Ever been to a show where you’re not sure if you are more excited for the opener or the headliner? Well that was me at Stubbs in Austin the other night. Randomly found a show while browsing shows to photograph and found The Commonheart opening for JJ Grey & Mofro. I’m not sure if as I age, my taste in music change, or I’m just trying to expand what I listen to, but these bands kicked some serious ass, and had so much “feels” in their sound.
First to grace the stage was The Commonheart. They do not sound like they come from Pittsburgh PA at all and its fucking fabulous. With a full band, ripping guitar, and vocals that would melt your heart, this soul, folk, country sound is something unheard of before. Who the fuck listens and makes this sound anymore? No one, but these guys do and they for sure are incredible at it. There is so much love and emotion in their lyrics and sound, it can only make you move your entire body while you shut your eyes and tilt your head back, absorbing their sound. I was fortunate enough to meet, Clinton, the singer after the show, and boy is he the nicest, kindest person, just like his lyrics and sound.
I thought it would be pretty hard for someone to follow them, but headlining was JJ Grey & Mofro. Starting their music career back in the 90’s from Jacksonville FL, these guys can sure keep that folk/soul/country rock vibe going strong. JJ came onto a dark stage playing the harmonica, and the crowd lost their shit. But as soon as the full band, keys, horns and all chimed in, light full blast, I could feel the roar of the crowd on my back. His lyrics of longing back in the good ole days, mentioning banana pie often, and the hard times he had was reflected in his tone and lyrics. As soon as he whipped his guitar, soft light on him, I lost my shit. I wish I knew of these guys before this show and had their albums, but luckily I swung through the merch booth after and coped a copy.
These are the type of bands that go under the radar, especially in this day and age, but don’t let them! If you want to feel nothing but emotion and empathy with music, please check both of these bands out. They were only on day 3 of their tour (as of January 18th) and still have plenty of shows left. Even if you do not see them live, please LEGALLY download one of their albums, and you will not be displeased, I promise.