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Fort Wayne Music in 2006: So Far, So Good
By Sean Smith
Fort Wayne Reader
With another year half gone, it seems like a good time to review what we’ve seen and heard in the recent past. The music and the overall scene have really grown considerably and it looks like it isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. There have been some tremendous albums released, some fantastic shows put together, and some real growth in different genres. There’s no better time than now to reflect on what has been and what shall be.
In just seven short months some really spectacular music was released and has proven that there continues to be great musicians putting together great music in the area. The Legendary Trainhoppers released Ramble On earlier this year and our currently hard at work on their next masterpiece, which may or may not be a double album. They put on a heck of a release party at the Indiana Hotel, as well as another the following night at Columbia Street West. Definitely Gary let us in on The New Deal and it was more than fair for all involved. A rockin’ night at CSW was where they launched the album as well. Vandolah, who have a sound that sends goosebumps up and down Kevin Hambrick’s arms, gave us their sophomore album, Walk It Off, with a release in the basement of CSW.
Speaking of Kevin Hambrick, The Orange Opera not only opened for Vandolah that evening, but they also released an album of their very own, The Land of Tall, and have been doing rather well taking their show on the road. The gritty, grimy, foot stompin’ blues as only Left Lane Cruiser can play it was well represented on their second album, Getting’ Down On It. The fellas released the album to much fanfare with two shows, both unique in their approach involving a free screening of a blues documentary and cookout, respectively. Other notable releases this year came from Archie Blowers and the Swingin’ Angels with Whole Lot Better, Moser Woods with Tryptophan and New Harbour with their self-titled EP.
“This has really been a banner year for local music releases,” says Zach Smith, manager of the Clinton Street Wooden Nickel, “There’s been somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty releases this year so far.”
Some really memorable performances were witnessed this year courtesy of both the Whammy awards and the Maumee Music Fest. The coming together of acoustic musicians Dave Todoran, Sunny Taylor, Mike Conley, Mark Hutchins and others was really a sight to see and a sound to treasure. The Legendary Trainhoppers put on a blazing set of originals and a barn burning rendition of a Billy Joe Shaver tune, while being joined by Thom Grant and Jamie Simon of the Matthew Sturm Band, Casey Stansifer and Zach Smith of Definitely Gary, Sankofa of Sankofa, and Adam Atherton.
Atherton fronts North River Agents who played a very well received set of tunes at the Maumee Music Fest. They were just one of many bands that performed at this years inaugural MMF, a Three Rivers Festival affiliated event, that took place on a very sunny Saturday. Definitely Gary, Moser Woods, All Nite Skate, Munger, Wailhounds, Moser Woods, Orange Opera, Vandolah and many more played to a crowd of more than happy to be there fans and passersby. The event also featured a few newer bands that really hold quite a bit of promise.
Superhunk and lo.automatic, along with the previously mentioned North River Agents all seem to be bands to keep an eye out for. A little luck might even bring something from them by the year’s end. Bee’s Knees are another new band to keep your eyes and ears open for. A smooth blend of funk, R&B and Latin grooves make this a band to check out for sure.
The hardcore/metal and Hip-Hop scenes have really accelerated this year and have boasted some excellent releases. Among the hardcore/metal acts that released blistering albums worth a listen: Graves of the Endless Fall, Chinese Express and Saints Never Surrender. Hip-Hop saw the release of three exceptional albums this year. Roleo + EDS Rookies of the Year, Third Frame Frame of Mind and Sonny It Happens Every Day are all worth your attention.
So now that you’ve had a moment to reflect, why not head out to your locally owned music stores like Wooden Nickel or Convolution Records and pick up something that the musicians right here in town have put together? It will be a nice way to show your support and ensure that more great music continues to be released.