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Published: 2007/12/22
by Mike Greenhaus

Auld Lang Syne Set 3:Mike Gordon, Yonder Mountain String Band, Luther Dickinson, Akron/Family, Antibalas, ALO, Christian McBride and Other Friends

As another year comes to a close, another best of season begins. And once again weve asked a number of musicians, promoters and other scene staples to look back on 2007. Below we asked Mike Gordon, Yonder Mountain String Band, Donna Jean, Luther Dickinson, , Antibalas, Akron/Family, ALO, Christian McBride and a number of other friends a series of four questions and, this time, their responses touched on such diverse topics as Levon Helms barn rambles, Rage Against the Machines unexpected reunion and, of course, the two most popular reasons Ive heard to scale down on seeing live music (brides and babies). Look for new installments regularly throughout the month (In case you missed them, take a look at Set 1 and Set 2). *MIKE GORDON *

_1) What will you remember most about 2007? _
Writing nineteen songs in one month and one song in two months.
_2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008? _
The Punch Brothers.
_3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)? _
It’s a tough choice to pick one, but I’ll go with Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble. Why? Music in a barn in the woods is a great concept in my book. Add to that great musicians, a warm vibe, nice acoustics, Levon’s silky voice and incredible drumming, and being with friends. Can’t go wrong.
_4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or CD Player)? _
That’s another tough one because I bounce around so much, not usually listening to whole albums. Ironic, though, because I still love the concept of a whole album, and plan to make them. I decided to turn the question over to my trusty computer to answer, and Mr. iTunes says Orchestra Baobab’s Pirate’s Choice.
For more on Mike Gordon, read this review of his recent performance in Hawaii. *LUTHER DICKINSON (North Mississippi Allstars, The Word, the Black Crowes) *

_1) What will you remember most about 2007? _
It was the first year in a really, really long time where we paired back on the touring and just did weekends for the most part. It was really good. We did a lot of great recording. Our record is coming out in January, Hernando, and I am really proud of that. I also got to record with John Hiatt and Black Crowes and we also made an acoustic record and started our own label.
_2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008? _
I am really excited about our new record and the Crowes new record, so I am excited about those. I think it is going to be a good year for rock and roll. Also, the Lee Boys.
_3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)? _
We hadnt done the summer festival circuit for a while, so it felt so good to get back on that. But Id say John Paul Jones with Govt Mule at Bonnaroo. It was off the fucking chain. I was sitting in the pit and John Paul Jones winked at my wife. No Quarter, I couldnt believe it. I support all older musicians.
_4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or CD Player)? _
Man, I buy so much music on iTunes, but I dont think any of it is current! I didnt buy any 07 records. I listen to a lot of music, but it is usually older stuff.
For more on Luther Dickinson, read this recent site feature.

*KERRY BLACK (Superfly) *
_1) What will you remember most about 2007? _
Learning that Feist lives in an iPod.
_2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008? _
The Felice Brothers
_3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)? _
Rage Against the Machine – Coachella (I learned the hard way that I am too old to still be going in the pit)
_4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or CD Player)? _
Cold War Kids – Robbers & Cowards
For more on Superflys festivals, read this recent essay on Vegoose. *MARTIN PERNA (Antibalas, TV on the Radio) *
_1) What will you remember most about 2007? _
It was a very fast year with many life-changing transitions
_2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008? _
Chico Mann
_3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)? _
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Antibalas, Grupo Fantasma, the Budos Band, and Ocote Soul Sounds live at South by Southwest 2007. It was all family, nonstop funk, five different flavors. Amy Winehouse was at the side of the stage taking notes.
_4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your itunes (or CD Player)? _
Ignacio Pineiro: Festival in Havana. Classic comparsa and rumba recordings from Havana, circa 1957. It is 50 years old but way ahead of its time. *ZAC LASHER (U-Melt) *
_1) What will you remember most about 2007? _
I’ll mostly remember the things that didn’t happen…For the past three years I’ve been saying that ’07 is the year the Mets will go all the way… they teased me and teased me by being in first place all season long and then suffered the worst collapse in baseball history. I also thought that this was the year that Congress would get some balls and impeach the president and vice president. They also let me down. I also had been predicting that 2007 was the year when U-Melt would play a concert in Outer Space… we only made it to Ohio.
_2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008? _
I don’t get out too much… it’s been a very busy year, so sadly, I haven’t had much of an opportunity to check out much new music. I know it’s cheesy to say your own band, but, I really feel like U-Melt is going places. In 2008 we will play a concert in Outer Space.
_3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)? _
At the Wormtown Music Festival we performed Frank Zappa’s Apostrophe in its entirety. I’ll never forget that show. It has some really difficult music and we pretty much nailed it. It was exciting to see what we could do if we worked hard enough on it.

