Blues Music, Dedication, and Drive: Murali Coryell

murali coryell 3By Emily Edelman

Murali Coryell has been on my radar a long time. I spent a few years working for a radio station that played a lot of local artists and the music of Murali Coryell, who hails from the Hudson Valley, NY, was frequently spun. Later on I worked with and eventually hosted a locally produced and nationally syndicated radio show and, when I would create a blues music set for it, I would often work in a Murali Coryell tune.

What I remember about Murali Coryell from those days is that he was an extremely hard-working musician. He booked all of his own shows and did all of his own promotion. I think you can hear a performer’s dedication to their craft woven throughout their music. When someone is that involved with every aspect of their business, the devotion shines out from every corner of it.

Talent is, of course, the first thing the public notices about a musician and Murali Coryell—with his soulful voice, masterful guitar work, and powerful songwriting—certainly has plenty. I do love to see a musician’s diligence work out in their favor; I (and you, too) will be able to take in the energy and enthusiasm of Murali Coryell at Infinity Hall on September 29.
Buy Tickets:http://www.infinityhall.com/events/murali-coryell-w-special-guest-mojo-myles-mancuso/

The BoDeans

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By: Emily Edelman

When I was a teenager, I spent a lot of time browsing in my local record stores. I liked rummaging around in the sale bins because there were usually a lot of obscure independent releases to be found. I remember once picking up a compilation CD that looked interesting. I bought it because of the Violent Femmes track it included; I wasn’t familiar with most of the other bands on the disc. That CD quickly became, and still remains, one of my favorite compilation albums. And as much as I liked the song I bought the record for, the track I played over and over the most was “Good Things” by the BoDeans.

I hadn’t known about the BoDeans before first hearing “Good Things,” and it was many years later that I finally listened to more of the band’s music. I didn’t watch much television as a teen so I had no idea that the band that performed one of my very favorite tunes was also responsible for the theme song of a popular show. I’ve been a big fan of 1980s music since my early 20s but was somehow unaware until very recently that a song I’m quite fond of, called “Fadeaway,” is a BoDeans track.

I like how BoDeans tunes have popped up at different intervals through out my life. The band has undergone several personnel changes over the years but is still quite active and I appreciate that the BoDeans’ current, more roots-infused sound is still recognizable to me.

The BoDeans will perform at Infinity Hall on September 28. Tickets are still available here.

Toad the Wet Sprocket

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By Emily Edelman

When I was first starting to pay attention to the radio in the early 1990s, Toad the Wet Sprocket was all over it. I took to the music quickly enough, but what I really liked about the band was its name. I had discovered the British comedy troupe Monty Python at a fairly young age and I was delighted by the fact that someone would choose to name a band after a fictional one mentioned in a comedy sketch. Whenever I met another person who recognized the significance of Toad the Wet Sprocket’s name, I knew I had an instant friend.

Toad the Wet Sprocket defined 1990s radio for me and I was upset when the band split up in 1998. The members regrouped sporadically in the years that followed, got together for a few mini tours, and released a couple of compilation albums. Finally the band decided that the time was right to officially reform and record some fresh songs; its first album of new material in about 15 years, New Constellation, is set to be released next month.

On September 22 Toad the Wet Sprocket will perform at Infinity Hall. Of course I love the hits I remember from my adolescence, but I can’t wait to hear the new tunes (and maybe a few more Monty Python references).

Buy Tickets:http://www.infinityhall.com/events/toad-the-wet-sprocket-2/

Poster by Jon Riedeman

Willie Nile: Time and Patience Equal Well-Deserved Reward

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By Emily Edelman

I remember when Willie Nile’s Streets of New York album came out. It was 2006 and I was working for a radio station that was playing the single from it called “Best Friends Money Can Buy,” an upbeat, pop-influenced tune with somewhat cynical lyrics. I loved the song and was excited to hear more from a great new artist. As I found out later, Willie Nile wasn’t exactly a new artist; he’d been singing and recording for about 25 years at that point but, due to a string of record company mishaps and bad luck, hadn’t been able to reach as wide an audience as he might have liked.

Since Streets of New York, Willie Nile’s career has turned like it ought to have done years ago. He’s played with and had his talents recognized by many of his more well known musical peers, and has lately been touring and playing to enthusiastic crowds across the country and in Europe. He released a new album earlier this year, and it’s filled with energetic rock songs that fit perfectly into the post-punk/pub rock section of my record library.

Willie Nile’s upcoming September 19 performance at Infinity Hall is one I’ve been looking forward to since I found out about it a couple of months ago. I’m excited to get to listen in person to his smart lyrics and bold tunes, and I love to watch an artist’s dedication to the craft finally pay off.

