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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Robert Gordon, Electrajets, The Trash Bags, Beechwood, Hannah Cohen, Foxwarren

With the rising temperatures and associated humidity making air conditioning and frequent trips to the beach a necessity in this the mid-point summer month of July, evening live shows in airy venues become choice entertainment locales. While one noteworthy NYC venue threw a party for music fans before it shut down for renovations, most others continued to roll out that nightly flow of performances we know will go on ad infinitum. The occasional collaborative partnership has been known to develop at some of the more celebrated events, with one of those perfect storm shows meticulously captured below.


In anticipation of an eight-month shut down for renovations, Irving Plaza hosted an Appreciation Night for all the fans that have attended shows at this storied venue since it was converted to a rock music house in 1978. The amount of shows this writer has been at (and a part of) this space are far too numerous to mention, but it spans all the decades that follow that very New York City Punk Rock (and New Wave) year of '78.


Robert Gordon is one of those artists that came to recognition for many of us (who were young and coming of age at that time in NYC) through the 1976Live At CBGB's” album as the lead singer of the band Tuff Darts. After making everyone aware of his distinctive vocal style and frontman presence (including influential songwriter and record producer Richard Gottehrer), RG quickly moved on to a solo career and pairing with rockabilly guitar extraordinaire Link Wray. They did two critically acclaimed albums together in 77 and 78 that produced early hits, including the first (and best) Springsteen cover of “Fire.”


After parting ways with Link Wray in 78, a British guitarist of near equal acclaim in Chris Spedding joined Robert for a series of albums on the prestigious RCA label. That pairing produced a prolific run of records including “Rock Billy Boogie,” “Bad Boy,” and “Are You Gonna Be the One.” In the time passed since then, RG has continued to tour and put out an assortment of live albums as well as a collection of new studio work titled “Satisfied Mind.”


Warming the audience up for Robert's imminent arrival, Rob Stoner lead the three-piece band through a raucous introductory rocker before the man himself took the stage for a classic rendition of his 1981 (Marshall Crenshaw penned) hit “Someday Someway.”


Re-connecting with previously-established mutual professional-admiration friends, emerging live show photographer Clutterhead contributes a number of compelling shots from her manically enthusiastic lens (like the one above) here, adding close-up portrait-like detail.


Moving right on to “Lover Boy” (from 1981's “Are You Gonna Be The One”) the spirit of “Sun SessionsElvis Presley chugged along like a train out of Memphis.


A brilliant rendition of the Graham Gouldman penned, 1965 Yardbirds hit “Heart Full of Soul” followed that. Along with RG's uniquely faithful rendition of that classic, Rob Stoner's background vocals single-handedly carried the weight of those counter-melodies.



Photo by @Clutterhead

Something of a legend in his own right, multi-instrumentalist Rob Stoner also enjoyed feature artist notoriety with two solo albums in the early 1980's. His debut “Patriotic Duty” was released on MCA Records in 1980, with 1983's “If You Want It Enough” on the iconic Sun Records label. That noted, his value as the perfect bandleader, backing vocalist and side-man foil is unparalleled. Among all the big name artists he's provided this support for, working as Bob Dylan's right-hand man (bandleader, opening act and bass player) for his Rolling Thunder Review tour from 1975-78 bears this out.


Kicking in to one of his more recent recordings, RG and his band delivered a low-down chugging version of the title track from his 2014 album “I'm Coming Home.”  That particular song (and especially it's arrangement) embodies the spirit of what original country-roots rockers like Jimmie Rodgers were doing in 1957.


Introducing the band's new guitarist Jason Green (his first show with them on this very night) they launched into the mid-tempo chugger “Hello Walls” before stopping after a few bars. When Robert asked “is that really the key?” Rob replied with an emphatic “for sure, bro!” It was hard to tell if this was a-pre-planned part of the show, or just more of the joking around they did throughout the entire evening. The rendition was otherwise seamless, and no one sounded out of key or sync with each other.

