On Stage: Aloud shows off its soul

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Aloud

In the world of rock music, there are thousands and thousands of bands that are loud. But, there is only one band that is Aloud.

On April 23, that band will be playing a show in the area. On Monday evening, Aloud will headline a show at The Rusty Nail (2580 Haverford Road, Ardmore, 610-649-6245, thenail1.com).

Aloud is a band that started in Miami and then moved from Florida to Boston, Massachusetts. After a while of making music in New England and touring around the East Coast, Aloud relocated again – this time to Los Angeles.

Henry Beguiristain (lead vocals, guitars, piano, keyboards, percussion) and Jen de la Osa (vocals, guitars, piano, keyboards, Farfisa, percussion) have been the core and soul of the band since their teen days in Miami. A shared passion for rock classics like the Beatles, Oasis, Aretha Franklin, and Otis Redding led the pair to start writing and recording their own music. A relocation to Boston where deep ties were formed in the local rock scene, combined with connecting with Aloud’s bassist, Charles Murphy pulled the band into focus.

The L.A.-based soul rockers have headed east for a series of northeastern tour dates that they will be doing with Benjamin Cartel (Mother West Records.) The centerpiece of this trip will be the Tribeca Film Festival where Aloud has two featured songs in the movie “All These Small Moments” starring Molly Ringwald, Brian d’Arcy James, Brendan Meyer, Sam McCarthy, Harley Quinn Smith and Jemima Kirke.

“We’ve been living in L.A. for about a year,” said Beguiristain, during a phone interview last week from the couple’s home in one of L.A.’s scenic canyons. “We had lived in Boston for 16 years, so it felt natural to move on to something else. When we moved to Boston, it had a really good music scene. It was thriving.”

But, nothing stays the same – especially in the music world.

“In Boston, there is a wall you can’t go beyond,” said de la Osa. “And, we got really tired of the snow. Besides, we always liked it our here whenever we visited.”

Considering both musicians are of Cuban descent and grew up in the warm climate and lively culture scene in Little Havana, Boston’s brutal weather had to break them at some point.

“My family and Jen’s family knew each other back in their days when they lived in Cuba,” said Beguiristain.

“We met when we were 14 when our parents lived in Coral Gables,” said de la Ora. “Within a year, we were playing in a band together.”

Beguiristain said, “We had a rock band. We weren’t influenced by Cuban music.

“But, there was an indirect influence – our emphasis on the beat and the horns,” said de la Ora.

A strong D.I.Y. ethic was there from the start.

“We did a lot of home recording when we were teenagers,” said Beguiristain. “We moved to Boston when we were 18.

“Our first legit record was an EP in 2004 that we recorded in Scituate, Massachusetts. That was the first time we were in a studio. Then, we released our first album in 2006.

“Our sound has continued to evolve. We try to do something different with every album. Now, our fifth album is in the can.”

De la Ora said, “The last session was February last year. Everything led to touring – and to moving.

“Henry, me and the bass player moved to L.A. We found a drummer and started playing shows around L.A. once a month.”

Aloud’s latest release is the single “Falling Out of Love,” which came out on February 14, 2018.

It was written by de la Osa and Beguiristain and performed and arranged by Aloud. The band featured Beguiristain, de la Osa, and Murphy along with Frank Hegyi on drums.

First on local, then national tours, Aloud started honing a sound that has earned comparisons to the Alabama Shakes and the Black Keys. Their latest music reveals an evolution of the band — showcasing their incredible harmonies reminiscent of the classic Muscle Shoals sound with elements of psychedelia.

The band’s upcoming full-length is a heavily R&B-influenced effort featuring a full horn section. It was produced by Grammy Award winner Benny Grotto (Magnetic Fields, Ben Folds) and mixed by Guy Massey (Paul McCartney, Manic Street Preachers, The Libertines).

“The new album is all ready to be released,” said de la Ora. “It’s much more of a soul record. You can hear the influence of Otis Redding and other Stax artists.”

Video link for Aloud – https://youtu.be/rmpKs_4w_0I.

The show at the Rusty Nail, which also features Benjamin Cartel will start at 8 p.m. Cover charge is $5.

Hawktail

Hawktail, which is headlining a show on April 23 at Johnny Brenda’s (1201 North Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, 215-739-9684,

www.johnnybrendas.com), evolved out of a previous band known as Haas Kowert Tice.

