Keep On Moving: Weekend Happenings

Jay Berndt & The Orphans – Life, Love, & Loss

Picked up the pieces while taking a break from a candlelight vigil for my favorite watering holes, E & O Tap, and I just had to find some sonic salvation. Thankfully via email, the new Jay Berndt & The Orphans debut album, Life, Love , & Loss just happened to appear in my inbox. There was only one thing to do, dive in.  

It had been almost three years ago when singer/guitarist Jay Berndt had sent me one of the tunes, “How To Mend A Broken Heart.” The tune takes a honky tonk stomp and sweetens it with a sprinkle of soul definitely piqued my interest. Between that taste and the holy shit revelation of Berndt telling me some of the horn players from the E Street played on the record…  I NEEDED to hear this damn record! But… as the years went by Berndt focused on his other musical projects like producing an album for the local band Gavage, reuniting with Kilgore and releasing an EP, and even forming another metal band in Bloodwitch. There were times when I wondered whether The Orphans’ album would go down as some kind of urban legend like the Beach Boys’ Smile or Dr. Dre’s Detox record. Or maybe it would take the Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy route and just take 17 years to come out. I know it sounds dramatic, but as Tom Petty said, “The waiting is the hardest part,” right?  Welp, the wait is over because Life, Love, & Loss is officially released this week and it’s like a fivecourse meal serving up a little of everything all the while kicking ass.

The vibe of much of Life, Love, & Loss is the ’70s barroom rock of the Springsteen and Southside Johnny with a slice of Motown. The aforementioned E Street Band horns show up big time on rockers like “My Baby Caught The D Train” and “Sweet Marie.” They have the vibe of the first two Springsteen records (we are talking taking it to freakin “Rosalita” power level) with Berndt’s recollections of “standing on the porch singing Motown music all night.” Other lines like, “I know at the time everything was all right, but looking back now I can’t believe we are still alive,” certainly hit close to home. “Gasoline (When I Was Growing Up)” is a loving tribute to Berndt’s father that rocks, but leaves one wistful for the drag races of yesteryears. “Long As I Have You” reminds me of an early J. Geils Band frenetic romp. My favorite tune as changed a few times over the course of the last week, but right now it is holding steady with the closing “The Other Ones” for the epic outro that just blows the roof off.

My favorite thing about music is that you get those moments where a record or a show just hits you and lifts you up from whatever shit is going on. Life, Love, & Loss is one of those transformative records that lifts you up to work it all out on the dance floor. Don’t miss them at Askew!

Jay Berndt & The Orphans celebrate the release of Life, Love, & Loss with a fantastic show that also includes Consuelo’s Revenge, and Analog Heart at Askew on Dec 1.  The music starts at 8:45 with The Orphans scheduled to be on around 10pm.

Ted Leo

Ted Leo will do a special acoustic performance at POP on December 1. A Rhode Island transplant, Leo has spent much of the year on the road touring in support of The Hanged Man which came out last fall. While excellent, The Hanged Man showed a softer side from Leo’s earlier work with Ted Leo and The Pharmacists. Tunes like “Can’t Go Back” remind me of a Village Green Preservation Society era KInks meets the swing of The Jam. I also love that Leo did a song called “William Weld in the 21st Century” because it was such an odd sight seeing the former governor of Massachusetts as an out-of-it third party vice presidential candidate in 2016. In conjunction with Leo’s show, this will be the opening of the exhibit titled “Get To The Gig” at POP. The exhibit, from what I understand, is a collection of fliers from music shows through the years, which I’m stoked to see. As at all POP’s shows, the store will be open and it is the place to get the coolest holiday gifts that can’t be found anywhere else.

Ted Leo does a special acoustic show with EDT featuring Adrienne Berry at POP on 219 W Park St in Providence on December 1st.  The show also serves as the opening for the art exhibit titled “Get To The Gig: and doors are at 7pm. Advance tickets can be purchased at stores.emporiumofpopularculture.com.

Email music news to mclarkin33@gmail.com

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