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Published: 2008/12/23
by Mike Greenhaus

Auld Lang Syne Set 2: Mike Gordon, Marc Brownstein, My Morning Jacket, Grace Potter, Toubab Krewe and More

The second installment of our annual Year in Review kicks off with three of my personal favorite bassists-Mike Gordon, Marc Brownstein and Two-Tone Tommy-but goes on to poll fifteen additional musicians, managers, promoters and other music industry scenesters 'n luminaries whose work was featured on Jambands.com and in the pages of Relix throughout 2008. Which member of the extended Grateful Dead family loves Wilco and what former New Groove of the Month parted ways with a founding member? Which recent Grammy nominee loves the syth-rock stylings of Gil Mantera's Dream Party and which IMAX film producer is building a bowling ally/venue? Who quotes Marvin the Martian and who gets more shout outs Phish or Barack Obama? Scroll down to see for yourself and, if you haven't already, be sure to glance back at Set 1 for similar thoughts from Dave Schools, Brendan Bayliss, Dr. Dog, Reed Mathis, Chris Frantz, Tim Carbone and many, many more (also be sure to tune in next week for Set 3).

********** MIKE GORDON (PHISH)

What will you remember most about 2008?
Hmm…making an album I love, forming a great new band that I intend to work with for a long time, having a baby, reuniting with Phish, some funny SNLs, getting excited about the smartest and humblest President-elect in decades, tiny little great moments of glory, sadness.

Who’s the band to watch in 2009?
I don’t know. You tell me.

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
I didn’t listen to music this year, except live. But the new Cassandra Wilson album got played twice.

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
Radiohead at the Hollywood Bowl.

Click here for a recent site interview with Mike Gordon

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MARC BROWNSTEIN (THE DISCO BISCUITS)

What will you remember most about 2008?
Obama

Who’s the band to watch in 2009?
I’ll tell you in 12 months

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
That would have to be our forthcoming Biscuits album.

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
Chris Rock at Bonnaroo

Click here for a recent site interview with Marc Brownstein

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TWO-TONE TOMMY (MY MORNING JACKET)

What will you remember most about 2008?
President-Elect Barack Obama!!!

Who’s the band to watch in 2009?
Les Debutantes

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
Workin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
Gil Mantera’s Party Dream, Bourbon Rocks Patio, SXSW

Please click here for a recent site interview with My Morning Jacket

**********

GRACE POTTER

What will you remember most about 2008?
What do you think? I’m pretty sure it has something to do with a new President.

Who’s the band to watch in 2009?
Hacienda!

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
Solomon’s Seal by The Pentangle (on my parent’s turntable)!

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
Ghostland Observatory in Florida. Those green lasers are fucking awesome.

Click here for a review of a recent Grace Potter performance

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AEVE BALDWIN (ZENBU MEDIA, RELIX)

What will you remember most about 2008?
Electing Obama.

Who’s the band to watch in 2009?
Steel Train, of course. ;)

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
Metallica, Death Magnetic.

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
Pearl Jam, Bonnaroo Music Festival, June ’08

**********

JEFF MATTSON (DONNA JEAN & THE TRICKSTERS, ZEN TRICKSTERS)

What will you remember most about 2008?
I will remember 2008 for the glorious return of hope, even in these dire times, after eight long, dark years of ever increasing horror at the direction our country was headed.

Who’s the band to watch in 2009?
The word is Donna Jean Godchaux-MacKay has a really smokin’ band!

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
It’s always changing. One album that comes to mind is The Shepherd’s Dog from Iron & Wine. It’s just a lovely, trippy album that grabs me every time I listen to it. Bob Dylan’s three-disc Tell Tale Signs (Deluxe Edition) is just chock full of amazing outtakes, alternate versions and live cuts. Dylan’s discards are better than most folks A material!! I came late to the party for Ornette Coleman’s Sound Grammar CD (2006), but I’m loving that too. Ornette plays with such beauty and power on alto sax, trumpet and violin.

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
I think that would have to be last night, seeing Neil Young and Wilco at Madison Square Garden. Wilco just gets better and better every year. This line up that Jeff Tweedy has had for the last bunch of years with Nels Cline on guitar can do anything and they want to do. And Neil Young puts more passion and commitment into any one note in one of his guitar solos than a legion of tweedling lead guitar players. He put tears in my eyes during “Cortez the Killer.” There were no strings left on his guitar (literally) after the feedback and noise climax of The Beatles’” A Day in the Life.” Very inspiring!