*_4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or CD
Player)? _*
It’s a tie between Apostrophe and The Pat Metheny Group’s The Way Up.
For more on U-Melt, read this recent site feature.

*DONNA JEAN GODCHAUX MACKAY (Donna Jean & The Tricksters, Grateful Dead) *

_1) What will you remember most about 2007? _ The overt, yet understandable, pre-rush to the 2008 presidential campaign by a plethora of candidates who are sick to death of the Bush debacle. Unprecedented.

_2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008. _ Hard call. Many bands have that potential, but who knows which one (or ones) will have that kind of ‘next level’ impact. We’ll see.

_3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)? _ I love the summer festival season where so many of us come together from different bands and ‘cross-pollinate.’ This is my favorite live performance. I can’t name just one.

_4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your itunes (or CD player)? _

I listen to whatever I’m fancying at the moment, but to be honest, I don’t have a ‘most often’ listen-to this year. _ Donna Jean & the Tricksters_ recorded a CD, both my sons and my husband have recorded CD’s that I am involved with and singing on, so a lot of my energy has been spent putting focus and listening time into these projects. *BEN KAUFMANN (Yonder Mountain String Band) *

_1) What will you remember most about 2007? _
Headlining Red Rocks Amphitheater for the first time. Why not?
_2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008? _
What, exactly, is the ‘next level’ these days? Assuming we’re talking about the same thing, then the next level will be achieved by that blonde country singer… what’s her name…. you know, the one… with the fit body and big tits? C’mon, you know who I mean. Anyway, she’ll get there.
_3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)? _
I saw Zappa plays Zappa at the Fillmore in Denver. That was pretty amazing. They’ve got sections of the show where Frank is on a video screen behind the band playing a solo from 1970 something and being accompanied by Dweezil and the gang on stage. Anyway, I bought a nice t-shirt there.
_4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your itunes (or CD Player)? _
_ The Devil You Know _by Todd Snider.
For more on Yonder, revisit this recent essay on the groups String Summit. *JESSE MILLER (Lotus) *
_1) What will you remember most about 2007? _
Lotus’s Wakarusa late-night set, touring with the Frequency, touring with Unwed Sailor, releasing Lotus’s remix album
_2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008? _
Hot Chip
_3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)? _
!!! and Holy Fuck at the TLA 5/17/07
Two of the most problematic band names of all times put on my favorite performance of the year. I wasn’t very familiar with either bands catalog going in and both blew me away. Holy Fuck has really found some unique ways to combine electronic and rock music. After hearing them torture the PA with their distorted casios I wasn’t sure what was left for !!! to do. But, Nic Offer and company brought down the house. From his hilarious dance moves to the instrument switches and extended groove jams they put on an incredibly danceable and entertaining show. Its like an afrobeat band discovered the back catalogs of the Talking Heads and the Clash and then set about making it sound even more danceable.
_4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your itunes (or CD Player)? _
Can I pick a more than one?
Of Montreal – _Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? _
Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Explosions in the Sky – The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place
For more on Lotus, read this recent site feature *STEVE ADAMS (ALO) *
_1) What will you remember most about 2007? _ The most touring Ive ever done in a year, the heightened awareness of Global Warming around the world, the 40th Anniversary of the Summer of Love, and releasing our second Brushfire record Roses & Clover.

_2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008? _ Brett Dennen

_3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)? _

The Solutions for Dreamers Festival at Arlington Theater in Santa Barbara, CA on February 24th. Not only was the line-up of music amazing, the ambiance and general vibe were beyond incredible. Spearhead put on an amazing headlining set. ALO, Culver City Dub Collective, and Matt McAvene all had great sets. And special appearances by Jack Johnson and Money Mark put the show officially into the epic category. Plus it was a benefit for Heal the Ocean.

