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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Different Beat Radio, Episode #8:Our Second Year, Nearing 2000 Downloads, A Growing International Audience and..... "Welcome To The Family/Riding With The King"!

Different Beat Radio, (new music from the wilds of  Indiana, hosted by singer/songwriter/producer Tim Brickley) is back with Episode #8: “Welcome To The Family/Riding With The King”.  Singer/songwriter/brother Pat Brickley is onboard for a wide-ranging interview and to spin various selected tracks he’s written and recorded through the years,

Patrick "King" Brickley and King, Jr.
 including the power pop coed anthem “Tri Delt Girls”, the lovely yet ill-fated movie song miss “Henry Poole Is Here", Elvis and Nat “King” Cole tributes and more. What kind of “more”, you ask? Well, a rare live cut (“Sweet Mary Kay”, an early David Rheins/TB song)  from Tim’s mid-80’s band Today’s Icons - warming up Culture Club, no less!?!, and
Today's Icons, in front of a giant Culture Club banner (1984)
 “World” written by and featuring Tim’s other (and first, we might add) singer/songwriter brother Chuck
Chuck Brickley, laying it down in mock turtleneck. (1966)
and some archival audio advertising arcana from Tom Gulley, Rene Longoria and TB. (Approx 36 mins., 2011)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Chicago Sun-Times and The Chicagoist love "Prine: A Tribute Concert", which is heading (sliding) into it's final Chicago weekend...

It's Thursday, and we're still in Indianapolis, my second day of beating through our currently never-ending landscape of solid ice, trying (unsuccessfully, repeatedly) not to fall down. Our brothers and sisters in Chicago are digging out from their 3rd worst snowstorm in history - and it takes a whopper of historic proportions to slow them down. But the show must - I'm assuming, at this point - go on.

So, here we go, about to launch into our fourth and final weekend of "Prine: A Tribute Concert" at the Viaduct Theater in Chicago (this Friday 2.4 at 7:30PM, Saturday 2.5 at 5PM and 7PM, and Sunday 2.6 at 3PM.) It's been an amazing experience for me: reconnecting with Chicago and with Chicago friends, making new friends, and participating in the continuing evolution of this show.

Two new, can't-believe-they-like it-as-much-as-we-do reviews to share. The first is a full review by Mary Houlihan in the Chicago Sun-Times:

by Mary Houlihan ( / Jan. 21, 2011, 4:21PM

Failed jukebox musicals are many. “Ring of Fire” (Johnny Cash), “Lennon” (John Lennon) and “The Times They Are A-Changin’” (Bob Dylan) all debuted on Broadway with much fanfare and quickly disappeared. But Indianapolis-based Phoenix Theatre has come up with a winning formula in the music-drenched show “Prine: A Tribute Concert,” running at the Viaduct Theater through Feb. 6.

Here, director Bryan Fonseca gets it right by keeping it simple.

It doesn’t hurt that he has great music to work with and six talented performers to present it. Each obviously loves a song made complex by stunning wordplay and simple chords, all of which Prine does throughout his vast songbook.

The two-hour show, which debuted earlier last year at Phoenix where Fonseca is producing director, is presented locally by Here Today Enterprises, in association with Phoenix and Prop Thtr. The performers are Tim Brickley, Tim Grimm, Bobbie Lancaster, Jan Lucas-Grimm, Megon McDonough and Michael Shelton.

Of course, the show should easily find an audience here since Chicago fans call the Nashville-based Prine their own. He grew up in Maywood and was a central figure in the Chicago folk movement, performing at clubs like the Earl of Old Town and the Quiet Knight along with pals such as Steve Goodman, Bonnie Koloc, Fred Holstein and Jim Post. But those days were decades ago and much of the music has fallen by the wayside.

What “Prine: A Tribute Concert” does is prove just how lasting the songs are, allowing the audience to really absorb Prine’s lyrics and the messages behind them.

The songs — more than 30 are performed — have a country-folk charm. They can be silly and whimsical (“It’s a Big Old Goofy World”) or realistically heartbreaking (“Speed of the Sound of Loneliness”).