Click here for a review of Donna Jean & the Tricksters’ latest CD

**********

SAM KININGER (LETTUCE, SAM KININGER BAND, SOULIVE)

What will you remember most about 2008?
Getting married

Who’s the band to watch in 2009?
Sam Kininger Band

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
Lettuce, RAGE!

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
Lettuce at Fuji Rock

Click here for a review of Lettuce’s most recent CD

**********

CHAD STAEHLY (GREAT AMERICAN TAXI)

What will you remember most about 2008?
I will remember the Presidential election and the history we made. Watching Obama’s acceptance speech in Grant Park was the most moving thing I’ve ever been a part of as a citizen of the United States’ political process.

Who’s the band to watch in 2009?
I would toot our own horn on that one. Great American Taxi will be releasing its’ sophomore album with Tim Carbone producing it and special guest/member at large Barry Sless playing nasty pedal steel all over it. We’ll be excited to tour behind it in 2009.

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
I couldn’t get Railroad Earth’s Amen Corner out of my CD player. The songs are so good and the playing is magnificent. They made the record at a farmhouse!

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
I have to say seeing Del McCoury Band with all their friends on stage at the 1st Annual Delfest was probably my favorite performance of 2008.

Click here for a recent feature on Great American Taxi

**********

LUKE QUARANTA (TOUBAB KREWE)

What will you remember most about 2008?
I’ll most remember November 4, 2008. We were playing an election at Hootenany in the hills of Malibu, CA put on by our good friend Matt Montee. We were one of four or five bands playing, but everyone was inside huddled around the television watching the election results come in. Every time a state was called for Obama the place exploded. I had never felt or been a part of such excitement for an election before. When they called the election for Obama everyone went absolutely crazy…We were all packed in a log cabin up in the hills completely engaged in the moment of Obama’s victory. During his victory speech everytime he finished a powerful line we all went berserk…I was in tears, just could not hold them back, and many around me were crying too. The cops came and shut down the music, but Toubab finished the night by moving all the furniture and rocking out in the living room without a PA…House Party for Obama!!

Who’s the band to watch in 2009?
Toubab Krewe – maybe I’m biased, but I want everyone to check us this year…it will be crunk!

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
Orchestra Baobob – A Night at the Club has been the staple CD in our tour bus this year. We picked it up while we were in Portugal this summer and it has been pumping ever since. The record is a rare late 60’s or early 70’s recording, and it is truly a great disc. There are African, Cuban and American Soul flavors all represented by the legendary band from Dakar, Senegal. It has gotten many parties poppin’ off in the front lounge this year.

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
We actually got to see them perform at the world music festival we were attending in Portugal, and it was absolutely sublime. 30-plus years of playing together…they sound better live than in their recordings. It was in a castle overlooking the ocean. A few of us climbed up to the rim of the castle and watched some of the show, and it was a beautiful moment. One of our favorite bands in the world, and they killed it in an amazing setting.

**********

DENNIS MCNALLY

What will you remember most about 2008?
Election night – and unless somebody experienced the birth of their child, I bet this is the answer from 95% plus.

Who’s the band to watch in 2009?
The Two Maestros – Pandit Shivkumar Sharma and Ustad Zakir Hussain, touring the U.S. March-April.

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
Anthony Braxton, Duets: Hamburg 1991

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
Del McCoury Band, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Golden Gate Park, October 2008.

**********

PATRICK JORDAN (RED LIGHT MANAGEMENT)

What will you remember most about 2008?
The continued growth, discovery and pure awesomeness of my son and unfortunate passing of my friend LeRoi. RIP

Who’s the band to watch in 2009?
It’s in the family but Ben Harper’s new project Relentless7 is everything I’m looking for in a band and a record – it just rocks with well written meaningful songs and a killer new band. I’m also expecting that little band from Vermont to put a lot of smiles on our faces next year.

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
The timeless Misfits catalog of course, although my favorite “new” CDs of the year were Mountain Goats’ Heretic Pride, My Morning Jacket’s Evil Urges, Flight of the Concords’ Flight of the Concords, Eli “Paperboy” Reed’s Roll with It, Fleet Foxes’ Fleet Foxes and serious props to Jagjaguawar Records for putting out some of the most consistent music of 2008 with Okkervil River, Bon Iver, Black Mountain and Besard Lakes.