A close second would have to be from our recent tour through Brazil. Our last show in Florianopolis was pretty magical, between the rain, the crowd and the four seamless sets of music by ALO, Matt Costa, G. Love and Donavon Frankenreiter, who pulled off an unforgettable stage-dive at the end of the night! *_4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your itunes (or CD
Player)? _*
New albums – KT Tunstalls Acoustic Extravaganza and Mason Jennings
Boneclouds.

Old albums – Paul McCartneys McCartney and Fleetwood Mac Mystery To Me.
For more on ALO, read this recent site feature *ROB MARSCHER (AGP, Separated at Birth) *
_1) What will you remember most about 2007? _
Without a doubt, I’ll remember it as the year my daughter, Maryn, was
born.
_2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008? _
Separated At Birth ;) To be non-selfish: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks
_3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)? _
AGP played its farewell shows last March. The final show at the Paradise was a blast and really an amazing way to close our 10 year career in front of a sold-out hometown crowd. As a spectator, I got to see Beastie Boys play their first concert ever in Brooklyn and the Police at Madison Square Garden.
_4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or CD Player)? _
I thought 2007 was an awesome year for music so I can’t really limit it to one. In Rainbows (Radiohead), Cease To Begin (Band of Horses), _Wincing The Night Away _ (The Shins), _Sky Blue Sky _ (Wilco), Short Road EP (Wax Stag) are probably my top 5, but there were dozens of albums that I really enjoyed this year.
For more on AGP, read this site interview from 2007. *JAMIE MCLEAN (Jamie McLean Band, Dirty Dozen Brass Band) *

_1) What will you remember most about 2007? _
Recording my new album at Allaire Studios. I would wake up everyday on top of a mountain, walk around the hills with some coffee, gather an insane vibe from the surroundings and then go in and record on a soundboard used by the Beatles, The Police and David Bowie. 1960s Les Pauls, 1930s Martins, great producer, great band, serious energy. Then I hit New Orleans to play during Jazz Fest and to grab some local overdubs. The Dirty Dozen horn section brought the soul. Shannon McNally strolled in
off of the street and KILLED a ballad that she’d never heard before. That woman melted everyone’s hearts and had the entire room in the palm of her hand. Kirk Joseph dropped an entire sousophone track on ‘Cherry Tree’ in 5 minutes and was gone. Luther Dickinson and I plugged into one amp and recorded dueling guitar solos straight to tape. Each take was more smoking than the last as we feed off of each others licks. It was all
really powerful and meant to be and I’m really proud of the album. It will be released in the spring of 2008.
_2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008? _
Jamie McLean *_3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and
why)? _*
Ryan Adams in NYC was ‘interesting.’ He left the stage a few times for one reason or another. He talked about space ships and then plugged in and killed a ballsy rocker or milked a painful ballad with Norah Jones. My Morning Jacket in NYC was ‘raging.’ Lots of rock power. They had the crowd by the throat and never let them go. Wilco in New Orleans was ‘inspiring.’ What an insanely tight, thoughtful, and emotional band.
When they play there can be NOTHING going on sonically or EVERYTHING.
Tweedy has that audience in the palm of his hand. *_4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or
CD player)? _*
These have all been in heavy rotation. Ryan Adams Cold Roses, Death Cab
For Cuties Plans, Wilcos Sky Blue Sky, Son Volts Okemah and the Melody of Riot. *TOM CIRCOSTA (The Zen Tricksters, Donna Jean & the Tricksters) *
_1) What will you remember most about 2007? _
I will remember most being in recording studios and a tour of the west coast which included performing at the Solar Center in Taos, New Mexico. Talk about a natural ambiance. Any one have a copy of that show?
_2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008? _
A band taking it to the next level in 2008, of course Donna Jean and the Tricksters. *_3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and
why)? _*
My favorite live performance in the last 12 months-RatDog 11/30/07 the night before Halloween. Something special and real together. I must also include a Richard Thompson show we accidentally went to while on that same west coast tour. *_4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or
CD player)? _*
Played most on my itunes- Joan Osbourne, Pretty Little Stranger. Amazing tunes and flawless performance.

