There was a time when the Jersey Shore represented the best in American entertainment. Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, the Rat Pack, Dick Clark, Chubby Checker… they all made stops on the Jersey Shore. Tony Mart’s was the club Levon Helm was playing when Dylan called. Of course, we all know what happened in Asbury Park. The town, ravaged by riots in the late 60s, became a melting pot of musical experimentation. Late-night jams that ended when the sun came up were the norm. Bruce Springsteen and Southside Johnny were the two acts that made their way to an international stage from these humble beginnings.
For decades musicians have come and gone, always hoping to make a living and pursue a dream. Billy Walton is no different. Billy’s proving ground was Long Beach Island. Too young to drive around and enter the clubs on his own, Billy was chaperoned from gig to gig by his mom, always up for a jam and looking to learn some tricks. For years Billy spent his time sharpening his skills, developing his stage act until he decided to step up to center stage with the Billy Walton Band.
Billy’s talent was noticed by NJ legend Southside Johnny and was he invited to join the band. This is when Billy began formulating his version of the Jersey Shore sound. On his latest release, Wish For What You Want, Billy brought award-winning producer Tony Braunagel (Eric Burdon, Trampled Under Foot, Phantom Blues Band) into the mix to turn his musical vision into reality. The resulting sound is straight-up bluesy rock, no chaser, that’s a perfect fit for a Saturday night or a long drive.
The Billy Walton Band’s Nimbit store offers four full-length albums and an EP, as well as a four-album combo pack for just $20.
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Lori Diamond & Fred Abatelli:
One listen to Lori’s voice and you’ll understand why she’s an award-winner; she was recognized in 2010’s Great American Songwriting Contest, and received Pulse Magazine’s Best Female Vocalist award in 2011 and 2012. Evocative of renowned songbirds like Sarah McLachlan and Joni Mitchell, Lori’s warm, emotive, and pitch-perfect voice conveys vulnerability and confidence in simultaneous and equal measure.
Add capable multi-instrumentalist Fred Abatelli to the mix and you’ve got something of a quiet powerhouse on your hands. The instrumentation on the four CDs available on their Nimbit store is largely piano and acoustic guitar driven, making for a collection of songs that are absolutely perfect for unwinding after a hard days’ work.
Their recordings reward repeat listenings through judicious use of vocal harmony and divergent instrumentation—but never too much of either. Lori’s voice and lyrics are the real stars of the show, here, and the arrangements sensibly give them both plenty of space. Given the duo’s thematic focus on empathy, it seems just that a portion of all of their CD sales go to support NEADS—a nonprofit organization that provides independence to people who are deaf or have a disability through the use of canine assistance
Of particular note, Lori is maximizing the potential of Nimbit’s Calendar feature. Her show listings include not only the critical information of where and when, but even screen caps of the venue’s location on Google Maps to help attendees get their bearings.
A smart move. Also included is venue contact info, links to ticket purchases, and Lori’s own thoughts about the venues and festivals she’ll be performing in, which is a nice personal touch, likely appreciated by venue owners—a little goodwill can go a long way toward repeat bookings. Lori has clearly created some demand for her shows and is planning ahead, as her calendar has bookings well into October of 2015!
Telecaster elite Jim Weider has been in the game for a lifetime. He’s one of those incredible guitarists that has somehow flown under the radar of many—but I’ll put it to ya this way: When The Band reformed in 1985, Jim was the go-to first-call six-stringer to replace Robbie Robertson.
You don’t get that gig without knowing your way around a fretboard. Jim didn’t just get the gig, but kept it for 15 years.
The Weider collaborator name-drop roll call reads more or less like a who’s who of Woodstock-era wunderkinds: The Band, Dylan, Taj Mahal, Paul Butterfield, and more. Further luminary collaborators include other folks you may have heard of—including a guy who calls himself “Keith Richards,” and someone else called “Mavis Staples.”
Oh, and Jim was born in Woodstock, New York. Just sayin’.
Jim’s Nimbit store is largely focused on his most recent effort, PRoJECT PERCoLAToR, a notable diversion from his rootsy roots. PRoJECT PERCoLAToR is a little more on the experimental side of things, instead focusing on multi-layered guitar parts and looped drums and percussion. The result is a series of groove-driven efforts that offer a fresh direction for Jim—one that listeners familiar with Jim’s pedigree may be surprised by. Studio and live albums are both available.
Something we don’t see every day in the merch section of Nimbit stores is instructional resources. Jim’s got a bevy of guitar instructional DVDs covering blues, country blues, and rockabilly—all of which are available autographed! Also available is the exhaustively researched Get That Classic Fender Sound DVD, an exploration of vintage Fender guitars and amps from the 50s and 60s that gear geeks will flip a chrome tailpiece for.
Roomful of Blues:
Cards, meet table: Roomful of Blues formed in 1967, and are currently celebrating their 45–year anniversary. Think about that for a second—how many bands can you name that have been around for 45 years and are still kicking?
Hmm, let’s see. Motorhead? Nope, formed in ’75. Cock Sparrer? Close at 1972. The Rolling Stones? Well, they formed in 1962, so they check out OK… but that means when it comes to finding a contemporary for Roomful of Blues, The Stones are the only fair comparison?
Seriously. The Stones? The Stones? Yep. Wow.