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
I seemed to devote a lot of time to being with my artists this year so I don’t want to dwell, but the Philly and Albany shows from Trey’s Northern Exposure tour felt like Return of the Jedi. Gogol Bordello in Richmond, Chicago etc. Always a party! DJ Quarter-Roy’s unannounced iTunes driven 5 hour set on the C3 bus. I learned a lot about people that night. Too much.

**********

MARC ALLAN (MOVE MANAGEMENT)

What will you remember most about 2008?
Hope and change are coming. That’s what we’ve been hearing all year, and I hope that 2009 is the year of results.

Who’s the band to watch in 2009?
Afternoons – group that has been playing around LA for about a year now and have a majestic arc to their music. Rambling anthems come from the stage pretty consistently when this seven-piece is in control of the stage. Check out "Say Yes" or "Intervention" for proof.

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
Apollo Sunshine – Shall Noise Upon. From the moment I first received the roughs from the recording through Mastering and beyond, this album has garnered repeated listenings and has given me ample reasons to keep coming back. While I hate the term, this one is a "grower," as new sounds await under every nook and cranny. I am incredibly grateful to be a part of this one.

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
Modest Mouse/Dirty Dozen Brass Band – Council Bluffs, IA. Huge bursts of thunder and lightning and tornados in the area caused some delays, but Modest Mouse was not going to cancel this show. They waited out multiple storms and hit the stage during a break in the weather. After the band serenaded the crowd through the storm warnings, the band delivered a fiery performance complete with lighting bolt striking off in the distance at the end of the final song, "The Good Times are Killing Me"

**********

PETER SHAPIRO (GREEN APPLE MUSIC FESTIVAL, JAMMYS)

What will you remember most about 2008?
Building Brooklyn Bowl

Who’s the band to watch in 2009?
I’d like to see Grace Potter break into the mainstream.

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
I have a two year old so I listened to Jack Johnson’s Curious George soundtrack a lot.

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
I had a lot of fun at MMJ @ Bonnaroo in the rain at 3 AM.

**********

ZAC LASHER (U-MELT)

What will you remember most about 2008?
2008 was a pretty rough year with the worst economic climate most of us have seen in our lifetimes and soaring gas prices that made traveling around the country to play music a very difficult business. However, 2008 will always be defined by the riveting presidential campaign and historic election of Barack Obama, a watershed event in American history which I was very happy to be able to witness. Despite the evidence that there is going to be a long tough road ahead I am hopeful that Mr. Obama’s leadership will help put this nation back on the right track.

Who’s the band to watch in 2009?
Within the Jam Scene, at least, i expect that all eyes and ears will be turned towards the second (third?) coming of Phish.

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
Consolers of the Lonely by The Raconteurs has captured a lot of my attention this year, its about as good of a rock ‘n’ roll album as I’ve heard in a long time. I’ve also spent a lot of time listening to Voices, Mike Stern’s 2001 release with such luminaries as Richard Bona, Michael Brecker, Dennis Chambers, and Vinnie Colaiuta on your album, how can
you go wrong?

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
Without question seeing Steve Winwood & Eric Clapton together at Madison Square Garden was the highlight of my concert going year. It was really amazing to see two musicians of such high caliber perform so perfectly and effortlessly together. Their voices blended in beautiful harmony and together with their three-piece rhythm section they absolutely rocked the way only a couple of living legends can. When Winwood took the stage alone behind his B3 for a solo interpretation of "Georgia On My Mind,"
he had the sold out crowd of 18,000 utterly silent. He performed the song with a quiet sensitivity and a soul that you rarely see in an arena setting. It was a moment I’ll never forget.

**********

MATT COSTA

What will you remember most about 2008?
Barack Obama being elected

Who’s the band to watch in 2009?
Everest

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
Hally Nilsson Pandemonium Shadow Show

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, December 12th , 2008 at The Allstate Arena, Chicago, Illinois

**********

JANIS WALLIN (FAMILY GROOVE COMPANY)

What will you remember most about 2008?
2008 was a big year for me professionally. My band, Family Groove Company, released two records (_Live in Chicago_ and Models and Metrics), and I’m very proud of both of them. Aside from my 100 or so shows with FGC, I also had amazing opportunities to perform on stage with musicians like Steve Kimock, Jeff Coffin, Futureman, Michael Kang and, most thrilling for me, Jon Fishman at the recent Bear Creek Festival.

