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Washington DC's Premier Site For Bluegrass~Funk~Jamband  Reviews, Interviews & Concert Footage 

Aug
27
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Camp Barefoot 9

Camp Hidden Meadow Bartow WV

Review by Joe Cariola


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Well, it’s that time of year again, and Camp Barefoot continues to shock and amaze. The festival was hosted again at Camp Hidden Meadow in the beautiful mountains of Bartow, WV with a Pre-Party on August 19th and the main event from August 20-22, 2015. The grounds at Camp Barefoot have a certain energy and magic that will leave you feeling like you’ve come back home. In my humble opinion, this is THE perfect sized festival, capped at around 3,000 attendees and four stages. Scott McClain and his band of merry pranksters really know how to throw a party. From Giggles>, “This festival comes from love. It’s great to see people enjoy the effort and hard work that goes into all this, especially when you guys love it as much as we do.” This is truly a festival thrown by people who have a passion for making sure it gets done right! That passion is felt by the attendees, too, as you will share random high fives, hugs and smiles with people you only see in passing or a friendly band versus band basketball game. It’s for these very reasons that I will continue to attend Camp Barefoot. With so much music, it was impossible to catch each and every act but I hope you enjoy my slice of the weekend. Again, there wasn’t a single set that was short of excellent and far too many to list them here or you would be reading a book instead of an article.


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I arrived Wednesday for the Pre-Party and set up camp with relative ease.  One of my favorite things about this festival was meeting my neighbors. I camped next to RastaMiles and they really were a great bunch of guys. Literally, every group that camped around me became new friends with whom I exchanged information. This isn’t something you find at every festival. From the three years I’ve been in attendance, I’ve learned that your neighbors are usually family you just hadn’t met yet.  Wednesday night’s lineup got the weekend off on a grooving start at the BSC Boro Woods Stage. Righteous Dub warmed up the crowd, paving the way for That One Guy and “The Magic Pipe.” I can’t begin to figure out how he makes such unique sounds out of his homemade instrument but he knows how to get the people dancing. Speaking of a one man act, Zach Deputy played his first of two sets of the weekend afterwards. He’s always a crowd, and personal, favorite. I love hearing him build his jams. My hips are usually swaying before I even know what song he’s about to bust into. Big Daddy Love played between sets of Ricochet Red. I’ve never heard of Big Daddy Love and when they opened with a high energy Scarlet Begonias>Fire On The Mountain, I was hooked.


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Ivan Neville 

 

The festival got into full swing on Thursday. I thought the fields were relatively full on Wednesday but I was wrong. Tents and canopies packed into every nook and cranny around the grounds. I camped near the Heady Entertainment Car Camping Stage (previously the parking lot stage) so we were fortunate enough to catch a lot of music without much effort. Our neighbors, RastaMiles, opened up The Broadberry Main Stage and set us up with some excellent reggae.  Moogatu drew people out of their camps and setup the remainder of the evening in the main concert bowl. We ventured back to camp at some point and were drawn in by the funky sounds and the sax of B-Side Shuffle. They’re local to me and I’ll definitely catch them again soon. We made it back in time to hear Zack Deputy play his second set on The Camel stage. He busted out Sharky, a song only played in West Virginia, and the crowd erupted! He was almost a natural segway into Dumpstaphunk, the headliner of the night. Ivan Neville is a legend, and he showed us why with some power house funky keys that had the entire field bumping. I caught a view from the side of the stage and it was an ocean of dancing bodies, LEDs and laughter. They didn’t even stop for his set break, they just powered through with epic doses of funk! Truly, this evening was a taste of what was to come!


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The rain on Thursday gave us blue skies and sunny weather on Friday! I was making regular treks between the two main stages and the BSC Boro Woods Stage. Moogatu gave a real taste of what Camp Barefoot is all about by inviting The Hornitz, Bon Lozaga of Tiny Boxes, as well as Mario D’Ambrosio of Yellow Dubmarine, to join them on the BSC Boro Woods Stage. Sit-ins by various musicians will keep you guessing and wondering about what’s to come. We walked back down to the main area to hear Tauk bring an intensity that is difficult to match! Big Gigantic brought the heat and took us on a journey through time from the very beginning to new material that I had never heard! It was pretty cold outside, by this point, but they kept me dancing for the entirety of their set. Big G paved the way for Twiddle late night. I had to sit for their set as my mind was all about the music, but my body was rebelling against me! Fortunately, I was able to hear ELM closing out the night from my camp site and had a small dance party with my new found friends.


