MUSIC: Don’t Miss- Toy Soldiers at the Columbus Theatre, Tonight!
Monday, December 30, 2013
Rob Duguay: So tonight at The Columbus Theatre you guys will be performing with The Silks and Wanda Jackson along with being the latter’s backing band. How did this all come about?
Ron Gallo: We share a booking agent and the way Wanda has done shows for pretty much her whole career is that she kind of has a pick up band. Usually it’s whoever is opening for her or just some local guys who come and learn the songs on their own and then she comes out on stage sort of Chuck Berry style and does it. Tonight is also the first time we’ve played with her on stage.
R.D.: That should be quite the experience. Toy Soldiers are from Philadelphia and obviously you’re an out of state band, but you guys have gotten the chance to play a few big shows this year in Providence and in Rhode Island as a whole. You got to be part of the Nashville To Newport showcase put on by Joe Fletcher at The Newport Folk Festival along with playing one of the afterparties at One-Eighty in Newport during that weekend, Dudesmash 2 at The Met and the first night of The Silks’ two night bash to celebrate the release of their debut album Last American Band. Who was the first guy to introduce you to the music scene here in Providence?
R.G.: Joe Fletcher.
R.D.: That doesn’t surprise me one bit, What’s your opinion of the whole experience of playing in Providence?
R.G.: It’s been amazing, the Northeast in general too with the Boston-Providence-Newport triangle of cities seem to have a lot of common people with friends and bands from each city and playing with them here and there. New England in general has been very good to us ever since we started coming up here especially with someone like Joe Fletcher who has been a brother to us over the past year. He’s introduced us to a lot of awesome people and it’s kind of like a big family up here and we feel that we’ve been welcomed into that which is awesome.
R.D.: It’s really something special when you have talented people coming together, it’s truly a beautiful thing. Toy Soldiers also have a new album called The Maybe Boys that I absolutely love, it reminds me a lot of The Band along with The Basement Tapes that they did with Bob Dylan. We you guys going for something like that? When you went into the studio what was your main goal with the record?
R.G.: Just to capture the live energy of the live show. That was something we always struggled with when it came to getting that live energy across, so with this one was pretty much about the energy and the vibe.
R.D.: Where did you guys record it? Was it done in a studio? Someone’s basement or a garage?
Dominic Billett: We did it with Bill Moriarty, he has a studio in East Falls, PA which is right outside of Philly and we did it there with him. He worked with us on the record as the producer and engineer.
R.D.: How long did it take you guys to make it?
D.B.: It was probably about 15 sessions or 16 sessions or so but it was done in a span of almost a year.
R.D.: Were you guys balancing going on tour along with paying the fees and everything?
D.B.: Yea we were kind of balancing a few different things during the making of the record.
R.D.: Now both of you sing vocals on different songs which is kind of different than just having your typical band with just one singer. So what made you guys want to create that dynamic with your sound?
R.G.: It usually just comes to be that the person who wrote the song will sing it and for the record Dom wrote a song that we started to play where it actually made sense for him to sing it along with singing with me. It’s more about I guess the songwriting process, I think it would be weird for someone to sing someone else’s song necessarily.
R.D.: It’s really cool to see something different being brought to the table and you see a bunch of dimensions being shown all over the stage. You guys had a great year in 2013 and New Year’s Eve is tomorrow so how does 2014 look for Toy Soldiers?
R.G.: It starts off pretty low key, we’ve had a pretty crazy year along with a pretty crazy few years. We’ve kind of been relentless with just traveling and playing and working the grind.
R.D.: Are you planning on taking a break?
R.G.: Yea, if tonight and New Year’s Eve are any indicator of how 2014 is going to go then that’s exciting. We definitely need some time to regroup, write songs again and reinvent ourselves as a band. We all just got in such a mindset of being on the road that we all kind of started to lose it a little bit. With being back home we can be a little more grounded, we can think about things, just get back to the basics a little bit and then hopefully come back in the Spring or Summer and get back at it.
R.D.: Are you going to have an album out next year or just go back to the studio?
R.G.: Hopefully yes, that’s the plan.
