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Leon Bridges Interview & Concert Recap

Leon Bridges Interview & Concert Recap

Comments Off on Leon Bridges Interview & Concert Recap 07 December 2015

On a chilly Sunday night, December 6th, the second WTTS Christmas Can Concert took place at the Bluebird in Bloomington. Fort Worth R&B and soul artist Leon Bridges took the stage for a sold-out show. There is no need to say that he won over the hearts of the audience because it was obvious throughout the evening that he already had reached each and every one of them.

Leon Bridges is a classic old soul in a young man’s body. The 26-year-old’s gospel roots so very clearly influence his soulful music, reminiscent of the greats like Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, and Otis Redding. Bridges is still on the rise as he signed with Columbia Records in 2014 after having played open-mic shows around Fort Worth for some time. DJ Spikes, a local Bloomington DJ playing vintage soul and R&B records, performed a set before Bridges took the stage. WTTS DJ Rob Humphrey introduced Leon Bridges and his band, all of whom had just come from performing on NBC’s Saturday Night Live the previous evening.

The band enters dressed very professionally with somewhat of a vintage twist that creates the mood of a 1960s R&B performance. Bridges enters and looks exactly the way he sounds. From his modern-day conk haircut to his mustard tweed suit, Leon Bridges looked quite perfect on the small club stage. The sweetest of sounds boomed throughout the Bluebird that night.

Spoken like a true gentleman, his first words to the audience were “Nice to meet you.” His 7-piece band included himself and one other vocalist, a saxophone, guitar, bass, drums, and organ. Bridges took time out of the show to introduce all the band members and was sure to add compliments or a quick story of their meeting. Bridges admittedly played many songs from his album, “Coming Home” (released in June 2015) and added some new music into the mix, too.

Leon Bridges’ sound is so much more than the “soul” or “R&B” label; It’s fresh but it’s authentic, and it’s the perfect meeting of yesterday and tomorrow. If you’ve heard his vintage voice, then you know that it is effortlessly like butter. His vocal runs and exquisite vintage dance moves transport you to an entirely different place and time and it is a pleasure to be transported there. If you haven’t heard his voice…get to it.

Highlights of the night included “Better Man,” “Smooth Sailing,” “Twistin’ & Groovin’,” “Coming Home,” and “Lisa Sawyer.” He gave small introductions to many of the songs. “Twistin’ & Groovin’” was written about the night his grandfather met his grandmother. “Lisa Sawyer” was written for his mother. “Smooth Sailing” got a different kind of introduction in the form of a drum solo and the crowd really got moving. Bridges closed the set with an intimate performance of “River” in which he played electric guitar alone with his backing vocalist.

After the crowd chanted “Leon, Leon, Leon,” the guitarist enters the stage and the rest of the band gradually joins him for a three-song encore of new music. These included “Pussyfootin’,” an instantly classic love song, and “Mississippi Kisses.” “Mississippi Kisses” is an utterly groovy song that brings to mind Wilbert Harrison’s 1959 recording of “Kansas City.” During “Mississippi Kissses” Bridges instructs different parts of the crowd to go crazy in sections, and then in unison as he addresses them as “Indiana”; They did indeed go crazy for the Southern charmer for the final time that evening. Leon Bridges warmed the hearts of WTTS listeners on a chilly December evening, but that definitely won’t be the last you see of him.

Thanks to all WTTS listeners who participated in the 2015 Christmas Can Concerts by purchasing tickets and donating canned goods to Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard in Bloomington. Thanks also to Green Bean Delivery for sponsoring WTTS Christmas Can Concert efforts during this season of giving. Happy Holidays from WTTS!


Christmas Can Concert Leon Bridges

Ben Folds Sound Check

Ben Folds Sound Check

1 Comment 16 November 2015

On Monday, November 16th Ben Folds teamed up with yMusic to perform at the Old National Centre. WTTS was given an opportunity to give away passes for listeners to attend the sound check and meet Ben Folds. Below are photos from Monday evening.

Ben Folds Sound Check 11-16-15

Rock To Read: Lyle Lovett & John Hiatt Recap

Rock To Read: Lyle Lovett & John Hiatt Recap

1 Comment 21 October 2015

Tuesday night, October 20th, the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre in Indianapolis filled with the fans of both John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett. The two legendary singer-songwriters took the stage for the second WTTS Rock To Read show of the year. WTTS Rock To Read benefit concerts help to raise money for children’s reading programs through the Indianapolis Public Library.

John Hiatt is a Hoosier singer-songwriter who has written Americana, folk rock, and country blues songs since he moved to Nashville when he was eighteen. Hiatt’s songs have been covered by many other successful musicians. Lyle Lovett is a Texan country folk, Americana, and bluegrass songwriter. Both saw most of their success throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Once Hiatt and Lovett were introduced to the theatre audience, they entered the stage to a standing ovation without having played one song yet. That was an incredible kick-start to the acoustic evening. The stage setup was simple and focused on the two musicians. The two sat in chairs in the middle of the stage. A table of waters and harmonicas sat between them and they were each surrounded by two guitars which they played all evening. No stage hand entered the audience’s vision all evening and it felt informal and relaxed, yet Hiatt and Lovett’s professional and classy demeanor could be felt from start to finish.

