Call Me A Cab

A taxi takes you places, and America is a big place with myriad destinations. So Great American Taxi is an apt name for a band that feels like a ticket to ride. This always-moving and beloved band could pitch its tent and find an adoring, dancing crowd just about anywhere from the Pacific Northwest to the Gulf of Mexico. This week, we’re excited to say, they’ll be closing the show at our own Loveless Barn as part of a diverse and exciting lineup. So more on them in a moment.

One of my favorite singers of the past five years will also be with us and that’s the bell-toned roots and bluegrass artist Aoife O’Donovan. She’s been best known as the graceful lead vocalist for progressive string band Crooked Still out of Boston. But we’re lucky to be part of her long-hoped-for introduction as a solo artist. A friend who’s working with her says her imminent debut solo album has been in her heart and head since she was a student at the New England Conservatory of Music back when Crooked Still was formed. Aoife (pronounced EE-fah) has been so in demand for projects like touring with Prairie Home Companion and the Goat Rodeo Sessions supergroup that only now has she found the time and focus to record ten original songs for Yep Rock Records. The project will be called Fossils, and is now on pre-release sale, and this is an easy bet if you love good music. Produced by sonic mastermind Tucker Martine, it’s lush, alluring and adventuresome — destined I think to be one of the year’s landmarks.

Songwriter and raconteur Chip Taylor returns to Music City Roots with a very new album with the compelling title Block Out The Sirens Of This Lonely World. It’s a somber work, inspired by dark times. “This is more reflective than some other albums,” Taylor told this week. “I was in Norway during the terrible [2011 terrorist attacks], and that became a part of me. There are things like that floating around on this album.” Norway is also the home of his collaborator, keyboard player Goran Grini, and it sounds like Taylor really burrowed into this one artistically. But then he’s an intense fellow –curious about the world and rounded in his remarkable experiences. We’re glad the pride of Yonkers, NY is coming back to be with us.

As for Great American Taxi, the core story is singer/guitarist Vince Hermann, who has emerged as something of a new era Jerry Garcia for younger fans who would have been Deadheads or Phish-heads in another decade. I’m sure the grey beard helps, but it’s more his loving embrace of that fertile place where great songs meet great interpretation and improvisation. Call it jam band if you must, but what I thought when I saw Vince’s first great band Leftover Salmon was: “Holy smoke what a sense of adventure!” Salmon went on hiatus in 2005 and Vince followed that chapter by forming Taxi, a band with a bit more orientation around the rhythm section and the musical legacy of Little Feat and The Band. A three-album trilogy, including one fun and rangy disc produced with the humor and stoner touch of Todd Snider, became hits on Americana radio. And even as Leftover has resurfaced with occasional shows (heck, they played a great set at Roots last year) Taxi has continued to be Herman’s key vehicle.

So this is going to be a fun one. We’ve also got Austin’s accomplished Patterson Barrett on the bill, along with American Idol alum and powerhouse vocalist Elise Testone. Take a cab. Ride your bike. Ride a horse. Or wagon train out to the Loveless on Wednesday. There aren’t too many shows left in the Spring season and we’ve been having exceptional Springy nights out at the Barn. Hope to see you there.

Craig H.

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