xmlns:fb='http://ogp.me/ns/fb#' Root Down in the Shadow

Monday, April 11, 2016

Max García Conover - A Sofar Journey - Part 2

If you haven't noticed, we're big fans of Max García Conover.  A few months ago we chronicled Max García Conover's first videos with Sofar Sounds.  Now we're back as there are 2 more to share!

Max has now done 8 Sofar Sounds across the country and if the other cities are lucky enough, hopefully more to of these posts will follow.

Here's performances from Philadelaphia and Maine:
Eddie's Wine | Sofar Philadelphia

As Much a Rising Sun As a Setting One (Part 2) | Sofar Maine


Hopefully his appearance from Nashville will be following soon!

Featured Artist(s) - Bands of Sofar Sounds: Boston

As a music fan, one of my favorite activities is chatting about seeing amazing bands in interesting places.  While I'm stoked to see Pearl Jam later this month in an arena, I was more excited to see Lucius at mid-sized Union Transfer where I could be two feet away from them.  I'm edge of my chair excited to see J. Roddy Walston & The Business, playing the tiny Ortlieb's.

Sometimes you know who to look for.  Sometimes you luck out and find amazing where you wouldn't expect it.  Sofar Sounds is a great way of finding magic in unexpected places.  Tonight we'll travel back through the Sofar Sounds: Boston archives for some gems.   Share some videos as you go and don't forget to sign up for your local Sofar Sounds

IF you like what you see here, check out our top 20 performances of Sofar Sounds: Philadelphia in honor of their four year anniversary and to take a look at our friend Max García Conover's trip through some Sofar cities.

November 2013 - Max García Conover - Thatch House
Hailing from Portland, ME this singer/songwriter played the 2nd Sofar Sounds: Boston!  Since then he has played several more including Sofar Sounds: Nashville last week.

Where can you see Max next?    Maxgarciaconover.com/tour/

January 2014 - The Ballroom Thieves - "Brother" 
This amazing trio is on tour with the Maine Youth Orchestra including a date at Ardmore Music Hall 4/20.  Please go see them at the smaller venues now while you still can. They're captivating and make such beautiful music.

February 2014 - The Western Den- "Eden"

Lots of New England dates for The Western Den..    Thewesternden.com/shows

March 2014 - Parsonsfield - "Footsteps In My Ear"

I love a mismatch...  Parsonsfield at Boot & Saddle - May 18th
Two summers ago, Parsonsfield delighted the campers/volunteers only crowd at Philadelphia Folk Fest.  Just brining back memories of that night with Sturgill Simpson should be enough to sell out this show!   Parsonsfield.com/tour/

March 2014 - Darlingside - "The Woods"
Oh look who it is: Darlingside - WXPN's album of the month for February 2016 and part of the XPoNential Festival and Non-Comm lineup's.  Is that enough buzz for you?  How about a string of sold out venues with David Wax Museum?
My mismatch pick for this tour is Darlingside and Twain at Club Cafe in Pittsburgh on April 30th.

March 2014 - Tall Heights - "Running of the Bulls"

Shhhhh.. Tall Heights are still playing small intimate places.  Tell your friends and make sure everyone of these dates are packed!!

July 2014 - Joe Fletcher with Andrew Combs and Ron Gallo - "Mabel Grey"

Do not sleep on this guy.  Joe Fletcher is a great storyteller and a must see.  He ALWAYS plays among some super talented folk, like this video above with Jerry Bernhardt, Ron Gallo, and Andrew Combs.
Find him on tour this spring with the likes of Brian Wright, JP Harris, and The Devil Makes Three.  If you're available, May 20th at Ram's Head in Baltimore with TDM3 should be quite amazing.

 July 2014 - Ron Gallo - "Young Lady, You're Scaring Me"

Ron Gallo just dropped an EP this week featuring "Young Lady, You're Scaring Me".  Go get it and come right back.  Ron Gallo is everywhere so keep an eye out on his tour page, as magic happens quickly.

Like/Follow/Subscribe as we'll be back with a 2nd volume as more videos debut!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Premier Single : Birds Over Arkansas "Forgotten Lights"

Philly/CT band Birds Over Arkansas' is currently recording their full length release as a follow up to their 2014 Behind The Lights EP.  Root Down In The Shadow is proud to debut the first single from this release, "Forgotten Lights."

"Forgotten Lights" was first teased in an exclusive release for a RDITS house show in March featuring BOA, Kevin Killen, Chelsea Mitchell, and Max García Conover.

Finally ready for the masses, "Forgotten Lights" is helplessly watching a loved one slip away into dementia. The song starts as a mellow Americana groove, and the split at the outro introduces the progressive rock elements to bring in the lyric "the flame blew out again." This was the pivotal point in the lyrics, signifying the change from someone who was slowly losing their faculties who has now seemingly become a different person. The switch from the easy, mellow groove to the frenetic time signature embodies this.