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Sergio Rios Of Orgone


Saturday proved to be the best weather of the weekend. The highlight of the Heady Entertainment Car Camping Stage was the Saturday evening set by The Hornitz. Their incredibly fast paced, catchy set left me with “You should dance with anyone, if their body groove enough” stuck in my head. After The Fritz, ELM closed out the Car Camping Stage on Saturday night with their special blend of derder music. A special shout-out goes to Moon Hooch for throwing down a sonically intense set on Saturday night. I first heard them in 2012 and I’m more than pleased with how their sound has evolved through the years. The Floozies kept up the energy and boxed wine was flowing! I tried to save my energy for the night’s headliner, The Greyboy All Stars, but The Floozies funky, electronic sound kept me on my feet! They Greyboy All Stars brought two furious sets of their funky, soulful jazz. Before that night, I had only heard what I could find online and it was fantastic. Catching them live will melt your face right off your head, yet, there was still more to come! Kung Fu started whispering and jamming to the crowd, as if they didn’t want to disturb us. It didn’t last long because if you know Kung Fu, you know they’re here for you! I had to jump mid-set to catch Turbo Suit on the BSC Boro Woods Stage at the strong recommendation of many strangers in the crowd and friends. You better build your endurance for this fest, especially if you come for the Wednesday Pre-Party. There is so much excellent music everywhere; you will be bouncing between stages. Again, this is the perfect sized festival. The walk between all four stages is minimal but you can hear music throughout the grounds and no sound bleeds during overlapping sets.


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Karl Denson Of The Greyboy Allstars


I said last year, and I will say it again this year, if you missed Camp Barefoot, you missed a seriously good time. I cannot urge you enough to go. Come, join us and see what the fuss is about.

On behalf of Cosmic Vibes Live I would like to thank Scott, TJ, Meghan, Giggles and the entire Camp Barefoot family for having us back again and making us part of the family. I will be a lifetime attendee, and truly, I hope to see everyone at Camp again next year for the 10th annual. This was honestly the festival of the summer! You won’t find this vibe anywhere else and I’ll be waiting with baited breath until next year.

 

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Big Somethng 


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Aug
27
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Interview with Rockn To Lockn Band Winners Moogatu

By Jim McWalters


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Cosmic Vibes Live is extremely excited about covering this years’ edition of the Lockn’ Music Festival.  This year’s lineup looks epic, and we can’t wait for the music to start!  As part of our pre-festival “Rockn’ to Lockn” coverage, we are reaching out to several of the artists who are performing at this year’s festival. We are thrilled to speak with guitarist Chris Lee and bassist Brian Zupruk of the psychedelic-progressive jamband, Moogatu; who will be kicking things off at the festival. 

 

CVL: Wow, what a thrill it must be to open things up at Lockn’.  Are you guys pumped or what?

 

BZ - USA! USA! 

 

CL: I'm still processing it myself. It was quite the shock getting on the bill.

 

CVL: How did you get selected to play at Lockn’?

 

CL: We entered and won a contest called Rockn To Lockn. Virginia bands fill out a submission form, and the selected bands compete in a "battle of the bands" style show. The band really had to rally the troops and get all our friends and family out. It was amazing to see that many people show up and we're really thankful to know such great people. 

 

BZ - Thanks to massive support from our fans, friends and family for helping to put us on the big stage via the Rockn' to Lockn' competition.

 

CVL: What’s the largest festival the band has performed at prior to this one?

 

CL: A lot of festivals we play are usually have an attendance below 2,000. We've never played a festival this large and it'll be quite an experience playing at such a large event. 

BZ - Maybe Lunar Bay 2013 or Family Roots Fest in Ohio?... not sure about this one

 

CVL: Do you plan to break out anything special during the set?

 

CL: We're just going to play as well as we can, like we normally do. I wouldn't want to ruin any surprises either! 

 

BZ - If you mean will Evan strip on stage again? Maybe. 

 

CVL: Will Ron Holloway be joining you guys for the set?

 

CL: We haven't really talked about it, but you never know who's around, or what we have planned. Like I said, we wouldn't want to ruin anything. 

 

BZ - The Ron is wise. 

 

CVL: Assuming you’ll be staying at the festival for a few days, what other acts are you all looking forward to seeing at Lockn’ the most?

