Electric Fuzzband 4th of July Live Music Podcast

America in 2017 may have a society flush with differences and a weird ex-reality TV star as president but the one thing we all have in common is that good rock and roll is not far away. Walk into just about any small town on a Friday night and you have a good chance of catching a really incredible group of musicians playing the songs that have resonance in the souls of those mingling about.

I can’t even count the amount of times that I have been in some small town somewhere in this beautiful country that I am lucky to call home and come across some seasoned musician who has learned the language of classic American rock and roll. It is soon clear that they could be in the spot light on anyone of the epic concert venues available for those who have made it to the next stage of their musical adventures.

I used to wonder why some bands make it to the big time where hired crews drive them around and haul, plus tune their gear. I once pondered why some people sit on their couches at home and pay good money to watch certain types of bands. I am still somewhat curious why there are certain bands that cause people to consume vast quantities of drugs and be confident that the experience they have will be nothing less than epic.

Well, on that last note, there are plenty of people who go out each and every Friday night and get wasted to the local classic rock wailing band and all its nostalgia. What I really mean is that there are musicians all across this land that can play with the best of them and are extremely happy and humble with exactly where they are.

America is full of these talented pickers, shredders and thinkers. The whole world is full of these people. This is ultimately what led me to do this podcast. I am fascinated by the power of music. I am inspired by bands that get together and really work hard to create an experience with the audience in mind.

The best bands treat the audience like a member of the band. The greatest musicians, and its potentially more powerful when you get a group of them together, seek to understand the crowd they are playing to.

The best shows I have ever seen are the ones where the band transforms and adapts to the ecosystem they are apart of. If you look and listen close, this transformation and adaptation to the venue and audience is very clear to see and hear.

When you boil it all down, it turns into one thing. Soul. The bands with soul, make it big. And, when I say soul, I don’t say it lightly. Having soul is not something you can just turn on and off. It is a state of being. Having soul is not something you can teach or learn. It happens organically. It is obvious when it happens. You can not forecast it and it is impossible to create. Soul happens. The power to create it runs deep lines into the inner workings of ancient life. The soul of bands is what the crowd feeds off of. Without soul, even the best music mine as well be wind in the willows.

The Electric Fuzz Band, who I stumbled upon, has this soul. It is clear as a spring fed pond on a bluebird day as you listen to a live recording of this band. I immediately fell in love with the heart and soul that this band was clearly pouring into each and every song derived from the multiple live shows I picked from. The band consists of Ryan Russell on electric guitar/vocals, Jay Morgan on electric guitar/vocals, Derek Givans on drums/vocals and Cory Potrafka on bass. They are tight, groovy and full of soul.

For this podcast, as I do with all my podcasts, I dug through multiple shows and specifically picked out performances that were recorded well and chose songs that I felt highlighted the strengths of the band. With the recent passing of Greg Allman, I included a couple Allman Brothers tunes that they play amazingly well.

Every band has their strengths and weaknesses. But if they have soul, they can carry any heart beating listener to the place they want them to be. Good musicians are captains of a very important ship. A ship that they will go down with if necessary.

Lastly, I hope this podcast gets jammed out at some July 4th BBQ’s!

The Electric Fuzzband live music Podcast Setlist is as follows:
Sister Sunday 7/20/01 > Super Butkick Jam 7/20/01 > Champagne and Reefer 4/12/02 > Southbound 7/20/01 > Trip Song 6/22/01 > Drums 6/22/01 > Blue Hats Little Sister 4/12/02 > One Way Out 7/20/01 > Salsa Funk 6/2201 > Machine Gun 4/12/02 > Old Krowe 6/22/01

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead Live Music Podcast

The Grateful Dead have always been one of my favorite bands to listen to winter, spring, summer or fall. I am especially keen to their sound in 1974. I love that year. When you have a band like the Grateful Dead who have made such a massive cultural impact across the planet, it is inevitable that others are going to want to play your music.

Just about every extremely popular musical act has inspired the creation of a cover band somewhere. It makes sense. It’s a proven musical recipe that peoples ears crave and so you really can’t go wrong. It would be interesting to find out which band inspired the most amount of cover bands. I would imagine it would be a band like the Beatles. Who knows. Maybe someone has already looked into it.

There are lots of cover bands out there and if you walk into a local watering hole on a Friday or Saturday night in most towns in America, there is a good chance that you will encounter a group of guys jamming out some classic Zeppelin or AC/DC tunes to an over-served sweaty crowd reliving the glory days of their youth. You will most certainly also hear. “Fuck yeah! This song rocks! I saw this live. Front row.”

There are some cover bands out there that try to recreate the original sound with little or no changes. Joe Russo’s Almost Dead is not one of them. If you like the Grateful Dead and have not had a chance to see this band or listen to them, you need to give it a go.

They absolutely take the Dead’s sound to a new place. The structure of any given song is for the most part kept in place, but they tend to rip through the parts faster with a bit more electric rock n’ roll edge.

The members of the band, Joe Russo on drums, Dave Dreiwitz on bass, Marco Benevento on the keys, Scott Metzger on guitar and Tom Hamilton also on the guitar, collectively mold together the intricate pattern of sounds of the vast Grateful Dead catalog with ease, clarity and power.