Photo by @Clutterhead

Speaking of the band, RG's introduction of drummer Thommy Price had the audience chuckling when he said "We go way back.  You know, Thommy and me - we got into a lot of trouble back in the day.  In this very joint!"  A prolific and in-demand session drummer, his rock solid beats have also provided support for a number of big time rock and pop acts.


Asking Rob if he'd like to do a duet, RG and band delivered that easy '50's-60's style stroll on the 1963 Dale and Grace hit (first written and recorded by Don and Dewey in 1957) "I'm Leaving It Up To You."


Engaging with the audience and chatting between songs, classic cuts like "Red Cadillac and a Black Moustache," Johnny Burnette's "Dreamin,'" and The Everly Brothers "So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad)" were all played with the ease and precision of someone said right from the stage "has been doing this since I was 15 years old."

Photo by @Clutterhead

Re-introducing new guitarist Jason Green once again, RG complimented him on his ability to quickly learn the admittedly large amount of material so quickly.  A 25 year professional musician, he specializes in blues, western swing, bluegrass, jazz and latin styles (and surely others).  He nailed each and every song on this evening.


Holding up the set-list for the audience (and RG himself) to peruse.


And someone in the front row there taking that shot.

Other highlights included the shame-if-he-didn't-play-it "Way I Walk" (done to "shooby dooby" perfection), the Bruce classic "Fire" (Thommy gets a deserved hand-slap from RG at the end of that one) and "Walk On By."


While all-access revelers enjoyed the show from side stage (a point-of-view this writer had previously experienced, covered in this feature) the show continued to pick up steam with classic renditions of "Little Sister" and Gene Vincent's "I Sure Miss You."


Additional highlights included the Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman penned for Elvis (but was a hit for Terry Stafford in 1964) "Suspicion."  At this point the pre-encore portion of the show ended and the band headed off for a quick break.


There's no way the audience wasn't bringing him back, and on return (and a few practice "brrrrr's") launched into his own classic tune "Black Slacks."


Sticking with that influential 1979 album,title track "Rock Billy Boogie" closed out the night on a rockabilly high-note and expected raucous fashion.

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Keep up to date on all of Robert Gordon's upcoming live dates via his active
International Fan Club Facebook Group

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Taking command of the big stage spotlight just before the headliner, New York City's ElectraJets dazzled the audience with an inspired set of their forward-looking hybrid of early 70's glam and late-70's punk sound.


Built around the songwriting of literary musician Jeff Ward (who in addition to making music has published three novels), the overall feel coming from the stage updates the early glam-rock of Bolan, Bowie and even Nick Drake with an edgier NYC street sensibility.

Photo by @Clutterhead

That NYC street vibe can attributed in large part to the sonic contributions from Cynthia “B-Girl” Ross on bass, backing vocals and overall stage-front visual counterpart.

Photo by @Clutterhead

Sitting in with the band on drums for this show was veteran New York percussionist Bob Bert.


Much of the rock music ElectraJets makes has angular rhythms with rough-edged guitar punctuation's that tend to avoid more straight-forward chugging rock and roll.  Poetic lyrical lines emerge providing glimmers of introspective thought.  "Any day when the sun's out - try to make sense of our dark side - though it's better inside."


Coming together in NYC from two separate eras and regions saw the continuous lines between glam and punk draw Jeff and Cynthia together.  Jeff initially came over from England in the 90's while touring with his band Gunfire Dance.  Cynthia followed a similar route out of Toronto in the late 70's with her pioneering all-female punk band The B Girls.

Photo by @Clutterhead

With the downtown New York City music scene never really ever letting go of the spirit of CBGB's (even John Varvatos clothing store has tried to maintain some kind of respect for it) those still connected to it all have simply moved up the street a few blocks to The Bowery Electric, and over to similarly like-minded venues like Coney Island Baby and Berlin.

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Featured tracks from the coming album "Transatlantic Tales" like the T-Rex inspired "4.A.M. Strangeways" emphasize a descending melodic progression with locked-in chugging guitar chords, bass notes and rolling tom toms.  While Cynthia holds down the rhythm, Jeff let's loose with some tasty high-register riffs in-between chunky chords and vocal lines.