Hiatt opened the show with “Detroit Made” and Lovett covered Chuck Berry’s “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” to get the evening started. The two musicians have been friends for years, and it was obvious to the audience. Lovett, the younger of the two, showed open affection for his role model that he shared the stage with. Lovett served as the emcee for the evening, interviewing Hiatt about his favorite guitars, his hippie tendencies, and his time growing up in Indianapolis. Hiatt admitted that “It’s always great to come home” and reminisced on days of being the “ghost of bars past,” playing a coffeehouse on Indiana Avenue, Crazy Al’s, The Vogue, and The Patio in Broad Ripple.

Hiatt and Lovett are both extremely talented guitar players. They discussed the guitars they brought with them (Hiatt’s 1947 Gibson LG2 is notably cool) and the coolest guitars they’ve ever played. Hiatt complimented Lovett on his “damn fancy pickin’” and no one could have described it better. Both musicians had wonderful senses of humor as the two went back and forth with witty banter and comic rapport all night. The men also seemed relatable as they told stories of the past and their homes. Lyle Lovett introduced “White Boy Lost In The Blues” by saying he heard it in 1978 and thought, “This is my life…they know me.” Who hasn’t felt that way?

Highlights of the night included Hiatt’s “Perfectly Good Guitar,” “Feels Like Rain,” “Slow Turnin’” (by request), and “Real Fine Love.” Lovett played crowd favorites “Record Lady” (by request), “Nobody Knows Me,” “If I Had A Boat,” and “Up In Indiana.” The evening closed with Lovett’s “My Baby Don’t Tolerate” before an encore of Hiatt’s “Have A Little Faith In Me” and Lovett’s “Church.”

Lovett admitted near the end of the spectacular evening that they were “proud to be at the Old National Centre and the Murat Theatre at the same time” and the crowd roared with laughter. Indianapolis fans and WTTS listeners were absolutely smitten by the pair of singer-songwriters. John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett’s modern-day vaudeville show provided comedic interest on a stage that was inevitably beaming with years of artistry and craftsmanship.

The final WTTS Rock To Read benefit concert of the season is coming up! Tickets are on sale now for Guster at the Old National Centre on November 13th. Don’t miss the final chance to benefit children’s reading programs in the Indianapolis area and see a WTTS favorite artist.


All photos courtesy of Rhythm In Focus Photography.
Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt Rock To Read 10-20-15

Concert Recap: Mark Knopfler

Concert Recap: Mark Knopfler

1 Comment 05 October 2015

Saturday night, October 3rd, Mark Knopfler played a sold-out show at the Murat Theatre in the Old National Centre in Indianapolis. He was joined on stage by his band of eight other people to play a two-hour concert filled with classics from his former band, Dire Straits, and solo tracks, too. Knopfler is a musicians’ musician after having worked with and even producing records for the likes of Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Tina Turner, and Randy Newman. Rolling Stone ranked Knopfler the 27th greatest guitarist of all time and that title rang true on Saturday night in Indianapolis.

As the crowd sat in anticipation, a man appeared on stage wearing a bright, bold Union Jack jacket and introduced the one and only Mark Knopfler. The entire band then entered the stage and led the crowd in a clapping rhythm to warm up the room. In fact, Knopfler warmed the entire evening with his quick little jokes and asides. He even told his band “good luck” a handful of times. The entire crowd was giggling from his dry British humor and he kept it understated and consistent all evening.

The stage was set up with appropriate but discrete lighting and three blocks of instruments. Almost every instrument the band used throughout the evening (and there were many) was housed right there on stage. This gave the show a sort of living room or studio feeling. If you add in the fact that Knopfler hinted at the show being whimsical with a loose set list and the lack of large monitors at the front of the stage blocking the band, you can understand how this show may have felt personal in a way.

At one point in the evening, Knopfler took a moment to introduce his band members. Not only did he introduce them to an energetic, cheering crowd, but he had the most genuine and heartfelt things to say about them. The audience could feel the shared admiration between band members and this made for a special evening. These band members played more instruments than most other rock concerts ever have. Multiple guitars, electric bass, double bass used with and without a bow, keys, organs, accordion, fiddle, Uilleann pipes (the national bagpipe of Ireland), mandolin, saxophone, and others all made appearances on stage. This band is wickedly talented.

Highlights of the night included “Privateering,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Postcards From Paraguay,” and the Dire Straits classic, “Sultans of Swing.” The show closed with
“Speedway at Nazareth” before an encore of “So Far Away” and “Going Home: theme from Local Hero.” During “Sultans of Swing” Knopfler played his signature Mark Knopfler Stratocaster guitar. He had the amazing ability to be able to play that song’s incredible guitar solo and have the rest of his body be as relaxed as can be. It was awe-inspiring.

In fact, the entire audience was awe-struck all evening. Knopfler himself used the term “Transatlantic Blues” at some point in the evening and that perfectly describes this classic bluesy rock with inspired hints of Celtic instruments and melody patterns. Mark Knopfler and his band left the audience in a unique kind of sensory overload with so many instruments doing so many things. One can’t help but try to watch them all at once, and that kind of musical overload is the best kind of musical overload.



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