Live Review: Sublime Tribute Band Wrong Way with The Taj Motel Trio at Smith’s Olde Bar

Photos by Stephanie Heath (Facebook/Instagram) – Gallery Found Below

On August 17th Smith’s Olde Bar was bustling with the usual bar flies and concert goers that were partaking in their decompression from a stressful work week. Small hurdles of people crowded the stoop, getting their nicotine and breath of fresh air between shots and sets. Friends gathered around tables of libations, trading conversations of their weekly plights. Patrons were already queueing up to enter Smith’s iconic Music Room before the doors were even open for the night. And there was just cause for this pile up of music enthusiasts. Slated to play that night were Georgia’s own Wrong Way, a seasoned tribute band to Sublime,  and The Taj Motel Trio, a ska band slated to play at this year’s DragonCon.

After attendees got lubed up on drinks and conversation, the curtains in the Music Room drew back to reveal the first act of the night, The Taj Motel Trio. A band hailing from Habersham County, these guys are comprised of the standard trio of a vocalist and guitarist, bassist, and drummer but with the addition of two trumpets, two trombones, and a baritone sax. These guys boast the largest brass section I have even seen in a ska band. And if you didn’t notice, The Taj Motel Trio is not a trio, as their name comes from an inside joke with roots in the band’s hometown. However, names and jokes aside, these guys are the real deal when it comes to performing. Although they are stacked on the brass side, The Taj Motel Trio played a balanced set between all their musicians, with each member of the band given a chance at the spotlight.  Their songs had strong brass intros with harmonies that were sweet on the ears followed by wicked guitar melodies paired with an aligned drum and bass beat. On top of the technical expertise of the band to create a full sound, they show their nerdy side with what they sing about, including video games and Star Wars, with one of their songs literally called “Vader”. Overall, The Taj Motel Trio has the charisma and energy that embodies the spirit of ska music. I give a heavy stamp of approval and look forward to their debut at this year’s Dragon Con.

To continue the night, Atlanta’s own Wrong Way took to the stage with a cool vibe that holds true to their inspiration for their music, Sublime. A classic three piece act, with their lead guitarist on vocals, the band instantly stole the spotlight from the moment the curtains were drawn back, revealing a packed house. This being Wrong Way’s first show in Atlanta in a good while, as the band is constantly touring the southeast, the crowd in attendance really was a testament to the talent behind the band. Each musician had distinct melodies you could pick out in each of their songs that came together in a dovetail of pure delight to the ears. Their drummer has a timeshare in the pocket that he checked into from the first song of the night. He both held the set down and played around with complex melodies to give his drumming more character, something only seen with true masters of the kit. Wrong Way’s bassist kept it real with his impeccable taste in rhythmic beats that rock the soul. His groove could not be derailed by anything other than the occasional sip of a beer to keep his playing loose. The band’s front man guitarist, the last piece of this puzzle that forms a picture of true talent, killed it with his showmanship not to mention his talent on vocals or on guitar. He truly does Sublime’s original front man Brad Nowell justice allowing him to rest easy knowing Wrong Way does his music right. The band played through a full set that consisted of fan favorites of Sublime such as “Santeria” and “Smoke Two Joints” that got the entire venue up in a sing-a-long and even an acoustic break in the middle where their front man got intimate with the audience. Each song had the crowd up in a dance party even with some flow art involved. It was a truly uplifting vibe all around, which is a mark of true connection between a band and it’s audience. Finishing out the night with “Caress Me Down” there was only a room of smiles remaining with the occasional cheering from a patron for more. Wrong Way is definitely a band not to miss if you are looking to get your fix on some good music.

Smith’s Music Room once again hosted some of the best musicians and music fans of today’s scene. As this was my first time visiting this magical venue, I look forward to the next show I catch here, and the next 20 or more after that.