Check it out here:


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Photos by @Clutterhead

Bomb Bomb Bomb” comes on like an easy rolling, in-the-pocket groove, wrapped in chunky guitar chords shot through with acid-electric riffs. “Shoo wop and shooby doo's” serve as introduction to the songs vocals that carry a lyrical message on the dangers of war. The conversational style is fascinating, with lines like “I go to work I'm an honest man. I come home . . . play with the kids I'm uncle Jeff. I'm from a family that has right and left.

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There's an element of Daniel Ash/Love and Rockets playfulness (who also admired the T-Rex model) on the poppy “Morphic Resonance.” With concise and clever rhymes like “elevation through electric skies, makes my heart go my oh my!” ultimately leads to the catchy payoff “you're morphic resonance, breaks down on my defense.”

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Photos by @Clutterhead

ElectraJets will be hosting a NYC Record Release Party for their upcoming album "Transatlantic Tales" (to be released on Walter Stewart's Tarbeach Records label) on Saturday, September 7th at Berlin - Under AUK Record Release Parties are set for November 8th in Birmingham and Saturday, November 9th at The Unicorn in London.

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A wild and furious trashy-glam punk-rock show throttled the stage just prior to the above as New York City's The Trash Bags got down and dirty with multiple forays over the railing and into the audience by front-man Chuck Bones.


Seemingly conceived in the mold of The Cramps, a similarly styled edgy guitarist evoked memories of Poison Ivy, while the leather-clad lead vocalist channeled Lux Interior energy throughout much of his performance.

 Photo by @Clutterhead

Fleshed out with bassist Tito E and drummer Lyla T, the band ripped through a hyper-charged set that had the audience hanging on to their every move.


There is also an element of the Stooges in the way front-man Chuck Bones physically throws himself around. Like a taller, lanky version of Iggy Pop, a similar level of reckless menace keeps the audience in a 'what's-he-going-to-do-next' state of anticipation.

Photo by @Clutterhead

Within the first :40 seconds of “Hot Mess” Chuck has already dropped to his knees once and fallen on his back in a heap on the floor. The rhythm is closer to Ramones style with the rest of the band delivering tight “hot mess” backing vocals in a similar “hey ho” manner. Shrieking like a banshee as the band throttles along, Chuck ultimately winds up (where else?) writhing on the floor. On getting back to the mic stand he tenderly states “love you Grandma.” While still adjusting the mic on the stand adds “not really my grandma, but she's pretty good.”

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Photo by @Clutterhead

An Ennio Morricone Spaghetti Western rhythm serves as the basis for another reflection on the edgier side rock and roll with “Trash.” “Who's making that noise – who's making that racket? Black leather boots – black leather jackeeeeeeet” (elongating out that last word). Growling and pointing an accusatory finger to the crowd, the declaration “we're all trash!” is made abundantly clear. With Chuck wading deep into the audience, the band morphs over into a more B-52s-like groove before the final verse is delivered from deep inside the crowd.

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Photos by @Clutterhead

Other Trash Bag ditties came in rapid fire succession, including one one about "a pocket full of illegal white stuff."   Call and response vocals between Chuck and Elisa - "Johnny, Johnny, Johnny" provided just enough diversion inside the forward driving, four-on-the-floor punk rocker.

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Photos by @Clutterhead

Coming closest to the downward driving amusement park horror of The Cramps on “Too Bad,” Chuck sings: “Walk down the street – I got this feeling inside. I'm feelin' kid of weak. I got nowhere to hide. Too bad – too late – tonight You're gonna cry – you're gonna die!” Special props to drummer Lyla who's backround vocals on the chorus completes the carnival ride sensation.

Check out that performance right here:

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Photos by @Clutterhead

The Trash Bags play next on July 28 as part of the Sally Can't Dance Presents Stiv Bators, Celebrating The Life of a Dead Boy.


Among many others (including The B Girls).

       The Trash Bags also have a show at Rippers in Rockaway on August 4.


Between set conversation with poet, author, performer, producer and all around creative person Puma Perl (always a pleasure) and caught live getting an earful from Chuck Bones.

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Arriving at the venue just in time to catch a full set from the young and exciting Beechwood saw this still emerging band exhibiting a more experienced and confident stage presence.


