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Midwest Rhythm & Blues Revue: Show Preview and Interview

Where: The Blue Note

When: Saturday, March 11. Doors 7:30 | Show 8:30

Tickets: $7

Featured local artists: Jenny Teator , Aina Cook, Ben Hinkebein, Danielle Nicole Band (formerly of Trampled Under Foot), and the The Flood Brothers.

The nine-piece soul, rhythm and blues band known as Al Holliday & the East Side Rhythm Band will be bringing funk and soul from their home of the blues by the Mississippi River to The Blue Note’s stage. They’ll be joined by some of the hottest young singers from Mid-Missouri, St. Louis and Kansas City in a revue-style performance.

What is a revue? You may ask. Simply put, it’s a performance consisting of several musical acts that lead up to a headliner, like Al Holliday & the East Side Rhythm Band.

Al Holliday came to Pat Kay, our regional talent buyer at The Blue Note and Rose Music Hall, with this revue concert in mind. In case it wasn’t obvious, we focus on amazing live music, and this concept concert definitely fell into that category. Holliday has never performed in a revue-style concert with his band but he is “So looking forward to working with my fellow artists, my good friends and the band to bring some really special arrangements of their original music.”

“We want it to be unique. From downbeat to encore, we want it to be something special, something that only happens once a year,” Kay says.

Holliday is quite the singer and quite the character. His enthusiasm for his craft makes “soul” a very fitting name for the type of music he creates, which he describes as “Mississippi River soul music.”

Holliday says that in St. Louis, “We all really dig New Orleans R&B and think of them as some kind of sister city.” The New Orleans feel worked its way into their music with a loose, funky feel.

Holliday lives, eats and breathes this Motown, funky, soulful generation of music. He says one of his main inspirations is Tina Turner, but he’s “Not talking about that “What’s Love Got To Do with It” Tina.” Other inspirations include The Band, Bob Dylan, Leon Russell, Gil Scot-Heron, D’angelo and Allen Toussaint.

Shows like this help connect the last resurgence of this kind of music to the modern version that is played today. This playlist illustrates this concept of connecting then and now.

Holliday is an eccentric personality with a lot of faith in music and even more faith in the people that listen to it. He says his fans are the type of people that keep it real and “go hard ‘af.’”

Although Al Holliday and his “nine-piece soul R&B warrior tribe,” as he refers to them, play all the time, you won’t see them any other time in this format. The same goes for the rest of the talented singers that will be joining him on the stage.

In preparation for the show, Holliday had the East Side Rhythm Band learn the charts for all of the different singers that will be performing. Doing this requires a lot of work on their part, but it allows the show to have a backing band and switch between band leaders on a dime.

In addition to bringing inspiration and passion to their music, Al Holliday & the East Side Rhythm Band send a message. Holliday describes this message as, “Love, baby. Soul f*cking power. Strength. Community. The feeling that life will sometimes kick you in the head but it can’t overpower these things.” I know we all could use a little more love and soul power in our lives these days.

“If you like real music in your community, if you like funky music, if you are alive in the world today, this is a show you do not want to miss,” Holliday says. We couldn’t agree more.

So get your funky, soul-loving, groovin’ booty down to The Note for one of the most creative events this year.

This post was written by Erin Curry, contributing writer for The Blue Note and Rose Blog. 


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Show Recap: Q&A with Kurt Vile

On Monday, April 11, indie darling Kurt Vile brought his signature lo-fi sound to The Blue Note for a crowd-pleasing set that began with “Dust Bunnies” and ended with “Peeping Tomboy” and “Wild Imagination.” Before he took the stage, I sat down with the “pretty pimpin’” singer-songwriter to talk about touring and some of his latest obsessions.

DR: Describe the ups and downs of touring

KV: Ideally [the best parts of touring are] a killer show and the adrenaline high post-show. Sometimes we’ll be on a roll and other times there’s technical difficulties, but for the most part we’re pretty tight these days. That’s obviously the most rewarding thing: people coming out, seeing fans, you know.

I think after a while you just get exhausted. I’m pretty exhausted right now. I get real healthy when I go home, and I get gung-ho about staying healthy on tour, but even just general eating is hard. I get pretty burnt out, but then it goes away. You’re happy to be home but eventually you want the rush back. You went to get back out on the stage.

DR: What do you do to kill time on the bus?

KV: Some people in my band are couch potatoes, so there tends to always be a movie on or you know, music, reading books, whatever really. Bullshit.

DR: Are you reading anything right now?

KV: “Lost Highway.” [It’s] about a bunch of roots-y, country and rock n roll artists like Ernest Tubb, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Elvis, Charlie Feathers, etc. These days I like to always have a book – sometimes I’m super obsessive and I plow through tons of books, right now I’m a little slower. When I’m home and relaxing, that’s a way that keeps me excited about music in general, like whatever my latest obsession is. Like George Jones [for example]; I read his autobiography, and the next thing you know I printed out like 10 shirts of a hilarious photo of him next to the Easter Bunny during his time when he was with Tammy Wynette. Just little things like that get me pumped.

DR: What are some of your latest obsessions?

