Ken’s Music Pick: The Kernal at Rockwood Music Hall

The Kernal

Is Joe Garner The Kernal, or is The Kernal Joe Garner? Truth be told, they cannot be separated.  They’re critical to each other’s existence.

If they were parts of one soulful, music-makin’ body, you could maybe view Joe as the head, and the Kernal as the guts. Or Joe as the heart, and the Kernal as the muscle. All together, they look damn sharp in a red suit. And for the last two years, all these parts have worked together to pump out a fantastic set of country-ish songs that would ultimately become the Kernal’s “HelloFarewell.”

Ken’s Pick: Balthrop Alabama & The Bandana Splits

Balthrop Alabama

We Have Electricity.  That’s the name of Balthrop Alabama’s latest full-length album. In fact, with a series of lovely EPs, and their debut being a double album, it could be considered their only full-length outing (technically speaking). And true to its name, it does pulse with some power.

In the mid-2000s’, brother & sister co-founders Pascal & Lauren Balthrop moved to Brooklyn and soon formed a band. But the forming of their band was also the forming of a town – a fictitious, self-named town — where every resident is the ‘wacky neighbor’ and they’re all awesome musicians.

Ken’s Music Pick: Bryan Dunn at Rockwood Music Hall

Bryan Dunn

There’s a lot that I like about songwriter Bryan Dunn’s style, and it’s not just that he’s from my hometown of Austin, TX. Although, if you discover this particular piece of trivia after hearing him play first, it does make a lot of sense. Dunn’s music does that great Texas thing — mixing pop and rock with old-school blues and country, so confidently that you’re sure he’s been surrounded by those sounds his entire life, and the life before.

Not that Dunn is all twang and grit. He certainly has a clear and equal appreciation for the” folkies” of his parents’ generation and the rockers of his own.  He’s a sharp lyricist.  Songs like “The Ballad of Emily Rose” give many a nod to the troubadour styling’s of Bob Dylan, while “You South Dakota” shows the influence of Tom Petty’s more melodic work.

Ken’s Pick: In One Wind at Rockwood Music Hall

In One Wind

In One Wind creates pop/jazz songs that sound country, and indie rock songs that sound like cinematic scores.”

I wrote that back in August, and it’s STILL true. They have a truly unique sound in an ocean of “unique sounds.” In One Wind is a fighting vessel out of Brooklyn, agile and swift, but also strong with just a bit of danger.

A regular crew of six, they’ve been known to increase their “hands on deck” by one, two or three, and firmly at the prow is the sea-beaten figurehead, Angelo Spagnulo. I call Angelo the figurehead rather than the captain of the ship, because he is less a manager who pushes and pulls at a wheel to direct things and more like a face in the spray, cutting through the waves in whatever direction they happen to be headed in.

Weekend Music Picks

Yellowbirds

My top picks for live music on the Lower East Side this weekend:

YELLOWBIRDS – Friday Feb. 17 | 11:30pm at Mercury Lounge

Yellowbirds is the non-solo, solo project of Brooklyn’s Sam Cohen. A sharp composer, Cohen’s fluid, dexterous music-making has an eerie, retro, water-dance quality. Cohen serves as songwriter, lead guitarist, and singer for the 4-piece, which certainly rings of “frontman” designation, but the other three pieces (Balthrop Alabama’s Josh Kauffman on keys, the Bandana Splits’ Annie Nero on bass, and Brian Kantor of Higgins on drums) play an equally integral part in building the texture and depth that make the Yellowbirds sound so distinct.  $10//217 E. Houston St.

Weekend Music Picks

Here are musician Ken Beasley’s top music picks on the Lower East Side for this weekend:

Wildlife

WILDLIFE – Fri Jan. 20 | 7:30pm at Mercury Lounge

Hockey, public art, low crime rate … just a few of the things that Toronto is known for. Now we can add Wildlife to the list. Wildlife, the Band. Delivering a bright, driving indie-pop sound, the Canadian quintet stops off in NYC this weekend in support of their album Strike Hard – Young Diamond, and urge you to ignore any warning to keep hands and feet inside the vehicle. $10//217 E. Houston St.

Weekend Music Picks

Here are musician Ken Beasley’s top music picks on the Lower East Side for this weekend:

ANDREW VLADECK – Fri Dec. 9 | 10pm at The Living Room

Andrew Vladeck

The last time we highlighted songwriter/banjo-picker extraordinaire Andrew Vladeck, he was performing as part of The Lo-Down’s CMJ showcase back in October. He’s back on the Lower East Side tomorrow, at the Living Room, and he’ll be followed by another great band (of which he is a regular member), Balthrop, Alabama. Formed by brother/sister team Pascal and Lauren Balthrop, Balthrop, Alabama offers up super-fun tunes, with left-of-center themes, and accompanies them with live illustratons.  FREE//154 Ludlow St.

