Concert Reviews

Griffin House, Matthew Perryman Jones Impress at Sold-Out NYC Show

Nashville came to City Winery last night when singer-songwriters Griffin House and Matthew Perryman Jones performed to a sold-out crowd. Weaving poignant tales of heartbreak, love and loss alongside solid covers by Patty Griffin, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, the duo captivated.

Matthew Perryman Jones kicked off the night onstage alone with acoustic guitar for the haunting “Hole In My Heart.” The emotional number saw his whispered vocals rise and fall impeccably with a striking crescendo mid-track, further exhibiting his prowess.

“While I’m here in New York City I’d like to invite New York’s own Rosie Golan to the stage,” Jones said before the duo performed the beautiful fast-paced “Rain or Shine” with spot-on harmonies.

“That song was pretty much the only uptempo song I have for the whole night so drink up,” Jones quipped.

He wasn’t lying. The remainder of the set included powerful ballads like the slowed “O, Virginia,” positive love song “Until the Last Falling Star” previously featured in “Grey’s Anatomy,” and a striking performance of “Save You” by Jones and New York-based singer Katie Costello.

Jones prefaced his cover of Patty Griffin’s “Top of the World,” by explaining how he got involved with The Voice Project, a non-profit created to raise awareness for children forced to serve as soldiers in Central Africa. After he found out Costello covered his song, “Save You,” he decided to lend his voice to the cause.

Matthew Perryman Jones » Patty Griffin from The Voice Project on Vimeo.

Jones ended his set with an impressive cover of Tom Waits’ “Take It With Me.” Confessing that it took years before he appreciated Waits as a musician, he comically compared Waits’ music to drinking a really good scotch for the first time.

Friend and fellow Nashville musician Griffin House took the stage next with guitar and harmonica in hand. With delicate strumming on acoustic guitar and smooth vocals, House captivated the audience with his first song of the night, “Native.” He segued quickly into the more upbeat “River City Lights” before garnering screams from the audience for fan favorite “Waiting for the Rain to Come.”

Before the poignant “I Remember (It’s Happening Again),” House told City Winery that this past summer was the end of an era for him when his grandfather died. Reminiscing about the stories his grandpa used to tell him and how they flew to New York to make a music video for the song, House told a moving tale with wailing harmonica accompaniment and striking lyrics.

“Better Than Love,” a song that means more to him now than when first written, followed suit as the audience sang along word for word. Having just had a daughter 12 weeks ago, House said the track has taken on new meaning.

“I sing that to her sometimes. She also likes “Polk Salad Annie” by Elvis and all Johnny Cash so she’s definitely mine,” he joked.

The rest of his set included standout covers by Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash as well as older fan favorites that had the entire room singing and laughing along to the stories behind each track. House told the room that the comical “Colleen” was written for his sister’s roommate that “I thought was really hot.” The best kiss of death song because it embarrassed everyone involved, he had the venue laughing along at his quirky, yet relatable lyrics.

The beautiful “The Guy Who Says Goodbye to You Is Out of His Mind” continued to mesmerize as the room fell silent before House exited the stage. Not for too long, though as he ended his set with a solid five-song encore.

For more on each artist, visit their Websites. Matthew Perryman Jones performs tonight at Rockwood Music Hall at 8:30 p.m. Catch Griffin House Wednesday at The Living Room at 10 p.m.

Related Links:
Artist of the Week: Matthew Perryman Jones
Q&A with Griffin House
Q&A with Matthew Perryman Jones
Matthew Perryman Jones’ Intimate Performance at New York’s Living Room
Concert Reviews

Adele Performs Tracks Off New Album “Live On Letterman”

Photo Credit: John Filo of CBS

On the eve of her record release, UK sensation Adele performed  for lucky audience members at Ed Sullivan Theater Monday night. Part of the “Live on Letterman” broadcast, the show aired live on A comedian in her own right, Adele walked to the stage shortly after 9PM, surprised she made it without a fall.

