Over the past few months, I’ve gone on a bit of a Girls Guns & Glory binge. I saw them first at the Sinclair in Cambridge, MA, then at a Church coffeehouse in Franklin, then at an arts center in Natick, all in a fairly short amount of time. These boys are always on the move and I’m happy to catch them whenever they are in range. It’s always awesome when you go to a show and are completely blown away by a band you’ve never seen, which doesn’t happen to me often. I felt like I was hit head-on by GGG and I was addicted. The catchy retro-country-rock songs, Ward Hayden’s dreamy and crooning vocals, and the snappy outfits on each band member- damn, good stuff. If you haven’t seen or heard them yet, please check them out and you’ll be “shakin’ like jello” in no time! They are very fun to photograph and I’m looking forward to more opportunities!
Barnstar! at Dimension Sound Studios
Jamaica Plain, MA
On a lovely spring night I arrived at Dimension Sound Studios, a dozen donuts in hand. Somehow, the stars had aligned and I was invited to photograph my favorite bluegrass super-group as they finished up their second album. As I mentioned before, Barnstar! is comprised of Mark Erelli on guitar, Zack Hickman on bass, Charlie Rose on banjo, Taylor “Old Train” Armerding on mandolin and Jake Armerding on fiddle. The perfect mix of awesomeness.
I happened to arrive when they were doing the final take of the final song on the album. According to Mark, my husband and I being there gave the band the audience that they needed to finish up the song. So that was pretty special (um, wow!). The recording process is fascinating and tedious- it was a really unique experience getting to witness what goes into making an album. Not to mention, I got to sit around and eat burgers with some insanely talented musicians and just nice guys. While I won’t tell you what songs are coming up on this album, I can tell you that it sounded fantastic in the studio and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy! Looking forward to photographing these gentlemen again at the Green River Music Festival on July 13th! Hopefully the lighting will be a little better there than it was in the studio…!
Josh Ritter Acoustic Trio @ The Somerville Theatre
Somerville, MA: March 6, 2014
Joy. It’s just the first word that comes to mind when I think of this show, Josh Ritter’s face, the songs played, the energy between the 3 men on stage. Ritter has been touring for nearly 1 year straight since the release of his latest album, “The Beast in Its Tracks,” but it doesn’t show. He plays each show like it’s the first time he’s ever stepped out on a stage and his face is lighting up at the fact that the audience is all there just to hear his music.
I have had the pleasure of seeing Ritter play live with his full band many times. Not surprisingly, this show had an entirely different feel and sound. The songs were stripped down but lush in a very intimate setting. Opening with “Best is for the Best” from the The Animal Years album, Ritter grinned and the whole audience smiled with him. During “Wolves,” he got the whole crowd to howl. When he played “Come and Find me” and “The Temptation of Adam” solo acoustic, I looked around at a sea of mesmerized faces. Let’s just say that Josh Ritter had the Somerville Theatre wrapped around his finger.
Ritter was flanked by two expert musicians. Josh Kaufman showed off his musical chops by wowing the audience with incredible solos on the nylon-string guitar, mandolin, banjo, and electric guitar. I’ve seen Zack Hickman play with several different bands (check out Barnstar! if you haven’t already) but his bass playing really shines alongside Ritter. If you can take your eyes off of his incredible handlebar mustache for long enough, you’ll notice that he also shows some dance moves while plucking those strings! Seeing this show both nights was an incredible treat. I would definitely rank the experience right up there with my top 5 favorite concerts of all time. Thanks to Josh, Josh, and Zack. Please come back soon.
Photos by Suzanne Davis McMahon
Every once in awhile, there is an artist whose album is so anticipated by everyone in the Twangville Posse that a few of us pile on for a team review. Put Sarah Borges’ “Radio Sweetheart” into that category.
There’s one word to describe Sarah Borges: BADASS. When I was growing up, I always had dreams of being a “rocker chick” with a band. Sarah embodies exactly what I had in mind. She’s got a raspy voice, awesome tattoos, and a hilarious stage persona with great storytelling skills. We at Twangville were lucky enough to have her headline our 2013 showcase in Boston.
Borges’ latest album doesn’t disappoint. Radio Sweetheart is a rollicking, bluesy, and rocking good time. It starts with the super catchy “Girl with a Bow” and stays strong throughout. Other standout songs are “The Waiting and the Worry” and “Hands and Knees” before ending with the knockout “Record on Repeat.” I dare you to listen to that song and not move your head to the beat. DARE YOU!
I’ve been rocking out to this album frequently since last June when I received it through Twangville. Trust me, it’s been worth the wait for the rest of you.
Working with producer Steve Berlin (of Los Lobos fame), Borges runs the genre gauntlet with flair on Radio Sweetheart. She moves effortlessly from the guitar-driven pop of “Girl with a Bow” to the boozy ballad “Think of What You’ve Done.”
And lest anyone think she doesn’t rock, I submit the chugging blues of “Heavy Dreams” and the raucous closer “Record on Repeat.”
Welcome back Sarah, we’ve missed you.
Photos that ROCK! Best of 2013!
I am INSANELY lucky that I get to listen to amazing music AND take pictures- 2 of my favorite things. Here are some of my favorite shots from various venues around Boston in 2013. What a year!
Tom McBride @ Lizard Lounge, March 2013
Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band @ House of Blues Boston, May 2013
Hem @ The Sinclair, June 2013
Twangville Music Showcase @ Lizard Lounge (pictured here: Bill Janovitz & Stephen Kellogg), June 2013
Barnstar! @ Outside the Box Festival, Boston Common, July 2013
David Wax Museum @ Outside the Box Festival, Government Center, August 2013
Joe Fletcher, Amanda Shires, & Jason Isbell @ The Sinclair, August 2013
Sarah Borges & Eilen Jewel @ The Center for the Arts Natick (pictured: Sarah Borges), October 2013
Deer Tick @ The Met, Rhode Island Dudesmash Festival, October 2013
Travis @ House of Blues Boston, November 2013
Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds @ The Sinclair, December 2013
Session Americana @ Lizard Lounge (various dates)
David Wax Museum @ The Sinclair, December 2013
Thank you to everyone who has viewed my photos and followed my posts!!! Check out more photos at www.facebook.com/suzannedavisphotography