Friday, December 21, 2012

Favorite albums from 2012

There is always more great music than anyone can learn about and listen to. Here are 10 albums that stood out for us in 2012. If you liked what you heard at one of our concerts, we bet you will like most of these albums, too. Wherever possible, clicking the album title will take you to a site where you can hear samples.

Kevin Gordon - Gloryland
This album is chock full of songs that tell great stories and force you to think. It is like literature, but set to swampy roots rock. It's rare that you hear a 7+ minute song that keeps you interested the whole time, but "Colfax" goes further and keeps you rapt. We are nailing down the details of Kevin coming to  Mechanic Street in March. We can't wait!

The Black Lillies - 100 Miles of Wreckage
This band is killer live and this album captures thier sprit. They mine a territory between appalachian, jam band, country, and indie pop.  Great songs ("Two Hearts Down" and "Same Mistakes" are instant classics) carefully arranged and played by a super tight band.

Anais Mitchell - Young Man In America
These songs have the idisyncratic beauty of Joni Mitchell and the intensity of Neil Young. The album is a reflection on growing up and on parents, but mostly they are just great songs. Also, her voice is distinct and beautiful.

Rodney Crowell & many friends - Kin
This album is made up of songs by the musician Rodney Crowell and the author Mary Parr and performed by Rodney and artists like Lucinda Williams and Norah Jones, each handpicked to match a particular song. It really shines a light on how great a songwriter Rodney Crowell is to hear a collection of his songs performed by exactly the right singers with exactly the right music.

John Fullbright - From the Ground Up
This album is up for the Americana Grammy award and rightfully so. Its a diverse set of songs that range from lullabies to songs from an angry god to an upbeat anthem, all with his own stamp on it. This is a debut on par with Heartbreaker by Ryan Adams. Mechanic Street fav Fats Kaplan adds some tasty fiddle, too.

Mike Uva & the Bad Eyes - Lady, Tell Me Straight
We loved this Clevelander's set at Mechanic Street in January. When we first got this album, every time a song came up on shuffle we said, "This is great! Who is this?" Well, we've listened to it enough that now we just say "Mike Uva! Yay!" He writes universal songs about odd, individual topics.

Matt Flinner Trio - Winter Harvest
If you like David Grisman, the Goat Rodeo Sessions, or Bela Fleck, you will dig this album. All orignial instrumentals played by well honed trio of mandolin, acoustic guitar, and upright bass. It's somewhere between bluegrass and jazz and, unlike so much in these genres today, these top-notch players never detract from the songs with pyrotechnics.

Whitehorse - The Fate of the World Depends on This Kiss
Here's the story: Two members of Sarah McLachlan band fall in love and start making their own music. Now they are big in Canada and virtually unknown here, This amazing indie-pop album may be enough to change that.

Phil Madeira & many friends - Mercyland: Hymns for the Rest of Us
This is an ecumenical gospel record featuring a ton of the best Americana artists (Emmy Lou Harris, Buddy Miller, and The Carolina Chocolate Drops, to name a few). Some may call these gospel songs but they feel more spiritual than religious. Long on joy, love, and hope and short on preaching. Good stuff!

Trepanning Trio - Auspicious Threes
Shameless self-promotion alert: Joel plays in Trepanning Trio. This album was released in November and has oddly beautiful instrumental music that touches on contemporary classical, African, Chinese, jazz, and rock music. Simple, strong melodies that stick in your head. Just listen - you might like it!

Please let us know what gems you discovered this year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Shivering Timbers! Tom Evanchuck!

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

Our annual local showcase is back!


We're hosting our 3rd annual NEO musician showcase on Jan. 12th. This time we have Shivering Timbers, who have had a rocking 2012 and are on track for an even better 2013, and Tom Evanchuck, an amazing young singer-songwriter. Good times and great tunes guaranteed!


Reserve early. These local shows get booked up fast!

Check out their websites!

Shivering Timbers

http://www.shiveringtimbersmusic.com/

Tom Evanchuck

http://us.myspace.com/tomevanchuck

Doors open at 7:30, music at 8:00.

$15 suggested donation, which all goes to the artist.

Reserve your spot by emailing us at mechanicstreetmusic@yahoo.comWe're in Cleveland's Ohio City neighborhood. Directions and more information will be sent to you once your RSVP is received.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bottle Rockets Acoustic Living Room Show



The Bottle Rockets!

Thursday, November 15th, 2012


We don't usually do weeknight concerts, but for a band as brilliant as the Bottle Rockets we can make an exception! For as long as we can remember, we’ve listened to their records on road trips. Their rocking version of Americana makes the perfect backdrop for cruising down the road. 