Hawktail, which is based in Nashville, Tennessee, is a collection of four of the most talented young artists in acoustic music today — Haas Brittany Haas, Paul Kowert, Jordan Tice and Domenick Leslie. Music fans will recognize them from their various other outfits such as Punch Brothers, David Rawlings, Crooked Still, and Prairie Home Companion. Together, they have created a unique instrumental offering music that sparks the imagination and emboldens the spirit.
California-born Haas is widely regarded as one of the most influential fiddlers of her generation. She grew up honing her craft in fiddle camps and came to her unique sound through the old time fiddling of Bruce Molsky and the innovative stylings of Darol Anger. A prodigious youth, she began touring with Darol’s Republic of Strings at the age of 14. She simultaneously studied baboons in the evolutionary biology department of Princeton University and joined seminal chamber-grass band Crooked Still.

Haas played her fiddle on Steve Martin’s Grammy Award-winning CD, “The Crow.”  She released her debut self-titled solo album at 17. She also tours with the Dave Rawlings Machine and plays in the Prairie Home Companion house band.
Kowert grew up in Madison, Wisconsin. Upon graduating from The Curtis Institute of Music in 2009, he joined the band Punch Brothers and moved to Brooklyn. In addition to playing with Punch Brothers, Kowert tours with Mike Marshall’s Big Trio, Dave Rawlings Machine, and The Prairie Home Companion House band.

Tice is a singular voice on the American roots music scene. Over the last10 years, he has developed a reputation as a unique and versatile guitarist and prolific composer of some of the most thoughtful and well-crafted tunes of his generation. He has released four solo records of original music to critical acclaim and has worked as a sideman to some of the biggest names in acoustic music such as Dave Rawlings, Tony Trischka, Mark Schatz, the Duhks, and actor/comedian Steve Martin..
Leslie, a mandolin player, has spent most of his life immersed in bluegrass and acoustic music, and his innovative style and musical curiosity are informed by these deep roots. He has studied with mandolin masters David Grisman, Mike Marshall and Chris Thile, won numerous mandolin championships, and performed abroad with several different musical configurations.

He has toured with The Deadly Gentlemen, Missy Raines, The Bee Eaters, The Grant Gordy Quartet, Noam Pikelny and Friends, The Infamous Stringdusters, Tony Trischka.

“We’ve all known each other for 10 years,” said Kowert, during a phone interview last week from a tour stop in Hudson, New York.

“Haas Kowert Tice got started in 2013 and our self-released album came out in 2014.”

Hawktail will be releasing its debut album, “Unless,” on May 11. This album is a mixture of recordings from a studio (House of Blues in Nashville), a church (Downtown Presbyterian in Nashville), the bassist’s house, and two live shows (recorded in California at Harlow’s in Sacramento and The Old Steeple in Ferndale).

“As soon as we released the Haas Kowert Tice album, we started working on this batch of music,” said Kowert. “The songwriting varies. One of us brings a tune fully formed and everybody comes up with their parts. Other times, we all write together. Each song is a little different.

“We made the new album two times without Dom. We thoroughly vetted out writing and arrangements. We listened and thought here was something missing.”

So, they added the fourth part and became Hawktail.

“Looking at it objectively, there is a balance with two people with picks ands two people with bows,” said Kowert. “It’s our unique version we like to employ. We used one trio track that was recorded at my house. Everything else is as a quartet.”

Hawktail has always emphasized playing music in its own distinctive style.

“Instrumental music is the music that has meant the most to me,” said Kowert, who got to know Philadelphia when he studied at the Curtis Institute. “With this band, we have the opportunity to do something unique.

“Compared to other instrumental ensembles, our recording process is mostly about capturing the energy. It was really important to capture the energy that each song requires.”

Video link for Hawktail – https://youtu.be/4LrssWrJKfY.

The show at Johnny Brenda’s, which has Man About a Horse as the opening act, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15.
One of the most popular stage musicals of all time is coming to Philadelphia this week for a limited run.

The Sound of Music

“The Sound of Music,” which is a musical about the life of the von Trapp family, is being presented now through April 29 at the Academy of Music (Broad and Locust streets, Philadelphia, 215-731-3333, www.kimmelcenter.org) as part of the Kimmel Center’s Broadway Philadelphia series.

The new touring production of “The Sound of Music,” is directed by three-time Tony Award® winner Jack O’Brien and celebrates the 50th anniversary of the acclaimed film.

The production features music by Richard Rogers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, and a book by Howard Linsay and Russel Crouse. The national tour stars Ben Davis as Captain Georg von Trapp (Broadway’s Violet, A Little Night Music, La Bohème), Ashley Brown as The Mother Abbess (Broadway’s original Mary Poppins, NBC’s The Sound of Music), and Jack O’Brien’s brand-new discovery, Kerstin Anderson as Maria Rainer

The spirited, romantic and beloved musical story of Maria and the von Trapp Family will once again thrill audiences with its Tony®, Grammy® and Academy Award® winning Best Score, including “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “Edelweiss” and the title song.

