An Apple a day

An Apple a day

Fiona Apple and Nickel Creek? Seductive songstress and sweet ‘n’ proper newgrass? Really? That’s what we thought when we saw the bill for the Pavilion‘s August 4 show. But Nickel Creek’s Sean Watkins tells Feedback that when Fiona began sitting in on the weekly gig that he and his sister have at LA’s Largo, they quickly hit it off. "She’s one of my favorite musicians and singers," he says. "She’s really willing to take a chance." The collaboration went so swimmingly that the two acts decided to join up on tour.

"Why not?" Watkins asks. "We’ve got nothing to lose." True, as the band will go on hiatus after this 2007 fall jaunt, appropriately dubbed the "Farewell (For Now) Tour."

Apple-picking: Nickel Creek celebrate their last hurrah (for now) and invite Fiona along for the ride.

Feedback is excited for the Apple-Creek collaboration, but we’re also eager to see what cover songs the band has in store. In the past they’ve pulled out everything from Britney Spears’ "Toxic" to Pavement’s "Spit on a Stranger." Maybe some Kelly Clarkson? Bowie? Our fingers are crossed.

A video clip of Nickel Creek performing Britney Spears’ "Toxic."

When Starr Hill closed, the remaining music hall shows moved to Satellite Ballroom. But what happened, Feedback wondered, to the cocktail lounge shows? Whether packed in like a sardine for Sarah White‘s amazing CD release party or sipping a Jomo and watching Adam Smith and the Invisible Hand, we loved the lounge’s vibe, so we asked Jeyon Falsini, who had been booking those shows, what’s up.

It was tough, he says, since the venue’s closing orphaned about 20 confirmed dates (and left him jobless), but Falsini has valiantly found new homes for most of those gigs at Outback Lodge, Miller’s and Mono Loco. With booking as a full-time commitment, he plans on setting up more shows at those venues and possibly others.

Seeing Falsini carry on without missing a beat warms our music-loving hearts, but what’s his inspiration? Awesome live shows, of course. Some of his favorite memories include RPG while he was bartending at Atomic ("It took a few tries to remove the footprints off the ceiling"), the late great Phil Gianniny keeping his cool amidst more Atomic chaos ("Have you seen those Westerns where the piano player keeps playing during an all-out bar brawl?") and up-and-comers The Business of Flies rocking the cocktail lounge.

Shawn Decker is all over the place. In a good way. He’s an author, traveling AIDS awareness speaker and vocalist for local synth pop duo Synthetic Division. Feedback met him for a late breakfast to talk about the group’s debut full length, Get with the Programs, and their August 4th CD release show at Outback Lodge. Everything is set for the gig, except maybe the t-shirts. "Hopefully they’ll come in time," Decker says, laughing. "The CDs will be there, though."

Take a listen to "Sign" from Synthetic Division‘s Get with the Programs:
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Courtesy of Synthetic Division – Thank you!

T-shirts or not, Synthetic Division (Decker and Richmond-based beat-master Kyle Wiggins) will get you moving. Feedback is really into our copy of the album. It’s got a heavy Depeche Mode vibe (we dig) and includes a Tori Amos cover and a guest appearance by In TenebrisChristina Fleming ("We were inspired by Lauren Hoffman‘s vocals on Bella Morte‘s record," Decker says). The CD even comes with Synthetic Division condoms, a nod to Decker’s HIV education advocacy, but also, we think, to the fact that the tunes are quite sexy.

Nelson County blues prodigy Eli Cook just keeps sizzling. He’s featured in the latest issue of Guitar Player magazine and has landed another gig with B.B. King at Portsmouth’s Ntelos Pavilion on August 10 (he opened for the "King of Blues" back in February at the Paramount).

Charlottesville’s Ryan Adams craving has only grown since his July 10 show fell through, so much so that Starr Hill Presents has added a second Paramount show on September 14, the day after the rescheduled gig. Tickets go on sale August 3 at 10am.

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