If you like the first couple Wilco records, you’ll love the Bottle Rockets. In fact, their frontman, Brian Henneman, was the lead guitarist on Wilco's first record. His songwriting is at least as great as his picking, with songs about everything from Nancy Sinatra to crummy used cars to love and trouble therewith. They are a blast live and the full band will be here for an acoustic show! Check out a tear jerker and a rocker.

While this is a concert at our house, it’s not really a Mechanic Street House Concert. How’s that? This show is part of the Bottle Rockets’ “Living Room Tour” and the band is handling ticket sales themselves. Instead of making a reservation with us, go to this website and get your seat ($25 per person). You can't pay at the door, so everything must be taken care of in advance. But hurry! As of Saturday night, there are only 34 seats left.
 
Please come enjoy this amazing band in a rare Cleveland appearance, made even more special by being in a living room! 

Mechanic Street House Concerts
Ohio City
Cleveland OH 44113

Doors open at 7:30, Music starts at 8:00.

For more info and to get your seat, check here!
We hope you can join us!



Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Not sure we've really had funny before

"It's one thing for singers to write beautifully and sing beautifully, but when they're also funny, as in stand-up-comic funny, it makes going to their shows not only pleasurable but also memorable, well beyond the exit ramp headed back home. How many times do you leave a concert and finding yourself quoting lines the singer says in between the songs? Such is the case with Tasmanian native Audrey Auld." ~ Dallas Morning News, August, 2011 

Here's just a bit of that humor......


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bottle Rockets--Thursday, November 15th


We love the Bottle Rockets!  For as long as we can remember, we’ve listened to their records on road trips. Their rocking version of Americana makes the perfect backdrop for cruising down the road.

If you like the first couple Wilco records, you’ll love the Bottle Rockets. Their frontman, Brian Henneman, writes great songs with a common man, mid-Western slant and is a top-notch picker. They are a blast live and the full band will be here for an acoustic show! Check out a tear jerker and a rocker.

While this is a concert at our house, it’s not really a Mechanic Street House Concert. How’s that? This show is part of the Bottle Rockets’ “Living Room Tour” and the band is handling ticket sales themselves. Instead of making a reservation with us, you go to this website and buy a $25 ticket. Tickets go on sale at 1PM (noon Central) on Monday Oct. 29th. Their Living Room shows have been selling out quickly, so move fast if you are interested!
 
Please come enjoy this amazing band in a rare acoustic living room show. 
 

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Audrey Auld
Saturday, November 10th, 8:00pm


"Singer-songwriter Audrey Auld's heart is in country, folk and Americana music with a presence as big as The Outback. Her songs are the wry and poignant observations of a Tassie girl living in California and Nashville since 2003. Audrey calls it Music with dirt left on it."

Check out her website.

$15 suggested donation, which all goes to the artist.

Reserve your spot by emailing us at mechanicstreetmusic@yahoo.comWe're in Cleveland's Ohio City neighborhood. Directions and more information will be sent to you once your RSVP is received.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Favorites from the Americana Music Festival

We had a great time at the recent Americana Music Festival in Nashville. 19 bands in 4 nights. Plus Lynn got a hug from Rodney Crowell!

Here were some of the musical highlights:

  • Blue Mountain did a great set on Wednesday night. They have been around a long time, but we had never seen then before. They bring a fat Mississippi groove and are just fun. Nice people. We got to pet their road dog, Elvis, too!
  • John Fullbright gave a good show to a packed room on Thursday night, but his album is even better. He comes from the same deep Oklahoma songwriter well as one of Lynn's favorites, Kevin Welch. He's been compared to Steve Earle, Townes Van Zandt, and Randy Newman. His debut album is really great and has everything from a peppy anthem to tin pan alley inspired piano tunes. Plus it features past Mechanic Street performer Fats Kaplin on a few tracks!
  • The Black Lillies were the band we were most excited about seeing and they did not disappoint. Super tight band, great songs, two good singers, fun performers. Hard to describe, so just check out a video. The played one of the longest sets we saw at the Festival and afterwards the audience chanted "One more set!" Their latest CD is super strong, too. They are scheduled to be at the Beachland Tavern on Dec. 2nd. Put it on your calendar now!
  • If you like post-modern indie rock, check out Buxton (Friday's highlight). They have a certain odd spark, sort of like Spoon doing country music. There weren't a lot of people in the audience, but 90% of them were musicians.
  • Kevin Gordon was Saturday's highlight, which is saying something since earlier we saw Richard Thompson in a 250 seat auditorium and later we heard Americana demi-god Buddy Miller. Kevin combines the most literary lyrics we've heard in a long time with swampy rock. It's like Lynn's piggy figs: something nourishing and sophisticated wrapped in something simple and tasty. He is a hell of a guitarist, too. We highly recommend his latest album, Gloryland.
Hopefully we'll get a chance to share some of these people with you soon. We've been in touch with The Black Lillies' booker for a while now. Kevin Gordon and Blue Mountain sounded interested, too. We're keeping our fingers crossed!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Joe Fletcher
Saturday, October 6th, 8:00pm


We believe honesty is the best policy, so we’re going to tell you the straight up truth: Joe Fletcher plays honky tonk. Not throwback, nostalgic honky tonk but honky tonk that feels totally at home today. He has a great voice with the grit and gravel of Johnny Cash and the bluesy elasticity of Hank Williams. Yeah, he’s that good. No Depression says, “No old fashioned posing here. Just rock n' roll with a tip of the hat to tradition. Fletcher continues to showcase a style that has become all his own: story driven songs that never shy away from a little grit.”

