by Wanda Phipps
One thing I’ve been doing during these pandemic times, to wash away the tedium and banish the craziness, has been watching lots of livestreamed music concerts on Facebook. These shows have been life savers. I’ve discovered a lot of cool music artists. It also gave me a chance to hear folks who, for one reason or another, I hadn’t heard in years. The livestreams also foster a kind of one-on-one feeling of intimacy between the performers and the viewers that you don’t get from live-in-person concerts. They are usually streaming from their living rooms, somewhere in their homes (or, on rare occasions, from a rehearsal studio).
So, you get to see the artists in their natural habitat, so to speak, and I think that increases the sense of connection. There are often lots of personal stories as well as cameo appearances by their pets and their kids, plus duets with their spouses who sometimes wander in from other rooms.
Besides providing more of a chance to connect with the artist in real time, there’s sometimes a whole separate party going on in the adjoining live chat windows during the show. Regulars check in with each other and can shout out requests. The artists often like to welcome the regulars by name. Sometimes they do all request shows and read aloud messages viewers detailing the reason the songs they’ve requested to hear mean so much to them.
This is by no means an overview or all-inclusive list, just some info on a few shows I have taken notice of, watched, and enjoyed. The list is heavily weighted towards my current tastes of folk/blues/Americana/country with a bit of rock, pop, rockabilly, and assorted other genres. Some artists simultaneously stream on Facebook, Instagram, and/or YouTube. But for the purposes of this round-up I am focusing on Facebook only. Click on the links to go to the Facebook page for the artists, check-out videos of archived livestreams, and find announcements for upcoming shows.
Every night at 3:00 p.m. Pacific, 6:00 p.m. Eastern (but times may vary):
Josh Daniel’s Grateful Band
Archived videos: https://www.facebook.com/JDGratefulBand/live_videos
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JDGratefulBand
Charlotte, N.C. musician Josh Daniel finesses the art of looping with his masterful guitar playing, his mellow voice, and reinterpretations of folk, rock, and pop classics. He has a massive (over 1,000) song repertoire. He’s also raised over $50,000 for charity with his virtual quarantine shows which rank as the eighth most livestreamed concerts of 2020. He was one of the first virtual music shows I discovered. He’s played every single day since the initial shut-down in March 2020 from his front yard, back porch, and living room. Since things have opened-up he’s streamed his shows occasionally from outdoor in-person gigs, as well as jamming with other musicians wherever they could meet—even in parking lots.
Mon., Wed., and Fri. at 1:30 p.m. Pacific, 4:30 p.m. Eastern:
Tea Time with LJ—Laurence Juber
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LaurenceJuberGuitar/
Laurence Juber, a former member of Paul McCartney and Wings, plays beautiful virtuoso guitar from his Los Angeles studio. It is usually a half an hour all-instrumental show. He specializes in amazing fingerpicking and gives some brief explanations of how he makes his magic with some livestreams titled for instance “Finger Busting Fridays.” His music is always relaxing yet pleasingly complex.
Every weeknight 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 8:00 p.m. Eastern:
Reunion of Souls—Maritri Garrett
Archived videos: https://www.facebook.com/maritri/videos_by
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/maritri
Maritri Garrett plays lovely jazzy piano and has a voice that can soothe any rattled brain. She often has theme nights where she plays songs from the movies or long medleys of songs about the moon and the sun and the stars. She has the most upbeat bubbly personality, so you feel as if you are sitting there with her in her California parlor listening to her soulful sounds and shooting the breeze. Her playing is so wonderfully fluid and organic that I was not surprised to learn she was a child prodigy who could listen to anything and then play it back perfectly before she even learned how to read music.
Tuesdays 4:00 p.m. Pacific, 7:00 p.m. Eastern:
Alone Together Tuesdays—Hayes Carll
Archived videos: https://www.facebook.com/HayesCarll/live_videos
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HayesCarll
With his craggy Tom Waits-like voice Hayes Carll sings hilarious and heartbreaking story songs while strumming guitar and sometimes adding a little harmonica too. Lately, in his man cave at his Nashville home nicknamed the doghouse, he’s been joined by an excellent lead guitar player, Adam Landry. Carll donates a substantial amount of money from his virtual shows to charity as well. Sometimes as a special treat his lovely and talented wife, Allison Moorer, joins in for duets (See her show info below).
