Photos: 2015 Uptown Jazz and Blues Festival

by Carl Abernathy on August 23, 2015

The music at the 2015 Uptown jazz & Blues Fest in Lafayette, Indiana, was great; the weather was perfect.

Rob Dixon with The Blue Side (Click photo to enlarge)
Rob Dixon with The Blue Side
(Click photo to enlarge)

Melvin Taylor (Click photo to enlarge)
Melvin Taylor (Click photo to enlarge)

A young drummer accompanies the band from just below the stage. (Click photo to enlarge)
A young drummer accompanies the band from just below the stage.
(Click photo to enlarge)

Bassist Larry Gray with Condition Blue (Click photo to enlarge)
Bassist Larry Gray with Condition Blue
(Click photo to enlarge)

Uptown dancers (Click photo to enlarge)
Uptown dancers (Click photo to enlarge)

Bernell Anderson with Melvin Taylor (Click photo to enlarge)
Bernell Anderson with Melvin Taylor
(Click photo to enlarge)

Caitlin Cotten (Click photo to enlarge)
Caitlin Cotten (Click photo to enlarge)

Tad Robinson with The Blue Side
Tad Robinson with The Blue Side

Michael Stryker with Condition Blue (Click photo to enlarge)
Michael Stryker with Condition Blue
(Click photo to enlarge)

 Uptown Fremont and Jackson Blues (Click photo to enlarge)
Uptown Fremont and Jackson Blues
(Click photo to enlarge)

Uptown Fremont and Jackson Blues (Click photo to enlarge)
Uptown Fremont and Jackson Blues
(Click photo to enlarge)

Yaz Bang (Click photo to enlarge)
Yaz Bang (Click photo to enlarge)

Uptown dancers (Click photo to enlarge)
Uptown dancers (Click photo to enlarge)

Robert Cook with Mike Milligan (Click photo to enlarge)
Robert Cook with Mike Milligan
(Click photo to enlarge)

Tad Robinson (Click photo to enlarge)
Tad Robinson (Click photo to enlarge)

Mike Milligan (Click photo to enlarge)
Mike Milligan (Click photo to enlarge)

Uptown dancer (Click photo to enlarge)
Uptown dancer (Click photo to enlarge)

Melvin Taylor (Click photo to enlarge)
Melvin Taylor (Click photo to enlarge)

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Photos: Quiet Hollers at People’s Brewing in Lafayette

by Carl Abernathy on August 18, 2015

Quiet Hollers, a band from Louisville, has added a harder edge to their music since I saw them at People’s Brewing Co. last fall. The new tunes rock more (sometimes they border on being raucous). But there’s still an everyman vibe in Shadwick Wilde’s lyrics.

Tuesday night the band mixed the old alt-country tunes with the new rockin’ songs. Both were great. Go see Quiet Hollers if they come to a venue near you. And check out their self-titled new album when it’s released on Oct. 23.

Here are a few photos:

Shadwick Wilde (Click photo to enlarge)
Shadwick Wilde (Click photo to enlarge)

Shadwick Wilde (Click photo to enlarge)
Shadwick Wilde (Click photo to enlarge)

Quiet Hollers (Click photo to enlarge)
Quiet Hollers (Click photo to enlarge)

Aaron West (Click photo to enlarge)
Aaron West (Click photo to enlarge)

Ryan Scott (Click photo to enlarge)
Ryan Scott (Click photo to enlarge)

Nick Goldring (Click photo to enlarge)
Nick Goldring (Click photo to enlarge)

Jim Bob Brown (click photo to enlarge)
Jim Bob Brown (click photo to enlarge)

Shadwick Wilde (Click photo to enlarge)
Shadwick Wilde (Click photo to enlarge)

Shadwick Wilde (Click photo to enlarge)
Shadwick Wilde (Click photo to enlarge)

Shadwick Wilde (Click photo to enlarge)
Shadwick Wilde (Click photo to enlarge)

Shadwick Wilde (Click photo to enlarge)
Shadwick Wilde (Click photo to enlarge)

Shadwick Wilde (Click photo to enlarge)
Shadwick Wilde (Click photo to enlarge)

Opening act Chris Darby (Click photo to enlarge)
Opening act Chris Darby
(Click photo to enlarge)

Jim Voelz of Mom & Pop Productions (Click photo to enlarge)
Jim Voelz of Mom & Pop Productions
(Click photo to enlarge)

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Photos: Hopeless Jack

by Carl Abernathy on August 4, 2015

I hung out with Hopeless Jack and his drummer, Spencer, for an hour Monday night while they waited to hear whether they’d be allowed to play at a local bar. Word was that they were too loud for the venue.

Finally, the bar manager arrived and approved the show if Hopeless Jack would turn down the volume a bit. He did. But he couldn’t turn down his intensity. I don’t think he knows how.

