You’ll have to excuse the long post. It’s a special one that has been in the works for a long time.
The first time I saw Kristina Moore of Where Are All The Buffalo play, it was in the dimly lit, intimate lounge of Crescent Ballroom. I was entranced. I walked up to her after the show and the first thing I told her was, ‘You are magical.’ And still, every time I hear a song by Kristina, I think the same thing. It’s hard to listen to the music of Where Are All The Buffalo and not become enamored with its unique sweetness and raw honesty. What also captivated me was the variety and incredible talent she has with the instruments she plays – ukelele, auto harp, accordion and piano. What’s even more amazing is that Kristina is self-taught. She has been singing since she was a child and took some piano lessons, but it wasn’t until her late teens that she picked up the auto harp, accordion and ukelele and just started playing. Kristina found the auto harp at her babcia’s (Polish for grandmother) house and discovered an old 120 base accordion that belonged to her great grandfather.
Upon meeting and getting to know Kristina, I found that her instruments, lyrics and inspiration are all deeply intertwined with her background, family, childhood and who she is now. The song performed for this video, “Mamidło,” is Kristina’s first song written in Polish. She is half Polish and grew up going to the Pulaski Club to polka on the weekends, making pierogi, gołąbki and chrusciki for every holiday, singing Polish songs and listening to amazing stories her babcia and mother used to tell about the Polish people and history. Though she is still learning the language, Kristina wanted to write a song in Polish to challenge what she knew and pay homage to a culture and heritage that has been so integral in her life. According to Kristina, the song itself is basically about becoming free like a child again.
I feel like it’s a common theme in songs I write, this idea that if one removes themselves from all of the experiences that have transformed them into the neurotic person many of us are, they feel like a child again, free to be a part of the world in really simple ways.
And the location of the video ties into this sense of nostalgia. When I first got to know Kristina, we quickly discovered our shared love for the desert and remembered spending our childhoods exploring the mountains west of the city. It seemed only right to shoot her video here. At sunrise. In December. And last but certainly not least, Where Are All The Buffalo has recently acquired the accompaniments (for selected songs) of Dylan Pratt, Dominic Armstrong and Janna McCluskey. Dominic Armstrong, a good friend and former bandmate, plays the glockenspiel in “Mamidło.”
Where Are All The Buffalo just released its first EP and it’s available here. I strongly encourage you to take a listen, love it like I did, then follow her on Facebook. And for goodness’ sake, go see her live!
After a brief hiatus, ANY_STAGE PRODUCTIONS is now back to work and excited to feature in today’s post Phoenix-based band, Bad Lucy. Another band that has come highly recommended by several friends, Bad Lucy is J. Miller, Alex Kyhn and Alex Lee. These three fine gentlemen have been playing together for almost two years and have already recorded two albums. The first, a self-titled EP under Flying Blanket Recording. The second, called Live at the Farm, is a live recording with an expected release date in early 2013. With a pop-y, rock-y, folk-y sound (yep, those are words) Bad Lucy is easy on the ears and actually, one of those bands whose songs stay in your head all day. And this hasn’t escaped the attention of listeners outside Arizona. Last year, Bad Lucy’s song “Forward” was chosen to be played during Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Pretty sweet.
With several shows on their horizon and an upcoming album release, you’ve got to keep your eyes (and ears) on these boys. Pun intended. I couldn’t help myself.
Try to listen to Sareena Dominguez without loving her style, talent and the incredible feeling she puts into her performances. Seriously. Try. Sareena is another Phoenix-based musician who came highly recommended by several friends. So of course, I had to track her down, shoot a video with her and share her beautiful voice with you all. I can’t even put her music into a genre. She’s just GOOD. And you’ll have to go see for yourself. Or listen. Sareena just released her first album this year, Moonbeams, under River Jones Music Label and has an official music video. And if her talent wasn’t enough, she brings to the stage her band members and an amazing presence that engages the listener and viewer completely. I strongly urge you to check out her page and go see her live. She plays several shows around town and this is only the beginning for her.
This post is a special one, as Sareena had just written this new song and was more than happy to share it. She also performed an A cappella cover of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.” Be sure to watch the second video as well for this special treat. Listen and stay updated here:
***Note on the location. The videos were shot in the live performance and art gallery, Burnt Sky Studio, located in Downtown Phoenix. Burnt Sky promotes the creativity of our local artistic community through paintings, photography, sculpture and live performances. Please stop by during a First Friday and support Phoenix’s creative endeavors and talent. Thank you to Todd and Jennifer Stevenson for generously opening the studio for the shoot.
Janelle Loes. Sweet. Lovely. Talented. What a combination. When we met, I was so impressed with her diverse instrument use and beautiful voice. Janelle is a singer/songwriter from Phoenix who has been playing and singing since she was a child. She was trained on the violin, but also learned how to play guitar, piano and accordion. She first started playing live shows when she was 13. Her first album, Here and Now, came out a year ago. Although Janelle now lives in Flagstaff, you can catch her from time to time playing various shows in Phoenix. She recently performed at Cartel Coffee in Scottsdale. Check out her Facebook page to stay updated on upcoming shows and listen to more of her music.
