An Homage To Johnny D’s
How can I possibly express my gratitude toward and love for Johnny D’s and do justice to it?
The venerable Davis Square institution shuttered its doors on Sunday, March 13th, after 17,238 days (47 years 2 months 13 days, as proclaimed on the final marquee) of feeding people and presenting live music.
Funky? Check! White? Check! Honkies???
I try not to have expectations of shows, but whatever expectations I may have had of this show by The Funky White Honkies were blown out of the water by the reality of it!
I had never been to a show where the staging was destroyed at the end of the night! It seemed to be a gentle destruction – the drum kits were gently tipped over and the guitar looked like it was playable after restringing – but it was fun to watch Dinty Child create the mess!
Gangstagrass Rocks My World!
Hip-hop bluegrass you’re saying to yourself – how could that be? I said the same when I saw them on Johnny D’s schedule for April 2014. I went to the show not knowing any of their music and walked out of that show knowing I had stumbled onto something amazing.
This, my fourth Gangstagrass show and their final show at Johnny D’s (because it is closing in March 2016), was no less stellar than my first, second or third shows! And truth be told they probably get better because I know their music so well (and consider them to be friends). Prepare yourself to read a biased, glowing review!
Grammy-Winner Shelby Lynne Enchants
Shelby Lynne may have made her name as a country musician, but her performance at Johnny D’s a few days ago showed that she is a versatile singer-songwriter who is firmly ensconced in the broader category of American roots music.
This was the first stop on Shelby’s tour to promote her new album, I Can’t Imagine, produced by Massachusetts’ own Rounder Records and released two days prior to this show.
Hitch Your Ride To These Rising Stars
If you have been reading this website for a while, you might recall that a year ago I fell in love with the hip-hop bluegrass group Gangstagrass. Our love affair continued over the weekend at Johnny D’s where they appeared in support of their latest release, American Music.
Nobody was more surprised than the band when the album debuted at #5 on the Billboard bluegrass chart! They deserve to be known for more than the theme song for the television show Justified, and maybe now they will be!
It Was A Good Night for (Mostly) Traditional Bluegrass
Last summer, I enjoyed seeing The Gibson Brothers at the Freshgrass Festival (an amazing bluegrass festival, for those of you who are interested) so much that when their recent show at Johnny D’s was announced, I knew I had to see them again.
It was a bonus to find Twisted Pine, winner of the Freshgrass best band contest, opening the show for the Gibsons.
Huge Fun With The Grand Slambovians
It was lightly snowing and getting colder as I made my way to Johnny D’s to see one of my favorite bands, The Grand Slambovians.
Introduced to them in 2010 when they were known as Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams, I have been following their antics (I mean musical accomplishments) ever since. I expected to have a fabulous evening, and I did.
Irish Old-Timey Bluegrass? Who Knew?
I decided to attend this show by the Irish quartet We Banjo 3 at Johnny D’s (part of the World Music schedule) because the combination of Irish music and bluegrass sounded irresistible. My intuition turned out to be accurate – this was a fantastic show!
I did not have a hard time imagining how Irish old-timey bluegrass music would sound, but I had no idea it would be as fabulous as is was! The band, at its first show ever in the Boston area, played to an enthusiastic sold-out crowd and stunned us with their talent and wit. I got the impression that they were surprised to have sold out the venue!
An Intimate Performance By Joan Osborne
I was excited to see Joan Osborne at Johnny D’s recently; I saw her perform a couple of times with Trigger Hippy, but had never seen her perform only her music. This seemed to be a rare opportunity to see her in a small club where the intimate nature of her new album could be highlighted.
Joan is touring with Kevin Cotton to support her latest release, Love and Hate.
An Intimate Evening With A Rock Legend
Despite a number of really good shows happening in Boston on this snowy evening, I chose to see the legendary Leon Russell in the intimate setting that is Johnny D’s.
Walking with the aid of a cane, Leon took the stage to a standing ovation. Graciously acknowledging the love we showed him, he sat at his grand piano and played his heart out for the next nearly two hours.