“I was convinced I was going to drop on my face then. I’m trying to learn how to wear high heels. This was a steep floor,” she said. “Thank you very much for coming and braving the cold,” she continued before she performed her first track of the evening.

Clad in black from head to toe, Adele sat on her stool most of the night. With impassioned vocals and soaring piano and guitar accompaniment, she captivated the theater. “I hope you don’t mind me sitting down, it’s just that I knew you’d be sitting down and like I said, I’m practicing. I look better sitting in heels than I do standing in them,” she said.

An impressive mix of old and new songs along with two powerful covers — a stripped down performance of The Cure’s “Love Song” followed by Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love” — Adele’s soulful vocals and comedic onstage banter impressed.

The soulful Brit showcased her versatility throughout the night. In fact, the country-infused “Don’t You Remember,” off 21, was inspired by Lady Antebellum’s latest release, Need You Now.

“That was the last song I wrote for the new record. I was in Malibu and Lady Antebellum’s Need You Now was everywhere.  I love Need You Now and then I got into early Dolly Parton stuff. She was a bit goth back in the day, wasn’t she? Yeah, a bit dark. It’s got quite an Americana sound to it and it’s one of my favorites.”

The remainder of her set included old fan favorites like hit single, “Chasing Pavements” as well as her first UK No. 1 single, the emotional “Someone Like You.” Soft piano helped accentuate the track and Adele even got choked up while she sang.

“I almost stopped singing at the wrong place, could you tell?” she asked the audience. “My heart was in my throat.”

Before she played the energetic set closer “Rolling In the Deep,” she told the crowd she was going to switch things up. “I’m going to play you an upbeat song. I don’t have many, but I come alive when I do. I’m going to stand up – ah!”

The song demonstrated her soulful side as the audience and band clapped along while Adele and her backup singers worked their vocal magic to finished the set. An adequate preview to her upcoming release, the 45-minute performance further convinced concertgoers of the UK singer’s talent and no doubt resulted in a purchase of her sophomore release the next day.

To watch the complete performance, visit or see the video below.


53rd Annual Grammy Awards Tonight on CBS

The Grammy Awards air tonight on CBS at 8PM ET/PT and will feature live performances by Christina Aguilera,  Jennifer Hudson,  Bob Dylan, Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons, Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga,  Miranda Lambert, Katy Perry, Arcade Fire, B.o.B, Bruno Mars, Drake, Rihanna and many more.

For complete coverage, be sure to follow me on Twitter as I’ll be live tweeting the show. Over the past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to interview numerous Grammy winners, so be sure to click on my Q&As with past winners below and stay tuned for new interviews in the upcoming weeks!

Colbie Caillat

Lady Antebellum

Martina McBride

Pat Benatar

Taylor Swift


Song of the Week

Top 10 Songs of the 1960s

Last night I went to a tribute concert for the Rat Pack and it got me thinking. Surprisingly, I knew most of the songs performed throughout the night thanks to my parents’ music selection growing up. While the majority of the songs featured were from the 60s, I started wondering about all the hits from that era and others I might like.

Low and behold, I present to you my Top 10 list. I realize this barely scratches the surface of the amazing music that came out of this fruitful decade, but thought I’d share with you some of my favorites (in no particular order). What songs did I miss? Which artists should I have showcased? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

1. “Everybody Loves Somebody” by Dean Martin


2. “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles


3. “My Way” by Frank Sinatra


4. “Daydream Believer” by The Monkees


5. “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by The Beach Boys


6. “Like A Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan


7. “Walk On By” by Dionne Warwick


8. “Build Me Up Buttercup” by The Foundations


9. “Baby Love” by The Supremes


10. “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon And Garfunkel


These are only a few of the hits from the 60s. What did I leave out?


New York Opens Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex

Last week I headed to SoHo to visit the recently opened Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in New York — definitely the best money I’ve spent in a while. From walking throughout three rooms of exhibits to watching a video of some of rock’s biggest icons live in concert, not to mention an autograph room where each musician’s signature lights up on the wall as their music is being played from speakers, there was something to offer every music fan.

