One of the perks of being in New York is being able to listen to new music every single night and last night Vienna Teng was doing her Farewell Tour at the Highline Ballroom and I was there…front row & center! Vienna is truly one of the most gifted artists I’ve heard in years and it rips my heart out to think she’s packing up her piano (at least until she gets her Masters from the University of Michigan) because even as talented as she is, it’s damned near impossible to survive in the music business…unless you shake your ass around like GaGa or Beyoncé! But this isn’t about Vienna…it’s about the guy who opened for her, a darkly funny Angeleno named Joey Ryan. Joey took the stage wearing a slightly ill-fitting tweedy suit, carrying nothing but a guitar that was ‘older than his parents’…and he went on to totally win over the crowd, most of whom had probably never heard of him! His folksy, self-deprecating banter between songs has a real Luka Bloom quality about it, except that where Luka would typically be moaning about how horrible life on the road is and that he misses Ireland terribly, Joey lamented about how life on road sucked and he missed the lack of weather back home in L.A.!!!
Joey’s gonna be playing a solo gig at the small room at Rockwood Music Hall this Friday and will back in New York on September 22nd, this time playing Stage 2 at Rockwood with Amber Rubarth. ‘Broken Headlights’ is off of his new EP, Kenter Canyon, and I strongly advise you all to head on over to his MySpace page and give him a look!
I was all set to spend a quiet night at home, when I get a call from a friend who wants to know if I’m going to see Over The Rhine at the Highline Ballroom? Embarrassed that I didn’t even know one of the Song of the Day List’s all-time fave bands was in town, I stammered, “Of course!”, and pulled my pants back on and thank God, ‘cuz Linford and Karin put on a stunning show! The highlight for me was the haunting rendition of ‘Poughkeepsie’ from their album, Good Dog Bad Dog. There is something so profoundly beautiful about this sadder than sad ballad…the entire audience was swaying & crying and totally captivated by Karin’s passionate, trembling voice and the almost skeletal backing arrangement…just perfect…..
For those of you who are in the New York area and have the means, it’s a little last minute, but OTR is going up the Hudson to play the Tarrytown Music Hall tonight…if you’re a fan, I say pull on your pants, get in the car and make the trip! And for the rest of you, check out Over The Rhine on their website or over on MySpace…..and make sure to visit the OTR Store to round out your collection of the band’s 20 years of music.