Posted: June 03, 2009
The Insomniacs stay up late at Oskar Blues
Plus the Hill Country Revue revs up Red Rocks with Big Head ToddMike Cote
THE INSOMNIACS At Least I’m Not With You (Delta Groove)
What’s your favorite kind of music? A. Rock. B. Blues. C. Classical. D. Country or E. Jazz.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Your favorite kind of music is LIVE music. Doesn’t matter what it is. There’s nothing like the rush of watching creation in action -- like the recent night I watched two members of the Insomniacs jump onstage at the Boulder Outlook Hotel to play a few songs with Candye Kane’s band.
Singer/guitarist Vyasa Dodson and bass player Dean Mueller gave locals a taste of what to expect when the band performs at Oskar Blues in Lyons on Friday, June 5. Dodson traded lead licks with Kane band guitarist Laura Chavez (another young hotshot guitarist who gave back anything Dodson could serve up and then some.)
The band’s recently released sophomore effort, At Least I’m Not With You, is split between tradition-inspired originals penned by Dodson (such as the '50s rocker "She Can Talk") and some well-chosen covers (Little Richard's "Directly From My Heart to You.") Dodson’s developing into a distinctive singer and he’s no slouch in the guitar department. The band of twenty-somethings from Portland, Ore. is rounded out by Alex Shakeri on piano and organ and Dave Melyan on drums. These guys are worth losing some sleep over.
HILL COUNTRY REVUE Make a Move (Razor & Tie)
When your big brother takes a break to play with someone else, what do you do? Cody Dickinson simply started another band.
The North Mississippi Allstars first coined the name “Hill Country Revue” for the expanded lineup that performed at the Bonnaroo Festival in 2004. Since then, guitarist Luther Dickinson has been working with the Black Crowes while his younger brother, drummer Cody, has teamed up with Allstars bass player Chris Chew and some other musician friends to perform as Hill Country Revue. The band opens for Big Head Todd and the Monsters on Saturday at Red Rocks.
Since forming the band, Cody put down his drums to play guitar (his original instrument) after Gary Burnside opted not to tour with the group. But Burnside co-wrote songs for Make a Move and appears as a guest guitarist.
Rounded out by Kirk Smithart (lead and slide guitar), Dixie Dan Coburn (vocals) and Ed “Hot” Cleveland (drums), the Hill Country Revue delivers greasy, hard-driving blues in the Southern rock tradition. The band has been serving as the opening act for the North Mississippi Alstars.
On Make a Move, they show off their Deep South blues roots and their penchant for Allman Brothers-style rock, especially on “Don’t Give Up,” one of the album’s more pop friendly songs. It’s “don’t give up attitude” has something of a twin in the harder-edged “Dirty Shirt,” as in “hanging in there like a dirty shirt.”
Mike Cote is the former editor of ColoradoBiz. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.