Monday, January 6, 2014 at 08:43PM
I missed this show but was able to see Jonah Tolchin play with Dan Blakeslee later in 2013 at the Lily Pad in Inman so I have some point of reference for talking about them. I was invited by Steve and had never been to the Lily Pad but had lived in Boston long enough to pretend that I'd been there before and knew everything about it, so I was glad to finally know what i was talking about. Jonah played a great show, filled with stomping and hooting and hollering in between verses sung in a voice that is purely his own; a croon much, MUCH older than his eighteen to twentysomething years though I can't remember how old but young enough for me to instantly be filled with seething envy and boiling admiration.
I bought his CD which is indicative about how much I enjoy a performer, which I guess is kind of like no duh but what I’m trying to say is I don’t always buy a cd when I have a good time listening to music. Sometimes I buy a button.
Here's Jonah's full set and a link to his website. My favorite song on this recording is mockingbird. Which comes up around 14:00.
I have to get out of the habit of only praising the performers on this website. I don't want to just tickle the musician's fancy like some fawning Iago while you, dear reader, remain aloof from my true feelings. So instead I'll go on a tangent about lyrics which are something that I can do with or without in music. Not to say that I can give up words, as a singer myself I spend most of my attention listening to the voice of bands more than guitar or drums or bass or flute (although I will always listen to a banjo play) but I have gone through my entire life not knowing what the lyrics are to some of my favorite songs. I only just figured out what the guy from Chumbawumba was saying in Tubthumping; I thought it was something like “I get no time by rag or rumbling” …which makes much less sense than the real lyric “I get knocked down but I get up again.” I still don’t know what half of what Zach Condon from Beirut says but they're still one of my favs. Sometimes learning the words to songs just kills it, like when you listen closely to Third Eye Blind or when you find out your favorite new band that no one’s ever heard of because you found them on myspace is racist, or when you realize just how much Jeff Mangum sings about Semen. Maybe this is why I like bands from other countries like The Movits or The 5. 6. 7. 8's or Chumbawumba, because I'm forced to assume the lyrics are beautiful because I can't understand them.
I’m also not saying that Jonah Tolchin lyrics are anything less than good, I just remember a moment while I was trying to find some flaw, any flaw, in his performance which is something I do when I feel I am too impressed by someone and need to make myself feel better by putting them down in my own brain. I remember taking back that criticism (inside my own brain) almost immediately because I liked the next line he sang.
I can say though that his CD left something to be desired after seeing him perform. I feel this is a problem with most actually talented musicians. Not to say some of the people coming out with ultra-produced super-highquality uber-songs are necessarily bad but sometimes a man with a guitar and cowboy boots can't be translated into a compressed mp3 file, especially when their using them boots to make phat beats on them floors. Jonah also takes some really interesting liberties with the rhythm and rhyme of his folksy wailing during his performance that I would have loved to hear in the cd. It's not a bad thing when someone's live performance is better than their recorded, just an unfortunate thing that forces me to go out and watch my favorite artists over and over again which is not unfortunate at all; a much better use of time than many of my other pursuits in my opinion, like fishing or working or playing videos games or counting all my toes over and over and over.
Jonah Hill lives in Bar Harbor, at least he did last time I talked to him which was, god, months ago so who knows where he is now. Anyway, Bar Harbor is a beautiful town and you should totally visit.
Dan Blakeslee is a New England Based Folk Singer/songwriter, artist and friend of the Kitchen Sessions. If you’re ever in the Boston Area you’ve probably seen some of his show flyers. You can find Dan at many a Union/Davis/Othervarious square thrift/farmers/rocknroll market showin off/selling his various designs. They’re pretty great. His music is also pretty great, he played two songs in the middle of Jonah's set and also designed Jonah's cd cover. He designed the Kitchen Sessions T-shirt too, which I wish I could say you can see here but I'd be lying because I don't have the design anywhere on my computer but its a really cool shirt you'll have to take my word for it or better yet come to a Kitchen Session because that link just leads to kittens.
This Link on the other hand leads to Dan's website where you can see a lot of his other awesome stuff. Check out the new music video he posted, "Wizard nor a king," and you get a good feel for both his music and his art, along with some solid country rural lyfe, road and other folky goodness. You can also buy his new cd "Tatnic Tales" here.
Toy Soldiers also came up from Philadelphia to play. Here's one of the songs from their set, To return to the subject of lyrics for a moment, I gotta mention that I really like what these guys sing about. They use all them pretty words well like and fill my brain with imagery, which is much better than what's usually on my mind. Most of their phrasing is very clever and they got a lot of good lines that I'm sure makes most musicians who listen to them kick themselves after hearing for not coming up with them first. They harmonize many of them too which makes any order of words put together better. You can listen to maybe five or six more of their songs at Steve's vimeo, there's this one called Red Dress that I really like that you, dear reader, should definitely give a listen to. Actually screw it, here's that video too.
You can find more info on them on their facebook and wikipedia or at ohnotoysoldiers.com, which are pretty thorough and worth checking out. You can check them out in a real sense if you live in the Boston area because they're coming to The Sinclair March 13 to play with Tallahassee, who have played Kitchen sessions a couple times and whom I will discuss in full along with the importance of oyster in KS #43. If you really like those bands and live in/wannatravel to Hudson New York you can see them at The Half Moon Hudson on March 15th.
...and another little tasty tidbit if you're still reading. Toy soldiers are playing with Deer Tick at Pearl Street in Northampton which is a wicked cool town around bouts where as I went to college on March 8th. I've seen Against Me!, Matt & Kim, Catch 22 and Reel Big Fish there twice. I also once missed the Pixies when they played there and its one of my bigger regrets. I cant remember what kept me but I like to imagine that I was doing something important at the time, like working or something related to school or having relations with a lady friend.
Who am I kidding I was probably playing video games.