Hopeless Jack uses his guitar like a battering ram. And he plays slide in a way that would please a lot of the 80-year-old blues masters I know. But everything he does, including his vocals, are frenetic on stage. His lyrics, which skewer old girlfriends and anyone else who gets in the way, are even more biting.

My ears weren’t ringing when I left the dimly lit bar, but the rest of me was trembling. Jack and Spencer are really nice guys, but you wouldn’t know it from their shows. The one thing I do know is that Hopeless Jack’s brand of blues-based punk is scary good. See them if you can.

My photos are a bit dark, but here you go.

Hopeless Jack (Click photo to enlarge)
Hopeless Jack (Click photo to enlarge)

Hopeless Jack (Click photo to enlarge)
Hopeless Jack (Click photo to enlarge)

Hopeless Jack (Click photo to enlarge)
Hopeless Jack (Click photo to enlarge)

Hopeless Jack (Click photo to enlarge)
Hopeless Jack (Click photo to enlarge)

Hopeless Jack (Click photo to enlarge)
Hopeless Jack (Click photo to enlarge)

Spencer on drums  (Click photo to enlarge)
Spencer on drums
(Click photo to enlarge)

Hopeless Jack (Click photo to enlarge)
Hopeless Jack (Click photo to enlarge)

Hopeless Jack (Click photo to enlarge)
Hopeless Jack (Click photo to enlarge)

Hopeless Jack (Click photo to enlarge)
Hopeless Jack (Click photo to enlarge)

Hopeless Jack (Click photo to enlarge)
Hopeless Jack (Click photo to enlarge)

Hopeless Jack  and the Handsome Devil (Click photo to enlarge)
Hopeless Jack and Spencer
(Click photo to enlarge)

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Photos: Reeves Gabrels & His Imaginary Friends.

July 27, 2015

Tin Machine is my favorite David Bowie project, largely because of the way Reeves Gabrels attacked his guitar on the group’s albums. Gabrels, who’s also the long-time guitarist for The Cure, and his band jacked up Sunday night at the Lafayette Brewing Co. and made it seem like the best Saturday night ever. They even […]

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Photos: Shuggie Otis at City Winery in Chicago

July 18, 2015

Shuggie Otis is still an electrifying guitarist. Maybe even more now than when he was younger. Saturday at the City Winery in Chicago, Otis played a mishmash of songs in a variety of styles. I enjoyed his blues tunes the most, but I’m sure that others preferred his funk or his rambling rock tunes that […]

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Photos: Champaign Blues, Brews and BBQ Fest

June 29, 2015

I didn’t make it to the merchandise tent after Janiva Magness’ set at the 2015 Champaign Blues, Brews and BBQ Festival. I imagine, though, that most of the guys at the festival got in line after Magness sang “I Need a Man.” Magness seduced with her ballads and shimmied on her upbeat tunes. She was […]

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Photos: Rachel Kate and Jeff Shepherd

June 17, 2015

Jim Voelz of Mom & Pop Productions brings a lot of fine shows to Lafayette. Rachel Kate and Jeff Shepherd, who played at People Brewing Co. Tuesday, were among the best acts he’s booked. Rachel Kate has a beautiful voice, which meshes well with the spunky spirit with which she attacks her songs. Shepherd’s voice […]

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Photos: Chicago Blues Festival, 2015

June 14, 2015

Work kept me from attending the Friday session at the 2015 Chicago Blues Festival. And rain almost kept me away entirely – Friday afternoon on my way to Chicago I drove through the worst rainstorm I’ve ever seen. I’m glad I made it. The weather Saturday afternoon was perfect (not too hot and the rain […]

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Photos: Muddy Roots Spring Weekender

May 24, 2015

I went to the 2015 Muddy Roots Spring Weekender in Nashville, Indiana, because I’ve wanted to see LC Ulmer for a long time. He didn’t disappoint. At 87, he’s still an incredible guitarist and blues singer. His music is raw and unpredictable. Close your eyes and you’d swear you’re in a ’30s era juke joint, […]

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New Orleans Jazz Fest 2015 in photos

May 5, 2015

This year’s New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival might have been the best I’ve attended. The sky messages above the fairgrounds helped; they seemed to put everyone in a good mood. But this year’s festival, at least for me, was all about the Nevilles. I didn’t get to see Charmaine Neville perform this year (I […]

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Photos: Nellie McKay in Lafayette

April 23, 2015

Nellie McKay just might be the funniest woman in America. She gets my vote, at least. Armed only with a ukulele, a grand piano and a portable Hammond organ on Wednesday night at Duncan Hall in Lafayette, Indiana, McKay humorously eviscerated entitled young rich folks, feminists and conservatives. She defended Mother Earth and praised Eddie […]

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