Upcoming Concerts with Willy Porter, Aslyn and More...

More Concerts of Note

Jan 12, 2005 at 2:06 pm

Willy Porter

Friday · Jack Quinn's Emerald Ballroom

Since his debut release, 1990's Trees Have Souls, Willy Porter has found a way to fit comfortably into a half-dozen different musical genres. With a guitar style guided by Leo Kottke (whose 6 & 12 String Guitar album inspired Porter to switch from viola to guitar) and the late Michael Hedges (whom Porter met and escorted around when Hedges played a concert at his college), Porter exhibits equal measures of observational Folk, syncopated Rock, freeform Jazz, heartfelt Soul and sunny Pop within his singular sonic presentation, all of which is sewn together with his unique brand of improvisational musical comedy. Porter has even had a brush with success, when radio granted him a relative hit with "Angry Words" from 1994's Dog-Eared Dream. That attention led to a contract with Windham Hill offshoot, Private Music, but the relationship soured, so Porter extricated himself from the situation and wound up on San Francisco's smaller and more artist-friendly Six Degrees label for his next two albums, 1999's Falling Forward and 2002's Willy Porter. In 2003, Porter released an album that finally showcased his talent in its most natural surroundings — alone on the stage. High Wire Live presented Porter sans band, alone with his guitar and songs (the lone guest on the album was Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre, who lent his electric skills to Porter's cover of Richard Shindell's "You Stay Here") and pointed sense of humor. Porter has always shone the brightest in the live arena, holding his own and winning over audiences in his opening capacity for formidable talents like Tori Amos, Rickie Lee Jones, Paul Simon and Jeff Beck, whose fans were moved to offer Porter a standing ovation when he opened for the guitarist in Nashville. (Brian Baker)

Aslyn with Bob Schneider and Matthew Shadley Brauer

Saturday · Alchemize

With her 2004 debut, Lemon Love, Florida native Aslyn showed a harrowing talent for laying bare her soul in a series of intimately sketched and detailed stories/songs. Her place behind the piano and her honestly confessional material has naturally drawn comparisons to Alicia Keys and Tori Amos, but Aslyn relies on a unique synthesis of her own influences — The Beatles, Queen, Coldplay, The Bee Gees, The Corrs, Stevie Wonder and the masters of her early Classical training like Mendelssohn, Chopin and Beethoven — to create her soulful Pop sound. Aslyn's Florida childhood in Gainesville was peppered with musical experience, from her Classical piano lessons at age 7 to her diligence in pursuing any possible performance opportunity at school, church or in the community.

After her high-school graduation, Aslyn relocated to Atlanta where she gigged at local clubs relentlessly, finding her writing muse, developing her performing vision and creating a buzz about her appearances. In 2002, her hard work and sacrifice came to fruition with an invitation to showcase for several labels in Los Angeles, which ultimately resulted in Aslyn's contract with Capitol Records (who signed her after hearing just one song at their offices). In short order, Capitol got her into the studio with famed producer Guy Chambers, who Aslyn suggested because of his work with Robbie Williams. With help from Chambers and producer Eric Valentine (Queens of the Stone Age, Third Eye Blind), Aslyn created Lemon Love (the title refers to both her love life and her experience with automobiles), a set of songs that detail the songwriter's journey through a young yet tumultuous life. Several songs from the album, including "Be the Girl" and "That's When I Love You," have given Aslyn considerable presence at radio and earned her some plum opening slots, including recent tours with Bob Schneider, Edwin McCain and Chris Isaak. Aslyn's passion and drive have gotten her a long way in a relatively short time, and this might be a chance to see her in a small setting before she becomes as big as the comparisons made about her. (BB)

The Whiskey Daredevils

Saturday · The Comet

For the past 14 years, there has rarely been any greater guarantee of a debauched and liquidly loutish good time than the words 'Cowslingers Tonite!' on a club's marquee. The news of the 'slingers returning to town has always brought with it the expectation of seeing a band that gleefully runs the red light at the intersection of Punk and Country, T-boning anything that gets in their way, regardless of the direction they happen to be traveling. The consistency and longevity of the 'slingers lulled us into a false sense of permanence, a sense that was shattered with last February's announcement of guitarist Bobby Latino's departure from the band and the decision of the remaining 'slingers — vocalist Greg Miller, bassist Ken Miller and drummer Leo P. Love — to call it a day. Fortunately, fans were in mourning only briefly; within months came the welcome news that the Miller brothers and Love would be joined by Crooked Mile guitarist Bobby Lanphier and Haymaker Jones guitarist Dave Bowling in a brand new aggregation christened The Whiskey Daredevils. In this incarnation, the former 'slingers and their new mates concentrate less on the Country aspects of their musical influences and push further into their Garage, Roots Rock and Americana obsessions. The Daredevils are quick to caution old fans that they are not a Cowslingers tribute band; the new sets are all freshly written originals, their cover choices are newly selected and rehearsed and "West Virginia Dirt Track Boogie" is not on the agenda. But if there is one constant that follows the ex-'slingers into the new Whiskey Daredevils, it might be something Greg Miller told me when I interviewed him almost seven years ago. "No matter what we do," he said at the time, "speed and volume have always been our friends." It would be hard to imagine the Whiskey Daredevils finding it necessary to change that particular philosophy. (BB)