Opening for Willie Nile will be North Canaan, CT singer/songwriter Jason Tindall, winner of the most recent Infinity Hall Open Mic Big Stage Competition.

Buy Tickets: http://www.infinityhall.com/

Martin Sexton

By Emily Edelman

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Not long ago I took a little informal poll of some of my singer-songwriter friends, asking them which current performing songwriters had most influenced their writing and playing styles. As you can imagine, the answers I received were varied and plenty, but one particular artist was mentioned more than any other: Martin Sexton. After his name had been raised about three times, I started asking my friends what it was about Martin Sexton that had been so influential, and the answers to that question were also many. No one could settle on one favorite Martin Sexton-penned song, either.

I have heard Martin Sexton described as a musician’s musician. I’ve never been completely sure what that phrase is supposed to mean, but I’ve come up with my own definition: a musician’s musician is someone who plays the way everyone else wants to play; writes the songs everyone wishes they’d written; is funny, engaging, and endearing on stage; and is successful and happy in a musical career.

I was recently discussing with one of my aforementioned friends Martin Sexton’s upcoming September 14 performance at Infinity Hall. “You’re going, right?” she said. “You have to. It’ll end up on your list of favorite-ever shows.”

Martin Sexton is almost sold out, but there are a few tickets left: http://www.infinityhall.com/events/martin-sexton/

Folk Music Legend Tom Rush

tom_rush1By Emily Edelman

In 1982 Midge Ure, frontman for the New Wave band Ultravox, recorded a cover of Tom Rush’s classic song “No Regrets.” That version was my first encounter with Tom Rush’s music. I didn’t know at the time that the song was a cover and, when I discovered it was, I was impressed by how well it translated into the New Wave genre. “No Regrets” has been covered many times before and since, and I am always struck by the way it seamlessly melds into whichever style the covering artist chooses.

I feel I should have known who Tom Rush was long before I did. I started to really pay attention to music in the mid-1990s, and I was most drawn toward contemporary folk. I was listening to artists such as Nanci Griffith, Marc Cohn, and Shawn Colvin, who all have a connection to Tom Rush so I ought to have at least heard of him. But I had not. At that time I was also becoming appreciative of some of my parents’ favorite folk artists–Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, and James Taylor–artists whose work was covered by Tom Rush thus helping them become well-known early in their careers. But still I did not know who he was.

These days I have a much better sense of Tom Rush’s music, his lengthy career, and his substantial contribution to folk music. I have read that Tom Rush is also a fantastic performer to see live in that he weaves stories and audience interaction throughout his show. On September 12 Tom Rush will once again grace the Infinity Hall stage, which should be a good opportunity for those of us who missed out on him for so long to make up for it.

Buy Tickets:  http://www.infinityhall.com/events/tom-rush/

 

 

Blues-Inspired Rock and Contemplative Lyrics: The Delta Saints

the-delta-saints-1-600x400By Emily Edelman

When listening to an album for the first time, I usually begin, not with the first song, but with the title track if there is one; I like to know what it is about that song that caused the band to define the whole album by it. I listened to the title song from the new record Death Letter Jubilee by the Delta Saints four times in a row before being able to decide that I liked it. The song is loud, rocking, and upbeat with a prominently placed harmonica and memorable refrain. The lyrics are a little uncomfortable, though, as they recount how it feels to be pleased by someone’s death.

Like most people I don’t particularly enjoy feeling uncomfortable, but I do appreciate when a song does something unexpected. Death Letter Jubilee, though very different from what might normally catch the ear of a listener, is intriguing to me because of that. I appreciate that the band took a risk with the subject matter and am glad that risk ended up as a contemplative, powerful, and very catchy tune. And the rest of the record is also worth listening to, as it’s filled with blues-infused instrumentation and thoughtful lyrics.

The Delta Saints formed six years ago when the members met as college students in Nashville. They come from varied musical backgrounds, but southern rock, blues, and bluegrass seem to be driving forces, as is evidenced by the inclusion of the dobro and aforementioned harmonica as two of the band’s core instruments. The Delta Saints tour more or less incessantly, playing over 200 dates per year, which gives them plenty of time to discover what works with a crowd.

I see a lot of live music, but I’m definitely looking forward to the Delta Saints’ performance at Infinity Hall opening for Taj Mahal on February 12. The band has done something with its music that I’m not used to and I want to hear more.

Buy Tickets: http://www.infinityhall.com/events/taj-mahal-2/