MP3 Josh Dion Band - Live!
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Angegebene Spieldauer: 65:54
Kurz-Beschreibung von CDbaby: Sixty-six minutes of feverish energy, searing vocal performances, blistering drums and, yes, an occasional blister all in the name of killing live rock.
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"You’ve got to see them live!"
There was a time when many a band who relied on the reputation of its live show has looked to doing a live album to fill in the blanks with the public. In the classic rock era, it even made some careers break wide open. The Allman Brothers Band and Humble Pie come to mind.
In the case of the Josh Dion Band, their "Live!" CD is an excellent start in that direction but is still unable to supply the onstage explosion of visual energy that is evident at every JDB performance. No, as you listen to this CD, you simply have to remind yourself that the soulful lead vocals are coming from Josh Dion while all the time he is also pounding out the sometimes complex, occasionally sensitive, always musical thunder drums. No matter what you’ve seen, you’ve never seen anything quite like this as Josh Dion sings, laughs, calls out improvised changes and jumps up and down while, all the time, laying down the groove for the world. In contrast to some of today’s "stars" In the auto-tuned world we live in, Josh Dion is the real thing as a singer too. "The band is all about emotion. We just trying to tap into whatever the song’s about and it’s really just a big smile. It’s about all of the great things in life and we’re just trying to go for that and capture that," Josh explains.
That’s what he’s been all about ever since he was very young. Born the son of a drummer, Josh got his first drums, a Champagne Sparkle Slingerland kit, at age three and he grew up practicing to his family’s records, with Pink Floyd and the Beatles as his favorites. "That’s basically what I did when I was young. I would just listen to hundreds and hundreds of records then. I played sports, basketball and baseball especially, but when I wasn’t doing that, I had headphones on playing the drums."
Josh got his first paying gig at age eight in his father’s band and before long, four years to be exact, was playing with the University of Connecticut jazz program in his hometown of Storrs. A twelve year old shedding with college players? Yeah, he was that good even then. His teenage years saw him taking a long break from the drums for years as he became part of an evangelical church that determined that drums were bad, but piano was okay. So, he sang and played piano in church. "I think even now that a lot of how I look at my performance goes back to that church...but when I was about seventeen, I moved on."
"Moving on" meant going back to playing his drums, which had gathered dust over the past four years. Although still citing Gene Krupa as still his number one influence on the drums, Josh ears turned from jazz to soul and funk as he grew into his adult tastes and you can still hear him straddle those worlds as the music of JDB comes rolling out, full of surprises and left turns.
Despite being accepted at the New School and the Manhattan School of Music, he opted for William Paterson University in New Jersey where he met all of the future members of the Josh Dion Band. Speaking of that time, Josh offers, "Dan Hindman and I connected on a very high level right off the bat. He’s my song writing partner; we wrote "Take The Time" and "Birdwalker" together, two of the highest highs of our shows. He’s got a unique approach to playing guitar. He can play like Clapton or Robbie Robertson or Trey and more, but in the last year, he’s shot up into the stratosphere of sounding like himself. He’s really taken charge of his sound and what he’s looking for and he’s really rounded out the sound of this band."
Another member of the band whose song writing collaboration has yielded a JDB crowd favorite, "Movin’ On," Pat Firth "fills up the bottom end of the band and fills in the midrange with the keyboards. He’s a fantastic person to work with and he’s a very supportive person," Josh confirms. "You’ve got to have that supportiveness in a band but then you turn around and you’ll hear some great solos on this record from him too."
Filling out the rhythm section is Josh’s partner in time, Brian Killeen on bass. "I toured with Brian way back in the day with ulu and we’ve been friends for a long time. Brian also splits the difference between leadership and a supportive role. He plays the bass the way the bass is supposed to be played. I’ve played with Brian every week for the past four years and we’re not bored yet," Josh laughs.
Last but not least is Sarah Versprille, who is "kind of coming out of this jazz/Billie Holiday meets Erykah Badu and she’s got twang in there too and I really like that sound. She’s got a sound that we’re just bringing out right now and she’s just right on top of it. She’s just right there. We do a lot of improvisation where I’ll just mouth words to her onstage and and she’ll get it. She’ll sing a harmony just on the spot, a lot of off the cuff kind of stuff."
You can also hear Sarah step out on one of the two covers on the CD. "We were trying to find a song for Sarah Versprille to sing because we don’t have that many originals where she gets to sing a lead. I knew this old Staples Singers song ’Let’s Do It Again’ which has such a great vibe. It’s kind of an unknown song; I’ve haven’t heard anybody else do it but I thought it would be a good idea. It turns out that Curtis Mayfield wrote it and I wasn’t surprised when I found that out. It worked out perfectly and everyone who hears it, loves it."
Among the highlights of new originals on "Live!" is "Take The Time," which was "written at the tail end of when we were in the studio working on ’Give Love.’ It was the first song, kind of a gateway, to a whole new breed of songs that we’ve been writing in terms of actually capturing all of the influences of the band in one sound: one nice, round, developed sound. People have responded to it and it’s got an amazing energy. It seems like every time we go and play it, something great happens." It’s kind of like just about every time that the Josh Dion Band takes the stage.
So what’s next? "We are writing and writing and writing. We have a whole batch of new songs and we are looking to go back into the studio with them to start the next studio record. We’re taking that whole new sound that you hear on ’Take The Time’ and want to make that studio album with a vibe that’ll take us into a new realm in the music world."
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