Weekend Music Picks

Here are musician Ken Beasley’s top music picks on the Lower East Side for this weekend:

Goodnight, Texas

GOODNIGHT, TEXAS – Fri Dec. 2 | 10pm at the Living Room

Alt-country trio Goodnight, Texas are not from Texas. Their hometowns include San Francisco and Chapel Hill, N.C., and the nearly forgotten ghost town of Goodnight, Texas, sits smack in the middle. The three-piece pays homage to the romance of the past through their work, as much as through their name, with compositions that rattle with Jalopy rhythms, sway with weeping willow harmonies, and connect with lyrics of leaving and grieving.  FREE//154 Ludlow St.

Thanksgiving Weekend Music Picks

Here are musician Ken Beasley’s top music picks on the Lower East Side for this holiday weekend:

Luke Welsley

LUKE WELSELY – Fri Nov. 25 | 10pm at the Rockwood Music Hall

Native of Ohio, and longtime resident of New York, Pianist Luke Welsely is gaining fans near and far with his punchy, humorous songs. Happy to poke fun at himself and the things he sees in everyday life, Welsely ‘s piano work bounces along with toe-tapping confidence.  FREE//196 Allen ST. 

 

Weekend Music Picks

Here are musician Ken Beasley’s top music picks on the Lower East Side for this weekend:

Teddy Goldstein

TEDDY GOLDSTEIN – Fri Nov. 18 | 9pm at the Living Room

Teddy Goldstein is one those songwriters whose satirical musical work dovetails effortlessly with the razor sharp observational qualities of his off-stage personality. But there is an additional layer in Goldstein, and those who journey beyond the natural witticisms and easygoing voice, will find a sincere and perceptive lyricist.  FREE//154 Ludlow St.

Weekend Music Picks

Here are musician Ken Beasley’s top music picks on the Lower East Side for this weekend:

Alex and Janel

ALEX AND JANEL – Fri, Nov. 4 | 11PM at Rockwood Music Hall

NYC has spawned countless musical teams and collaborations through the generations, which as an artist, is one of the benefits of living here. You never know with whom you’ll cross paths and share a profound musical connection. Broadway veteran Alex Brumel and accomplished jazz singer Janel Elizabeth are two who have experienced this very thing. After getting together to play some songs for fun, they both felt that they had sparked something great, and have never looked back. As Alex and Janel, they perform and record tunes laced with easy-breezy melodies, tight vocal harmonies and unexpected chord structures.   FREE//196 Allen St. 

Weekend Music Picks

Here are musician Ken Beasley’s top music picks on the Lower East Side for this weekend:

Morricone Youth

MORRICONE YOUTH – Fri, Nov. 4 | 9PM at Rockwood Music Hall

It’s always fun when smart, talented musicians go conceptual with their band or repertoire. Morricone Youth are a snappy-dressing sextet specializing in covers of dramatic film scores and soundtrack music (mostly from the 60s and 70s). They work their magic incredibly well doing faithful renditions, as well as their own contemporary interpretations of others. Even their original compositions seem tailor-made for a stoic Clint Eastwood, smoldering in the Italian desert sun. FREE//196 Allen St. 

Weekend Music Picks

Here are musician Ken Beasley’s top music picks on the Lower East Side for this weekend:

Julia Haltigan

JULIA HALTIGAN – Fri, Oct. 28 | 9PM at Rockwood Music Hall

Julia Haltigan has a sharply delivered, full bodied sound not all that dissimilar to other female retro-rockers like Amy Winehouse and Duffy, although Haltigan’s comes across a bit more voodoo vixen, than hotrods & high-waters.  Nestled somewhere in the middle of Wanda Jackson and early Roy Orbison,  Haltigan’s material gets lifted up by the shoulders of a stellar backing band and her own top-notch sepia-soaked voice. FREE//196 Allen St. 

Weekend Music Picks

Here are musician Ken Beasley’s top music picks on the Lower East Side for this weekend:

Paul Brill

PAUL BRILL - Fri, Sept. 23 | 10PM at Rockwood Music Hall

In the last couple years, composer/band-leader/producer Paul Brill has become known not only for his original take on contemporary songwriting, but for his big, spontaneous, multi-musician live shows. Brill puts on some of the best live shows around; now he’s redirecting and focusing his energy into a stripped down set at Rockwood called, “Paul Brill and His Small Band.”

Poised for his soon to be released new album, Brill will be shining the spotlight on his tightly written songs. He will be joined on stage by special guests Lauren Balthrop and Raphael McGregor. FREE//196 Allen St. 

Weekend Music Picks

Here are musician Ken Beasley’s top music picks on the Lower East Side for this weekend:

Kate Branagh

KATE BRANAGH – Fri, Sept. 9 | 9pm at The Living Room

More than 20 years ago, Kate Branagh was born to two folk loving parents in Pennsylvania. In turn, Kate has gone on to give birth to a vast collection of songs that harken back to artists like Carol King, Joanie Mitchel and Crosby Stills & Nash, while still sounding fresh and of the day. Tonight, Branagh will be playing at the Living Room in celebration of her new album “Minutia.” FREE// 154 Ludlow St.