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.
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.
As promised in my previous post, here’s a little video of Phoenix-based band Russian Arms and Optics. We had a great time shooting on the ice in the middle of summer in Phoenix. In fact, by the time we finished, our hands and feet were frozen. But it was a welcome break. I love this version of “It Was Only A Dream,” but to listen to them play live in their full glory is a completely different experience. And I suggest you check them out. Their sound is indie rock with a mix of dance and pop. They are full of energy and when you’re at a show, so are you.
When I first met the Pattersons (Liz-lead singer, Michael-keys/organ), I was a teenager and I’ve been following their work ever since. It’s been a long, fun ride and I’m excited to see where they’ll go next with Russian Arms and Optics.
Hope you take a listen and look them up!
***A note on the location. We shot the video at Arcadia Ice Arena which is connected to Ice House Tavern, a bar that overlooks the ice. Russian Arms and Optics plays here frequently and considering the name of the band, we thought it only appropriate to shoot in the coldest of conditions in Phoenix.
Ah yes, here it is. My vintage post. And there are a few reasons why. First, Michael Brian Patterson is a dear, old friend of mine who has known me since the days of going to shows in tiny, dark, cramped venues on school nights. High school nights. In those days, Michael was playing for a band called the Dietrichs and I was a loyal fan to the end. It’s been amazing watching him play over the years and I am very excited to feature his current work. Michael is in two bands right now, Broken Gun and Russian Arms and Optics. These songs are from Broken Gun, but if you check back soon you’ll be seeing a post featuring Russian Arms and Optics (in a very unique location, I might add).
Secondly, Michael arrived at the video shoot with a beautiful, vintage guitar that belonged to his grandmother in the thirties. I was beside myself. I love antiques. Especially musical ones.
*A note on the locations. Lastly, both videos were shot in two historic buildings in Downtown Phoenix on Roosevelt Row. The historic element is evidenced by the creaking floorboards and mint green-hued kitchen. Unless you know the owners personally, I guess I will not be encouraging a visit to these locations. 🙂 But I do highly recommend you visit Roosevelt Row for its thriving art community, weekly events and local shops, bars, restaurants and art galleries.
We hope you enjoy the post!
Here he is folks….Dylan Pratt! One of the things I love about this project, is that I am constantly being introduced to new musicians. After my shoot with Bogan Via, I ran into them at a show and they gave me a glowing recommendation of Dylan Pratt. And they were not exaggerating. I made a point to check him out and loved his style. An Arizona native, Dylan has been playing live since he was a teenager and it shows. During the shoot, I was experimenting with a new mic and unfortunately the sound does not give his voice justice. Please bear with me as I continue my sound experimentations. And in the meantime, go see him live!
I’m so glad I was able to catch Dylan for a few videos, because I have the feeling he won’t be local for too much longer. This summer he went on a west coast tour and is continuing to book more and more shows. So go see him while you can and check back later for more videos of him.
*Note on the location. This video was shot in Songbird Coffee & Tea House, which is located inside MonOrchid in downtown Phoenix. The coffee house owners, Jonathan and Erin Carroll, awesome as they are, were kind enough to let us use their space even before the shop is open. The official opening of Songbird Coffee will happen next week and it is highly anticipated by many. Once open, Songbird will be featuring live music acts, including Dylan. Follow Songbird’s action here: http://songbirdcoffeehouse.com/ and http://www.facebook.com/SongbirdCoffeeHouse
Two videos! What?!?
This post is particularly special for me. For those that know me, you know that Vinyl Station is a band that is very near and dear to me. Not only because of their AMAZING talent, but they’re just great guys to know. After seeing one show, I felt so lucky that this band was local and that I could see them as often as I wanted. I did and still do. Vinyl Station is Matthew Thornton and Brendon Cottrell. They play several times a week at different venues around Phoenix. I strongly encourage you to go see them immediately, check out their website and follow them on Facebook. Do it. Now. And while I still have you, I also want to mention that Vinyl Station will be starting a Kickstarter campaign VERY soon to fund their new album. It’s possible they may have used the same videographer for their Kickstarter video. 🙂 Details will be on their Facebook page….so check it out!
***A note on the location. These videos were shot in Kazimierz World Wine Bar (or Kazbar) in Scottsdale, Arizona. This venue is one of my favorites to see Vinyl Station. It’s a dark, cozy, intimate, classy, speakeasy kind of bar. It doesn’t get much better.http://kazbar.net/