Photo Gallery – Taj Motel Trio

 

Photo Gallery – Wrong Way

Live Review: Hush Money, Magnolia Moon, and Whiskey Tango at Smith’s Olde Bar

Photos by Tori Radcliffe (Gallery at the Bottom)

The evening of August 15th hosted a slew of events in Atlanta that pulled people out of their weekly routines to venture out into the city. Dave Chappelle was in town causing a ruckus of laughter as is his style. Evanescence and Lindsey Stirling were also gracing Atlanta with their talents in a joint tour. However, the right place to be was at Smith’s Olde Bar for their showcase of some of Georgia’s own rock and roll acts. The lineup, consisting of Hush Money, Magnolia Moon, and Whiskey Tango, brought down the house as each band put years of practice into action to entertain their fans. Even some of the usual barflies drifted over to Smith’s venue to witness the talent that took the stage that night.  

First up was Hush Money, a band hailing from Ellijay. These guys played some solid hard southern rock and really showcased their talents in their performance. Hush Money is your classic four-piece band with two guitarists, a bassist with a five string bass, something that adds extra depth to their music, and a drummer. However, they don’t just have one lead singer, as that would be too dull for these good old boys. During their set, the band switched between their two guitarists and drummer taking the vocals on different songs. Yes, Hush Money has three lead singers, each with a different register. These guys are definitely a band to check out as they bring their unique multitude of talents to the Georgia music scene.

Next up for the night was Magnolia Moon, another four-piece band that graced us with their presence all the way from Macon. On first look, these guys have a very southern appearance with the expectation of possibly some country or light southern rock, but Magnolia Moon is anything but light. These guys hold true to their tagline of “grit, soul, and rock ‘n’ roll” with their wicked sound of true southern rock. Imagine if Hendrix and Lynyrd Skynyrd had a baby and you might get close to the mind-blowing music of this band. Their entire performance I had a breakout of goosebumps all over, unable to turn my attention anywhere but at Magnolia Moon. Their frontman and lead guitarist Zack Horton really owns the stage when he plays. With his band behind him, these guys are going places.  As it was their first time playing at Smith’s Olde Bar, I am really looking forward to them coming back to Atlanta. At the very least I want a taste of their cover of “War Pigs” as it would give Ozzy a run for his money.

Closing out the night was Canton’s own Whiskey Tango, yet another four-piece band that is hard to nail down just what they are. To take a stab at it, they are a glam-punk-southern rock band that puts the show in showmanship. Their lead vocalist/guitarist came out on stage to an intro by his bandmates dressed in an open-front purple leotard with a stylish coat. But instead of the standard glam 80s rock sound to match this glorious introduction, Whiskey Tango went right into their set that was brimming with savage guitar riffs, stage dives, behind-the-head guitar playing, and even a backflip. The energy they put off well exceeded the needed quota for the night as the crowd kept their attention on the stage for the next antics the band would get into. And overall, Whiskey Tango looked like they were having a blast up on stage, like the band equivalent of when your favorite song comes on the car radio and you break out in a small musical number. They even threw in a cover of “Under Pressure” that got the entire venue involved in a sing-a-long. Whiskey Tango is truly an experience, not just a band, that you have to witness in person.

Photo Gallery – Magnolia Moon & Whiskey Tango

Paul Durham acoustic show at Smith’s Olde Bar Jan. 10

Paul Durham, of alternative rock band Black Lab, made a stop in Atlanta on Jan. 10, playing an intimate acoustic show at Smith’s Olde Bar. Durham, who has breathed new life into his band with the release of latest album A Raven Has My Heart, greeted his fans as if they were old friends before taking the stage with only his guitar and voice.

Durham began the set with “Tomorrow,” a song, fittingly, from the acoustic album Unplugged. The small room was filled with his commanding and haunting vocals, despite the inevitable noise from the band playing above him. But Durham’s fans only had eyes (and ears) for him, their cheers and screams effectively drowning out the noise as Durham continued with “Wash It Away,” Black Lab’s first radio hit from 1997’s Your Body Above Me.

Durham took a moment to tell the audience that the night’s performance was dedicated to the loss of a loved one, and that most of the songs he would be playing were originally written for her, before beginning the stunningly beautiful “Love to Love You,” from 2010’s Two Strangers. “Time Ago,” “Ghost In Your Mind,” and “Fall (Shadows and Blinds)” continued the set. One look around the room was proof of the raw emotion Durham is able to achieve in his music, that emotion mirrored on many faces in the crowd.

