Archives For June 2012

(Leah Edwards is a musician, writer, blogger and all told just an inspiration lightning rod when it comes to all things creative. Oh, and she’s also Cause A Scene’s latest contributor. Welcome aboard, Leah!)

If you can’t help but love vintage vocal stylings and revel in music from Emmylou Harris to Karen Carpenter and Carly Simon dancing in harmony with the melodies of Joni Mitchell, here’s a duo you must experience.

First Aid Kit, the Swedish sister duo comprised of Johanna and Klara Soderberg, literally stopped me in my tracks when I first heard their song Blue.  I was instantly fixated, and I absorbed it like a sponge. There is something within their tightly woven harmonies and soaring/haunting melodies that pulled me into their musical force field. Their thoughtful, sonorous songs combined with up tempo ramblin’ tunes have a great balance to keep you listening, and it may be hard to pull yourself away.  There is something about a purely gifted songstress expressing her craft that can captivate an audience for 3 brief minutes.  Whether listening to a recording or watching a live performance, the ability to hush a crowd through the power of a well-written song will always intrigue me.  Their music will submerge you deeper into a mysterious world of desert sunsets, forsaken cabins, creamy lace dresses, old wooden guitars, wandering troubadours and various characters from days long ago.

A revival of the 60’s and 70’s Americana style, they are younger versions of some of my parent’s and consequently my own favorite artists from that era including Linda Rondstadt and Karen Carpenter.  In a different vein, their songs have also been compared to new folk such as the Fleet Foxes and Joanna Newsom.  Their cover of Fleet Foxes’ Tiger Mountain Pleasant Song received many views on YouTube as well as other various original songs performed in a Swedish forest.  One can’t help but fall for their innocent, longing little faces and beautiful rotund eyes as they romantically sing in a setting from long lost lore.  These ladies later had the opportunity to actually perform with the Fleet Foxes at a show in the Netherlands.

The sibling aspect of the group has instant connection to family and warmth. I am likely not alone when I express my intrigue for family bands and the way genetics have a way of producing unrivaled harmony.  The melodies cut through the air and melt like honey in your heart. These sisters become little reincarnated old country stars in their song titled “Emmylou.”

~I’ll be your Emmylou

And I’ll be your June

If you’ll be my Gram

And my Johnny too

No I’m not askin’ much of you

Just sing

Little darlin’

Sing with me~

But let’s bring it all back home to our beloved Nashville scene.  These Swedish sisters were spotted by the illustrious Jack White during one of their performances in Nashville.  White approached them, requesting that they record a song on his Third Man Records series.  They are also making their footprint on the folk music scene, with guest appearances on their album, the Lion’s Roar, by the likes of Conor Oberst and the Felice Brothers.

The southern gal in me feels an intimate connection to Folk-Americana songs tinged with vintage country charm.  When you hear them, you feel home.  When you sing them, you’re transported to a cabin somewhere enveloped in a flannel shirt, sitting around a campfire with well-lit souls.  I was hooked on these two at first listen.  I hope the same for you.

The sisters Soderberg hit the American soil soon with stops from coast to coast, including our lovely city, Nashville on October 5. Check out the dates below along with their new video for “Blue.”

28 – Newport, R.I. @ Newport Folk Festival
31 – Pittsburgh, Pa. @ Altar

3-5 – Chicago, Ill. @ Lollapalooza

25 – Ann Arbor, Mich. @ The Blind Pig*
26 – Toronto, Ontario @ Danforth Music Hall*
28 – Boston, Mass. @ Royale Nightclub*
29 – New York, N.Y. @ Irving Plaza*
30 – Brooklyn, N.Y. @ Music Hall of Williamsburg*

2 – Washington, D.C. @ Sixth & I Historic Synagogue*
3 – Asheville, N.C. @ Orange Peel*
4 – Atlanta, Ga. @ Buckhead Theatre*
5 – Nashville, Tenn. @ 3rd & Lindsley*
6 – St. Louis, Mo. @ Firebird*
8 – Omaha, Neb. @ Waiting Room*
9 – Lawrence, Kan. @ The Granada Theatre*
13 – Dallas, Tex. @ The Kessler Theater*
16 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ The Fonda Theatre*
17 – San Francisco, Calif. @ The Fillmore Auditorium*
19 – Portland, Ore. @ Roseland Theater*