Joe Fletcher comes to us highly recommended by Brown Bird (who tore down the house in June). He is part of a growing scene in Providence, RI and all signs are that he’s the breakout artist of this year’s Newport Folk Fest. This fall he is releasing an EP of songs with just him and his guitar and he’ll be playing Mechanic Street the same way.
Please join us for his Cleveland debut!
Here's a great tune.

Check out his website.

$15 suggested donation, which all goes to the artist.

Reserve your spot by emailing us at mechanicstreetmusic@yahoo.comWe're in Cleveland's Ohio City neighborhood. Directions and more information will be sent to you once your RSVP is received.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Unifying theory of pop music history?

At the risk of offending many, I have admit that I am not a fan of the Beatles. This made me very excited to read the book How the Beatles Destroyed Rock'n'Roll. I was looking forward to a long screed about how the Beatles lead rock down a blind path away from the gritty goodness that came before. The book was actually devoid of Beatle-bashing.


What I got instead was a readable and enlightening trip through American pop music history from around 1870 to around 1970. The author showed how three steady trends reached new levels with the Beatles:
1. The effect that technology has on music tastes.
2. The movement from music for dancing to music for listening.
3. The increased separation between the music whites and blacks consume.

Very cool book!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Brown Bird--Sunday, June 3rd 7:00pm



Brown Bird is an amazing duo out of Rhode Island. Their music is a dark and catchy blend
of blues, folk, and gypsy music. Imagine music that is gritty like Neko Case and fun like Mumford & Sons. They took the Newport Folk Festival by storm last summer. They will be winding down a three month national tour at Mechanic Street, so it will be a great show! Their latest album, Salt for Salt, is one of our all-time favorites and is getting great reviews.

Check out their website.

“It’s challenging to describe the combination of blues riffs, country twang and Eastern European musical scales that pervade Salt for Salt. The effect, though, is easy to understand: It’s music that’s exciting and heartbreaking at the same time.” – Billsville House Concerts

"A total joy to listen to" - Music Savage

"...MorganEve Swain’s string playing and frontman David Lamb’s guitars and percussion give [Brown Bird] a dark and eerie feel that’ll stick with you." - Paste Magazine

Door opens at 6:30, music at 7:00. We're in Cleveland's Ohio City neighborhood. 
Directions and more information will be sent to you once your RSVP is received.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Check out the bat!

Mechanic Street House Concerts got the 2011 Ohio City Arts and Culture Award last night. And this awesome bat! Thanks to Ohio City Inc and to everyone who comes and really makes the house concerts happen!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Brown Bird
Sunday, June 3rd, 7:00pm

It's no wonder they took the Newport Folk Festival by storm. We loved Brown Bird about 30 seconds into the first track we heard. Their music is a dark and catchy blend of blues, folk, and gypsy music. Imagine a duo that is gritty like Tom Waits and fun like Mumford & Sons.

"A total joy to listen to" - Music Savage

"...MorganEve Swain’s string playing and frontman David Lamb’s guitars and percussion give [Brown Bird] a dark and eerie feel that’ll stick with you." - Paste Magazine

Check out their website.


$15 suggested donation, which all goes to the artist.

Reserve your spot by emailing us at mechanicstreetmusic@yahoo.comWe're in Cleveland's Ohio City neighborhood. Directions and more information will be sent to you once your RSVP is received.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Brigitte DeMeyer-Friday, April 13th, 2012

Door opens at 7:30, music at 8:00. 


Brigitte DeMeyer will be bringing some New Orleans voodoo to Mechanic Street House Concerts on Friday April 13th. PopMatters says “[Her] sound is drenched in New Orleans style R&B [mixed] with country blues and a whole lot of other folksy Southern ingredients…”. She has becomes one of our favorites because she is a soulful singer, songwriter, and guitarist. She is like a cross between Lucinda Williams and Van Morrison, if you can imagine it. Don’t take our word for it, check out a video.

Brigitte’s website 

$15 suggested donation, which all goes to the artist.