 

BZ - Soulive, Umphreys, Mule, Robert Plant, TTB, String Cheese, Karl Denson, Trombone Shorty, that Santana guy

 

CL - All of them. But Mule, TTB, Santana, Umphrey's to name a few.

 

CVL: What’s the bands future plans? Are you planning to do more recording soon?

 

BZ - We've got some tracks in the hopper right now, and are working on more new material to test live and put on tape. 

 

CVL: Any plans to record the set for your fans?

 

BZ - That's our intent. Hopefully we can make it work! 

 

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Aug
24
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Interview With Chuck Leavell Keyboard Player Of The Rolling Stones

By Jim McWalters


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Those lucky enough to be attending the 2015 edition of the Lockn’ Music Festival, you are in store for some epic music.  If you go, be sure to catch Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe whose set will include the legendary keyboardist Chuck Leavell.  In addition to his longtime gig as a member of the Rolling Stones. Chuck Leavell has played with some of the most notable names in the history of rock and roll. Cosmic Vibes recently caught up with Chuck to ask him a few questions about his time with the Stone’s and his upcoming performance at the Lockn’ Music Festival in Arrington, VA September 10-13.

 

CVL: Did you and Karl Denson ever play together before the recent Rolling Stones tour?

CL: Karl came into the Stones on our Australian tour last year, October-November of 2014. Bobby Keys had become very sick, and the decision was to let him rest up and take Karl with us, thinking that Bobby would recover. But as we know, he didn’t, and passed away in early December after we returned. Karl had done well with us and fit in nicely, so it was the logical choice to keep him on board. Karl and I became friends….he’s such a great guy… and he invited me to be a guest artist with him at a gig in New York at the Brooklyn Bowl in February of this year. It was a great gig, and we had lots of fun together. So during the recent US tour with the Stones, Karl and his manager, Erik Newsome, invited me to do the Lockn’ festival and one more show just before Lockin’…The Capitol Theater in Port Chester, NY. Gonna be fun!

 

CVL: Considering that Karl Denson is now a member of the Rolling Stones, and given your history, as well as the fact that KDTU covered Sticky Fingers during their 2012 tour; should we expect an all Rolling Stones set, or will you dip into some Sea Level, or perhaps some Allman Brother’s songs at Lockn’?

CL: We’ll do a variety of things. But this is Karl’s show, and I am just happy to tag along. I’ll do a few tunes as a featured artist…we haven’t decided on the final set yet, but I think you’ll hear some fun music. I will probably sit in on a few tunes that Karl’s band will do as well.

 

CVL: You’ve played with some iconic musicians over the years but what’s it been like playing in the Rolling Stones?  Surely that’s got to be the zenith for a rock and roll musician?

CL: Zenith, indeed. It is such an incredible gig. I often pinch myself when I look across the stage and see Jagger working the crowd; Keith passionately stabbing out chords on his guitar; Charlie driving the band on drums and my neighbor on stage, Ronnie Wood, ripping out solos. And of course with the other folks on stage…Darryl on bass; Lisa and Bernard singing; Karl and Tim Ries on horns. And of course I had the pleasure to have played when Bill Wyman was in the band…and so many years with Bobby Keys up there. It’s been 33 years for me now. Someone pointed out to me recently that I’ve been with the Stones longer than Bill Wyman was. That was a bit of a shock to me. And I have to say that honestly, the band has never sounded better than it does now. The energy is still all there, and there is a consistency that has emerged over the years. It is a tight, lean and mean machine, and I’m so grateful to have been a part of it all these years.  

 

But you are also right that I have been blessed to have worked with some other great artists…The Allman Brothers Band back in the early to mid 70’s; Eric Clapton for a couple of years in the early 90s during the “Unplugged” era; George Harrison on his last tour; The Black Crowes’ first record and more recently with John Mayer on his last two records. There have been many others, and it is truly a blessing and honor to have worked with all of them. And doing my own records and shows when in-between other gigs give me a chance to do my own thing. And of course these gigs with Karl are yet another great opportunity.

 

 

CVL: I understand that you’re the “unofficial music director” for the Rolling Stones and that it’s your job to keep Mick, Keith, Charlie and Ronnie all happy.  How do you do that?

