “Girl From the North Country” completes the picture.”

 

Friday, November 8th

Robert Randolph & the Family Band at the Granada in Lawrence

If you’re not into dancing and hand-clapping, don’t go to this show.  Because that’s really Rob’s deal.  He does one thing, and he does it well, no doubt -bending and swooping gospel and soul, all filtered through his pedal steel guitar.  True, he may be a little one note at this point, but he and the Family are road-hardened vets who know how to kickstart a party.  Their 2013 release Lickety Split is solid, just like all the rest of his stuff.  Here’s what Paste’s Holly Gleason had to say:

“The songs really serve as a backdrop for Randolph’s musical prowess. Designed to work for frat kids, fest-goers and other party people, in the end, what matters is the way he plays. In Randolph’s hands, the steel becomes an electric fountain of raw want, curling punctuation marks and incendiary bursts of melodicism where dimension and muscle flex beyond conventional playing.”

A little bit louder now/ a little bit louder now….

 

 

Saturday, November 9th

Iron & Wine at the Midland in KC

Sam Beam is a sensitive guy.  No surprise there, right?  His normally hushed vocals and quiet guitar strumming, though, give way to more ambitious ideas on his latest record, Ghost on Ghost.  Lilting horns feature prominently, creating a jazzier swing feel; choruses are multiplied with harmonies; and the album is generally just much less sparse than much of his older material.  Not to say that the breathy bedroom folk thing is gone, just not quite as pure and clean.  Plus his beard is excellent.

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4 Responses to Sounds Good: Robert Randolph @ Granada, Iron & Wine @ Midland

  1. the dude says:

    We are really BIG in Japan, I swear.
    At least that’s what they tell us.

  2. the dude says:

    So you are saying The Family sounds like Otis Day and the Knights?

    True Trivia: The bassist in the Knights band was none other than Robert Cray.

  3. PB says:

    Other very affordable shows worth considering this weekend…

    Tonight: Gold Magnolias w/ Blue Riddim @ Czar $5 – If you like horn-driven sounds

    Mark DuFresne Band @ BB’s Lawnside $5 – Former lead singer for Roomful of Blues and a helluva jump blues harp player

    Saturday: Moreland & Arbuckle @ Knuckleheads $12 – See Black Keys about 3 or 4 albums ago

    Shawn Holt & The Teardrops @ BB’s $7 – The late Magic Slim’s son and heir to the Teardrop legacy

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