Wednesday, December 31, 2008

year in review: NUVO

Here are the top musical events in the Indianapolis folk world (according to me, anyway) for 2008. Read it here.
And check out the always hilarious Harry Cheese's take on the news events of 2008 here.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Broad Ripple Gazette, vol 5. no 26

Hayes Carll and John Evans
Monday, December 8, 2008

The John Evans Band kicked off the show with big tall Texas Rockabilly fun. The band included all of the usual Rockabilly suspects; an excellent pedal/electric guitar player- Billy Beason, a fast playin’ drummer – Anthony Pummil and a stand-up bass player named Reverend Sidecar Sweet-Ass. Band leader John Evans sang honky tonk goodies about BBQ, drinking, pretty girls and “bad thoughts in a good way.”

I’d been looking forward to the Hayes Carll show for a long time, since I first him, actually. I saw Hayes open for Robert Earl Keene three years ago. I’d been listening to Hayes’ Little Rock record a lot since then. And when I say “a lot,” I mean that most of my co-workers at Second Helpings can sing along. His next record, his first on a major label (Lost Highway) Trouble In Mind, quickly became a favorite when it was released this spring.

Hayes was scheduled to come to town in June, but had to cancel. Luckily the Indianapolis Songwriters Café booked him on this swing through town. And I had the pleasure of interviewing him for NUVO (you can find it on

I was happy to see such a great turnout on a Monday night. This was Hayes’ first trip to Indianapolis as the headliner. And he’s touring with a full band. Kenny Smith (of the great eyebrows Smiths) on drums, Scott Davis played guitar, banjo, lap steel and I suspect he could play anything that you could throw at him, Ricky Ray Jackson on pedal steel and more guitar and John Michael Schoepf on bass guitar.

The show was great. They played a nice mix of older and newer tunes. Hayes’ charm and sense of humor were evident throughout the show, both in his banter and clever songs. He’s Texas born and lives in Austin now, but his time in Arkansas defiantly left an impression. He played a trio of songs “to raise the profile of the beautiful state of Arkansas,” including the title track from Little Rock.

Opening band leader and long-time friend and collaborator John Evans joined him on stage for a few songs as the super-group, The Ego Brothers featuring a tongue-in-cheek song about how great they are. Hayes’ played a song he wrote with Ray Wylie Hubbard called “Chicken.” He said that they might have “overestimated the whole folk poultry rock market.”

Hayes’ played a brand new Christmas tune he’s debuted on the Bob & Tom show earlier that morning. He mentioned that he had to “kill a few people off” to write the progression of who gave the blessing this year. It is a great song; I hope he has the chance to record it soon.

I look forward to Hayes’ next trip through town.

Holiday Party at Locals Only
December 26, 2008
2449 E. 56th Street

I don’t know any details, except that I guarantee it will be a blast. The crew at Locals Only always has fun up their sleeve. And if I know Michele at all there will be great decorations and she’ll be wearing some holiday socks. Hopefully there will be more information on their Web site soon.

Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band w/ Harley Poe, Woodstove Flapjacks
Friday, December 26
Doors at 8:00, show at 9:00
$10 advance, $12 day of. 21+

This is their big damn holiday show. They are celebrating the release of their latest record, The Whole Fam Damnily. The country-blues-punk-rock-family-band spends a lot of time in their van, touring the country and making fans. Catch them while you can, they’re headed to Colorado for a show later that week. Check their Web site for great road stories and photographs.

New Year’s Eve Round-Up

Check the venues for more information about start times and cover charges. These are the Broad Ripple-ish shows I could find on the calendar. Whatever you wind up doing, be careful and have a lovely time.

Brenda Williams
The Jazz Kitchen
8:00, 21+, $25.
5377 College Avenue

Brenda Williams is known for her sassy takes on jazz standards and soul classics. She always has the audience in the palm of her pretty little hands.
Call the lovely LuAnn for information on the swanky new private room for New Year's Eve – or any occasion.

Blackberry Jam and Jumbo Shrimp (bands, not a dinner special)
Locals Only
2449 E. 46th Street

Latex Novelties, Atomic Bombay and others
Punk Rock Night New Year’s Eve
The Historic Melody Inn
21+, doors 8:00, $5.
3826 N. Illinois Street

If I told you I had a Latex Novelties button would you think less of me? I’m sure I’ve had the button for at least 25 years. I think it’s kind of sad that I’ve managed to lose every piece of good jewelry I’ve ever owned but my button collection is intact. Come to think of it, the buttons have better memories. And I promise this will be a memorable evening. The Latex Novelties and Atomic Bombay are always good old school punk and surf rock fun

Henry French & the Shameless CD release
Spin Nightclub
6308 Guilford Ave

Chad Mills, Evan Haughey and Matt Martin
The Upper Room (above the Broad Ripple Steak House)
Friday, January 2, 2008
929 E. Westfield Blvd.
21+, 9:30

I can’t think of a better match- one of my absolute favorite musicians, Chad Mills and one of my very favorite nonprofits, School On Wheels. Chad will be joined by the just as talented Evan Haughey and Matt Martin. Start off the new year with good music and a donation to a good cause.