CL: Well, sometimes it ain’t easy!! I guess I just do the best I can to help keep things moving along…especially during the rehearsals. I usually write up the song selection for the day, of course working with Mick and all the guys on that, but I do the draft and set it up. Then during the process, help with any arrangement issues, getting the tempos right and such. I have all the recordings the band has done on my computer, and if we need to reference anything, I can call it up quickly for all of us to listen to.  Then during the tours, I do the set list draft prior to the shows and consult with Mick and Keith to finalize. If we have a guest artist on the show, I work with them and Mick to help find a good song for them to do with us, and then rehearse them with Mick in his dressing room prior to rehearsing with the full band on the sound check. Sometimes if we have a special gig that will be recorded or videoed, I work with the band to select the songs for it, etc. During the shows I set the pace on some songs, calling out the tempos and counting them off. I do a bit of directing on some songs for when certain changes are coming, conduct some endings and such. It’s these kinds of duties that I love performing for the band. 


CVL: I see that you and your wife (Rose Lane White) are involved with tree conservation and that your most recent book “Growing a Better America: Smart, Strong, Sustainable” is about “smart” growth.  If there was one message you could tell people, especially young people, about conservation and saving the environment what might that be?

CL: Be aware of the frailties of our planet and do all you can to be kind to it. Climate change is real…it is undeniable.  We have to address it now…and I think the younger generation gets it…probably better than our own generation. Renewable energies are a big deal…solar, wind, biomass all need to play a part and we should be doing all we can to improve the technologies associated with them. But there are other things we can do, most of which I try to put forth in “Growing….”. 

 

CVL: Finally, are there any other surprises or (surprise guests) we should expect during your set with KDTU? Do you know if you’ll be sitting in on any of the other performances as a “guest” musician?

CL: I can just say that I can’t wait to play with Karl again on these shows. He has a top notch band and we’re going to have a great time putting it all together. I have several other gigs of my own coming up…with the Randall Bramblett Band backing me up. The most notable is Chastain Park in Atlanta on Oct. 16. I’ll also be starting a new recording project before the year is out. Then we’ll see what’s in store for 2016. 

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe with special guest Chuck Leavell, are scheduled to perform on Saturday September 12 at Oak Ridge Farm in Arrington, VA as well as September 11, at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, NY.  

 

 


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Aug
13
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(photo courtesy Danny Clinch)


Lucky for us, Gregg Allman is largely at peace with his past, present and future. 

By Steve Houk

 

Last fall, when the sun finally set and the legendary churning rock and roll steam train that was The Allman Brothers Band pulled into its last station, at least Gregg Allman knew it was coming.

The band desperately wanted to go out with a bang and not a whimper, and thanks to Allman, his longest standing brothers-in-arms Jaimoe Johanson and Butch Trucks, and his superb newer additions, the dynamic duo of Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks, they did just that, closing out an unparalleled 40-year run with a full compliment of grace, power and dignity. It wasn't an easy close, as Trucks has told me himself, but after facing some hard realities, they managed to usher the band out beautifully.

So when the last notes of "Trouble No More" -- the first song the band ever played, and now the last  -- echoed through New York City's Beacon Theater, was Allman full of sadness, weepy nostalgia and even some regret? Not on your life.

"I was at peace with it long before that last show, so that night I was completely relaxed, man," Allman told me recently as he continued on his solo tour which stops at The Birchmere August 25th and 26th. "I just wanted us to go out on top, and the other guys also felt that way, too. We really cut loose during that show, we played three sets man, and we left it all on the stage. We were laughing and having fun. I couldn’t be prouder of how the Brothers closed it out."

And very proud is how he should feel. Allman's legacy will surely be one that will last into future generations, especially when they talk about spectacular, groundbreaking bands that changed the face of not only blues-based, country glazed rock and roll, but of the whole live performance experience in general.

But just because The Allman Brothers have stopped playing together doesn't mean that their leader, their namesake, their heart and soul, goes away quietly. On the contrary, Allman has been getting raves for what's been happening in this next phase of his career, as he finally transitions from Allman Brother to just Gregg Allman. He's toured solo many times before, but this time, it's all there is, and he's as jazzed about it as he's ever been.

"Well, it’s not like I just put this band together," said Allman, 67, with a likely smile. "I’ve been working on this lineup for years, and now I have one of the finest bands I’ve ever played with. When we get up there, we just smoke it, boy. These cats can flat-out play, and I’m really enjoying every minute of it."

There have to be at least some moments here and there when Allman is perhaps sitting out on the porch, the wind blowing through the trees and thus through his long blonde locks, maybe an ol' hound dog sitting at his feet, when he reminisces about the greatest moments in The Allmans' storied career. And surely one particular moment in time comes to mind, when the magic coalesced, when everything fell together perfectly, when he realized that he was a part of something very, very special.

