By Chyrisse Tabone,Rock At Night Tampa Correspondent
Venue: Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, Florida–January 24, 2017
Last year Rock At Night discovered and became a fan of JD & the Straight Shot. We covered JD & the Straight Shot’s show in Orlando, Florida and Raleigh, North Carolina. Yes, Rock At Night tends to favor rock music but JD & the Straight Shot attracted our nostalgic heartstrings and craving for good ol’ Americana or music with a retro feel. JD & the Straight shot is really an acoustic band with guitarist/vocalist Jim Dolan (JD), guitarist/vocalist Aidan Dolan, guitarist Marc Copely, violinist Erin Slaver, and percussionist Shawn Pelton.
On January 24th, it was finally my chance to see the band at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, Florida. The band is on tour with Don Henley, and as the “warm-up” band, this is often a difficult task to pull off. The theater was completely sold out and we photographers had to perch our camera gear behind the last seat in the venue. Fortunately, I was able to move down to a seat to see the show up front and personal–and what a nice intimate feel it had!
I have to say, the music was superb! JD and Erin played off of each other, singing duets and moving around. Their harmonies, as well as the whole band together, sound like one fluid instrument. They almost have a choir tone and the music is definitely uplifting and catchy. All of the musicians are top notch in their own right which makes their sound very polished and near perfect during a live performance.
It is really hard to pinpoint the genre as some songs sound country and others sound very hip and retro as if they were a theme song from a David Lynch film–or even a Spaghetti Western or Quentin Tarantino film. Actually, JD & the Straight Shot’s song “Can’t Make Tears” has been featured in AMC’s TV show Hell on Wheels and other songs have been featured in films like August: Osage Country and Hurricane Season.
In between songs JD spoke to the audience in a very humble and self-deprecating tone, causing giggles here and there from fans but most definitely wining new ones. He pranced with a top hat and and it clearly appeared like he was having a ball performing.
I was really appreciating songs like “Better Find a Church” and “I Know, You Know, and I Know” (a new song with an accordion touch) when two concertgoers in front of me started chatting as if they were at a water cooler. Trust me, there were plenty of people in the vicinity that told them to “knock it off” as it was not only rude but the audience really was getting into the music. The couple sitting next to me commented on how much they liked the music, saying “We came to see Don Henley, had never heard of this band, and really, really like their sound!”
My only other complaint was that the set was too short. I was truly melting into my seat and savoring the whole experience. I hope one day I can see the band in the future—and if I am so lucky—hear even more songs!
Better Find A Church
I Know, You Know, I Know
Here He Comes
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I grew up in a household full of rock music, studied journalism in college, and then became a scientist.Although my science career has served me well, music has always played a major role in my life. I grew up reading "Creem" magazine; I play several musical instruments as a "hobby";and it seems a camera has always been in my hand. Now, I am combining what I love the most--music and photography--serving as editor of Rock At Night. My motto: life is short...no regrets. Chyrisse