If you were ever at a Dead show and thought to yourself that it would be cool if these songs were rocked out just a tad more with a bit more zip during say a super extended slow jam or perhaps after a few slower tunes in any given dead set, than you were thinking of perhaps the same things the guys in this band were thinking when they sat down to play their first show in Brooklyn, NYC back in 2013.

At the end of the day, Joe Russo Almost Dead brings fire and energy to any show they play. They happen to be primarily covering the music of the Grateful Dead but their sound is bigger than that.

I look at it like a weird rock and roll experiment that is going on right now. Each night when each of these outstanding musicians steps on stage, they seem to be seeing how far and radical they can get with the Dead’s sound. And, they do go far. And, they go fast and its wild but its grounded by crafty musicianship that happens when a musical chemistry experiment is a success.

The members of Joe Russo Almost Dead could be playing anything. At present, they have chosen to rock out the Grateful Dead and its a treat to hear their take on the songs. Who knows how long they will keep doing it but for now they are out there having a good time and you should make it a point to hear it while you can.

Have a listen to this podcast. It’s a scorcher. It mixes up songs from 7 handpicked shows recorded between 2013 and 2016. I had a blast putting it together and now I get to sit back and rock out to it. Yesterday, I went on a beautiful 9 mile mountain bike ride near my home in Orono, Maine while listening and it kept me moving fast.

I hope you enjoy it as well 🙂

Throwing Stones > Hey Bulldog Jam > Throwing Stones 11/12/16 > Loose Lucy 12/31/16 > Golden Road to Unlimited Devotion 10/10/14 > Born Crosseyed Jam 12/31/16 > Cumberland Blues 12/27/13 > Drums 12/31/16 > Mr. Charlie 5/24/15 > Casey Jones 11/26/16 > Fire on the Mountain 12/27/13 > Franklins Tower 11/26/16 > Good Lovin’ 12/31/16

String Cheese Incident Live Music Podcast

Jam Band PodcastThe String Cheese Incident sound has grown on me over the years. I was first introduced to them in Crested Butte, Colorado back in the fall of 1999. A dishwasher called out one night at a local restaurant that my friend owned and I was asked if I wanted to come in, help out and soap up some dishes. The icing on the cake for me was no doubt the incredible food this place served up.

I spent the evening scrubbing dishes, doing light prep work and other back of the house tasks. The kitchen staff was all jamming out to various String Cheese Incident shows and I was definitely digging it. I soon found out that one of the waitresses was dating the drummer of the band who lived in town. It also turned out that several members of the band would be playing an unannounced show at my favorite local watering hole, the Eldo Room. Later that week, I saw my first String Cheese show, met the band and would see many other small intimate shows while living in Crested Butte. I also would go on to see the band at larger venues with its entire line-up several more times over the ensuing years.

Up until working in the kitchen that night, String Cheese Incident was kind of foreign territory for me. I grew up in the northeast and in the years leading up to my move to Colorado, I had spent a considerable amount of time in Vermont. Phish for sure, as well as so many other incredible artists that were deep within the thriving jam band scene in those years, made up my collective live music listening experiences. At the time, I was comparing every experience I had to what Phish, as well as a whole host of other east coast/perhaps a bit of west coast too delivered to me from late 1993 through 1998. As anyone who experienced the thriving jam band music scene of the northeast during the 1990’s can attest to, these were pretty awesome experiences.

Jam Band Podcast

Image: Courtesy of Telluride Arts

Well, what a band String Cheese Incident has grown into over the years. From back porch bluegrass to underground electronica and everything in between, String Cheese spans a vast musical landscape that never ceases to surprise. String Cheese shows are a strange concoction of Hula hoops and work boots.

This mix, to the best of my abilities, captures their essence and soul. It gets a bit funky at times but it always brings it back home. Thanks String Cheese Incident for the  beauty you bring to the music world.
This edition of my jam band podcast from Soundcentury delivers a rocking variety of String Cheese Incident tunes spanning the years 1998 – 2016. Enjoy the music! Visit soundcentury.com for lots of good music and please subscribe and give a rating. It’s always cool to hear from folks out there who are listening 🙂

String Cheese Incident Podcast Playlist:
Resume Man 10/01/99, Hollywood Swinging > Colliding > Another One Bites The Dust Jam > Colliding 7/23/16, Grazin’ in the Grass 3/11/00 > Jam 11/18/98 > Born on the Wrong Planet 11/18/98 > Pocky Way 10/01/99 > Boogie on Reggae Woman 7/23/16 > Cold Sweat 7/23/16 > Hold Onto What You Got 11/18/98, How Mountain Girls Can Love 11/18/98, Best Feeling 10/23/99.

**Special Thanks to the Tapers… Give Em’ Some Love! The tapers who had their names published with their releases are listed below.

The String Cheese Incident
Cuthbert Amphitheater
Eugene, OR
July 23, 2016
Recorded and transferred by Rick Odeen

The String Cheese Incident
Satellite Lounge
Houston, TX
November 18, 1998
Recorded and transferred by Russ Minas