"I’d have to say when we recorded the Fillmore East album," Allman said reflectively. "We had a few nights to do it, and by the last show I knew. We all knew, that we had done something very special, man."

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Gregg and Duane whip it up in the early 70's (Credit Peter Tarnoff/Retna Ltd, via Corbis)


Amidst the glory, Allman's memories of his past also must inevitably lean sometimes toward the sad and bittersweet, as in some that come to him of his cherished and supremely talented older brother Duane, who died at 24 just as the band was hitting its stride. In fact, when he is asked who influenced him the most musically, personally, whatever, it's a short, easy and poignant answer as to who was his true mentor.

"My brother, in both regards. He kept me from giving up on music. Because he believed in me, before I believed in myself."

Allman may not have his beloved Allman Brothers to play with anymore, but he certainly has many cherished memories, as well as a shimmering present and hopeful future that doesn't show any signs of slowing down. Despite past health problems that almost killed him, he appears vital and excited for this next chapter, luckily for us baby boomers who have grown up with his music. Heck, I took my now 19 year-old son Ben to see the Brothers back when he was 4, and even he appreciates their legacy and his part in it, even if he did fall asleep in my arms as I carried him to the car during the encore of "Revival."

And when those aforementioned future generations, maybe even Ben's grandkids and their grandkids, when they talk about Gregg Allman and his legendary career, he truly hopes they remember how deeply he cared -- whether he was with it or not -- every time he stepped on stage to play that exceptional music.

"Maybe the fact that I always showed up and played, man. I gave it my all, every night, even when I wasn’t at my best. Now that I’m feeling good, I plan on doing this for a long, long time, brother."

Yes, he did call me...brother.

Gregg Allman and his band perform Tuesday August 25th and Wednesday August 26th at the Birchmere, 3701 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA. For tickets click here.

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Jul
28
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The infamous 8x10 Club in Baltimore played host to yet another Saturday night barnburner this past July 25th.  Jeff Austin’s bus rolled into town with a new band, an updated sound, and enough energy to light up the whole city.  The clean bluegrass tones of local pickers the Highland Hill Boys were the perfect compliment and songs filled the air for all to enjoy. 

 

            Hailing from Highland, Md., these “boys” are a tight unit that cranks out some serious music. Boasting multiple vocalist and lead instrumentalists, they offered up a set of music that whipped the crowd into a frenzy.  Working their way through the regional music scene these fellas certainly have some something sweet going on. For more information please check out http://www.facebook.com/thehighlandhillboys

 

            After a short break to prepare the stage for the coming thunder, The Jeff Austin Band emerged promptly at 11pm.  After spending 15 years in one of the most loved new age string bands, it seems like Jeff desired a new musical direction.  Well, that is something that he has certainly ascertained.  Though it has a familiar instrumentation, the members of JAB combine their incredible talents to create something beautiful, yet it is certainly not bluegrass in the traditional sense.

 

            Bluegrass music came to be long ago and over the years it has evolved just like a living, breathing thing. In recent times it seems like musicians are stretching the boundaries of what was once thought impossible of their instruments. Adding distortions, effects, and more complex melodies, many different inspirations have leaked into what we call “grass” today. The Jeff Austin Band may soon be at the forefront of this jamgrass revolution.

 

            With in minutes of taking the stage, every eye and ear in the joint was transfixed on a band that seemed unstoppable.  Danny Barnes may be one of the most interesting Banjo players out there.  Capable of evoking many styles and tones out of his 5 string, he uses both claw hammer and Scruggs style techniques to create sounds that make you question if he is even playing a Banjo at times.  Jeff and Danny have a history of writing music together and when you add Ross Martin on Guitar and Eric Thorin on the bass fiddle it becomes a recipe for awesome music.

 

            The band brought energy.  The crowd brought energy.  Everybody in the house knew that they were part of something special.  At one point Jeff invited everyone to hop on the bus after the show and hit the road with the band!  It’s a powerful moment when a crowd affects a band like this.  Magic is created, prefect dances moves are achieved, and every beating heart in the building is happy.  Please go check this band out as they travel the country playing some of the finest venues and festivals out there.  Information on their music, tour schedule and much more can be found at www.JeffAustin.com


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Photo Gallery By Jane Barbacane

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