*- with Dylan LeBlanc

(I (Larry) am proud to introduce our latest contributor to Cause A Scene, Brad Hughes. As one of the very few people I know who attends as many or more concerts than I do, it’s no wonder that Brad will be handling show reviews for the blog. You can pretty much guarantee that if there isn’t an Atlanta Braves or Vanderbilt Commodores game on TV, Brad will be out seeing live music. Welcome to the team, Brad. We’re glad to have you on board!)

About halfway through Joe Purdy’s set at the Mercy Lounge on June 25th he declared that he’d “like to play a song I haven’t been able to play, like, ever. I found the right band for it.” He’d follow that statement up with an impressive rendition of “Death of a Maiden,” from his ‘Last Clock on the Wall’ release backed by an impressive 7-piece outfit, The Giving Tree Band, that can more than handle their own on stage. The group, spilling off to either side of the large posts of Mercy Lounge’s small stage, backed Joe’s gritty vocals on the elegy with energy, depth, and to the delight of the sparse – yet loyal to Purdy – crowd, a ton of talent.

Purdy’s lyrics and voice paired perfectly with The Giving Tree Band’s country bluefolk roots rock, a genre I can only hope catches on so that someone can give it a better name. The Giving Tree Band opened the show themselves shortly after 8pm playing songs from their library for about an hour. With banjos, fiddles, slide guitars, organs, and drum rhythms that sounded right off of the fields of the Battle of Nashville, the band developed quite a relationship with the crowd, pulling more and more of the attendees to the stagefront as the show progressed. Each member had standout moments throughout their set, including approximately 57% of the band taking lead vocal responsibilities on various songs, but it was lead guitarist and fiddler Phil Roach’s passionate solos that swelled within the venue and prepared us what the headlining act would deliver.

The crowd reacted with delight as The Giving Tree Band returned to the stage for Purdy’s set, lasting nearly 2 hours, covering hits and deep tracks, and once again allowing each of the band’s 7 members to strut their stuff on their respective instruments. None of this is to say that Purdy himself took a back seat to his band on this night. Instead, his vocals seemed even more energized. You could feel the passion in the lyrics that he wrote, especially apparent as the group shouted “I got you now!! Down, down down!!” during a raucous version of ‘Walking Down’ to close the set.

Purdy found ways to satisfy both his longtime fans and win over the newcomers on this night as he slowed down and played a sing-along of ‘Outlaws’ by himself on the keys during the encore after shocking some in attendance with the darkness of songs like ‘Angelina’ during his primary set. As the band would join him for a final two pieces of the encore, Joe and The Giving Tree Band had everyone rocking back and forth on ‘San Jose’ and sent the crowd out into the cool night delighted.

I can only recommend to anyone in St. Louis, Chicago, Columbus, and New York who might be reading find a way to catch Purdy and The Giving Tree Band as they ride through town in the coming weeks. Leading into ‘Brooklyn, I Called,’ Joe proclaimed to the crowd “I hope you don’t hate it,” but there was nothing to fear for Purdy on this night. Cause a Scene and the several other hundred in attendance at The Mercy Lounge loved it.

(Image courtesy of

(Cause A Scene contributor Molly Williams made her first trip to Bonnaroo last weekend, and, well, she had an absolute blast as you might expect. Read her wonderful account of the weekend’s happenings here!)

Once a year, in a 700-acre field in middle-of-nowhere Manchester, Tennessee, tens of thousands of people come together for all corners of the country to experience music in one of the most unique ways you could imagine.

Days at Bonnaroo are packed with people from every corner the country (even some international visitors), hot sun, tightly packed camping, dust and dirt (and if you’re lucky, some mud), food trucks, lines for just about everything, and your choice of 150 impressive performances spread between 10+ stages.  Add to the list art, green grass, a mini film fest, dancing, comedy acts, meeting and bonding with complete strangers, some of the best people watching you could ask for, lights, a water slide, crowd surfing, and did I mention music? Yeah, there’s some of that.

