Local Rhythms – No skip button for you!

Mixing music and lawyers is more often than not a bad thing, but a recent British court decision may actually be an exception to that rule.

Last week, the surviving members of Pink Floyd successfully sued to prevent their record label from selling the band’s songs online.

They argued that single tracks, ring tones and the like violated the artistic integrity of works like Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall.

The band’s albums are still available on Internet music stores like Rhapsody and iTunes, but cherry picking “Wish You Were Here” or “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” will henceforth be disallowed.

That’s how it should be.

I’m a big fan of XM Radio’s Deep Tracks station.  A couple of on-air slogans sum up their philosophy (and mine): “we’re not single minded” and “we play careers.”

There was a time when a musician wouldn’t be taken seriously without a great album – heck, without two or three.

Dropping the needle on side one of a record used to mean something. Last summer, Steely Dan performed Royal Scam, Aja and Gaucho in their entirety over three consecutive nights to sold-out crowds.

Van Morrison did the same thing with Astral Weeks in 2008.

Nowadays, music fans have the attention span of a fruit fly, and promiscuously flit from song to song.  Some bands with number one records can barely fill nightclubs.

On the other hand, Bob Seger will draw regardless of whether he plays “Old Time Rock and Roll.” Promise full-length Night Moves or Against the Wind, and the shows would sell out in seconds.

I can’t think of a single release by a post-2000 artist that I’d pay to see performed from start to finish.

Granted, song-centricity came into vogue as retaliation for all the CDs released with one good track, but that’s no reason to abandon the album as an art form.

So I applaud Pink Floyd.  They should take it a step further, and deliver albums from the vinyl era (pre-1983) only as side-length files.

Cue up Dark Side of the Moon, and you won’t hear “Us and Them” without first listening to “Money.”  On Led Zeppelin II, “Living Loving Maid” will follow “Heartbreaker” as sturm follows drang.  No skip button for you!

What this generation needs is patience, and more decent full-length records. If I sound like a grumpy old man, so be it.

Now get off my lawn.

On to the rest of the week:

Thursday, March 18: Locals Jam, Salt hill Pub Newport – The family that plays together, a/k/a the Moores, is now permanently hosting this weekly open session, after alternating with the Shane Harrington Band for a while.  Bring your guitar, bass, harp, or voice and join in the fun; it’s a great way for anyone looking to start a band to find potential mates. Even if you don’t play, stop by just to listen.

Friday, March 19: Bow to None, 802 Music – I drove by this all-ages performance space in downtown Springfield the other night and it was teeming.  There’s live music most Fridays and Saturdays; typically, three or four bands are on the bill.  Bow to None play uncompromising heavy metal, while on other nights there’s punk, power pop, post-grunge, all in a substance-free environment.

Saturday, March 20: The Elmores, One Mile West – After beginning with Tuesday open microphone nights, One Mile West is now doing music on weekends.  Sometimes Friday, but always on Saturday, live bands are working in the back. Up front, the bar pours beer from 20 different taps, including some great craft brews like Rogue Yellow Snow and Monty Python’s Holy Grail Ale.

Sunday, March 21: Click & Joanie Horning, Crocker’s Coffee Shop – Overlooking Lake Sunapee in Newbury is a charming coffee shop, overflowing with bric-a-brac like a genuine ski lift gondola.  Every Sunday from 4-6 in the afternoon, Click and Joanie play music.  Click has a long history in the area, going back to his days in the band Night Kitchen. Crocker’s serves some tasty desserts, too.

Monday, March 22: Bryan Adams, Paramount Theatre (Rutland) – Speaking of artists who made albums that yielded singles, Canadian rocker Adams brings his sizable catalog to Vermont for an unplugged solo show.   Adams calls it the “Bare Bones” tour, and recently explained to a Pennsylvania writer, “I’m getting back to the basics of the songs, just me and my voice.”

Wednesday, March 24: Open Mic, Skunk Hollow – Gregory Brown helms this weekly affair. If you’ve ever wondered whether you should take your playing to another level, this is a good starting point. Bring your axe and your songs. You have 15 minutes. The best part is that Simon Cowell is nowhere to be found, and the food’s better – a lot better, and the guy running the kitchen also a musician.