Scott Haskitt - lead vocals, acoustic guitar, bass, ukulele
John Mondick - mandolin, electric guitar
Laura Hartshorn - vocals, piano
Ryan Berg - drums

capture from Bob Sweeney video

Keep an ear open for "Big Star", written by BOA and recorded in collaboration with Carbon Leaf at Two-Car Studios in Richmond, VA, showcases both band’s Americana rock sounds.

mixed by John Mondick, Scott Haskitt, Brian McTearmastered by Bryan Dale, Pyramind Studios

Carbon Leaf, the definitive top 10 songs

Photo by Elmo Tham

Virginia natives and Philly favorites Carbon Leaf have been serving up their unique brand of alt-country, Celtic, and folk-infused indie rock for 20 years. We put together a list of our top ten Carbon Leaf songs - it was no easy task given their extensive catalog. Here are our favorites in no particular order:

What About Everything: The song that first introduced us at Root Down In The Shadow to Carbon Leaf, from their album Indian Summer that received heavy rotation on AAA radio and introduced them to a world-wide audience.

Block of Wood: Poignant lyrics offering comfort after the loss of a family member: “In the ash I found an ember, something warm to help remember, a block of wood that used to be, a strong tall family tree.”

The Boxer: An encore staple – a raucous, Celtic-infused rocker that won the band an American Music Award in 2002.  The song that EVERYONE knows!

Tombstone vs. Ashes: Your body is merely a vessel - spiritual musings on how to deal with it once it’s no longer needed.

Photo By Elmo Thamm
On Any Given Day: A string section and rollicking guitar riff kick off this playful tune. The syncopated vocal melody hooks you in.

Desperation Song: A live favorite, quintessential Carbon Leaf with mystical pennywhistle melodies and a driving sing-along chorus.

The War Was In Color: A powerful tribute to our fallen war veterans.

Two Aging Truckers: Their Americana-flavored take on “Stand By Me” - “My yoke is, your yoke is, resting on our shoulders and we share the weary load.”

Unknown Bride: Our surprise wild-card on the list, it isn’t part of the live set. But this deep track is undeniably picturesque and moving.

One Prairie Outpost: Another track from Indian Summer - a weary ode to life as a touring band on the road.

Check out our selections on our Spotify playlist. If we missed a song that’s in your top ten, go ahead and add it:

Carbon Leaf plays World Café Live on December 5th at 8:00 PM, with local country songstress Jillian Jacqueline opening the show.




Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Live at Leo's Place - A Root Down In The Shadow House Show recap

So what's a formula for a successful House Concert.
1. Find bands that fill your soul
2. Invite your like minded music fiends
3. Forget the rest, if you have music & friends nothing else matters.

Some of you may have noticed some repetition to a Root Down In The Shadow House Concert.  But if a musician fills your soul, why would it be a bad thing to repeat?  Max García Conover, is one of those artists I will gladly go see everytime he comes through, even if it happens to be in a living room or backyard of a friend.  Haunt The House, who are coming this Saturday, is another one of those artists.  But hey, when you find something that works; stick with it.

Last Friday we had a special show in Fishtown.  Max had a Thursday slot in Nashville for Sofar Sounds and a gig Saturday in Mt. Holly, NJ; so of course a Philly house show made sense.  Why not?

Filling out the line-up were William Doobies & Dan Weirauch of New Sweden and Mike Batchelor of Kettle Pot Black.

A photo posted by Root Down In The Shadow (@rootdownintheshadow) on

Mike started things off with a quick set.  He's got this wonderful soft spoken voice, yet can fill the room with his songs all at the same time.  He has expressive tales that are typically songs of family and love and are best heard among friends in an intimate space.  One beautiful song brought out a few tears.  Another brought a few giggles, as he covered "Foolish Games"  One fan tried to play the, "who's song was that", but we all knew it was Jewel.

A photo posted by Root Down In The Shadow (@rootdownintheshadow) on

New Sweden was next.  Currently going through some line-up changes, Dan & Billy played wonderfully stripped down versions of some New Sweden songs. The great thing about a house show is the intimate showcasing makes little things like playing normally five piece arrangements with two people totally okay.  Any missing parts are totally moot, as the chance to experience the songs in a new format shows off new aspects.  Some of the versions are the closest to their origins coming from Billy's head to the guitar the first time, bringing out another layer of honesty to the area's most straight-forward, pull-no-punches writer.

Check out this stripped version of "Frying Pan" by New Sweden

New Sweden — Live at Leo's from Michael Batchelor on Vimeo.

Max García Conover- Photo by Dan McGurk

Photo by Mike Batchelor
Finally, Max García Conover took the stage.  With this being his fourth house show this year in Philly this one was given a twist to be extra special.  A normally talkative singer, he gave extra time to the stories he told for a special Storytellers style house concert set.  With this being my eight time seeing Max in the last two years, you would think some of the stories may be repeats, but he took extra care to give new nuggets and gems with his tales. 

"Eddie's Wine" took on a more special meaning, as some of the Weathervane supporters and producers were in attendance at this house show, as they were at the Shaking Through event when the song was given vibrant life with Birds Over Arkansas behind him. 

"Never Will the Same Thing Do" was probably my favorite story.  Max does songs each week and puts them up on his site.  He described how they take about three days on average to do them and the Patrons help make it possible.  While the support does not mean like or dislikes, this one particular song he felt he was the only one that actually likes it.    Check it out and share it if you think you might like it too!

Max García Conover — Never Will the Same Things Do from Michael Batchelor on Vimeo.