Though A Raven Has My Heart is a highly electronic album, Durham was able to reinvent several songs acoustically such as “Unfamiliar Sky,” “Gravity,” and “Further,” before bringing it back to 2007’s Passion Leaves A Trace, with “This Night” and “Mine Again.”

Durham left his devoted fans wanting more and he’d hardly stepped from the stage before the crowd coaxed him back out for an encore. “Circus Lights,” from 2005’s See The Sun, seemed to be the perfect choice, with everyone in the room singing back every word.

Live Review: Flow Tribe

I am the type of strange, southern female that you hear about that doesn’t care about organized fighting a.k.a. football a.k.a. every time I look up at the television men in sports pads are standing around doing nothing a.k.a. what ruins my friendships every fall. So, last Saturday I ditched my top-tier football loving friend group to go to a concert with a former coworker.  I’m going to tell you right now, I made the right decision.

Flow Tribe’s website states:

“Straight out of New Orleans and into your earholes, Flow Tribe comes at you with the delicacy of a sledgehammer. They create ‘backbone cracking music,’ a soul shaking mixture of styles and sounds guaranteed to drive you wild. These are 6 seasoned performers who have shared the stage with the likes of Trombone Shorty, Juvenile, and BIll Summers just to name a few. A relentlessly touring band that plays major venues and festivals around the country bringing with them a heat and passion best described as ‘bizarrely irresistible.’”

That is a statement I agree with because I witnessed it first hand.

The band is six piece male Funk/Rock/Psychedelic/Blues infusion and the band’s amazing performance got the crowd moving at Smith’s Olde Bar.  It played a slew of its original funk tunes, as well as popular cover songs everyone already knew.

 

 

Among its cover songs, Flow Tribe performed “Jump in Line (Shake, Shake Senora),”  the song Winona Ryder was seen getting funky to at the end of “Beetlejuice” and Juvenile’s “Back That Azz up.” The latter of which was rapped successfully by the keyboard and washboard player and got all the white people (including myself) shaking what their mamas gave them on the dance floor.  I also should mention that washboard/keyboardist also had some crazy dance moves.  In fact, the entire band could be on “Darrin’s Dance Grooves 31” as the soundtrack and back up dancers if the band were inclined to do so.  So Darrin, if you’re reading this, you should team up with Flow Tribe.

I had so much fun.

For more information about Flow Tribe and to purchase the albums visit Flow Tribe’s website, like the band on Facebook  and follow the band on Twitter .

Interview with Country Sweetheart Brynn Marie

Brynn Marie

Brynn Marie

 

 

Interview by Danielle Boise Photos by Chuck Holloway

 

Growing up in a musical family, it was no surprise the Brynn Marie decided that life, either out on the road or in the recording studio would be the life for this country sweetheart. Brynn Marie took a little time out of her hectic schedule to talk with Target Audience Magazine about her musical aspirations, life on the road and what it means to be an independent artist in the mecca of country, Music City.

 

What inspired you to enter the music industry?

 

My love for music and performing. I was raised in a musical family. I started playing the violin at a very young age and by the time I was 18, I was playing in a band all around my hometown. A few years later, with words of advice from my Gram, I decided to move to Nashville to pursue my dreams.

 

There is a bit of grit and no-nonsense in your music, like with “Just Like That,” the sass of “Bandaid on a Bullet Hole, while “Hung on the Line” (with Ford Thurston) has such a sexy, earthy quality to the song – it shows the diversity in your work. Can you in your own words describe the sound of your music and where you want to go with it?

 

I connect to songs and write songs that I can relate to first and foremost. I love incorporating the rock-ish grit of a guitar, but I do love the traditional country elements like a banjo, steel and fiddle in my music. That truly defines me. It takes a piece of everything that I grew to love and turns it into my own.

 

 

How is it working in Nashville while being an independent artist?

It can be tough. There are many talented people that have moved to Nashville to reach for the same goals. It’s great to be surrounded by all kinds of talented musicians, it pushes you harder, but you do need to stand out, be true to yourself and be original.