This past weekend I joined 79,999 other music loving Bonnaroovians for the ultimate bucket list event. Personally, I never dreamt of going to Bonnaroo until the day I got an invite to volunteer a few hours each day in exchange for a free pass. (Advice: if you have never gone, or even if you have, consider volunteering. There are tons of options/times so you can manage to get in free and still see all the performances.) The idea of 80,000 people in that kind of environment wasn’t at the top of my list, or even on my list at all. Boy was I proven wrong – well played Bonnaroo, well played.

The performances I saw in just two of the four days included some of the best I have ever seen. Blind Pilot, Punch Brothers, The Roots, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Gary Clark Jr. – each and every performance was an impressively energetic display of amazing talent. I found myself grooving and singing along to some while others left me literally speechless (in the best way possible).

The undeniable power of music is something that I’ve always loved and been extremely aware of, but Bonnaroo took it to a whole new level. Whether it’s bringing thousands of strangers together to watch one band on a stage in the middle of a field, silencing a crowd with raw talent, or motivating a girl to crowd surf across hundreds of people for the first time, Bonnaroo is a place where music overwhelms you with a feeling of freedom and energy. There’s something about getting away from the normal day-to-day and being surrounded by limitless music that will give you a new appreciation for the songs you hear and the life you’re living.

Even though I missed two days of incredible lineups on Thursday and Friday (including Radiohead, Feist, Needtobreathe, The Avett Brothers, Dawes, and more), my favorite performance from Saturday and Sunday hands down was Bon Iver. It’s hard to sum up with words what I saw and felt at that performance. My friends and I were lucky enough to secure a spot in line for the main stage that guaranteed we would be front and center on the fence. I knew it was going to be a great show, but I had no idea how incredible it would ultimately be.

The talent of the nine musicians on that stage literally left me, and at points the entire audience, silent. There was a giant grin spread across my face the majority of the show hoping that Justin Vernon would play through the night. Each member of the band was intriguing. Two drummers, some band members switching between multiple instruments, the tricks behind some of the sounds you can so easily overlook when listening to Bon Iver’s album – all these things made for a phenomenal display of beautiful music in a completely real form that I won’t soon forget.

When Bon Iver left the stage I was tempted to end my Bonnaroo experience there. There was one more show I planned on going to and I suddenly felt like nothing could top what I just witnessed. But, my friends convinced me that fun.’s show would be the perfect energy-packed performance to wrap up our epic weekend. They were right, and the show had a few surprises of it’s own. There’s no denying the band lives up to their name with their stage presence. As the show was wrapping up, a few of my friends decided it was the perfect chance for some crowd surfing. I watched as they all took turns getting lifted up and disappearing to the front of the crowd over the hundreds, maybe thousands, of people in front of us.

Initially I didn’t think twice about holding my place with two feet on the ground, but suddenly it hit me – I was at Bonnaroo. If I was going to do this anywhere, it was here and now. When I finally spoke up and mentioned I was considering it I was convinced the band was on their last song and thought I’d missed my chance. Luckily my friend wasn’t going to let me back out that easily and when fun. started playing We Are Young I knew that was it. I threw down my bag and kicked off my shoes. “Let’s go.” Before I knew it I was floating over the crowd looking out across the endless mass of people all belting out the perfect soundtrack – tonight we are young, so let’s set the world on fire, we can burn brighter than the sun. Pretty incredible. Only at Bonnaroo would this girl decide to crowd surf for the first time. I guess music will do that to you. That’s a memory that I will never, ever forget and I can’t think of a better way to end my first Bonnaroo experience.

Thanks, Bonnaroo, for laughs, sunshine, volunteering, people-watching, dirt, mud, donuts, nature, adventures and one of the best music experiences I’ve ever had. I’ll be back and I think there might be a few first-timers coming with me.