This show, which has been a family favorite through generations, enjoyed extraordinary success as the first live television production of a musical in over 50 years when “The Sound of Music Live!” aired on NBC in December 2013 and was seen by over 44 million people. 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of the film version, which continues to be the most successful movie musical in history.

If you read the line – “Keslie Ward plays the role of Liesl in the Sound of Muisc” – your eyes and brain will probably make a correction and change it to – “Kelsie Ward plays the role of Liesl in the Sound of Music.”

The correction would only be partially right. The actress playing the role of Liesl in the touring production is Keslie Ward – not Kelsie Ward.

Ward, a native of Garland, Texas, is performing in her first national tour and impressing audiences with her portrayal of Liesl, the eldest of the von Trapp children.

“I graduated from Oklahoma City University in 2015,” said Ward, during a phone interview last week from a tour stop in Chicago, Illinois.

“I worked regionally in Oklahoma and then moved to New York. I got a job with Disney Cruise Lines doing four different shows and then I got this job.

“I auditioned at an open call in January 2017. After that, I had about seven callbacks and then got the job in May. The auditions were a good learning experience. We started rehearsals at the end of July and left for tour at the end of August. We were in Yakima, Washington for tech and then officially opened in Seattle.”

Like almost everyone, Ward was well-acquainted with “The Sound of Music.”

“I grew up with ‘The Sound of Music,’” said Ward. “It was the first soundtrack that I owned. I loved Julie Andrews and the movie. When I auditioned, I was familiar with all the songs and all the characters. Liesl is the oldest and ‘Sixteen Going on Seventeen’ is her song.”

Audiences know that song – as well as almost all the other tunes from the soundtrack.

“What’s nice is the ‘The Sound of Music’ is such a classic piece and people come to the show knowing all the songs,” said Ward. “But, most people don’t know that it was a stage musical before it was a movie.”

“The Sound of Music” is a musical based on the memoir of Maria von Trapp, “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers.” Set in Austria on the eve of the Anschluss in 1938, the musical tells the story of Maria, who takes a job as governess to a large family while she decides whether to become a nun.

She falls in love with the children, and eventually their widowed father, Captain von Trapp. He is ordered to accept a commission in the German navy, but he opposes the Nazis. He and Maria decide on a plan to flee Austria with the children.

The original Broadway production, starring Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel, opened in 1959 and won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The first London production opened at the Palace Theatre in 1961. It was adapted as a 1965 film musical starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, which won five Academy Awards. “The Sound of Music” was the last musical written by Rodgers and Hammerstein; Oscar Hammerstein died of cancer nine months after the Broadway premiere.

“With our production, we stay true to the story, the message and the characters,” said Ward. “We were told – as long as you stay true to the script, the characters will come through. It’s also nice that we’re able to put some of our personalities into the characters.

“I like Liesl a lot. Even though she’s 16, she’s pretty smart for her age – very observant. She’s very caring about her siblings throughout the play and really grows up by the end.”

Video link for “Sound of Music” — https://youtu.be/XOEQxVYtBvM.

The show will run from April 24-29 at the Academy of Music. Ticket prices range from $50-$120.

Great Peacock

Hawktail isn’t the only Nashville-based band to be performing in Philadelphia early this week. On April 24, Great Peacock will headline a show at MilkBoy Philly (1100 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, 215- 925-6455, www.milkboyphilly.com).

Great Peacock capture the vibe of Nashville 2018 – a city where music genres flow together like rivers in Pittsburgh.

Great Peacock — lead singer and guitarist Andrew Nelson, guitarist Blount Floyd, drummer Nick Recio and bass player Frank Keith IV — challenge the notion of genre as they dismantle tradition and blur the lines between rock ‘n roll, conventional folk music, modern country and true Americana.

“Blount and I had been playing music together for about 10 years before this band,” said Nelson, during a phone interview last week from his home in Nashville. “It was a laissezfaire acoustic project – just having fun. We wrote a song, out it on the internet and people loved it.”

After college, Nelson had moved to Nashville to pursue his musical career and that is where he crossed paths with Lloyd.

“I first met Blount through his brother,” said Nelson. “I went over to hang out with his brother, but he had to leave. Blount was there so I hung out with him. We went out and got a case of beer and shotgunned them. After that, we started playing and writing songs together. We found out we sang together pretty well.”

From that meeting, a seed was panted that eventually grew into Great Peacock.

According to Nelson, “We jokingly said we were going to start a folk band, and we wrote a song called ‘Desert Lark.’ Friends said they really liked it. So, the band started to take shape and became a reality in 2013.”

The music was slightly different at the beginning.