While lineup changes are to be expected in an outfit of this vintage, Roomful of Blues is currently a horn-heavy octet fronted by powerhouse vocalist Phil Pemberton. They’ve been known to draw from blues of all shades, and as a result have developed a sound that incorporates swing, soul, and some New Orleans flavor that keeps even blues aficionados guessing as to what the band will do next. Critics have taken note as well, and to date the band has earned five Grammy Award nominations, seven Blues Music Awards noms—including a win.
45 Live was just released on July 30, 2013, in celebration of the aforementioned anniversary. The band packed a three-day party at Mantunuck, Rhode Islands’ The Ocean Mist, and played their hearts out evey night, recording every note. The best performances from the anniversary show make up the 45 Live disc—which sounds a lot better than most live records, BTW.
I understand that some might argue that it’s not about the years, it’s about the mileage—and if so, RoB is the blues’ equivalent of an unstoppable Mack truck that has steadily, reliably been shipping music lovers up and down Highway 95 for a lifetime. The Roomful of Blues Nimbit store boasts a handful of T-shirts, but the real star here is the discography—SEVENTEEN full-length albums available via CD or HD download! In the time I’ve been writing these Nimbit Artist of the Week Posts, that’s the most I’ve seen a band offer. It sets the record for number of records.
By now you should realize that we think the Sceptre High Definition CoActual Studio Monitors and the Monitor Station V2 Desktop Studio Control Center are a match made in heaven. And they are, but like all great couples, they are also amazing individuals in their own right… so amazing, in fact, that they each received back to back awards as part of glowing reviews of their character. I guess you could can start calling them our studio “power couple.”
“The first audible attribute I noticed on casual play of 24/192 music, was how accurate the Sceptres are. The speakers have an audiophile-class midrange and top end with a focused, tight bottom end in the 50Hz to 100 Hz range. Most powered pro speakers that sound this good are well above the $1,000 per speaker. I am impressed… Consequently, we have awarded it our Everything Audio Network Stellar Sound Award.”
“The Monitor Station is back with a new S/PDIF input and several improvements (speaker level controls on the rear), while preserving the features it’s known for. In practice, the Monitor Station revealed itself very pleasant to use. If you are looking for a somewhat advanced monitor controller with a talkback circuit for $300, you should definitely consider the Monitor Station”
Baton Rouge folky genre-benders Minos the Saint bring something new to the table and continually refresh the musical conversation. According to Dig Magazine, their world folk sound is “a swirl of Eastern European Folk, Cajun, Latin, a tinge of classical, all focusing over a soulful singer-songwriter, Peter Simon.” Dig might call them “world folk,” but we call them “dear friends.”
Minos the saint performs every day of the show at noon.
Another Louisiana original, Startisan’s sound is at once uplifting and arresting—definitely on the rock side of things, but also employing heavy synth and percussion elements that put them light years beyond their peers. Startisan is the second band in the world to tour with the StudioLive RM16AI, which has allowed them to bring complex multitrack arrangements to the stage—arrangements that not long ago were only possible in the studio.
Startisan performs on Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Electronic music producer, songwriter and DJ KATFYR blew the roof off the walls last year, breaking down his #1 BeatPort hit “Lose Control.” He shared a lot of secrets of how he crafted the electro-dubstep hybrid in Studio One. It was such a hit that we decided to bring him back around for another spin. Here’s his latest work “Everybody,” everybody:
KATFYR performs at 11:00 – 11:45 all four days of the show, and at 5:00 – 5:45 on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Here’s his presentation from 2014:
Look, there’s pros, and then there’s real pros. Like, there’s Esteban, and then there’s Brian May. The Blue Devils are objectively the best in the world at what they do, and what they do is drum corps. In August of 2014, The Blue Devils set—nay, earned—the highest score ever in the history of competitive drum corps, an institution with a rich history dating back to whenever cavemen started banging rocks together.
It has since evolved considerably. The Blue Devils smoked the competition in 2014’s World Championship Finals with a 99.650. Take that as an indication of just how competitive DCI Championships really are. Can you think of another form of competition where the precision is so high that it requires a scoring system with three decimal places?
The ‘Devils are founded on precision, and we’re flattered that they’ve chosen the StudioLive AI digital mixers as well as the Studiolive AI PA Loudspeakers to reinforce their azure thunder with high volume and articulate clarity their chops deserves.
The Blue Devils perform at the PreSonus booth on 1:00 p.m. on Friday. Don’t miss this one. It’s not often you get to see the best drum corp in the world from five feet away—they’re usually packin’ stadiums.
Ace Baker brings his StudioLive on the road with supergroup Chickenfoot, which as far as I’m concerned makes him a superengineer. A couple years back, he used a classic StudioLive 24.4.2 to record every show of Chickenfoot’s tour. He’s been the first-call soundman of choice for Tower of Power as well. As such, Ace is appropriately monikered, and will demonstrate the latest developments in cascading technology of the StudioLive AI series—doubtlessly alongside his unique flavor of humor for which he is almost as well-known.
Ace presents at the PreSonus booth every day of the show at 4:00-4:45, demonstrating the cascading technology of the StudioLive AI mixers.
Award-winning singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, session musician and Berklee graduate Katelyn Benton is a vet of the PreSonus NAMM stage. This time around she’ll be lending her velvet voice and instrumental prowess to demonstrate the potential of the AudioBox i-Series interfaces. If anyone knows DIY recording and production, it’s Katelyn—her EP Once was self-recorded and independently released in 2009. That was after winning Best Original Song in the World Championship of Performing Arts.
A monster talent, and we’re stronger for having her in our corner. She performs at the booth at 3:00-3:45 on Thursday and Friday, demoing the AudioBox i-series interfaces.