Ok, I admit it, sometimes in the massive landscape that is the music world, I’m a little late to jump in the water. Every now and then I get distracted by the bright, shiny things way out in the horizon rather than the powerful waves right in front of me. Case in point: Saturday night’s house guests Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes. I had heard of them long ago, even saw when Amazon named their single “Shoe Fits” the 7th best song of 2011 and their full-length one of the top 100 albums (#76 to be exact) of the same year, but still, nothing. Is that a boat way out there? An island? All of a sudden I’m turned upside down by the whitecaps tossing me to and fro, from track one to number twelve.

Once I finally waded back to my natural habitat on the shore, or Nashville in this case, and listened to their full-length, “Civilian Man” several months back, and I wasn’t able to shake it. And I have been all the better for it. The album (and from what I can tell from reviews of their live shows) is full of tight harmonies from piano man Ellsworth, lead guitarist Timon Lance and bassist Marshall Skinner, with drummer Joel Wren keeping everything in check from the backline. They were described by another blogger I briefly read as “quirky electronic-enforced indie pop” and as somewhat convoluted as that sounds, it actually makes pretty good sense of their sound. It’s a jangly, shimmery brand of indie pop with a small dose of folk thrown in to roughen up the edges just enough. The band cites Wilco, Paul Simon and Tom Petty as influences on their Facebook, and it’s easy to pick up some Beach Boys pop sensibilities throughout the album as well. At some points there are some casual resemblances to a more accessible Grizzly Bear (yeah, it didn’t make sense to me the first time either, but I promise it’s there!). Ultimately, to me, they come across as simply a helluva good time a la Dr. Dog, who in similar fashion, wear their influences on their sleeves while still are able to create a sound all their own.

If all of that doesn’t get you pumped to see them live at Cause A Scene HQ (aka my living room) this Saturday night, I don’t know what will. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the whole show turns into a small scale dance party, and if the band stays true to form, they may be doing a bit of that on their own on stage. The house show is an economical $7 at the door and will kick off at 7:30 with local favorites Isaac Hayden and David Jennings kicking the party off. We’ve had a lot of really, really fun shows this summer, but let’s just say the stage is set (pardon the pun) for our most show yet. If you’d like to come to the show, RSVP to and we’ll get you the rest of the details soon. Hope to see you all there, folks!

Brand new music video for “Bleeding Tongue” after the jump.

14 – Carbondale, Ill. @ The Hangar 9
16 – Brentwood, Tenn. @ Cause A Scene: House Concert Series
20 – Birmingham, Ala. @ Workplay
22 – Asheville, N.C. @ Emerald Lounge
23 – Knoxville, Tenn. @ Barley’s Taproom
24 – Atlanta, Ga. @ Smith’s Olde Bar

14 – Columbus, Ohio @ Rumba Café
19 – Nashville, Tenn. @ The Basement
20 – Knoxville, Tenn. @ Barley’s Taproom
21 – St. Louis, Mo. @ The Gramophone
22 – Bloomington, Ind. @ The Bishop
23 – Chicago, Ill. @ Schubas Tavern
24 – Lexington, Ky. @ Natasha’s Bistro

17 – Nashville, Tenn. @ High Watt

One of the more interesting musical develops of the past several years has been the purveyance of folk music coming from across the pond in England that has a very American flair, liberally applying doses of folk, bluegrass, Americana and even some rockabilly to create a sound that harkens back to Laurel Canyon but doesn’t feel a bit out of place today. And with that, a future superstar named Jake Bugg, who at the ripe-old-age of 18 has created a sound that very much belies his baby face. To put it succinctly, he just has that timeless, classic vibe that is hard not to be a fan of. Citing influences like The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Donovan, Don McLean and Oasis, it’s no wonder that his music has an old school vibe to it. He started writing and recording music years before he was able to drive a car, and now at an age when most are going off to university, Bugg is remaining busy playing the likes of Glastonbury, The Review, and Live at Jools Holland. Most musicians only dream of playing such large stages, and he’s achieved that before he’s even released a proper debut album (out this October, FYI).

With his short, super-catchy single “Lightning Bolt”, Bugg shows exactly why in a world that so quickly latched onto Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers, he is destined to be a household name in the same way. In short, he’s quite possibly the most buzzworthy artist I’ve heard this year.