It was a treat to talk to Ron and Dominic, I still find it crazy that I found out about Toy Soldiers when they put their first album Whisper Down The Lane back in 2008 and now they’re one of the hottest acts on the East Coast. Go see them tonight with The Silks and Wanda Jackson at The Columbus Theatre, it's $25 at the door and the show starts at 7:30. It’ll be the best way to get an early start on the New Year’s Eve festivities.
13 Biggest Music Stories in RI in 2013
13. Macauley + Carlton
Local music legend John Macauley of Deer Tick, and world renowned singer-songwriter Vanessa Carlton came to Providence in January to headline a show to benefit The Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence.
Here is music critic Rob Duguay's review of the show:
This past Saturday at the upstairs stage of The Columbus Theatre on Broadway in the heart of the West End of Providence, a magnificent display of music took place to benefit The Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence. Deer Tick's John McCauley & Ian O'Neil, Vanessa Carlton, Smoota and Caroline Hecht were on a star-studded bill for an experience that was guaranteed to be a memorable one. It's always great when talented people come together for a worthy cause, and in this day and age this was needed more than ever. Read More
12. Carolina Choc Drops
Bringing an eclectic mixture of Piedmont blues, country, ragtime jazz, and traditional folk, the Carolina Chocolate Drops came into town to headline a Sunday night show at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel in April.
GoLocal Music Critic was there for the show, and he claimed this to be one of the best shows he attended in 2013:
Class was in session Sunday night at Lupo’s as theCarolina Chocolate Drops provided a crash course in traditional African American music. Their style, which fuses Piedmont Blues, jug band country, ragtime jazz and traditional folk, delighted the crowd. Sounding straight out of a juke joint in Mississippi, (or North Carolina, where the band hails from), their music is infectious. Read More
11. Artistic Explosion
Featuring some of the best local acts from all different genres, GoLocal music critic Rob Duguay organized the first annual Artistic Explosion Music Festival, a week-long multi-venue show to raise money for Girls Rock! and the Rhode Island Music Educators Association.
By all counts, the event was a tremendous success.
10. 24 Hour Music Project
For the second straight year, Kim "Giggles" Madden put together Providence's 24 Hour Music Project benefit. This year, all proceeds from the event and concert went to benefit music education in Rhode Island's public schools.
Rob Duguay was on hand for the CD release party in October:
One of the most inspiring things I've encountered in Providence is the 24 Hour Music Project. Started by Kim "Giggles" Madden last year, a star-studded compilation album of the Creative Capital's finest musicians benefits victims of domestic violence. This time around, another album was made to benefit music education in public schools, another noble cause with an ensemble cast of local musical talents. On Sunday at The Spot, the release of the second 24 Hour Music Project album was celebrated with an amazing show that had Dan Dodd, Dylan Sevey & The Gentlemen, Wake and Baker, P. Lowe, Galactic Alliance and Resin ED jammin' on two stages. There's no better way to spend your Sunday than supporting a great cause, and the Spot was the prime destination to do just that. Read More
9. Colexico at The Met
Tuscon Arizona's Colexico, according to GoLocal music critic Ken Abrams, sounds like "a Tex-Mex meal - you don’t always know exactly what’s in it, but it tastes delicious."
Well, Colexico paid a visit to the Ocean State in June, and Abrams was in the crowd for the festivities.
8. Buddy Guy
Since Park Theatre massive renovation and reopening, the Cranston venue has become a great spot for live music in Rhode Island, and have drawn some very impressive names.
In October, blues legend Buddy Guy stopped by, and music critic Ken Abrams was there:
Last Friday night at the Park Theatre, the nation’s leading ambassador of the Blues made a triumphant stop in Rhode Island. For the second consecutive year, Buddy Guy filled the Park to its 1006-seat capacity, a rare feat for a performer labeled a “Blues” artist. Before the night ended, it was clear why – he is one of the finest performers on tour today. Read More
7. The Temptaions
Legendary Detroit Motown band, the Temptations stopped by Cranston's Park Theatre in December, bringing with them their classics.