Fonseca lets the songs unfold organically in a simple barroom setting. There is no dialogue, no real storyline. Yet hints of a story about relationships come through thanks to Prine’s story songs and the subtle interactions of the performers, all of whom are actors as well as fine musicians and singers.

Lancaster’s sassy twang is perfect on “They Oughta Name a Drink After You” and heartbreaking on “Bruised Orange.” McDonough smoothly beautiful vocals shown on “Sam Stone” and “Angel from Montgomery.” Scattered among the solo performances were nicely calibrated duets, including the Grimms’ crowd-pleasing take on Prine’s silly rant “In Spite of Ourselves.”

What gives the show cred is the fact that the singers never try to imitate Prine but rather to interpret the songs in their own individual way, drawing out the humor, pain, truth and beauty of each. In the end, Prine’s lyrically rich songbook is the true star of this performance piece."

The second is in the outstanding arts and entertainment website "The Chicagoist", by Michele Lenni. (If you have time, follow the well-researched links in her article, very nicely done!)

by Michele Lenni / January 28, 2011, 2PM

One of the most forgotten musical treasures of the grand history of music in Chicago has to be John Prine. Born and raised here in the city limits, he is probably one of the most prolific and discerning lyricists of his or any generation. Prine began his musical journey at 14 when he learned the guitar from his brother David Prine and ended up being lauded by the likes of Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Kris Kristofferson to name a few. After serving a term in Vietnam in the mid '60s he returned to Maywood Illinois to take a job as a postman. In his spare time he attended open mic nights at Fifth Peg on Armitage Avenue, where eventually he brought his compositions to the stage. He was then reviewed by Roger Ebert and eventually rose to fame as a central figure in Chicago Folk Revival, which also included such singer-songwriters as Steve Goodman, Bonnie Koloc, Jim Post and Fred Holstein.

Years later, after much critical success, he has recieved a Grammy, a Lifetime Achievement Award for songwriting by the UK's BBC Radio 2 and was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. It is no surprise to us that his hometown is choosing to honor his ability and achievement this weekend with a Tribute concert at Roscoe Village's Viaduct Theater.

Prine: A Tribute Concert, directed by Bryan Fonseca, is a stellar line-up of 30-plus Prine compositions, and a prestigious cast including Chicago-based singer-songwriter Megon McDonough. The Sun Times recently heralded the virtues of this production:

"...Fonseca lets the songs unfold organically in a simple barroom setting. There is no dialogue, no real storyline. Yet hints of a story about relationships come through thanks to Prine’s story songs and the subtle interactions of the performers, all of whom are actors as well as fine musicians and singers."

In the dark and velvety theater musical director Tim Brickley is setting Prine's pennings center-stage with no narration what-so-ever. Minimal lighting, staging and an ever-so-subtle multi-generational ensemble characterazation. The shining star of these performances is truly Prine's poetic and complex songs, which really, we wouldn't have it any other way.

Prine: A Tribute Concert, Viaduct Theater, 3111 N Western Ave, Through 2/6: Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 3 p.m., $20-$25, All Ages"

Also this week:  I just wrote some music and created sound design for the next Phoenix show, "Goldie, Max and Milk" which opens tonight. Bryan Fonseca directs. It's a new play, an edgy, darkly-comic piece concerning a brand-new mother, who has just broken up with her girlfriend (whose pot-dealing brother is the bio dad) and who is now working with a devoutly Jewish lactation consultant. Got it? In short, the sort of play the Phoenix was founded upon, lo those many years ago! It's set in current-day Brooklyn, the cast and crew have really risen to the new play challenge and I'm happy with how the music turned out, which I'll post soon somewhere so you can hear it. Better yet - go see the play if you're not coming to Chicago! (It runs through 2.27.)

And then it's back to work here for the rest of February, upcoming shows at The Fountain Square Theatre Swing Night (2.11) and The Chatterbox (2.20) with the Quintet, solo acoustic shows at Greek's in Anderson (2.24) and Chateau Thomas in Fishers (2.25), plus an upcoming triumphant return of the rock band to the always-festive YATS Fat Tuesday fling in March.....

