Monday, April 14, 2008

Trews & Stuff

Going to see The Trews tonight at the Commodore Ballroom. They're a rock band from Nova Scotia that I first saw when they opened for Robert Plant in 2005. They remind me a bit of The Black Crowes, perhaps without so much of the heavy blues influence. That set ended with a lively cover of Bohemian Rhapsody and I'm curious to see if they'll play some covers tonight since some Stones covers have also been known to show up. No Time For Later, their latest album, was released in February though I haven't heard it yet. My friend and roommate is a big fan, so Den of Thieves their second album from 2005 has been getting a lot of spins lately.

The Trews - Poor Ol' Broken Hearted Me
I distinctly remember this from that show as they impressively sung the harmonized a cappella intro from what I consider the standout track from Den of Thieves.

The Trews - Naked [originally by Tracy Bonham]
This cover is also from Den of Thieves.

The Trews and Ron Hynes - Mull of Kintyre [originally by Paul McCartney]
Last year, The Trews appeared with Ron Hynes, a folk singer from Newfoundland, on the great CBC Radio program Fuse, where two artists are brought together to fuse with each other's songs, or in this case Paul McCartney's song. Coming up soon on Fuse: Basia Bulat with the Hylozoists.

Michael Kaeshammer & Hayley Sales - Happy Xmas (War is Over) [originally by John Lennon & Yoko Ono]
This past weekend on Fuse, they re-broadcast a show from December featuring singer-songwriter Hayley Sales and jazz pianist/singer Michael Kaeshammer. There are numerous covers of the John Lennon's classic song, though most are very faithful and often embellish the bittersweetness of the tune. This is a playful cover that for once puts the "happy" in Happy Xmas.

Tift Merritt - The Long and Winding Road [originally by The Beatles]
Look, I'm not even trying and we got three Beatles-related covers in a row! Last Friday I went to see Tift Merritt live at the Plaza Club... sort of by accident. I bought the ticket meaning to see Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek who was the opener, though I completely missed her since I was at a birthday dinner for an acquaintance. This is perhaps the first time in history that the show started soon after the doors opened. I've been to shows where the opening act came on three hours after doors opened and typically a couple hours seems safe. Doors were at 7pm, I arrived at 8:15pm, Tift Merritt came on at 8:30pm. The whole time I figured Sara Watkins didn't even perform since she wasn't listed on the ticket or anything, but Tift thanked Sara at the end of the night and her CDs were being sold at the back. Kinda sucked to miss her, but I did see her perform already in L.A. a couple months ago and Tift Merritt put on a great show anyway.

Tift Merritt - It's the Shame [originally by Stillhouse]
Honestly, I'd never even really heard of Tift Merritt, though she's been nominated for a 2004 Grammy and been on Austin City Limits among other things. Though born in Houston, Texas, she moved to North Carolina at an early age, which of course is where two of my favourite bands are from, Ben Folds Five and Squirrel Nut Zippers. In fact, Tift Merritt's drummer Zeke Hutchins also drums for Hotel Lights, a band started by former Ben Folds Five drummer Darren Jessee. This cover is from Songs For Sixty Five Roses, a charity compilation benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The album features North Carolina bands "re-working the North Carolina jukebox" and here, Tift covers a band called Stillhouse, which as I learned from their website has a drummer named... Zeke Hutchins. How many bands does this guy drum for? The answer: several.

Dolly Parton with Nickel Creek - Blowin' in the Wind [originally by Bob Dylan]
While I missed Sara Watkins perform, I did find out from a little postcard-like thing I grabbed on the way out that she's got a new solo album coming out soon. Her solo myspace site is here and my jaw was dropping as I read her some blog posts... she and her brother Sean flew out to London in December for the LED ZEPPELIN reunion! *JEALOUS* And how did they score tickets? Well, I guess it helps to have John Paul Jones as a pal and colleague. JPJ has been known to sit-in as a guest on The Watkins Family Hour at the Largo and he's producing her solo album, which features as her band Sean Watkins, Glen Phillips, Greg Leisz, Benmont Tentch, Pete Thomas, Davey Faragher, and Luke Bulla. When I was in L.A. at the end of January, going to see The Watkins Family Hour at the Largo was a definite must-see, even though it was absolutely pouring that night. It's heavy on the ground rules (no electronics including cellphones, no talking during show, minimum dinner charge, etc.), but totally worth it for a pure music-loving atmosphere. I don't know for sure, but I figure you could only squeeze 100 people in there, so it's as intimate as you can get outside of a show in your living room. As awesome as the show was, I couldn't help but pout when I read that two weeks later Jon Paul Jones and Jon Brion were guests. Sigh. Based on blog post, Sara had a nice first look at Vancouver and may be back this fall in conjunction with her new album.


boyhowdy said...

Oh, SO glad to hear about the Sara Watkins disk. Nickel Creek has performed with Glen Phillips before -- they cut a whole CD, which I'll be poking at with a stick sometime soon myself. Seen Nickel Creek perform, but not for a while; am totally looking forward to the newly solo outputs.

More generally, GREAT set & set-up as always, Mr. Fong!

Fongolia said...

Yeah, the Mutual Admiration Society disc... I should really look into getting that for myself.

This post started off as one thing then completely transformed by the end as I was writing it. Some posts just sit in draft mode for months and others just pop out in a flurry of typing. Um, yes I'm may be talking about that Cover Lay Down guest post which has been all but finished for a long time now, waiting for a final paragraph to be written. Maybe I'll do that next.

Layth said...

Thank you for posting this version of Mull of Kintyre. It's such an amazing song and to hear the Trews who really are a canadian gem is amazing.

JEK said...

I have been looking for 2 songs and lo and behold your site is the only one I can locate that has posted either. Is there any chance you might repost smile and wave by the headstones and The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by the Dandy Warhols? Thanks for your consideration

Fongolia said...

If you're still around JEK, check this out.