Today’s Compass – Players

Local Music Spotlight
Who:  Larry Walker Band
What:  Classic rock covers
Sounds like: Foreigner, Free and the Doors
The Rumney-based Larry Walker Band is a regular attraction at East Buffet in Claremont, playing a crowd-friendly mix of familiar rock from the 60s to the present day.  The core lineup consists of Larry Walker on keys, guitar and vocals, drummer Joe Jurta, James Holzrichter on bass and vocals, and Jack Petrycki on keyboards, guitar and vocals. Walker’s cousin Frank Walker occasionally subs for Petrycki on keyboards.
Originally called Three’s A Crowd, Walker and Jurta have been playing together for about twelve years.  Holzrichter came on board about three years ago; Petrycki joined a few months later.  They became the Larry Walker Band in late 2008.
When playing out, the band performs covers, but they’ve recently begun work on original material at Walker’s Walka-Walka Sound in Dorchester.  They’re hoping for a fall release date, at which point the band will begin incorporating their own music into live appearances.
Upcoming gigs:
Saturday, March 20 – Foresters Club, 38 Maple St. in Newport (with Frank Walker)
Friday, March 26 – Bridgewater Inn, Route 3A, 367 Mayhew Turnpike in Bridgewater, NH
Saturday, April 17 – East Buffet, Pleasant St. in Claremont

Today’s Compass – Horizon

Mark your calendar
What: Snoe.down Music Festival
Where: Killington Resort and Spartan Arena (Rutland)
When: Friday, March 26 through Sunday, March 28
Tickets: $49/single day, $79 full festival
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Higher priced combination packages, including lift tickets and other goodies like V.I.P. status, are available online.

Today’s Compass – Beyond

Worth driving out of town
What: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Where: Barre Opera House, 6 N. Main St. in Barre, VT
When: Wednesday, March 24 at 7:30 PM
Tickets: $28 – $32
More: http://www.barreoperahouse.org or call 802-476-8188
Distance: 75 Miles
Jackson Browne and Steve Martin are among the musicians who interned with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, which formed in Southern California during the spring of 1966 as a jug band when surf music was all the rage.  The present day lineup includes original members Jeff Hanna, Jimmie Fadden and John McEuen, along with Bob Carpenter, who joined in 1977. They were the first band to have a hit with Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bojangles,” and they made a memorable cover of Rodney Crowell’s “Voila, An American Dream.”
Over the years, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has helped define what’s now known as Americana. Their signature achievement was Will the Circle Be Unbroken, a three-album project in 1972 that helped expose a younger generation to Doc Watson, Merle Travis, Roy Acuff, Maybelle Carter and other country legends in a time of musical apartheid.  In the late 80s, the band made Will the Circle Be Unbroken II. Among other things, it reunited former Byrds Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman for Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Going Nowhere.”

Today’s Hippo – blues, trip-hop and more

Rynborn reborn, at the Draft in Concord:

Andy and Laurie Sanborn remember a time when Luther “Guitar” Johnson lived down the road from them in Antrim, and on any given night something magical might happen in a rough and tumble blues shack called the Rynborn.

“We’d go there all the time,” says Laurie. “It was nothing fancy, but it was the best blues.”

“When the Rynborn left Antrim and went to Keene and then closed, it left a void in my soul,” Andy said. He added: “I consider the blues to be the foundation of original music.”

Chemical Distance moves away from metal:

Otto Kinzel IV bowed out of live music for a while last year. He was bored with the metal scene, an endless succession of peaks with no valleys. He likened it to a crowded NASCAR field, with everyone going 180 miles an hour, all the time.

“It was all very predictable — two down-tuned guitars and a screaming vocalist. If you stood in the back of the room, everything was a wash,” he said — a wall of sound with no discernible elements.

He also sensed an unwillingness on the part of most bands to move beyond the genre’s narrow boundaries.  “When they hear drum machines and synthesizers, it’s met with resistance,” he said.

So he stepped away and went looking for new musical challenges.

In Nite Roundup, Mama Kicks ends 13 years of Wednesdays at Black Brimmer, Claremont duo Second Wind plays Concord, a blues jam moves in Manchester, John Waite and Alan Jackson announce upcoming shows.