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.

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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.

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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.

Palmas covers Boyz II Men for #Cover Club / Shares the Love on "I Want To Know (Your Love)

Finally, the last session of Season Three of Cover Club is here.  The final pick is a new band to us.  We first caught them at one of the fantastic Sofar Sounds: Philadelphia shows, this last May at the Old Swede's Church.  While there was little to find on the band out on the web, the intrigue was strong.  And their sound was so much fun!  A little surf, a little sass, a lot of energy!

Seemingly coming out of no where, the dudes of Palmas are quickly bringing their East Coast Surf/Soul to the masses.  In just the last few weeks, they have a brand-new Daytrotter Session, their Sofar Sounds: Philadelphia video has been released and of course To The Valley their new EP is available; bringing "warm tones meets bright days incorporating vintage surf rock sounds with present day pop and indie."

Today of course is the day we release their #CoverClub Session.   Later today Palmas plays Johnny Brenda's with Surfer Blood plus The Lighthouse and the Whaler.

Before heading out to the gig, first bounce & groove along with Palmas on "I Want To Know (Your Love)" recorded at Cambridge Sound Studios.  


Don't forget to check out their cover of Boyz II Men's "I'll Make Love To You".  Grab your date and slow dance along.

I'll Make Love To You (Boyz II Men)

Haunt The House return to Philly for a stripped down House Show

For a special Turkey Saturday edition of the Root Down In The Shadow HQ House Concert series, our pal Will Houlihan, better known by his moniker Haunt The House returns to Philly for a solo show. He's joined by tour mate Zach Schmidt and local favorite David Janes.

To get you excited for the show, let's check out some videos that our friends and frequent collaborators Kettle Pot Tracks did this summer.  The first was an unexpected surprise as he recorded a video during the house show this July when the full band played at the RDITS HQ.

Haunt the House, "Vampyre" live from RDitS House Show 7/13/15
Haunt the House, "Vampyre" live from RDitS House Show 7/13/15 from Michael Batchelor on Vimeo.

While we shared that video this summer, the next video is brand new.  Kettle Pot Tracks were a gracious host to us & Haunt The House and recorded a beautiful On The Hill Session with the band.

Haunt the House — Mosquito Coast
Haunt the House — Mosquito Coast from Michael Batchelor on Vimeo.

Haunt The House returns to Philly this Saturday at the Root Down In The Shadow HQ
Check out the event for more details

Monday, November 23, 2015

Max García Conover - A Sofar Journey

Two years ago at a super intimate Root Down In The Shadow house show, before Sofar Sounds: Boston existed, Max García Conover met up with Mark Schafer, the Boston Sofar Area Coordinator.  Mark must have heard something he liked as Max was selected for the 2nd Sofar Sounds: Boston show that November, 2013.  Since then, Max has been popping up at Sofar Sounds all over North America.

I was able to catch up with Max to see why he keeps coming back for more Sofar Sounds shows. He explained, "I've played Sofar Sounds shows in Fort Worth, Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, Montreal, and Maine, and they were all great. House concerts are some of my favorite shows to play in general, but there's an intensity to Sofar Sounds shows that's hard to match - having a room full of strangers give their utmost attention to music that's unknown to them is a special, rare experience. Sofar magically seems to deliver that every time."

Here's a glimpse of that magic from Boston, Fort Worth, and Montreal.

Thatch House | Sofar Boston

My Neighbor Joe | Sofar Fort Worth

Coming up low | Sofar Montréal

Like/Follow/Subscribe here at Root Down In The Shadow as we'll follow-up with more Sofar Sounds videos for Max García Conover as they come available. Keep an eye out for "Eddie's Wine" from Sofar Philadelphia from August 2015 plus stops at Nashville, and Maine from November.

Check out an outtake from his Philadelphia set, that we used for our Cover Club session, here at CoverClubPhilly.com

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Max García Conover Embraces Philly with Cover Club (Leave Ruin by Strand of Oaks) and Sofar Sounds: Philadelphia Sessions

Photo by Jeff Coon

Photo by Jeff Coon
Just over two years ago, Max García Conover in preparation for his first show in Philadelphia at The Grape Room, he reached out to Root Down In The Shadow to connect.  Could I review his new album Burrow?   A review wasn't possible, but the Grape Room was just down the hill from my house.  Since then we've collaborated many times for house shows and connections for other line-ups and sessions.  This last August was a very special day for both of us.  He was able to join make a Sofar Sounds: Philadelphia show and since we had made arrangements with the host, we had the ability to do more recording and pulled off a Cover Club Session.

It isn't just the last two years that made Max García Conover's relationship with Philly special.  It's been going on for most of his life.   He explains, "My romanticization of philadelphia started way back in elementary school, dancing and singing in my bedroom to Boyz II Men's Mowtownphilly. My perception of the city has evolved, along with my taste in music, but for a long time I've felt connected with the sort of art that thrives there. Some of my favorite songwriters come from Philly, people like Strand of Oaks, Kurt Vile, Small Houses.

I found Strand of Oaks when he was touring with Joe Pug, one of my favorite songwriters. during his own encore, Pug invited Strand of Oaks up to play one more song, and he quietly played "Leave Ruin," silencing the room with just his voice, his electric guitar, and a perfect song."

Cover Club | Max García Conover "Leave Ruin" (Strand of Oaks)

We recorded Max on the front porch of our host's home in Ambler, PA; while the other Sofar Sounds performers were getting ready for the afternoon backyard show.

Photo by Jeff Coon

Coincidentally, it wasn't Max's first Sofar Sounds set, but he did meet the Sofar Sounds: Boston people at a house show in Philly. The August afternoon show, in a artsy backyard retreat would be his third Sofar Sounds show after Boston and Sofar Sounds: Fort Worth. The soon to be Sofar Sounds vet (he's since played Montreal, New York, Nashville, and Maine) wowed the crowd with his straigh-forward style, playing new favorites "My Neighbor Joe" and "Eddie's Wine" among his set.

Photo By Lindsey Borgman

Check out "My Neighbor Joe" from his set, as his Cover Club Original:

CoverClub | Max García Conover "My Neighbor Joe"  

Photo By Lindsey Borgman

Don't Forget to check out the original from Strand Of Oaks

Like/Follow/Subscribe as we will be posting an some Sofar Sounds videos from Max's travels and a video from the Root Down In The Shadow, Fishtown house show this last Friday.