Saturday, May 29, 2010

My Nashville Vacation

On Thursday, May 13th, I flew to Nashville Tennessee as part of my vacation. After checking into my hotel and getting settled in I caught a cab to Mercy Lounge on Cannery Row. The Mercy Lounge is located above the Cannery Ballroom in Downtown Nashville.

As I stepped out of the cab I was met by my friends Brit Turner (drums) and Charlie Starr (lead vocalist/guitars) of Blackberry Smoke. After exchanging hellos and catching up on everything I was introduced to their "road guru" David. David kept me entertained with some amazing stories from his time on the road with Blackberry Smoke.

I than made my way up to Mercy Lounge to scope out the venue. The club features a good sized stage where the crowd is at eye level with the performers. The high ceilings and hardwood architecture really compliment the top notch PA system. The club is by far one of the best to catch a live show that I've ever been in as far as sound and the fact that there isn't a bad view in the house. I must also mention that everyone who works at Mercy Lounge are very friendly and accomidating. A top notch venue all the way around!!

Looking back, I can't think of a better way to ring in my birthday than by catching my buds in Blackberry Smoke tearing it up on stage. It was one helluva night to say the least and it began with former Shooter Jennings & The .357's guitarist Leroy Powell along with his band "The Messengers" opening up. Here is my review........


I've been a HUGE fan of Shooter Jennings since his days in Stargunn so I was more than aware of Leroy Powell but had no idea how he was as a solo artist. Was I ever in for a pleasant surprise. Backing up Leroy in "The Messengers" is Dean Tomasek on Bass & Scott Easley on Drums. The hard rockin' power trio hit the stage just after 8pm and delivered an hour long high energy set of Southern flavored rock ranging from ZZ Top-esque down n' dirty boogie to Jimi Hendrix inspired psychedelia. I'll definitely be keeping a closer eye on Leroy's solo career as well as purchasing his previous solo albums but first I must emmerse myself with his latest album with The Messengers entitled "Atlantis". Look for a review of it next week, until than check out Leroy at


I've been an avid follower of Blackberry Smoke since being introduced to them via an interview with Jesse James Dupree of Jackyl back in 2002. After many failed attempts at catching them live, I finally was able to see them when they opened up for ZZ Top in Wichita Kansas in September 2008. They surpassed my expectations that night! Fast forward to May 13th, 2010, and the fact that they would be playing into my birthday (14th) made the show that much better. It also marked the first time I'd seen them since Brandon Still came into the band to play piano and keyboards. I wasn't sure if a piano would positive or negative addition to the already stout brew that is Blackberry Smoke but I left loving what Brandon has added to the mix!


Blackberry Smoke hit the stage rippin' through a raucous version of the Bluegrass classic "Memphis Special" and rarely let up through the 17 song/90 minute set. The set included two newly written tracks, "One Horse Town" and "Everybody Knows She's Mine". They also did a cover of Willie Nelson's "Yesterday's Wine" which the band recently hit the studio with Jamey Johnson and George Jones to record for their upcoming re-re-release of their sophomore album 'Little piece Of Dixie', due out June 9th on BamaJam Records. A few of the highlights of the set for me was their medley of "Let A Sleeping Dog Lie" and the Allman Brothers classic "Midnight Rider", their rev'd up rendition of "Man Of Constant Sorrow" and the inclusion of, as I like to call it, MY LIFE STORY with "Son Of A Bourbon". I can never get enough of that song and it is that much better live!

The band are true road dogs. They average at least 200 shows a year around the globe. They're musically as tight as they come yet bust out some amazing free-form jams throughout their set. The past two weeks, their first single from their new album, "Good One Comin' On" has been the #1 on video on CMT's Pure 12 Pack Countdown. The fact these cats can write some amazing tunes and are not afraid to work their asses off for their love of music only insures this will be the first of many #1's to come their way.

Memphis Special
Like I Am
I'd Be Lyin'
Good One Comin' On
One Horse Town
Bottom Of This
Let A Sleeping Dog Lie/Midnight Rider
Up In Smoke
Sanctified Woman
Ain't Much Left Of Me
Everybody Knows She's Mine
Yesterday's Wine
Son Of A Bourbon
In A Livin' Hell
Man Of Constant Sorrow
Freedom Song



Look for Part Two of "My Nashville Vacation" Coming Up with all the news from the Richie Kotzen Guitar Clinic, RK concert, and my first time meeting Richie Kotzen with a 'special appearance' by JOHN CORABI!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