School on Wheels is just that – they provide volunteer tutoring for the nearly 2500 Indianapolis' school-aged homeless children at twelve locations. These kids are living in shelters, on grandparent’s sofas and friends floors. Did you know the average age of a homeless person in Indianapolis is 9 years old?

School on Wheels works to help these students break the cycle of homelessness, by connecting them with tutors, mentors, educational advocacy and link them and their parents to resources’ for a college education. How amazing is all of that?

Since 2001 over 1,000 School on Wheels community volunteers have provided over 17,000 hours of tutoring.

I’ll see you there, for sure.

Elvis Birthday Bash
Saturday, January 10, 2008
Locals Only
2449 E. 56th Street
10 pm

Gather ‘round Elvis fans – the King would be 74 this weekend. And NUVO cartoonist Wayne Bertsch has gathered a group of musicians that celebrates the diversity of Elvis’ music. "I wanted to assemble a line-up that reflected the diverse sound that made Elvis a standout even amongst the other giants in the Sun records stable. Elvis was more than a rockabilly act. His music assembled elements of rock, gospel and R&B in ways that influenced almost every musician that came after him,"

The showfeatures zydeco powerhouse band Mojo Gumbo, The Mess Arounds, Indy's hot rockin' blues trio fronted by Danny Thompson and local rock heroes Mardelay.

Locals Only feature an Elvis-centric menu of items as deliciously bad for you as they were for the King. I see a fried peanut butter sandwich in my future. I wonder how many Weight Watchers points that is?

Is learning an instrument on your New Year’s resolution list? Read on….

Community Steel Band
For all musical levels, taught by Tom Berich
Indianapolis Art Center
820 E 67th Street
317. 255.2464

Come learn how to play the steel drums! Students will learn scales, simple melodies, and specific strumming patterns and groove related playing techniques. This class will also cover the history of the steel drum art form and forms of music generally associated with steel drums, including Calypso, Soca, as well as tunes and musical genres not generally associated with steel drums, such as classical, holiday, and jazz. Students will gain an appreciation for how an art form is started, and how creativity, cooperation, tenacity, and imagination can be utilized to better one’s life. Steel Drums provided. Frank M. Basile Auditorium.

Wednesdays, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Session I (SP111e)
- 7 Weeks: January 14-February 25 (register by January 6)

Session II (SP188e)
- 7 Weeks: March 11-April 22 (register by March 3)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Broad Ripple Gazette, vol 5. no 25

first published in the Broad Ripple Gazette.


Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s on Conon O’Brien
November 19, 2008

I was very excited when I heard that the indie Indy darlings, Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s were going to appear on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. I called my friend John Gernand, who works on the show to see if he could snap some photos and fill me in on the back stage scoop. Unfortunately John had another gig that night (taping Beyonce for the Rockefeller Center tree lighting special). I set my alarm for 1:15 and woke up just in time to see the band.

They were great! I was bouncing on the bed and talking to the television like a proud, albeit crazy aunt. I loved that Richard wrote “Marmoset” on his guitar with what looked like electrical tape in a nod to the beloved Indianapolis band. And I recognized that Hubert was wearing a Melody Inn tee shirt. I’m sure you could see it better on a television that was not sporting rabbit ears and at least 20 years old.

Band mates Andy and Emily were in the Red Key last week and said the whole experience was a blast. Everyone that worked on the show was kind, funny and amazingly nice to them. I’m thrilled for them and can’t wait to see where they show up next.

The Big Roots Show
Stasia Demos and Tad Armstrong
November 20, 2008
Locals Only

A few words about The Big Roots Show. The weekly Thursday show starts at 7:30 and only costs $5. Perfect for us working folks. I love being able to see a great show and still be home at a decent hour.

This week’s version of The Big Roots show featured Stasia Demos as the musical appetizer. The very talented Stasia has a great stage presence. I swear that you could plunk her down in front of any audience – from Ted Nugent to Abba and she’d win them over with her warmth, talent and quirkiness. Stasia played both her guitar and accordion – not at the same time, and sang. Her songs ranged from tunes she sings her son to the Queen song she was covering for the Tonic Ball the next night.

Tad Armstrong joined Stasia for a set. They played several songs from their Middletown days, songs of their own and quirky covers.

Tad Armstrong and his band played a rollicking set, including a lot of songs from his new record, Scorpio Falling. Stasia joined them for some songs -- singing, playing piano and accordion.

I really love Scorpio Falling; I think it showcases Tad’s songwriting and voice better than anything he’s done so far. It’s always a pleasure to see Tad perform. You can next catch Tad playing at Boulevard Place Café at the December 19 Indianapolis Songwriter’s Café Show. He will be joined by Sarah Grain and Tom Roznowski for the in-the-round performance.