Hang in there, kids. Predicted temps above freezing this weekend......

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Prine: A Tribute Concert" opens to raves in the Chicago Reader, the Chicago Sun-Times, Metromix Chicago and on WGN Radio!

Here's the latest on our current roadshow adventure:
 "Prine: A Tribute Concert" opened this past weekend 
at the Viaduct Theater in Chicago, the first reviews 
are in, and the Good People With Broad Shoulders 
seem to be digging it!

Dan Jakes writes in The Chicago Reader:

"Soulful and gimmick-free, this spirited show breathes
 new life into 32 songs by folk legend John Prine. Set
 against a simple red curtain, with some beer bottles
 and tables onstage for atmosphere, this is a
 no-narration concert. Director Bryan Fonseca allows
 Prine's songs to speak for themselves by backing them
 with only minimal staging and subtle ensemble
 characterization. His efforts highlight the music's
 inherent theatricality and heighten the full-bodied
 arrangements by music director Tim Brickley. The
 cast is vocally and generationally diverse, shedding
 new light on classics like the cheeky reefer anthem
 "Illegal Smile" and the heartbreaking Vietnam vet
 ballad "Sam Stone." Whether you know the words
 or not, an hour in, you may feel like singing along.."

In the Chicago Sun-Times theater listings, staff writer

Mary Houlihan gives us a coveted "highly recommended"
after the production's listing/summation.  A portend
of a review to come? Hmmm.....

Read "Highly Recommended" from the "Sun-Times".

In the Chicago Metromix, reader/reviewer/
audience member"TL5Emeritus" writes on January 
16, 2011 at 10:50 PM:

"My sweetie and I attended the Sunday matinee
performance of this tribute to John Prine. We were
touched by the great music and we found new
appreciation for his song-writing artistry.
The performers were excellent musicians and
brought John's music to life with subtle vignettes
worked into their performances. It was our first
visit to the Viaduct and we both love the cozy/casual 
ambience of the place. We both heartily endorse 
the show and the venue."

And our intrepid co-producer, the inspiring Scott 
Vehill of Chicago's Prop Thtr (yes, that's how they
 spell it!?!?) has appeared the last two Sundays on
 "The Sunday Paper's With Rich Kogan" on 
WGN Radio AM-720. The first appearance, on
 Jan 9, is a great introduction to Scott, The Prop,
 and "Prine: A Tribute Concert". Kogan's a fabulous 
radio personality and I could listen to Scott talk all day......

This past Sunday's segment was primarily on the "Fringe 
Fest"-like RHINOFEST theatre festival currently running 
at both stages at the Prop - but it has a great beginning 
bit about the "Prine" opening weekend:

We'll keep you posted on further developments. In the meantime 
click here to get tickets to the show! Showtimes are 7PM on 
Fridays, 5PM and 7:30PM on Saturdays (note: no shows on 
Sat. Jan. 29, though) and Sundays at 3PM....

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Our "Prine: A Tribute Concert" comes to Chicago!

For those of you who gloriously followed our "Pure Prine" project, we have great news to share: the new touring-friendly. concert-only production "Prine: A Tribute Concert". Same tremendous line-up of 30-plus John Prine compositions, and same tremendous cast - with one notable exception: the very talented (and very pregnant) Jenni Gregory has been replaced by delightful Chicago-based singer-songwriter Megon McDonoughLou Harry, in the Indianapolis Business Journal, just listed "Pure Prine" in his "Ten Best Of The Year" column, and here's what he says:

"The Phoenix Theatre not only staged, but created. “Pure Prine” transcended the usual jukebox musical to such an extent that it was brought back for a revisit just months later. It’s also likely to have an afterlife, with a concert version opening this month in Chicago. See what happens when great raw material, a first-rate cast, and an ideal set are managed by a talented director with a passion for the material? This one made it look easy, but anyone who knows theater knows it wasn’t. Kudos to all involved. Some of the “Pure Prine” crew were also involved in the infectious, surprisingly joyful “Hoosier Dylan” at the Athenaeum..."