“It was more acoustic,” said Nelson. “There was fiddle, pedal steel, and electric guitar. It was somewhere between rock and country.

“After three years, we decided we were a band and added permanent members. Nick Recio, our drummer, was the first to hop on board and he’s still with us. We’ve had the current line-up since last fall.

“We made our first album in 2015. It took us a long time to make our second album ‘Gran Pavo Real.’ I don’t want to ever go that long again.”

Great Peacock’s latest release, “Gran Pavo Real,” came out on March 30 on Ropeadope Records.

“We didn’t have a bass player when we made the record, so we used Tom Blankenship from My Morning Jacket,” said Nelson. “We recorded it at Sound Emporium in Nashville last spring. It was a quick recording process – just four or five days.

“We did most of it live in the studio. We only had two days of preproduction with our producer Dexter Green. We only had to do three takes at the most for each song. It was our first time to work with Dexter. He brought a strange cosmic energy and it turned out really well.”

Video link for Great Peacock – https://youtu.be/lMVcUkJrDSE.

The show at MilkBoy Philadelphia, which as Sparkle Pony as the opening act, will start at 8 p.m. Ticket are $8 in advance and $10 day of show.

Quinn Sullivan

On April 25, Quinn Sullivan will return to headline another show at the Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) after packing the house there last summer.

A little over a year ago, Sullivan was a student at New Bedford High School in Massachusetts. Two days after he graduated, he and his band played a blistering set at the Western Maryland Blues Festival in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Shortly after that, he was playing blues shows in the Deep South. And, he hasn’t stopped touring since.

“We’re doing a lot of shows in New England and the Northeast right now and then we’ll be doing some festivals,” said Sullivan, during a phone interview Tuesday morning from his home in the New England whaling town.

“It’s usually runs of five or six days. I come home for few days and then I’m out again. “I’ve been getting together with a new band lately. I took a new band with me for a tour of Europe back in March. It’s a new project.

“I’ve been rehearsing with these guys for a while. A couple are from California and a couple are from the Boston area. It’s four guys – guitar, bass, drums, keyboards – and me on guitar and vocals.”

That initial trip down South to Meridian, Mississippi and Baton Rouge, Louisiana had more happening than just a few concerts.

“I was out for a few days in Meridian and Baton Rouge filming for a documentary about me and Buddy Guy,” said Nelson. “It was really exciting.”

Sullivan’s history with Guy goes back more than a decade – which is pretty impressive considering Sullivan just turned 19 in March.

“I first saw Buddy Guy play in a video of the Crossroads Festival in 2004,” said Sullivan. “I was playing a guitar but wasn’t into blues yet. Prior to that, I was playing rock. Blues came into the picture after I saw Buddy Guy.”

Sullivan began taking guitar lessons at age three. He first gained national media attention at age six when he appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

“Once I saw Buddy and how he played his guitar, I said to my family – we have to go see this guy play,” said Sullivan. “In 2007, he came to New Bedford to perform at the Zeiterion Theater.

“We made friends with the people at the theater and got to go backstage. I went to his dressing room and he was very welcoming and signed my guitar. I was seven or eight at the time. He asked me if I could play. I played a few licks for him and he looked at me and said – be ready when I call you.”

Guy did follow through and make the call.

“That started the journey I’ve been on for the last 10 years,” said Sullivan. “In July 2007, he came for a show in Lowell, Massachusetts and I got to jam with him for a second time. That was when it clicked for us.

“We kept going to see him every time he came to the area. Eventually, he asked me to open some shows for him. The first time I opened for him was in Arlington, Kentucky when I was 11. It got to a point where we were opening a lot of shows for him.”

Sullivan has released three of his own albums – “Cyclone” in 2011, “Getting There” in 2013 and “Midnight Highway” in 2017.

“I recorded the ‘Cyclone’ album in Nashville in 2010 and it came out in 2011,” said Sullivan. “That was my first time in the studio and it taught me so much.

“I was working with Buddy Guy’s producer Tom Hambridge. He pushed me a lot – which was needed. I’ve worked with Tom on all three albums. We recorded at Blackbird Studio in Nashville which is a legendary studio.

“We made the new album over the course of eight months. I was still in school, so I couldn’t go to the studio for months at a time. Time management came into play.

“We’ve been working ‘Midnight Highway’ in the live show. I taught them the record and they’ve been killing it. But, my shows now are not just blues but other stuff too. It’s a different genre – a completely new project.”

Video link for Quinn Sullivan – https://youtu.be/_F48l-mWfAI

Video link for Quinn Sullivan (age 8) — https://youtu.be/ix4TNJvVk8M.

The show at the Sellersville Theater will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 and $40.

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