Having previously caught a most impressive live show by this relatively new on the scene band (covered here) as well as review writing done on both this site and The Deli Mag (both on the Web and in Print) an even more dynamic show was expected in this larger room.


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Photos by @Clutterhead

Those expectations were met and surpassed as the band made the most out of the big concert lighting, sound and additional space to move around in.  Playing tracks from their recorded works on Alive Natural Sound Records, an expected emphasis was placed on latest album "Inside The Flesh Hotel."

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Photos by @Clutterhead

Flesh Hotel” chugs along bold power chords, matched bass root-notes, whispery-to-shout vocals and guitar counter-melodies galore. Encompassing a blend of dinosaur stomp and Raveonettes-style twang, there's even a tempo change midway through that packs a lot into a three minute song.

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Photos by @Clutterhead

A more anthemic vibe emerges on Daniel Ash inspired, breathy tandem vocal “Boy Before.” An appealing call-and-response vocal segment that goes “I used to hang out in the sun – and keep away from everyone” leads into bold rhythmic strokes and triumphant melody lines.

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Photos by @Clutterhead

Elements of gazey psych-pop can be felt in the dreamy “Over on Everyone.” Amid the noisey backing haze, ear-pleasing melodies emerge through seemingly both descending and ascending figures. The nihilism contained in lyrics stating “let's try to get over on everyone. That's why you'll always be the one,” point to an opportunistic level of survival skills.

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Photos by @Clutterhead

Beechwood is currently on a European Summer Tour, and all dates can be found here.

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A few days earlier The Bowery Ballroom featured an enticing show pairing two distinctly different, yet ultimately complimentary touring partners.  New York folk chanteuse Hannah Cohen and Canadian storytellers Foxwarren made a stop at that popular Delancey Street concert venue.


Touring in support of her third album "Welcome Home," Hannah Cohen presented her light and airy acoustic guitar driven music supported by a combo of guitar, bass and drums.


With Woodstock, NY serving as her actual home base, most of the album's tracks came to fruition in Brooklyn (just across the bridge from where she was performing on this evening).


Additional motivation to experience how this singer had evolved both on record and live came from catching her a few years back when she was touring her second record "Pleasure Boy" (a review of that live show can be found here).


Her onstage banter and interaction with both her fellow musicians and the audience was cheerful and endearing, like when she decided to start over centerpiece song "This Is Your Life" because she wasn't happy with the initial notes and because (as she said) "it's cool like that."


That elicited a loud, positive response from the audience, which also served to bring those listeners in closer to the musical world she's created.


That world is calm, dreamy and intimate.  With lyrics that question at first, provide answers next, before describing the state of flux it all seems to be.  "This is your life . . what's your move?  I'll telly you what it is - the moment you see it, you want it, take the risk. You're out of your mind and that's alright. Out of your mind, it is what it is or it is not."

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Other highlight numbers like the gently R and B soul-tinged “All I Want” explore levels of intimacy (“you're all I see – don't look at me like that. Right from the start, you were playing with a broken heart”) while establishing a big enough hook for anyone to latch onto: “All I really want is you – play your records all the time.”

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"Welcome Home" is a gorgeous album that combines lyrical introspection with just enough auditory ambiance to satisfy anyone looking for something new to dig into.  All of that was on full display in this live setting.



Check out the whole album on your streaming service of choice here.


Hannah will play Brooklyn next with Sam Evian on August 18th at Union Pool for a Summer Thunder show.  That will be followed by a European Tour together that will take them into early September.



Mirror selfies wearing the T-Shirt of a band you love are always acceptable.

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Formed more than a decade ago, headliners Foxwarren brought their Canadian prairie manner and thoughtful collaborative music to an eagerly anticipating downtown New York City audience.


Centered around singer/songwriter Andy Shauf (who has enjoyed success as a solo artist for a number years now), the band served to support that storytelling with spacious arrangements on electric guitar, bass, drums and pedal steel guitar.


