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mountainpicker

Don't miss this band!

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I just got home from seeing Amy Helm (Levon's daughter) and her band at my little, local Center for the Arts and just had to recommend that anyone into Gibson acoustics go see them. The whole band is tight and multi-faceted and Amy's vocals rock, but for me the guy on lead guitar, Dan Littleton, just blew me away. He plays a Banner LG-2 like no one I've ever seen play an acoustic before. Most guys would opt for an electric guitar to get what this guy wrings out of his Gibson...right up to the last fret next to the soundhole! They are touring the intermountain West and I highly recommend catching them if they are in your area. It was one of the most enjoyable evenings of music I've had in a really long time.

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I just got home from seeing Amy Helm (Levon's daughter) and her band at my little, local Center for the Arts and just had to recommend that anyone into Gibson acoustics go see them. The whole band is tight and multi-faceted and Amy's vocals rock, but for me the guy on lead guitar, Dan Littleton, just blew me away. He plays a Banner LG-2 like no one I've ever seen play an acoustic before. Most guys would opt for an electric guitar to get what this guy wrings out of his Gibson...right up to the last fret next to the soundhole! They are touring the intermountain West and I highly recommend catching them if they are in your area. It was one of the most enjoyable evenings of music I've had in a really long time.

 

Luv it. Can you describe the band? Curious... How many people in the band? What instruments? How many harmony singers? How many harmony singers that did not play an instrument? Did Amy play anything or sing only? What was the cover charge? If they sold CD's, what was the price? Did the event have sponsors? Lots of questions, lol, thanks.

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It's a five piece band. The music was as eclectic as The Band in which Amy's father played drums and mandolin. They only did one cover of The Band's music but there was gospel, blues, rock and roll, cajun, and more. Americana is a broad enough description to cover their music. Amy's vocals are strong and right on and she has that chick blues singer range down to a T. The bass player was using one of those new little Kona bassess that you think is going to be a uke, the one with the rubber band strings, and that thing got my attention. Since they are driving to all their western gigs in a car, from Woodstock, NY!, I'm sure that small of a bass is a blessing but the thing cut it no problem. Three of them sing harmony and they started the set with Broken Down Palace and ended with a gospel tune sung acappella. The event was sponsored by the Crested Butte Center for the Arts and it was an embarrassing 20 bucks to get in. The venue only holds 215 people and I've seen a lot of great acts there over the years (watching Leo Kottke play The Fisherman there about fifteen years ago still haunts me). I was about fifteen feet from the stage and the "worst" seat in the house would have been about fifty feet from the stage. But, once again, the lead guitar player was one rippin' animal on that Banner LG. He was going into a pedal board and then his signal went into some kind of box that looked like it dated from the 1940's or '50's, probably some kind of tube thing and then on into a small tube amp that was mic-ed up to the sound guys. He got the most killer tone and he could do it all; rock, blues (like no one's business), cajun, you name it. All the acoustic guitars used soundhole pickups instead of UST's and the tone they were all getting was just perfect for what they were doing. Most impressive, and the best twenty bucks I've spent in a long time.

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It's a five piece band. The music was as eclectic as The Band in which Amy's father played drums and mandolin. They only did one cover of The Band's music but there was gospel, blues, rock and roll, cajun, and more. Americana is a broad enough description to cover their music. Amy's vocals are strong and right on and she has that chick blues singer range down to a T. The bass player was using one of those new little Kona bassess that you think is going to be a uke, the one with the rubber band strings, and that thing got my attention. Since they are driving to all their western gigs in a car, from Woodstock, NY!, I'm sure that small of a bass is a blessing but the thing cut it no problem. Three of them sing harmony and they started the set with Broken Down Palace and ended with a gospel tune sung acappella. The event was sponsored by the Crested Butte Center for the Arts and it was an embarrassing 20 bucks to get in. The venue only holds 215 people and I've seen a lot of great acts there over the years (watching Leo Kottke play The Fisherman there about fifteen years ago still haunts me). I was about fifteen feet from the stage and the "worst" seat in the house would have been about fifty feet from the stage. But, once again, the lead guitar player was one rippin' animal on that Banner LG. He was going into a pedal board and then his signal went into some kind of box that looked like it dated from the 1940's or '50's, probably some kind of tube thing and then on into a small tube amp that was mic-ed up to the sound guys. He got the most killer tone and he could do it all; rock, blues (like no one's business), cajun, you name it. All the acoustic guitars used soundhole pickups instead of UST's and the tone they were all getting was just perfect for what they were doing. Most impressive, and the best twenty bucks I've spent in a long time.

 

Five people in one car, plus gear? What kind of car? Two cars? Seriously, I've love to know!

 

Does she play anything? Can you describe a typical lineup? Kinda like The Band, okay. bass / drums / acoustic guitar / anything else? Did they have electric guitar? Any fiddle, dobro or accordion? Thanks again.

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Five people in one car, plus gear? What kind of car? Two cars? Seriously, I've love to know!

 

Does she play anything? Can you describe a typical lineup? Kinda like The Band, okay. bass / drums / acoustic guitar / anything else? Did they have electric guitar? Any fiddle, dobro or accordion? Thanks again.

 

 

There are a number of mediocre videos of the band posted on youtube, but they give a pretty good idea of what the band is about. A pictures is worth a thousand words........

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Amy said they had driven out but didn't mention the mode of transportation. Coulda been a mini van or '67 Cadillac for all I know. The band consists of a drummer, a bass player who doubled on a Santa Cruz dred, a guy on what looked to be an early model ES-355 or some such Gibson electric, Amy sang and played the mandolin every once in awhile and then Dan Littleton (if I caught it correctly) playing the Banner LG. No fiddle or slide but they didn't need it. It was one of those gigs where the audience and the band really hit it off and it just kept getting better and better as the night progressed. They played for two and a half hours which I don't see happening a lot much anymore. Another sleeper band I've seen recently is Free The Honey; four chicks, all multi-instrumentalists but usually two on fiddle, one guitar, one bass. A very smooth sound and lots of old time music. Local to Colorado but if you get the chance....Great band name too!

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FYI, Daniel Littleton is an upstate NY treasure. He and his wife Elizabeth Mitchell once fronted a band named Ida, who played quiet, sweet folk-based alternative rock/pop that was quite beautiful if too slow for many roots enthusiasts.

 

Elizabeth has gone on to record well-respected children's music and Daniel seems to be playing where he can. We share the same luthier!

 

If anyone knows more about his work, I'm all ears!

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here's a pretty good video showing Amy and her band. like the previous poster stated, the guy playing the lg-2 is outrageous. If anyone has ideas about how he achieves that sound, I'd love to hear about it.... what pedals, etc.

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here's a pretty good video showing Amy and her band. like the previous poster stated, the guy playing the lg-2 is outrageous. If anyone has ideas about how he achieves that sound, I'd love to hear about it.... what pedals, etc.

 

Sounds more like two ES 335's than an ES 335 and an LG-2. Wonder what he's running that LG through?

 

Pretty cool in any case.

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It was last summer that I saw them but from what I remember Dan goes from his soundhole pickup into a pedal board with about three pedals and then the signal goes into this 1950's era box (some kind of attenuator??) that appears to have some tubes and then I presume on to the sound board up in the booth. I remember that during the break he came out and tweaked a dial or two on the mystery box, which didn't have many dials to tweak, but he didn't do it while plucking a string or anything, just some checking of connections, etc. With the rig he had he didn't need an electric guitar as you can hear from the video (thanks for posting that!)and he could get it back to an acoustic sound whenever he wanted. I sat maybe fifteen or twenty feet from him and was just in awe of his tone and his playing.

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