Subtitled: The long-awaited return!
You know, I never really thought I would go almost 2 1/2 years between WLR volumes 75 and 76. But thanks to some irresponsible (or sinister) technicians in a Chinese lab, we had this pandemic from what some call COVID-19. I call it the CCP virus; regardless, it put a real damper on live music for the better part of a year and a half, including two summers. This fall we are finally beginning to see a recovery back to normal and one thing that sealed the deal for us going to the Unify Delaware Festival last month was the opportunity to see some live performances.
You may recall that in the past I’ve done a lot of multiband shows where I basically have space for the photo and a short overview. This time, though, I really have a bit of room to stretch my legs, as it were. The Unify Delaware Festival had three acts scheduled, and I caught the latter two: Jovon Newman and Trent and the Trainwreck. (The band I missed was Lincoln City.)
Newman presents a unique story and, it can be argued, is a product of new technology that allows easier integration of a instrumental backing track. (I have a social media friend several states away who does the same thing, but specializes in Frank Sinatra songs and others in that vein.) I certainly won’t argue that Jovon doesn’t put his own stamp on things, though – one song with a twist I enjoyed is a tune that should be in his wheelhouse, Wagon Wheel.
In reading his story, I can see just how he got his stage presence and demeanor. Jovon looked like he was having a good time and as the show moved along the crowd warmed up to him. His song mix was a pleasing combination that drew from both country and pop, so he was working in that crossover appeal with an audience that was most likely to lean in that direction.
Newman, though, only did about a 50-minute set, which left sort of a blank space that didn’t get filled by the DJ immediately. (You can see the next band was already pretty much set up in the photos.) It may be a product of him primarily playing on social media rather than a stage, but as he fills out his repertoire a little bit (he’s put out two singles in recent months) Jovon could get enough to be a headliner. If not, he has a valuable daytime job with the Delaware Air National Guard, which allows him to make music a hobby he can really devote himself to. (Sort of like writing for me, I guess.)
After that long pause, we were treated to Trent and the Trainwreck. As they describe it, they play “Southern Rock, Country, Red Dirt, originals, and everything in between.” Based on what they played: check, check, check, check, and check. (Okay, I’m assuming they did “Red Dirt” since that’s a description I’d not heard before. But I think they played it since they covered the rest.)
As opposed to Jovon Newman, who primarily “plays” online, Trent and the Trainwreck have done a fairly full complement of shows in various configurations: over the last few months they have played venues all over the coastal regions of slower lower Delaware like Lewes, Milton, and Rehoboth, venturing as far as Ocean City once, and in looking at social media they are already lining up shows for 2022. (One intriguing show: it looks like they’re playing the hopefully-resurrected Blessing of the Combines in Snow Hill, Maryland next August.)
So these guys had fun. As an example: the second song in, as I’m downing a great burger, was Folsom Prison Blues. All right, good choice for the crowd. But then it suddenly morphed into a song I wasn’t familiar with but somehow fit: I Don’t Even Know Your Name by Alan Jackson. Interesting, since I was today years old when I learned what the song was called – I just remember the lyric about marrying the waitress. Then back to Folsom Prison we went.
Throw in a couple originals of theirs, and you get the idea. I always have a thing for bands unafraid to play their own stuff – it may not be great or even that good, but to me (as someone who, admittedly, can’t carry a tune in a bucket) that’s how you grow as a musician. I think doing the originals will also help them shape the cover songs to their style better since they didn’t always quite to seem (to my ear) to match a complementary vocal style to the cover song. But maybe that’s the Red Dirt style coming out? (Just kidding.)
I think I’ll put up a few more pictures of the band that Kim took now…
My apologies to the drummer – if I had known Kim was taking these I would have gotten a close-up. They always get the short end of the (drum)stick.
Okay, I’ll show myself out. Let’s just hope I don’t have to wait 2 1/2 years to do the next volume of Weekend of Local Rock (and my first as a Delaware resident.)