“i can see your face/in all the right places”

This past Monday I was feeling a little down, a little out of sorts, and I couldn’t quite figure out how to shake the malaise. When I got home from work I noticed that someone I had met last week at a Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside show had asked if I knew of any cool shows that night.

I looked around, and noticed that Schuba’s had ZZ Ward and Zach Heckendorf playing. A close friend of mine had mentioned seeing Zach a couple years ago in his home state of Colorado, and that it had been awesome. That seemed to me to be enough to at least check out ZZ Ward, and after a bit of internet searchin’ I knew it was a show worth recommending. I messaged her, but she had already signed off.

I thought about it for a bit, and decided that regardless of whether or not my new friend ended up going, this could be the trick to cheering me up and getting my head back on straight. I hopped in the car, shot down the highway, and was there just in time to grab a beer before Zach started playing.

All I can say is, I should listen to that voice in my head more often, because damn was that a fun show.

Zach Heckendorf is a very young (19?) year old singer songwriter who clearly grew up listening to John Mayer and Jack Johnson, learned how to play some mean guitar, and set off to infect the world with his unique brand of catchy, fulfilling, pop-folk. Check out the official video for ‘All The Right Places’ below:

And here’s a live clip of his song ‘One of Them’:

After his opening set stunned the audience into a head-nodding, foot-tapping reverie, you knew that everyone in that room was now a big Zach Heckendorf fan. You should be too.

Now, all I knew about ZZ Ward was what ten minutes of Google and Youtube could tell me, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. Well, within thirty seconds of her blazing her way on stage, her band kicking up an incredibly funky beat, and her huge¬†voice taking over the tiny venue, there was no way I was going to leave that show in any condition other than sweaty and really, really happy. Hailing from Oregon and sharpening her musical teeth in LA, and picking up an incredible backing band there, Ward blends a soul/blues sensibility with a whole lot of funk and rock – and she sure as hell knows how to bring the party. Her debut album “Till The Casket Drops” comes out October 16th and you should probably buy it. I know I will. In the meantime, check out these videos below:

Yeah, like I said, that’s how you shake yourself out of a bad mood. I hope you like these two as much as I do, and if you have a chance to catch them on tour – do it. I promise, you’ll leave smiling like a fool.

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Videos & New Albums Galore

Hey y’all. Sorry for the long break between posts. A (much needed) vacation in Wisconsin, a crazy week at work, and the start of football season slowed me down a bit. I wanted to take the time to share some of the videos that have been keeping me sane the last few days, as well as some of the albums that either came out last week or are coming out this week that have me incredibly excited.

So, with no further ado:

The Revivalists have been around for a few years, and their unique blend of old-world folk, Chili Peppers-esque funk-rock, and a whole lot of heart on their sleeves make this video a perfect one for transitioning into fall. (Thanks to Ned for this one!)

Anyone who has talked to me within the last week knows that I’m on a crazy Noah Gundersen bender. Coupled with how much I love Joni Mitchell, this one has been playing over and over and over again.

This is an old favorite. One of my favorite bands covering a song by one of my favorite songwriters. A video to end a long, long night as fall settles in. God this is good.

As far as new albums go…this week is a veritable goldmine. The new Avett Brothers album comes out on Tuesday, and you can stream it over on NPR. Also, the new XX album drops the same day, and that one’s streaming over here.

Also, the debut album from former Justin Vernon bandmate Chris Porterfield’s new band Field Report is streaming over at Billboard. I had a chance to see them live earlier this year, and I knew it was going to be special. After a few listens, I’m pretty sure this album will be very much in the running for my album of the year.

Not to mention, Cat Power’s new album “Sun” came out last week, and boy is it good. IT feels like Cat Power caught some of her demons, threw them into a washing machine and/or synthesizer, hung out with Channy from Polica, and then dropped this one. I highly encourage you to listen.

Hope this helps with Monday coming up way too fast. Love y’all!