 

How is it being an independent artist and trying to get your music out to the masses? What have you found to be the platform that works best for you to connect with your fans and have your voice heard?

 

I think it’s somewhat easier to get your music out there as an independent artist. There are so many ways to do it, the only problem to that is everyone is doing the same thing. I’ve been lucky enough to tour a lot and travel. I feel like you can only go so far pushing your music online. It’s being on the road that has helped me a ton. I’ve been able to travel all over the country and meet the fans, talk with the fans and play my music for them.

 

You’ve already have logged an impressive amount of live performances; how was it being on tour with the likes of Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo? What did you take away from that experience?

 

2013 really was a fun year. I traveled everywhere! I think it was almost 90 shows, which is a lot for an independent artist. Touring with Pat & Neil was a learning experience that I will never forget. It was an education that you can’t buy. I mean I got to watch Pat & Neil do their thing every night from the side of the stage after my performance and I learned so much by just watching them connect with the fans through their live show. It taught me how fans become dedicated to an artist and how important it is for an artist to embrace that.

 

What is your favorite song to sing live?

My favorite song to sing live is “I’m Sorry.” I get lost when I sing that song. It’s a moment in my show where it seems everything just goes away in my mind. I get so focused in on that song vocally and emotionally and it shows in my performance.

 

When will you head into studio to work on new material?

I’ve been writing a ton of new songs. I’ve been lucky enough to start writing with some of the great writers in Nashville. There have been a few songs I’ve been playing out live for over a year that hasn’t been recorded yet. I love testing new material on  a crowd first, before I record it. I wanna make sure the fans connect with the music and lyric.

 

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned so far?

 

Stay true to yourself and always work hard.

 

What do you foresee for 2014?

A lot of touring and traveling. I wanna do more than last year. I’d love to get new music out to the fans this year as well. It’s an open road ahead and I’m excited for it.

 

Photos of Brynn Marie from an intimate performance at Smith’s Olde Bar on January 26 by Chuck Holloway.

 

Boo Ray, Lowland Hum & The Last Tycoon at Smith’s Olde Bar on Aug 22

LowlandHum

 

Review by Alex Moore

 

Varying playing styles and genres kept the show from growing stale through each of the three performances at Smith’s Olde Bar on Thursday, Aug. 22, as The Last Tycoon, Lowland Hum and Boo Ray took the stage, offering a stark but welcome contrast.

 

Rock-blues fusion group The Last Tycoon opened the show, providing an energetic start to the evening. The duo’s style proved simplistic but effective, as the minimalist aspect kept the focus on the lyrics and vocals. Vocalist John Gladwin’s skill as a songwriter quickly surfaced as, “Ballad of the Bloodstained Bible” and “Independence Day” delved into personal subject matter without sacrificing memorable melodies. The duo didn’t seem afraid of off-the-cuff experimentation, making song adjustments seemingly on the fly, such as their impromptu rendition of The White Stripes’ cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.”

 

Next was North Carolina folk duo Lowland Hum, who adorned the stage with a handmade cloth banner recreation of their Native Air album cover. Even before the set began, it became apparent that Lowland Hum is a group meant to be experienced live, as the visuals shared equal importance with the music. Lauren Goan’s crystal-clear vocals sounded even better in a live environment than on record, particularly on, “Albatross,” “Twine,” and the group’s first single, “War is Over,” as her husband Daniel strummed along on his guitar. The duo’s creative approach to performing, such as offering the audience lyric booklets, set the group aside from many of their modern day peers. It is precisely this unique DIY style and creativity that will undoubtedly spell success for Lowland Hum in the future.

 

Finally, Tennessee’s Boo Ray offered a country twist to the folk overtones of the evening. Before beginning the set, the namesake front man thanked the audience for their patience, mentioning that the evening marked the first performance of his new backing band, dubbed The Sundown Gang, who rehearsed a mere two times before the evening’s performance. For a group who spent such little time rehearsing, the music was surprisingly tight. Randy Hess’ pedal steel guitar in particular was impressive, providing a signature twang to match the traditional country lyrics. As the group made small adjustments throughout the set, Ray frequently took time to thank the audience for their attendance and willingness to bear with the band as they tweaked songs, showing a genuine knack for crowd interaction. With a lengthy set full of improvisational jams and crowd requests, Ray and The Sundown Gang brought the evening to an end, adding their own memorable twist to each of the evening’s previous performance styles while leaving their own distinctive mark.