***Note on the location. Janelle and I were determined to get outside for the shoot, despite the difficulties of outdoor shooting. We headed downtown and found a spot at Civic Space Park. Civic Space Park offers downtown residents and visitors a park with a cool design, local coffee shop-Fair Trade Cafe, four chess tables, seasonal community events and a well-known landmark public sculpture called Her Secret is Patience, by artist Janet Echelman.
I have been wanting to shoot a video with Avery since ANY_STAGE’s first post. Mind you that wasn’t too long ago, but still, they were worth the wait. I love everything about Avery. Their sound is modern folk, but something I noticed right away is that no matter which venue they are playing, I quickly forget my surroundings and get drawn in by their sultry, inviting, moody songs. And I mean moody in the very best sense. Get out there and find out what I’m talking about.
Avery is Mariah DeRaet, Allison Galbreath, Brad Mitchell and Eric Estrada. Mariah and Allison have been playing together for a couple years now, but Brad and Eric just recently joined the band within the last six months. You’d never know it was so recent. They play together beautifully. Currently, the band is working on their first album and are booking more and more shows. Be sure to catch them at The Crescent Ballroom on October 17 with New York-based band Hospitality. Stay updated on their new album and upcoming shows here: https://www.facebook.com/averyaz/info
***A note on the location. Soft lighting, hardwood floors and cool-blue mirrored walls. How lucky were we to shoot here?? Matthew and Rebecca Fritz, owners of SuTRA Midtown Yoga, generously opened their studio after-hours for our musical endeavor. Located on 7th Street in Central Phoenix, SuTRA was once an abandoned factory building. When this couple took over, they not only created a healthy, neighborhood and community-centered haven, but they did it with style. It is a beautifully designed and decorated restoration, complete with local art exhibits and a cafe. I can’t thank this lovely couple enough for their gracious hospitality. I strongly encourage you to check this place out. If yoga is not your thing, then perhaps a relaxing massage? How could anyone say no? Find out more info here: http://www.sutramidtown.com/home OR https://www.facebook.com/SuTRAmidtown?ref=ts
It’s like drinking black label whiskey in the cheapest bar in town. This is how The Cold Desert was first described to me. Even before hearing the music, my ears perked up. A visual description of a band’s sound is something a writer loves to hear. And even better, the description lived up to its appeal. The Cold Desert is Matt Klassen, Jared Kaiser, Cody Nelson and Jason Stromberg. They play a combination of dirty southern rock and midwestern old folk. As stated in my teaser photo caption, these boys rock. And I’m sure you’d agree if you saw them perform live. Which you absolutely should do and you have the chance to tomorrow at 3rd Place on the west side. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the guys will be playing with DowningStreet, American Longspurs, The Buxtons, and Bryan James and the Crooked Teeth. In addition to the show, The Cold Desert has a new full-length album coming out soon, Woman & God, produced by Cory Spotts. Stay updated on the release date here:
***A note on the location. This video was shot inside Mods & Rockers, a vintage music store located in Downtown Phoenix. For those familiar with the area, it’s nestled in between the Trunk Space and Bikini Lounge. It was quite fitting. Rob Shipp, musician and owner of Mods & Rockers, sells unique, vintage instruments (some even used for this shoot) at great prices. If you’re a music lover, I’d encourage a visit down there. A big thanks to Rob for letting us use the space!
Something old and something new. That’s how I’d describe this post. New being that I recently had the very delightful opportunity to meet and get to know Gabe Williams and Chanelle Sinclair, husband and wife duo of the local band, The Bear and the Bird. I can’t begin to tell you how sweet and genuine these two are. Gabe and Chanelle have been playing together for more than a year now and met through a mutual love of music. In fact, on the day of our shoot, they were celebrating their one-year anniversary of being married. Gabe also plays and sings in the Phoenix-based band, Bears of Manitou, and Chanelle is a professional photographer. Talk about talent! But they are as humble as can be, easygoing and kind. You’ll find that their music reflects their, lack for a better word, awesome personalities. Not to mention they are tremendous foodies and enjoy good whiskey. Can you tell I love these two? I encourage you to check them out.
And before I talk about the location – let me mention that I was beside myself that Gabe and Chanelle play a fantastic cover of The Tallest Man on Earth, a shared favorite musician. Even more exciting, Tallest Man will be playing at The Crescent Ballroom on Sept. 1. Hope to see you there! It will be a great show.
***And now for the old – Butter Toast Boutique. I happened upon this vintage shop during a leisurely stroll in the Roosevelt Row area one afternoon. I immediately fell in love with its charm, excellent taste in vintage clothing and drum roll…prices I can afford! Hard to find a good vintage store with all three. I want to say a special thanks to the owners, Traci Nelson and Jasmine Jarrett, for letting us shoot in this location. If you don’t get a chance to check this place out during its normal hours, stop by during a First Friday. And check out their site here.