I caught this group about a couple of weeks or so ago on NPR and they rocked my world, so I had to share with you. I thought I had discovered a new band, but it turns out they have been at it since 2004, so they are new to me because i had not heard them until a couple of weeks ago.
(From Wikipedia): Lake Street Dive is a multi-genre band that was founded in 2004 in Boston, Massachusetts. The band consists of Rachael Price (lead vocals), Mike “McDuck” Olson (trumpet, guitar), Bridget Kearney (upright bass), and Mike Calabrese (drums). They met while attending the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. The band was named after a street with many dive bars in Olson’s hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The band tours in both North America and Europe from their base in Brooklyn.
The big question here is, “Why have we not heard these folks before”?!!
The initial idea in 2004 was for the group to create a ‘free country band’ — as in country music, played free. This concept was abandoned in favor of something that “actually sounded good”, according to Mike Olson. (Thank goodness)!
The band recorded a song written by Bridget Kearney which was submitted to the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. As a result, Kearney won the Jazz category in 2005. With the cash and 1000 CDs award, Lake Street Dive recorded their debut CD in 2006, in this episode…. They did another self release called Promises, Promises. The video filmed live at the Lizard Lounge in 2010 and released in 2011 set the stage for their “Lake Street Dive” album.
They have come to the attention to many via their Jackson 5 YouTube cover of “I Want You Back” gathered around a single microphone on a Brighton, Massachusetts street corner (Murdock and Mapleton). Their performance at the 2013 FreshGrass Festival was filmed and directed by noted Brooklyn audio/visual collective Mason Jar Music. In December 2013, T Bone Burnett asked them to perform on the Another Day, Another Time show at The Town Hall (New York City) featuring music from and inspired by the Coen brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis. Lake Street Dive has appeared in on many television shows: The Colbert Report, The Late Show with David Letterman, Conan , and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The band have uploaded numerous videos, including their annual, humorous Halloween covers.
(Have been in a coma this whole time)?
Lake Street Dive signed with Nonesuch Records in 2015 and released Side Pony in February 2016 with their new label. The album’s name is another of the band’s play on words. It refers to a hairstyle adopted by Kearney and is slang for “unexpectedly diverting the mind’s attention” or a playful pony.
All the band members were singing and/or playing musical instruments by the time they were in 3rd grade. Most had some classical music training growing up and their parents were musicians. Each member in their own way had migrated to jazz when they met. However, band says they were influenced by the music their parents were playing at home. This ranged from classic Jazz to ’60s Soul to Rock and Roll.
All profess to love the entire Beatles discography. Kearney wrote “Hello? Goodbye!” and the band plays “Don’t Make Me Hold Your Hand”, both seem to be whimsical references to Beatles tunes. Olsen says he was inspired by McCartney’s love/vice lyrical concept in “Got to Get You Into My Life” when he wrote “You Go Down Smooth”.
Their traditional Halloween specials and covers on the EP release Fun Machine give an idea of the genres that influence them. These range from songs by The Mamas and the Papas, ABBA, The Drifters, Fleetwood Mac, Hall & Oates, Jackson 5 and Paul McCartney.
I was floored when I heard them on a show called Tiny Desk Concerts. To me, they are a combination of Jazz, Soul, Folk and Rock and they sound fantastic! Their song writing is unique and sounds kind of simple and sophisticated at the same time. Rachael Price’s voice is very soulful and she can sing jazz and blues with the best of them! In fact, you can tell she sings with soul. The group can also harmonize fairly well as they demonstrate in a number of tunes.
This is the kind of group that one can listen to for a long time and enjoy. It’s almost ironic because they do not take themselves seriously at all, but give serious performances. It’s amazing what they can do with just the very basic of instruments and even improvised ones, such as chairs and toy guitars, etc.
I’ll be picking up an album or two soon. I wonder if any of their albums are available on vinyl? When you hear this group you want them on vinyl! I’ll have to check on that.
In the meantime though I bring you Lake Street Dive. Enjoy these fine performances:
Let me show you what I mean about Rachael Price’s singing. Here she is doing Elle Fitzgerald’s “cheek to cheek”. There are not too many that can pull this off. Watch Rachael nail it here!https://youtu.be/Gh4qfM6gkaY?list=PL8gjhCPpepkqYGoL_FGL81mk0_Lc6B5PR
Every year at Halloween Lake Street Dive does a tribute to an artist or artists they grew up listening to. One of my all time favorite groups ever is The Mamas and Papas. Here’s Lake Street Dive’s tribute to them. (Not too bad a job either):
Here’s one nobody saw coming: A tribute to The B-52s?!