Music critic Ken Abrams was front and center for this once-in-a-lifetime R&B experience:
A warm welcome greeted The Temptations Sunday night in Cranston as the Park Theatre hosted a sold out show by the legendary Detroit band. The award winning R&B group thrilled those in attendance with classic hits along with some new songs. Read More
6. Chris Cornell
Legendary Seattle grunge rocker Chris Cornell is known for rocking hard with Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, Audioslave, and Pearl Jam; but when he came into Providence in November, he left the wires behind for an acoustic show on the newly-renovated stage at The Vets:
Normally, one would think of Chris Cornell as the vocalist who can peel the paint off walls with Seattle legends Soundgarden, but recently he's been doing a solo acoustic tour that's been getting a lot of attention. This past Tuesday he made a stop at The Veterans Memorial Auditorium for an experience that exuded soothing songs that hit straight to the heart. Bhi Bhiman opened things up as well, it was going to a memorable evening. Chris Cornell at his genuine best, what more could you ask for? Read More
5. B.B. King
What could be better than a warm summer night in Newport? How about when you are there to see THE name in Blues, BB King? Well, GoLocal Music criticRob Duguay was lucky enough to be in attendance for this show at the Newport Yachting Center in July:
As a live music fanatic, when I hear that a legend is coming through The Ocean State it's a no-brainer that I have to come check it out. When it's a bluesman like B.B. King performing, saying its a no-brainer is a vast understatement, it's more like a spiritual expedition. The King Of The Blues headlined a fantastic night at The Newport Yachting Center as part of The Sunset Music Series with Providence rocksteady soul group Boo City opening up the show, you knew it was going to be one of the top shows of the summer. The whole time I was here I had to remind myself that one of my favorite musicians of all time in B.B. King as well as pinch myself a few times. The guy is pushing 90 and still tours like he was in his mid-20s and still can strum Lucille better than anybody else, Newport was definitely the hotspot for a once in a lifetime chance to see a musician who will go down as one of the greatest ever. Read More
4. Bob Dylan at URI
Legendary singer-songwriter, Bob Dylan passed through the Ocean State in April, making a stop at URI's Ryan Center. GoLocal music critic Ken Abrams made the trek down to South County for the show:
Bob Dylan’s “Never Ending Tour” rolled into the Ryan Center on Monday night. The band is currently on a college campus swing, and featured a new addition, RI’s own Duke Robillard on lead guitar. Read More
3. Sir Elton John
A Dunkin Donuts Center crowed was graced by the presence of music royalty in November when Elton John came into Providence for an unforgettable 28-song performance:
Elton John made a triumphant return to Providence Saturday night, making the Dunkin Donuts Center the second stop on his Diving Board Tour. Expectations were high for the near capacity crowd and Sir Elton did not disappoint. He covered a number of hits in his 28 song set, including a full album side from “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” Read More
2. The Who
Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend; the remaining members of one of the most highly-celebrated rock and roll supergroup of all-time, the Who, finished up the US leg of their World Tour at the Dunkin Donuts Center in February:
On Tuesday at The Dunkin' Donuts Center in downtown Providence, rock & roll legends The Who rocked the joint for the last show of the United States leg of The Quadrophenia and More Tour that has been sweeping the globe since last year. Opening the night were Los Angeles' rock & roll souls Vintage Trouble and it was bound to be one of the memorable shows in Providence's music history. There are rock bands and then there's The Who, it was very clear that the best way to enjoy the first half of your week was to be at The Dunk on Tuesday. Read More
1. Newport Festivals
Summer in Newport -- shopping, beaches, sailing, dining, and LIVE MUSIC. Aquidneck Island comes alive when the weather warms up, and once you get beyond Thames Street, music festivals dominate the scene. In 2013, GoLocal' music critics were on hand for three great music festivals in Newport:
Celtic Rock Festival- Headlined by the Dropkick Murphy's
Newport Folk Festival- Featuring Beck, John Macauley, and the Avett Brothers
- 5 Live Music Musts – December 20, 2013
- 13 Biggest Music Stories in RI in 2013
- 5 Live Music Musts: December 6, 2013
- 5 Weekend Musts: MythBusters Tour + More
- 5 Weekend Musts: Roaring 20s Black & White Gala + More
- MUSIC: Temptations Bring Motown to Rhode Island
- MUSIC: Providence Native SweenS Opens For Wale Friday at Lupo’s
- Marilynn Mair: Making Music from Rio to Rhode Island
- MUSIC: Big D & The Kids Table Pick It Up At Fete
- MUSIC: The Brother Kite Flies High At The Roi