Lowland Hum to Play Smith’s Olde Bar in Atlanta, GA on August 22

Lowland Hum sunny 72dpi

By Alex Moore

North Carolina folk duo Lowland Hum will play Smith’s Olde Bar in Atlanta, Georgia on August 22nd. The husband and wife duo will embark on an intimate tour of the East Coast beginning August 9 to celebrate the release of their self-produced debut album, Native Air, which will see release on August 6.

 

A truly innovative and trailblazing project, Lowland Hum focus not just on creating remarkable music, but on an engaging and multi-sensory live experience that will stick with fans long after the show’s conclusion.

 

The outfit’s efforts have been featured and praised by NPR, who premiered the video for, “War is Over,” which can be found below along with ticket information and tour dates.

 

 

Lowland Hum Fall 2013 Tour Dates:

August 9 /// Greensboro, NC  /// Glenwood Coffee & Books

August 10 /// Carrboro, NC /// The Arts Center

August 17 /// Durham, NC /// The Fishback’s

August 18 /// Durham, NC /// Motorco

August 18 /// Wilmington, NC /// Wright House

August 21 /// Charleston, SC /// Craft House

August 22 /// Atlanta, GA /// Smith’s Olde Bar

August 23 /// Atlanta, GA /// Tester House

August 24 /// Atlanta, GA /// Wakefield House

August 28 /// Blacksburg, VA /// The Willard House

August 29 /// Washington, DC /// Scooby Doo Mansion

August 30 /// Vienna, VA /// Jammin Java

August 31 /// Norfolk, VA /// Borjo Coffee

September 4 /// Knoxville, TN /// Remedy Coffee

September 6 /// Nashville, TN /// Stone Fox

September 10 /// Greensboro, NC /// Triad Stage

September 12  /// Charlottesville, VA /// Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar

September 13 /// Richmond, VA /// Church Hill House Show

September 19 /// Boone, NC /// Local Lion

October 3 /// Philadelphia, PA /// Tin Angel

October 4 /// Philadelphia, PA /// Prewitt House

October 8 /// New York, NY /// Rockwood Music Hall

October 11 /// Cambridge, MA /// Out of the Blue Gallery

October 17 /// Fredericksburg, VA /// ROHAN

October 25 /// Charleston, SC /// King Dusko

November 1 /// Asheville, NC /// Jack of the Wood

November 8 /// Birmingham, AL /// The Red Cat

 

 

Atlanta pop artist Wesley Cook plays Smith’s Olde Bar, Saturday, August 3rd

CD Release Show Poster

By Gail Fountain

Atlanta pop artist Wesley Cook is the headliner for his Heavy CD release upstairs at Smith’s Olde Bar with Best Brothers and Lauren St. Jane opening. Heavy tells of love, loss and release, but remains upbeat after the loss of Cook’s brother last year.

 

On Cook’s blog, he tells about its recording. “My band (lead guitarist Cooper Carter, drummer Alex Morrison and bassist David Schroeder) and I had just played for the weekend of the 30A Songwriter Festival in Florida — a sort of live-dress-rehearsal before we drive on to Shreveport Louisiana and Blade Studios to work with Brady Blade and Chris Bell. Brady Blade is most notably a drummer who has worked with Dave Matthews, Emmy Lou Harris, Bob Dylan and MANY others … Chris Bell is a world-class recording engineer. What that means is that he dials every little detail of the microphones and settings of a board that look likes something you would find at NASA and makes it bring out the best of what you do. He’s been an engineer for folks like Eagles, Peter Gabriel, Erykah Badu, Earth Wind & Fire, Destiny’s Child and more … He’s a great guy and, much like Brady, a consummate professional.”

 

Learn more about Wesley Cook at www.wesleycook.com.

Tickets for Saturday’s show are available through Ticket Alternative