Reserve your spot by emailing us at mechanicstreetmusic@yahoo.comWe're in Cleveland's Ohio City neighborhood. Directions and more information will be sent to you once your RSVP is received.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Two in a row!

We've had two sold-out shows in a row! Brent Kirby and Mike Uva in January and Mike Mangione & the Union on Friday. Sold out isn't really the right term, since we don't sell tickets and only ask for a suggested donation, but its got a better ring to it than "at capacity". While we don't like having to turn anyone away, we do like having a full house. And the artists really like the extra cash it means for them. We're hoping this is a trend that will continue!

Check out our new logo

Thanks to Nicole McGee of Plenty Underfoot we have a smashing new logo. If you look closely, you can even see Mechanic Street.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Something from Mike Mangione & the Union

Its hard to pick a favorite from Mike Mangione & the Union but this is certainly one of them.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Thanks Cleveland.com!

Cleveland.com ran a nice piece on Mechanic Street yesterday.

Ohio City couple bringing bands to their living room with Mechanic Street House Concerts

Published: Thursday, February 23, 2012, 9:00 AM
Scattered around Cleveland are an array of small venues where people can hear amazing music. From the Grog Shop and Beachland Tavern on the East Side to the Winchester Music Hall and Brothers Lounge to the west, Clevelanders definitely have options. 
But for music lovers who prefer an even more intimate, uninterrupted listening experience.... Read more

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mike Mangione & The Union

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Door opens at 7:30, music at 8:00. 

Mike Mangione & The Union combine a folk-rock sound with an orchestrated string section, soulful vocals and literate sensibility. The band has received favorable press from all corners of the world, including the honor of being an All Music Guide Album pick. Blurt refers to their "tearstained folk, Memphis-styled gospel and bluesy-flavored pop" as "luminous".

www.mikemangione.com

$15 suggested donation, all of which goes to the artists.

Reserve your spot by emailing us at mechanicstreetmusic@yahoo.comWe're in Cleveland's Ohio City neighborhood. Directions and more information will be sent to you once your RSVP is received.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

More Instruments

This weekend's show brought us up to a dozen different kinds of instruments that have been used at the house concerts. The new additions: tres, pedal steel, and keyboard.

Monday, January 9, 2012

How the artist makes out




HOW MUCH DO MUSIC ARTISTS 
EARN ONLINE?
Recently, the UK government passed The Digital Economy Act which included many, perhaps draconian, measures to combat online music piracy (including withdrawing broadband access for persistent pirates). Much was proclaimed about how these new laws would protect musicians and Read more



The take-away:  
From the artist's point 
of view, the second best 
way to buy music 
is CDbaby.com. The best 
way is to buy it directly 
from the artist ... like at a house concert!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mike Uva & the Bad Eyes/Brent Kirby & the Lost Fortunes Saturday, January 21, 2012

Door opens at 7:30, music at 8:00. 

Cleveland Showcase! Two great local bands, a slew of great musicians--Mike Uva & the Bad Eyes AND Brent Kirby & the Lost Fortunes.

Mike Uva writes inventive, highly melodic, classic pop songs about loneliness, travel, and strange visions. His subtle, restrained style has been compared to that of Paul Simon and Ray Davies and he once had someone call his music "a plush carpeted dream." Mike has performed with such artists as Cat Power, The Decemberists, Nina Nastasia, and Clem Snide.


“Every couple of years, Cleveland songwriter Mike Uva tosses off an album of sublime jangle pop, tangled with wry, self-observant lyrics, melancholy chord progressions and encased in warmly lo-fi production values.”  --PopMatters.com



One of the Plain Dealer's "25 Acts to Watch" 2011. Brent Kirby is a night's stroll with a rock n' roll romantic. Kirby has a keen narrator's eye, his lyrics dictate life in the moment.... where dreams really come to life in gritty color. Fueled by an arsenal of songs in the spirit of Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Gram Parsons, to the more recent Ryan Adams, Ray Lamontagne, and Wilco, Kirby delivers a charismatic performance with a heartfelt sincerity that's been honed by countless gigs and a sheer desire for perfection.
$15 suggested donation, which all goes to the artists.

Reserve your spot by emailing us atmechanicstreetmusic@yahoo.comWe're in Cleveland's Ohio City neighborhood. Directions and more information will be sent to you once your RSVP is received.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cool music from 2011(ish)

One of the great things about hosting house concerts is that we're listening to a lot more music and putting a bit more effort into discovering new music. Here are a few of the things we came across in 2011 that we really like:

Brigitte DeMeyer -- both Red River Flower (2009) and Rose of Jericho (2011)

David Wax Museum -- Everything Was Saved (2010)

Eilen Jewell -- Queen of the Minor Key (2011)

Matraca Berg -- The Dreaming Fields (2011)

Elephant Revival -- Break in the Clouds (2010)

What new music do you recommend?