KV: Certain country music for sure. I just picked up these records here [in Columbia]: original Mickey Newbury albums, Kitty Wells, a super early country lady; Bobby Fuller, George Jones and Charlie Feathers. I like early roots rock. I’m even into Elvis, I like the idea [of him] and Jerry Lee Lewis; all the original staples, and the the freakier the personality they had, the better. That’s why I say I like Elvis – sure he had a dark side, but he was like the nicer version of someone like Jerry Lee Lewis. I’m definitely on like the roots of rock and roll, country kind of kick.

DR: Are you currently working on anything new?

KV: I’ve written tons of songs. I just lost this notebook on the road that mapped out my next album, but I remember most of it. It was really just a bunch of bullshit notes about country music I should be listening to, but I kind of know what I’m doing anyways. The album before, I was putting everything in the notes in my phone and I got really annoyed because I would see all these other things [on my phone] and forget what I was doing, so I had this little notebook, but then I put it through the wash. When we dried it all off and put it in these little plastic things, my tour manager Craig said it looked like the Dead Sea Scrolls. [Shortly after] I just stonerly-mindedly lost it somewhere.

Kurt Vile tracks you need on your playlist RN:

  • “Wild Imagination”
  • “Pretty Pimpin” with Kurt Vile
  • “All in a Daze Work” with Kurt Vile

Listen to Vile’s newest album, b’lieve I’m goin down, here:      https://open.spotify.com/album/2uRTsStAmo7Z2UwCIvuwMv

This post was written by Danny Rosenberg, contributing writer for The Blue Note and Rose.


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Q&A: Houndmouth is back on the road

Houndmouth has earned themselves a spot in the limelight. From their start in the small Indiana city of New Albany, the band has blown up and is now headlining festivals and selling out shows on a national tour.

Their most recent album, “Little Neon Limelight” includes their hit single “Sedona” and is great in its entirety. It’s hard to pick favorites but “Otis,” “Black Gold,” “For No One,” “By God” and “Darlin'” are some of mine. The hook of “My Cousin Greg” always comes to mind when I think of the album. “If you wanna live the good life / Well, you better stay away from the limelight.” Regardless of their newfound fame and the departure of the bands former vocalist and keyboardist Katie Toupin, Houndmouth still seems to be living the good life.

Houndmouth is composed of Matt Myers (guitar, vocals), Zak Appleby (bass, vocals) and Shane Cody (drums, vocals). Accompanying them on the tour are Caleb Hickman on the keys and Graeme Gardiner and Drew Miller on the horns.

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Q&A with Matt Myers and Zak Appleby

It’s just the beginning, but how is the tour going so far? 

Zak: Really well. We just added a horn section which is super fun. We have Caleb Hickman playing really intricate stuff and he’s super good.

I know Katie Toupin parted from the band recently. Did you add new members for the tour and how has that been? 

Zak: We’re touring as six-piece band. We didn’t decide to cancel the tour. So we have Caleb Hickman, Graeme Gardiner and Drew Miller. It’s been really good; the shows have been great. They’re all into jazz and they’ve just been blowing my mind and showing us new stuff every night…With a female vocalist, there’s a range that’s very high and it comes out of the chest and it’s powerful, so now we’re either doing some falsetto stuff or pushing really hard to get the highs.

How did you find them?

Matt: I was at home over break and did a David Bowie tribute show and they had Drew and Grahm doing horns with them. And then Zak and I also did a Neil Young song at the Brown Theater and they came out and just hopped in and did some back solos over his music.

Will they be on the next album?

Matt: We haven’t thought that far ahead yet. It’s kind of up in the air right now.

Zak: Yeah, I mean everything’s kind of subject to change. We would like to have them on all the time, really dependent on schedule. But this is definitely something we love and want to keep doing with them.

What festivals this summer are you the most excited for?

Zak: Shakey Knees. We’re always pumped to play that…and Lolla.

Matt: I don’t know what festivals we’re going to yet.

Zak: We think like maybe three days ahead.

Do you have plans for new music yet?

Matt: Yeah, we’ve got some stuff in the works. We don’t have a set time we’re gonna go in the studio.

Zak: We’re doing new material right now…just in the process of writing stuff. It’ll just take some time.

What festivals this summer are you the most excited for?

Zak: Shakey Knees. We’re always pumped to play that and Lolla.

Matt: I don’t know what festivals we’re going to yet.

Zak: We think like maybe three days ahead.

How have you chosen bands to open for your shows?

Zak: People will throw in bands for us to listen to. And the last few tours, the bands that have opened for us have been totally new to touring and they just come on with us and get thrown into it. It’s really fun to see. I remember when we started and hadn’t toured before and met up with a band and were like, “What do we do?”

Matt: We try to take care of them real well…It’s hard opening and we did it for a long time. You don’t get to sleep overnight so you pack up after the show and drive two hours, sleep for two hours and then drive another 8 hours. It’s insane.

What is your favorite part of touring?

Matt: I’m gonna go with breakfast…Brekkie.

This post was written by Cameron Evans, contributing writer for The Blue Note and Rose Blog.