The shows run Friday, Saturday (two shows) and Sunday, starting January 14th. (No show on Jan. 29). Hope you can make it! Who doessn't love Chicago in the winter, you babies!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Different Beat Radio #7: "That Time Of The Year: 2010 Holidaze Edition"

Different Beat Radio returns just in time to close out the year with the long-awaited "Episode #7: That Time Of The Year: 2010 Holidaze Edition." A cornucopia of seasonally aural delights of all creeds and denomination, including:

+ "That Time Of The Year", the original recording of Tim's holiday chestnut that appeared on the 1995 WTTS-FM "Overeasy Xmas" CD that also featured holiday fare from Matthew Sweet, Lisa Germano and Henry Lee Summer...

+ Two tracks produced by Tim for the Phoenix Theatre "A Very Phoenix Xmas" franchise: "How Do You Spell Channukkahh" (written by Adam Gardner of Guster fame) and "Toys", from a sketch written by Tim and Bryan Fonseca for this year's "Regifted" production...

+ A wonderful "found" gospel medley courtesy of Emmett Cooper and Lloyd, Avanell, Bertha and Floyd, recorded in southern Indiana sometime in the early to mid-1940's...

+ The quirky "I Saw Santa Driving A Hearse" from Louisville's quirky "Rock and Roll Grandpa" Lynn Charles (Chuck) Foster...


+ The soon-to-be-holiday-classic "May Your Light Shine Brightly" from Detroit's Rosetta Pebble, from their upcoming album which may or may not be titled "Three"...

Plus, a holiday gift for you from Ben Wah Salami,

and information on the upcoming January, 2011 Chicago production of the new "Prine: A Tribute Concert".

(2010, approx 30 mins.)

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Pure Prine" November 19 and 20 in Madison, IN!

   Our little musical, "Pure Prine: The Music Of John Prine" will hit the road for the first time later this month in a stripped-down, "theatrical concert" version debuting November 19th and 20th at the Riverrun Theatre in Madison, IN. Presented by the Cultural Continuum of Madison, and co-produced by both the Phoenix and Riverrun Theatres, the show will differ somewhat from the original Phoenix production of earlier this year - mostly in the lack of the elaborate bar set (we'll suggest the bar on a mostly-bare stage with some tables, a jukebox, etc.) Also, lovely and talented Jenni Gregory (waitress "Angel" in the show) must be pretty darn well showing her marvelous pregnancy by now, which is going to add in interesting dynamic to the various overlapping onstage love triangles.
   As you may know, "Pure Prine" was conceived by Phoenix Artistic Director Bryan Fonseca, a near life-long Prine fanatic, and it tells the interwoven stories of six characters in a bar, playing and singing approximately 30 Prine classics with no dialog - the songs tell the story. Besides myself and Jenni, the rest of the cast is: the marvelous talented couple of Tim Grimm and Jan Lucas-Grimm, Bloomington singer-songwriter Bobbie Lancaster, and Phoenix stalwart Michael Shelton.
   Showtime is 7:30PM each night, and the Rivverun Theatre is at 125/127 E. Main in beautiful, downtown Madison. Click here or the title of this entry - to get your tickets now. In related news, a deal is in the works to bring "Pure Prine" for a run in Chicago early next year (it's coming right up, you know...) Stay tuned for details.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

All Hail WITT-FM!

I have been incredibly remiss in not congratulating Jim Walsh and all the folks at our (relatively) new community radio station, WITT-FM, for recently celebrating their first year on the air. An incredible achievement of pure dedication by longtime hip broadcaster Mr. Walsh, and an excellent implementation by all involved! A Squared Radio, Matt Masters' Rock N Rhythm Revue, and Stuck In The Psychedelic Era are my current fave shows. I hope to track the hosts down and interview them soon. Thanks, folks - for brightening our lives!