For his part, Shauf employs a unique vocal style, where his pronunciation and diction on the words he sings is like no one else.  It's singularly unique and serves in part for his appeal.  Having recently cut his hair (all the promo photos show very long hair) one audience member shouted out "nice haircut!" whereby Andy quietly replied "yeah, I threw all that in the trash."


With the band comprised of childhood friends (two who are brothers) guitarist/backing vocalist Dallas Bryson and especially bassist Darryl Kissick (who's brother Avery plays the drums) lead the band through a number of tracks from their long-awaited, self-titled debut album.  A pedal steel guitarist also provided an important level of textures in this live setting.


The band's name comes from the Kissick brothers' family home in Foxwarren, Manitoba.  However, most of the album was recorded in Regina, Saskatchewan in a rented house where the members all roomed together.


Everything Apart” builds off of an angular bass-line with syncopated percussion and a singular humming note running through it. “Everything would be exactly according to plan, if I could find someone who canShauf sings as a vocal mantra in his uncommon vocal phrasing style.


To Be” comes on at a measured pace, with it's acoustic guitar and sturdy drum pattern rhythm enhanced by searing lead guitar interludes. While his phrasing is like no one else, the tonal register of Shauf's voice is similar to Paul Simon.


Stunning imagery can be found in the video created for “Lost on You,” a song that emphasizes two distinct progressions. While the views bring together footage from Nevada's Death Valley to the Pacific Coast of California (enhanced by creatively placed LED tube lights) the song moves from dreamlike ambiance to a descending beat driven rhythm, before giving way to Shauf's ruminations on our nightly dreams. “Oh patient day, bring the idle night/Do we live with it if we close our eyes.”

Check out that video here:



Items to acquire at the show

The Foxwarren tour continues with these shows still to come:

July 25 - Salt Lake City, UT // Gallivan Center 
July 27 - Squamish, BC // Constellation Festival 
August 14 - Luxembourg, LU - Rotondes 
Aug 16 - St. Malo, FR // La Route Du Rock 
Aug 18 - Brecon Beacons, UK // Greenman Festival 
Aug 21 - Hamburg, DE // Molotow 
Aug 22 - Erfurt, DE // Franz Mehlhose 
Aug 23 - Munich, DE // Hauskonzerte Series 
Aug 24 - Storkow, DE // Alínæ Lumr

Keep up with the bands activities here on their official site.

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30 comments:

Mirror said...

Cynthia Ross wrote: Check out this superbly written and thoughtful review by DaveCromwellWrites on Robert Gordon, ElectraJets, & Beechwood NYC’s Irving Plaza Show July 1st. Dave Cromwell discusses our histories, our songs, and our performances and displays his deep knowledge and love of music. Many thanks!

DaveCromwell said...

I'm glad everything I put in here has resonated with you, Cynthia! The well of information is deep but it's satisfying to uncover it all.

Mirror said...

Paul Schmidt wrote: Wow!! How long did this take to write?? This is awesome! Phenomenal work and recall — bravo! Outstanding job on the article and the pictures and the video!! Really brilliant. In all seriousness, phenomenal writing — truly brought me right back to the night.

DaveCromwell said...

I'm a glutton for punishment, Paul. Basically I write a little book each month. Glad to hear it brought back the night for you. That's always my intent when I do these things. πŸ˜‰

Ronnie Carnwath said...

Nice writing, Dave. I can tell you're passionate about these acts, and having investigated further, I shall beaturing somne of the music you've mentioned in next week's @Cobwebs_strange ;-)

DaveCromwell said...

Your @Cobwebs_strange radio show would be the perfect place for a number of these bands, Ronnie! 🀘

Mirror said...

Robin Danar-real wrote: Wow. Great read Dave, and very close to home. You know my CBGB history, but I bet you didn’t know that my first recording sessions were with Marshall. You’ve covered a bunch of my life work here and its influence on some great new artists while writing a great review! To finish the connection, I helped build and now run the best music venue in LA (The Teragram Ballroom) because it’s the same team that own the Bowery Ballroom so we go way back! Thanks for this piece man—you rock.

DaveCromwell said...