The Tonic Ball
November 21, 2008
Radio Radio and Fountain Square Theatre

Once again the Tonic Ball earned its spot as my favorite night of the year. 25 bands and hundreds of music fans in one place- what’s not to love? This year I finally got to see the band Yoko Moment. The super group is the brainchild of Tonic Ball founder, Ken Honeywell and business partner, Scott Woolgar. Some how I missed them each year. I either was working the door or in the other venue or waiting in line to get in. The six-year wait was worth it! Ken and Scott and the two other guys whose name I should know rocked the medley of Queen songs they played.

Thanks to all of the bands, volunteers, Tonic Ball committee and people who attended for making it the best music event in the city.

For photographs and videos check out

Fight Night
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Coliseum, Indiana State Fairgrounds

I have season tickets to the Golden Gloves matches at the Tindall Armory, but Fight Nights at the Fairgrounds have a different feel. Could be the Hooter Girls, not sure. I was really looking forward to seeing the Stuart Lanford matchup. Sergeant 1st Class Stuart Lanford is from Indianapolis and was undefeated going in to the match. I’d written about Stuart before and I was sitting with some of his softball buddies, we were all on our feet when he climbed in to the ring.

Unfortunately, Stuart lost the bout. I wondered if he would even come out of the locker room- I’m not sure that I would have. As great as it was to see Stuart win the past, it was even more amazing to be around a graceful loser just minutes after the fight. Stuart was planning to have his last fight in February, but there is a chance he’ll be out of town with his unit. Even if that was Stuart’s last fight, he’s a winner to everyone that knows him.


Hayes Carll
Monday, December 8, 2008

2131 E 71st Street 

21+, $12, 8:30 pm

I think it’s safe to call me a Hays Carll geek – that sounds so much better then super-fan stalker. I saw Hayes a couple of years ago at the Music Mill opening for Robert Earl Keen. I purchased is self-published album, “Little Rock” and it has become a staple in my work CD player, I listen to it at
least once a day and I think the whole staff can sing-along now.
 I was sent a review copy of his Lost Highway Records released “Trouble In Mind,” and liked it so much that I purchased a copy. I've been listening
to it non-stop in my truck and really love it. Mom handed me an envelope with his name written on it a few months ago- she heard him on NPR and thought I'd enjoy his music – she sure does know me.

I got a chance to interview Hayes for NUVO (you can read it at I’ll see you at the show. I’ll be the one trying not to sing along.

School 70 Winter Concert Performance
Tuesday, December 9, 6:30
First Meridian Heights Presbyterian Church
4701 Central Ave
all-ages, free

I vote at Mary E. Nicholson School #70. I enjoy my twice a year visits, but must admit that I didn’t know much about the school. I was thrilled to be offered a tour when I was there in November. My tours guides (I wish I could remember their names) proudly showed me around the school. I learned that the school is really called The Nicholson Performing Arts Academy. I got to observe classrooms full of students playing instruments, singing and making art. There was plenty of reading, writing and arithmeticin’ going on to. In fact the school the winner of the School of Distinction Award for 2008. Which is a big huge deal.

I can imagine their Winter Concert will be wonderful with all of that talent running around. The concert will be held at the First Meridian Heights Presbyterian Church, just north of the school.

The Big Roots Show
Thursdays in December, 7:30
Locals Only
2449 E. 56th Street
21+, $5.

December 11, 2008
Anthony Scroggins (Hey, Hey Melodica)
Breaking Laces

December 18, 2008
Tim Brickley and the Bleeding Hearts
Richard Sullivan

Gamblin’ Christmas
Thursday’s in December, 7:00
The Wine Cellar at the Corner Wine Bar
6331 Guilford Avenue
non-smoking, 21+, free

The Wine Cellar is the perfect place to have a delicious dinner and hear music. They have started their Thursday evening winter series with the aptly named band, Gamblin’ Christmas. The duo, Patrick Flaherty and Kurt Franke play high-energy music, and promise that you’ll have a great time.

A Celtic Midwinter Celebration
Traveler’s Dream
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Glendale Branch of the Indpls. - Marion County Public Library
6101 North Keystone Avenue, 275-4410
7:00-8:15pm, all-ages, free

From the Traveler’s Dream Web site: Traveler’s Dream presents a treasury of heartwarming songs to celebrate the winter season, Christmas and the New Year. Listeners will enjoy the festive sounds of traditional carols from the Celtic lands as well as lively jigs and reels played on the Irish flute, concertina, bouzouki, and tin whistle. Michael Lewis and Denise Wilson will tell how each song relates to the ancient traditions and unique holiday customs of Ireland, Wales, England, and Brittany. This concert of familiar favorites and uncommon musical gems gives voice to a wide variety of religious traditions and captures the wondrously mystical nature of Celtic spirituality. Like a soothing mug of warm wassail, these songs will kindle the spirit with their messages of hope, good cheer, the beauty of winter, and the joyful gatherings of family and friends!

Nora here: I for one, can’t wait to find out what a bouzouki is.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hayes Carll

I have Hayes Carll on the brain. It's no surprise that I'm constantly humming his songs, since I have his latest CD, Trouble In Mind in my truck player and his self-released Little Rock is on heavy rotation on my work player. 

I had the pleasure of writing about his upcoming show for NUVO. Read the interview here
And I'll see you at the show Monday.