*RACHEL SEIDEN (Zenbu Media/Relix) *
_1) What will you remember most about 2007? _ Hopefully my first niece will be born next week shes due on 12/23/07 I think I will remember that the most. [Editors note: Rachel became an aunt on December 21].
I also remember 2007 as the year I finally left Beyonce and Christina for Les, Manu, and Serj.
_2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008? _
It should be Chris Harford and the Band of Changes if not then Radiohead
_3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)? _
Rage Against The Machine at Vegoosecause I got to mosh or the entire School of Rock weekend of music
_4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or CD Player)? _
Wilcos Sky Blue Sky and Idan Raichel Project. *HOWIE SCHNEE (CEG, Lions Den/Sullivan Room) *
_1) What will you remember most about 2007? _

My wedding!
_2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008? _
Its hard to name one band. I think Band of Horses is already in the process of taking it to the next level so maybe that doesnt count. I believe Mute Math and The Hold Steady will take it to the next level this year. But Led Zeppelin will clearly take over the world.
_3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)? _
Polyphonic Spree at Terminal 5. It was my tenth Spree show, and I think it must have been one of their best shows ever. The Live and Let Die and Lithium (Nirvana) covers were a really nice surprise. I was reminded that night about how I always feel like the energy of their shows is comparable to that of Dead and Phish shows. As I was walking out of the venue, I passed a guy with a Garcia Band t-shirt who was saying to his friend Man, this really is the best thing since the Dead.
_4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or CD Player)? _
Like always, a lot of Grateful Dead. As far as newer bands Dr. Dog and Ryan Adams. *ANNABEL LUKINS (Jam Cruise, Langerado, Caribbean Holidaze, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo Sonic Stage) *

_1) What will you remember most about 2007? _
Two part answer, one year. January 8, 2007, Peter Stelling proposed to me on stage while I was emceeing the awards show on Jam Cruise. Not only was I dressed as a pirate which was weird enough, but I had no idea this was going to happen, I buckled under my own legs and had to be held up. And then, the event to beat all events, I became Annabel Lukins Stelling on September 2, 2007 surrounded by 190 of our closest friends and family while celebrating under the beautiful Colorado mountains, we wed. Perfect doesnt even begin to describe it.
_2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008? _
I book and manage the Sonic Stage at Bonnaroo. After I had filled all slots, I got a special and pleading request to book one more artist, that he would play for 20 minutes before the first band started at noon. I hesitated but obliged. And thank god I let him play. His voice permeated into my heart faster than imaginable. His energy is pure. Hes the real deal. Hopefully the rest of the world can be touched like I was. My vote is for Ryan Shaw.
_3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)? _
Without a single doubt – Daft Punk Lollapalooza. Why? Its the sickest live show Ive ever seen! Not that Phish doesnt hold the Lifetime Achievement but youve got to be joking me about Daft Punk…the lights & lasers, the pyramid, the beats, the intense feeling, the involuntary need to dance, smile and shake your head in AMAZEMENT completely boggled my mind and my body. In years, I havent walked away from a live performance and talked about it for so long after the event. Im STILL talking about it. Or at least Im saying, did you get to see Daft Punk in 2007? If not, you MISSED OUT!
_4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or CD Player)? _
Jambands.com always lets me slide two in here. So, Im going to give you three this year. Michael Franti & Spearheads Yell Fire gets the #1. I am completely addicted to every song. But more than that, the emotion of the entire album is penetrating. His view on the war, his fight for peace, his powerful lyrics and spiritual delivery evokes pride.
Second is Mike Doughtys Haughty Melodic. I love his voice, there is something strangely comforting about it. But really, his voice is just soooo cool. Wait, lets take it further. HE is just sooo cool. Plus, the album is upbeat and clearly, his bizarre personality shines throughout the whole album. Just dont expect to find this album in Starbucks.
Third is The Little Ones. This upcoming group from California catches you from the very first note. Their sound is like pop rock. Literally, after I saw them live for the first time, my mouth was gaped open, they are just wonderful! I got the album and couldnt get it out of my car. One word to describe them: FUN! *DAN SHAW (10,000 Lakes Festival) *
_1) What will you remember most about 2007? _
This was an amazing year for music and festivals. The old model is phasing out and there are countless innovations and changes happening right now. With so many ways to get exposed to great music, you have seen a real diversification of festival lineups and a greater acceptance of a wide range of musical styles. If its good the word gets around. 2007 feels like a huge turning point in how music will be heard, seen and distributed.
_2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008? _
I have to cast my vote for our Midwestern friends Umphreys McGee. They get better and tighter every time I see them and the crowds keep getting bigger too (the selfish side of me doesnt want them to get any bigger so I can keep it to myself). It took me a while to get it but after their 10kLF set last summer I was hooked.
_3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)? _
I am thoroughly biased, but the RatDog 10,000 Lakes performance from July 21st is my favorite. I have always been a huge Bobby Weir fan and we were all really proud to have him on the lineup. It was a picture perfect Minnesota summer day with sunny skies and happy people everywhere. Thousands of 20-somethings wishing they had been able to see the Grateful Dead once, and thousands of 30+++s wishing they could experience it one more time. But it was not bittersweet in any way. In fact, it felt fresh and new and invigorating. Enough time has passed to look back on it fondly and revel in the fact that this wonderful (and nutty) community of music lovers will still come together for a long weekend and prove that we can all get along if we try. And then the moon rose over the stage as the sun set orange over the lake, topped off with a terrific Terrapin Station and Bird Song.
_4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or CD Player)? _
The Budos Band I and II. Im a little late jumping on the Daptone Records bandwagon but it is great. Makes me feel like a kid again. *CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE *

_1) What will you remember most about 2007? _ It was a year without James Brown.

_2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008? _ Is this a trick question? :-) MY band will take it to the next level in 2008!

_3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)? _ The Police at Madison Square Garden. They’re still hittin’ hard. It was great to hear and see them together again.

_4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or CD Player)? _
_Trav’lin’ Light _- Queen Latifah *SETH OLINSKY (Akron/Family) *
_1) What will you remember most about 2007? _
What a strange question. I tend to remember a lot, so what will I remember most? What memory will stand out above all others? I think moving out of NYC and its cultural gravity (stranglehold?), and back to the small town that I am from in Pennsylvania. It may seem small, but creatively it feels like a breath of fresh air that could empower a whole paradigm shift in the emphasis of my creative output. Or not. At least the trees and creeks and rivers are beautiful and sane. I think or hope that living closer to nature can invoke a clearer sense of priority.
_2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008? _
Wooden Wand, a.k.a James Toth. Watch out kids!
_3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)? _
Being on tour most of the year, I hardly get out to see live music much any more, but just recently we had the good fortune to play after Afel Bocoums group Alkibar from Mali, and then were invited to come on stage and play their last song with them. It is such a wonderful experience to not only get to be inspired by watching and listening to the rich music of another culture, but then to get invited to take part and be involved in making that music…..what good fortune! Afel was one of Ali Farka Toures students and group members, and it was such a treat to hear and be around this music that had inspired us so much over recordings. They spoke little English and us little French, so it was a mostly non-verbal, smiling musical affair.
_4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or CD Player)? _
This would be a toss up between Toumani Diabates Kaira and also his record with Ballake Sissoko Musiciens dans New ancient strings or Fleetwood Macs Rumours. All good memories.
For more on Akron/Family, read this recent site interview. *MICKEY KELLERMAN (Future Rock) *
_1)What will you remember most about 2007? _
Creating the album Gears. We started production in January and the album was released in October. The brief moments of inspiration, frustration and sheer comedy that happened along the way are what I will remember the most.
_2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008? _
Battles *_3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and
why)? _*
Daft Punk at Lollapalooza. Daft Punk have set the standard for live music production. I never realized that live DJ’s could put on that big of a spectacle. Larger than life, and the biggest party of the year. *_4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or
CD Player)? _*
Justices Cross *PETE SHAPIRO (Green Apple Festival, Wetlands, the Jammys) *

_1) What will you remember most about 2007? _
The Led Zeppelin Reunion.
_2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008? _
Led Zeppelin.
_3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)? _
Led Zeppelin. They put on the best show I have ever seen.
_4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or CD Player)? _
I use a Sirius Satellite Radio Portable player instead of an iPod, so Channel 32, the new Grateful Dead Channel is my most frequent listen. *SETH WALKER *
_1) What will you remember most about 2007? _
Signing with HYENA Records and Piedmont Talent, a huge step in my career.
_2) Name one band which will take it to the next level in 2008? _
Ephraim Owens.
_3) What is your favorite live performance from the past twelve months (and why)? _
Playing in Copenhagen, Denmark at the Mojo Blues Club. It was sold out and the fans were so open and welcoming. I remember them clapping, stomping, and pounding their beers on the table in unison. *_4) In the last year what album has appeared most often in your iTunes (or CD
Player)? _*
Donny Hathaway Donnie Hathaway Live!
_Mike Greenhaus blogs at www.greenhauseffect.com. He also thanks Randy Ray for this extra eyes. _

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