I do indeed know all about your essential work as venue soundman in those early CBGB days, Robin. I've always been impressed by that. Wasn't aware you did those Marshall Crenshaw recording sessions, tho. It's on my bucket list to get out to LA and check out your (surely) wonderful Teragram Ballroom, RD. I've gotta make that happen!

Mirror said...

The Trash Bags wrote: Hey Dave! What a great write up. Thank you very much for that!!!❤

DaveCromwell said...

I loved everything about your live show, Trash Bags - completely wild and entertaining! Plus, you've got some killer punk-rock songs to back it up. πŸ‘½

Mirror said...

Puma Perl wrote: Great detail, and beautifully written. Thanks for bringing me back to an excellent night of rock and roll, and thanks also for the photos and shout-out (and link.) It was a pleasure chatting with you. Clutterhead's photos are great, too.

DaveCromwell said...

My pleasure to check in with you there once again Puma Perl. The research and detail that results from this is what makes it all worthwhile. I was thrilled a quality photographer like Clutterhead agreed to include her pictures here as well. 😎

Mirror said...

Jeff Ward wrote: Thanks DaveCromwellWrites! That was a very cool night with all of our friends. Thanks for your thoughtful and generous words about ElectraJets.

DaveCromwell said...

You're welcome, Jeff. Indeed it was an excellent night of performances. Thanks for writing and letting me know how you feel about what I wrote. As a writer yourself, I know you understand how carefully one selects the words they want to present (even it if may appear casually stated). I like a lot of what you have to say. Wishing you success with the upcoming debut album on Tarbeach Recordings.

Mirror said...

Bob Bert wrote: Jeff Ward wrote 3 novels? πŸ”₯

Jeff Ward wrote: Bob Bert strange but true .. currently trying to finish a 4th

Cynthia Ross wrote: Bob Bert yes it’s true. Parasite is my favourite.

DaveCromwell said...

I made sure to link out to one of the books inside this feature - “Carry On Dreaming”
https://www.amazon.com/Carry-Dreaming-Jeff-Ward/dp/1524623008

Mirror said...

MissHannahCohen posted on Instagram: Thank you !! 😍 😘

Hannah Cohen posted on Twitter: New Reviews! Featuring Robert Gordon, Electrajets, thetrashbags beechwoodnyc @misshannahcohen + Foxwarren #davecromwellwrites #reviews #robertgordon #electrajets #thetrashbags #beechwoodnyc #misshannahcohen

DaveCromwell said...

Glad to hear you like! Wishing you continued success with the album and your upcoming shows, including that European tour!

Mirror said...

Todd Strickland wrote: I am really enjoying that Foxwarren. I really like Andy's solo stuff, especially this song: https://youtu.be/PN0RPWII7gY
So it was cool to see he now has a band, and they're good!

DaveCromwell said...

Me too, Todd. After seeing their live show, it was rewarding to dig into who they are and the music they've put out so far. πŸ˜‰

Mirror said...

Kevin Richardson wrote: Robert Gordon, man! Sign our Fresh Fish Special 8-Track! Opened up for him with The Royal Crowns, early 90's. 2019 and still happenin', all the best!

DaveCromwell said...

8 track! Now *that's* classic. I've got the sweet cassette n' comb combo πŸ˜‰

Mirror said...

Ronnie Carnwath wrote: Your site gets a plug, and Robert Gordon and The Trash Bags get a spin on tomorrow's show 🀘 😎

DaveCromwell said...

Awesome Ronnie! 😊

Mirror said...

Cynthia Ross also wrote: Thank you so much Dave Cromwell for this superbly written article/review. Your depth and knowledge are a rare breed in this age of brevity and superficiality. Thank you.

DaveCromwell said...

I love the way our music scene keeps evolving and re-inventing itself. All the while still paying respect to the original artists who continue to influence it all.

Mirror said...

Rob Select wrote: Amazingly in depth article! Superb !

DaveCromwell said...

Thanks, Rob! That's always my goal. ✍️

Mirror said...

Tara Adams wrote: Awesome, Dave! Nice details. I loved The Trash Bags video! I dig 'em. πŸ’œ

DaveCromwell said...

Yeah, I love their whole wild punky edge, Tara!