Every other Thursday, 6:00 p.m. Pacific, 9:00 p.m. Eastern:
Jamification Station—Debra Devi
Archived videos: https://www.facebook.com/groups/debradevifans/events
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/debradevifans
Debra Devi is a monster blues and rock guitarist who also sings songs with a sweet pop sheen. Unlike most other livestreams during the pandemic, she started out streaming alone in her living room and has now moved to streaming with her full rocking band from Silver Horse Sound in her hometown of Hoboken, N.J. She’s also hosted now by American Blues Scene Magazine. Watch her rock out to some Bonnie Raitt and other classics, as well as her rock-solid originals.
One Saturday towards the end of the month 12:00 p.m. Pacific, 3:00 p.m. Eastern
(check page for exact times and dates)
Rent Party—Carsie Blanton
Archived videos: https://www.facebook.com/carsieblanton/live_videos
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/carsieblanton
I love the sweet and sassy songs of Carsie Blanton, who does monthly virtual parties to keep a roof over the heads of her two bandmembers while the rest goes to producing their albums. Her voice has the sound of the best oldies but goodies with a contemporary pop and sometimes jazz sensibility. Her finely crafted songs speak of social and political change and women’s empowerment, while making sure we all have a dang good time to boot.
Every other Sunday at 9:00 a.m. Pacific, 12:00 p.m. Eastern:
Soul Soothing Sunday Songs—Allison Moorer
& Live from the Library—Pop Ups usually on a weeknight (but times may vary)
Archived videos: https://www.facebook.com/AllisonMoorer/live_videos
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AllisonMoorer
Allison Moorer has a pure silky-smooth voice with amazing control and emotional expressiveness. She also has a painful personal backstory that weaves through her songs. She’s written a memoir entitled Blood (https://www.amazon.com/Blood-Memoir-Allison-Moorer/dp/0306922681), which explores the tragedy of a murder and suicide in her family.
Despite these shadows from the past, the Grammy and Academy Award-nominated singer-songwriter’s music is full of love, empathy, and warmth. In her Live from the Library shows she sings mostly her own country and folk-tinged songs, but on her Soul Soothing Sunday Songs shows she sings a variety of spiritually uplifting covers that always tempt you to sing along. Often, she is joined by her handsome husband, Hayes Carll, for the sweetest duets. And sometimes we are treated to a visit by their too-cute-to-believe dog Willie.
Sundays 1:00 p.m. Pacific, 4:00 p.m. Eastern:
Songs from the Virus Escape—Emily Duff
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100060918412140
Her tagline is: Sweet & Sour Rock and Roll with a Great Big Hit of Country Soul, and I would definitely agree with that. She has a low smoky sometimes raspy voice reminiscent of Lucinda Williams, Nick Cave, or Steve Earle. Rolling Stone calls her “One Part Patti Smith, One Part Muscle Shoals.” I call her totally entertaining. She seems like the kind of person you’d love to have a cup of tea with, and just listen to her stories about her Greenwich Village neighborhood and her wonderful world of music. She sings about the life of a woman from every angle, and her stories are as bold, honest, and full of joy as her music.
WANDA PHIPPS (http://mindhoney.com) is a writer/translator/editor living in NYC. Her books include Field of Wanting: Poems of Desire and Wake-Up Calls: 66 Morning Poems. Her poetry has been translated into Ukrainian, Hungarian, Arabic, Galician, and Bangla. She’s received awards from The New York Foundation for the Arts, The National Theater Translation Fund, and others. As a founding member of Yara Arts Group she has collaborated on numerous theatrical productions presented in Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Siberia, and at La MaMa, E.T.C. in NYC. She’s curated reading series at The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church and written about the arts for Time Out New York, Paper Magazine, and About.com. Her new book Mind Honey is forthcoming from Autonomedia.