"When Moonshine and Dynamite Collide"
Album Review

Jesse James Dupree:Vocals & Guitars
Roman Glick:Bass
Jeff Worley:Guitars
Chris Worley:Drums

01. Loads Of Fun
02. I Can't Stop
03. She's Not A Drug
04. My Moonshine Kicks Your Cocaine's Ass
05. Get Mad At It
06. The Overflow Of Love
07. When Moonshine And Dynamite Collide
08. Just Like A Negro
09. Deeper In Darkness
10. Freight Train
11. Mercedes Benz
12. Full Throttle


Jesse James Dupree

Well, 'rock me... roll me... Jackyl me off'! Those crazy, long-haired, sleazy rockers from Atlanta are back with another 'goes to 11', balls to the wall album chocked full of all things dirteee (misspelling intentional, see their 1992 song "Dirty Little Mind" if you don't get it) and fun. So fire up that BBQ, grab a 12 pack of Pabst or a Mason jar of your best home brew, and sit back for a run through what I feel is the best album Jackyl has made to date.

We kick off this twelve song, forty minute slab of Southern hospitality with the appropriately named "Loads Of Fun". The song kicks into high gear from the get-go and never lets up. Complete with a stanky chugging riff and gang vocals, I can see this cut being the opener to a Jackyl live show in the very near future. While we are here, I have to wonder if someone wasn't getting in touch with their inner Chuck Berry during the solo? One thing I've always loved about Jackyl is the fact you know their songs are autobiographical, not only do they give you the blueprint to a good time but you know damn well these cats live it up if you've ever been to one of their shows. Which brings us to "I Can't Stop", another party inducing anthem that carries on that tradition. "She's Not A Drug", the first video released from this CD, and "My Moonshine Kicks Your Cocaine's Ass" have both been available via the band's MySpace page for awhile now. The later has been a staple of Jackyl's live shows for a few years and is a barn burner. Chris Worley's breakneck drumming sets the pace for the song and it never lets up. "Get Mad At It" finds Roman Glick laying down a sweet groove throughout while Jeff Worley rips one hell of a solo -- I can envision this track making a very nice stripper anthem. "The Overflow Of Love" continues the long Jackyl tradition of celebrating all the things we love about the female species.

I was really thrown a curveball when the title track came out of the speakers, as I fully expected a song with a name like that to be a hyper frenetic hell-raiser of epic proportions -- however it is an introspective and mellower piece complete with a soulful guitar solo. But don't dare call it a ballad even though I can picture the crowd turning the venue into a Bon Jovi video with Zippos ablaze when it is played live. "Just Like A Negro" is sure to raise some eyebrows because of its title, and I can even see some idiots trying to claim that since Jackyl is from the South that they're being racist, but if that were to happen it would prove their ignorance as this one is actually a cover of a song by the multi-racial band Mother's Finest. Jesse James Dupree adds his stamp to this rocker which is a sweet grooved lil' ditty -- and it too has been a staple of the live show over the last few years.

The highlight of When Moonshine And Dynamite Collide, for me, comes with the inclusion of "Deeper In Darkness". This song first graced my ear drums when I saw Jackyl back in 1994 and it also made an appearance on their 1996 import-only live album Night Of The Living Dead. The band FINALLY laid down a studio version and it lives up to all my expectations -- I guess sixteen years was worth the wait. "Freight Train" picks the pace back up like a Moonshine fueled locomotive screaming down the tracks with Jesse James Dupree's hands free of the controls. Up next sees the second cover from this helping of Southern sleaze rock with an odd choice in Janis Joplin's "Mercedes Benz" -- clocking in at 1:39, this rendition finds Jesse, dare I say, singing a-cappella. This CD ends, appropriately enough, "Full Throttle", which is a nice tie-in/plug for Jesse's TV show that airs on Tru TV, and it makes for an even better song which is saying a lot considering I love the hell outta that show. This cut is for all of those who like to 'put it in the wind' as Jesse says.

Jackyl, in my opinion, have never sounded better all the way around. This is, without a doubt, a result of being the road dogs they are -- on stage is where these guys are at home, but it was nice that they took the time to hit the studio as their last effort, Relentless, appeared back in 2002. When Moonshine And Dynamite Collide showcases the band doing what they do best, writing anthemic, hook-laden songs to make you forget about everything but having a good time. As always, the band really has a fire under their ass to provide you with the soundtrack to life's party and with this CD they do not disappoint. I can't wait to see them live again on June 3rd in Wichita, Kansas.

In closing, all I have to say is 'Puh-Pow' and crank this mofo all the way up!

left to right:
Roman Glick, Jesse James Dupree, Chris and Jeff Worley