Kevn Kinney, The Madison Square Gardeners and friends: a five hour music frenzy on a Tuesday night
by Chris Martin for The Examiner
This past Tuesday night, July 6th, at the Dark Horse Tavern/10 high Club I was witness to one awesome collection of musicians to jam together on one stage.Kevn Kinney brought his Shayni Rae's Truckstop, previously rooted in NYC, to Atlanta, and it delivered big time.
Starting at 9pm, Kevn, ever the gracious host called out names right and left, and performers came out of the woodwork for their time on stage. Some to help out, some to spotlight their tunes, some to jam, some to melt faces but all to be a part of the this, for lack of better words I will quote my lil' bro & friends, HAM JAM (this is a good thing). The whole concept was pretty damn sweet; most acts performing a song or 3 with a pretty sweet all out jam at the end of the night, which ended up being 2am. That is right five hours of ear busting, foot stomping, and beer drinking tunes. Kevn needs to take this show on the road.
The night started fast with bands like the Hooligans (I believe that is what they were called) and Ocha La Rocha, rocking hard, then on to a lady who jammed some rockabilly and sweet soulful country. One minute you were standing next to a dude or dudette who was drinking a Pabst and smokin' a cig, the next minute they were singing about the devil up on stage. The performers kept coming, David Franklin did a few tunes, first time I have heard him sing in years, Abby Owens belted out a few folksy country tunes, she had a great voice and it didn't hurt she was easy to look at. Connor Christian and Jeff Spirko knocked out a couple of songs that got your foot stompin'; Pete Stein only gave us one song, in my opinion that was not enough from Pete. Matt Wood got up with his guitar and belted out a tune, "Johnny Ray Dupree", an exceptional tune one of the best of the night, and Cayle Davis sang "Clowns", a humorous tune about being in love with a clown.
The Back Row Baptists took the stage and were pretty damn incredible. Out of Alabama, armed with a stand up bass and their own washboard player their own brand of country, folk and jug band music kicked ass. Chris Porter's vocals were gritty and soulful. Their tunes about cooking crystal meth and the devil were sweet. Their southern influenced lyrics definite harkens to some of the Drive By-Truckers tunes.
The Madison Square Gardeners were every bit as good as advertised. This was my first time seeing them live, and their power pop/rock tunes play just as well in person as on their albums. Aaron Lee Tasjan wowed the crowd with jangly guitar licks and pop lyrics comparable to Cheap Trick and Material Issue. The 6 piece MSG'ers delivered big time. Rich Hinman, their pedal steel guitarist added a nice touch to their tunes, and he was the hardest working man of the night, I am pretty sure he was on stage with every act that performed. I would definitely like to see the Gardener's come back and do a full show on their own, possibly at the Earl or Smith's Olde Bar.
Kevn Kinney was the head honcho of the night. He hosted, introduced everyone, played two sets of his own, played harmonica and sang a little back up all while tossing out his usual form of witty banter with the crowd. Kevn joined the stage with old pal Tim Nielsen (Drivin N Cryin), Aaron Tasjan(MSG'ers) and Anton Fier (produced Whisper Tames the Lion). They TORE IT UP! While I had seen the other three before, I had no idea that Aaron was that good of a guitar player. They did a version of Drivin N Cryin's Powerhouse that just flat out kicked ass.
To end the night Kevn came back out and jammed some more tunes with collection of performers that had already graced the stage. It was a full on jam. At one point Aaron Lee Tasjan and Laney Strickland traded guitar licks during one of the best live versions of "A Good Country Mile" and "Which Jesus" I have ever treated my ears to. Kevn hit the nail on the head when he said it was "reminiscent of an Allman Brothers Show" At the end he gave the crowd what many came to see, the usual all in rendition of Straight To Hell. While some love it and some hate it, it seemed a fitting end to a five hour night of jamming tunes.
While the entire night was great from start to finish, there was a guy who really stuck out, Laney Strickland. I had never heard of him before, Kevn called him up on stage, he played a couple of his tunes which were good, but his guitar playing was incredible. He had a southern/bluesy feel to his shredding, and as many said, he melted faces with his jamming.
One of the best shows I have ever seen and I hope they all do it again. Again, maybe take it on tour all over, and get the gospel to the masses.
Kevn and the MSG'ers treated NYC with 75 weeks of the Truckstop, how about a run like that here in Atlanta? If you missed then you definitely missed out, and it was only $5, not bad.
If you did not get to view this sweet jam session, then check out the bands that played, trust me you will dig their tunes and want to pick them up for yourself.