Who’s the band to watch in 2009?
Am I allowed to say Family Groove Company? :) I know that sounds biased, but I’m really excited about the new record we’ve just released, and we’ve had a fantastic year. On a less self-serving note, I would have to say the Wood Brothers; their music is so honest and genuine, and I can’t get over Oliver Wood’s voice.

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
RAGE! by Lettuce – This is the kind of nasty funk that makes your face scrunch up as if you had just smelled some sour milk. Erick Coomes plays bass with killer time feel on this record, right in the pocket.

What was your favorite live performance from 2008? My favorite live show as a performer was FGC’s late night set at Summer Camp Festival. I got a little crazy and decided to dress up as a super hero and rap an Eminem song. The energy in that barn was just bursting through the roof, and it was one of the most exciting shows I’ve ever been a part of (and not just because I got to satisfy my inner rapper). As a spectator, seeing Steely Dan live in concert for the first time at the Chicago Theatre this summer was an amazing experience.

**********

DAVID LOTT (LICORICE)

What will you remember most about 2008?
Releasing our first EP to a sold out crowd on the main stage at the Knitting Factory, playing "Spain" on two acoustic guitars with LEGEND Larry Coryell, getting stuck in the snow pushing our van uphill, in a blizzard on our way to a gig in Ithaca, AND the election of course…

Who’s the band to watch in 2009?
The Care Bears on Fire. I know this is not a "jamband" answer, but you heard it here first!...(and hopefully Rebecca Hart, Silvertone, Licorice and Joshua
Kessler (producer, engineer) at Bushwick Studios, Brooklyn, NY!)

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
Looks like for the year – the new ones in addition to the “regular
Rotation,” could be Radiohead (_In Rainbows_) overall, Lionel Loueke in a
definite CLOSE second, although Elbow’s new one (_Seldom Seen Kid_) could’ve
been a contender had I spent more time with it sooner…

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
This one is a HUGE tie…I had a crazy year seeing and playing music so here is the real answer… meeting the Police before sitting front row to see them for the first and last time, MY FIRST JazzFest, John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension in New York, Stevie Wonder (First time), Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood@ MSG, Radiohead outdoors, and Wilco (First Time).....then I would have to go with our recent Blue Note show as well as my sit in with the Lee Boys at Sullivan Hall. And that in a giant mush, was my favorite
live performance of 2008…

Click here for a recent interview with Licorice

**********

NAT KEEFE (HOT BUTTERED RUM)

What will you remember most about 2008?
For me, this was the year that Zac Matthews left Hot Buttered Rum and Matt Butler started playing more with us. This has been a huge transition on a lot of levels. Matt’s drumming has allowed us to go to all sorts of different places, and changes the way I play guitar. He’s bringing a lot of what he’s learned in Everyone Orchestra to HBR- now we really don’t know what’s going to happen onstage! I feel the same raw excitement about playing now that I did in high school.

Who’s the band to watch in 2009?
Poor Man’s Whiskey is going to do good things this year. They are big fun! Also, Cindy Woolf is my favorite new songwriter.

What album appeared in your CD player or iTunes most often?
Lots of Merle Haggard. Lots of Graham Parsons. Brett Dennen singing with Femi Kuti is something that needed to happen. That song "Make You Go Crazy" is excellent. I also can’t stop listening to Johnny Cash singing "Personal Jesus."

What was your favorite live performance from 2008?
After an HBR show in Bozeman we all went and saw an excellent honkytonk
band called Ten Foot Tall and 80 Proof. A serious band and a serious hardcore cowboy scene. Also, the Sunday night all-together-now at Yarmony Grass. Bill Nershi did a great job of bringing in all sorts of people and letting them shine and I saw Bassnectar play a few times this year and it blew my mind. Watching him is the experience of absolute mastery, like watching Zakir Hussain play tabla.

Click here for more on Hot Buttered Rum’s lineup changes

Senior Editor Mike Greenhaus stores his articles, podcasts and unopened Chaunukah presents at www.greenhauseffect.com. He thanks Randy Ray for his assistance on this article and throughout the year.

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