As my friends can attest, I love quotes. So, the live footage of some of my favorite rock legends — Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, James Brown, The Beatles, Aretha Franklin and more — was great, but even better were some of the quotes intertwined with each performance. Here are a few that stuck out for me:

“A live concert to me is exciting because of all the electricity that is generated in the crowd and on stage.” Elvis Presley

“Music has to breathe and sweat. You have to play it live.” James Brown

“The words are just as important as the music.” Bob Dylan

“Music makes me high on stage, and that’s the truth. It’s like being almost addicted to music.” Jimi Hendrix

After the video, everyone was ushered into the first of three galleries where we were given a set of headphones and hand-held audio guide to walk us through each area. With personal memorabilia from every band imaginable — from concert posters, numerous acoustic and electric guitars and clothing from many well-known musicians to Johnny Cash’s boots, Elvis Presley’s personal Bible with handwritten notes in the margins (the page on display read, “The Lord is the strength of my life he shall lead me.”), and Bruce Springsteen’s 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible (see below) there was so much to see!

The Doors, the Who, Metallica, Prince, Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Dylan — you name it, there was something to see from each band and musician. In addition to two rooms of band memorabilia, a third gallery focused solely on The Clash — complete with live concert footage and exclusive interviews as well as posters, tour outfits and band equipment.

Another interesting portion was reading notes to fans written by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones before they hit it big. One of my favorite parts of the exhibit was seeing handwritten lyrics to infamous songs like Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” Madonna’s “Express Yourself” and Billy Joel’s “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant.”

I highly recommend the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for anyone visiting New York. They have a special holiday reduced price until January 2nd which I took advantage of, but if you miss that, it’s still well worth seeing for any music lover. I hope I didn’t give away too much of the exhibit, but provided a glimpse of what it has to offer. Be sure to visit and let me know what your favorite exhibit is! For more information, check out the Web site here.

CD Reviews

Jakob Dylan Releases First Solo Album

Debuting your first solo album after nearly 20 successful years with the Wallflowers is no easy transition. Now add being Bob Dylan’s son to the mix and that leaves a large shadow in your wake, daring you to be different. With these two hurdles to jump over, it’s an accomplishment to have even tried.

Jakob opens Seeing Things singing, “It doesn’t always have a shape/Almost never does it have a name/It maybe has a pitchfork, maybe has a tail/But evil is alive and well” on track “Evil Is Alive and Well.” A simple song, both with acoustic guitar and Jakob’s deep and at times, raspy voice, the track encompasses what’s to be expected throughout the remainder of the album — a heavy, emotional album with little voice inflection or climax in guitar accompaniment.

While Seeing Things lacks the energy and power of a full band, the album isn’t all a journey into a brooding comatose. Songs such as “Something Good This Way” has a pop style and catchy chorus. With lyrics like, “Got my window open wide/Got a good woman by my side/This kind of day has no night/Ain’t got much on my mind/’Cause I know something good this way comes” the light guitar and soothing voice lightens up the album. The following track, “On Up the Mountain” is almost reminiscent of a lullaby, Jakob singing “You’ll get tired and you’ll get weak/But you won’t abandon your masterpiece/Off to sleep you’ll go.”

When it comes down to it, Jakob’s solo debut is mostly an acoustic album that doesn’t strongly showcase his guitar playing or lyrical writing. Seeing Things lacks the energy and strength of a band behind him, with no catchy choruses and few stand-out songs. While Jacob has the previous track record set with the Wallflowers, he needs a lot more to make the high jump into a solo career.

This is only my review of Jakob’s new album, I’d love to hear what you think. If you agree or disagree, feel free to leave me comments!
To listen to “Something Good This Way Comes” click here.
For more music, check out Jakob’s MySpace or Website.

Here’s a video of Jakob Dylan playing “Evil Is Alive and Well” live.