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Through the Lens

Focusing on the finest roots music photography

Amos lives in West Virginia, where he works with Mountain Stage and takes stunning photographs of live music performances.

Through the Lens

Focusing on the finest roots music photography

Amos lives in West Virginia, where he works with Mountain Stage and takes stunning photographs of live music performances.

The ND Photographers Choose their Outstanding Live Performances of 2016

I'm late to the party, but 2016 was an outstanding year for year for live music for me - the best in recent memory. I've narrowed my standouts down to four acts, all American.

Gillian Welch / Dave Rawlings Machine

Dave and Gillian toured Australia for the first time in more than a decade, to the delight of a devoted and sizeable following. I took in four shows over twelve days in three cities, and it was just enough. The duo known as Gillian Welch played the first half of the tour and DRM the second. (The final show, in Melbourne, featured both formats, plus Willie Watson solo and the trio of Haas Kowert Tice.)

The Tedeschi Trucks Band

This band is at the top of their game. On their previous Oz tour, TTB looked and sounded tired, and their set list was a little stale. At Bluesfest Byron Bay at Easter they played a full two hour set on the opening Thursday night, and another 90 minutes on Saturday. All up, they played 28 songs – without a single repeat. They were simply superb. There are few current groups that marshal so much talent, dedication, taste and obvious esprit de corps.

Rhiannon Giddens

More by good luck than good management, I saw Rhiannon Giddens four times in a little over a week, at two festivals, five hundred miles apart. She is simply breathtaking. Despite the postponement of her Broadway debut (with the cancelation of “Shuffle Along”) it was a very good year for Rhiannon Giddens. Again, more by luck than planning, I caught the live stream of her Austin City Limits recording, which was outstanding. As write, her acting debut on CMT’s “Nashville” has just aired. Looking forward to seeing Ms Giddens back in Australia in 2017.

Punch Brothers

Like Dave Rawlings Machine, Punch Brothers is something of a “supergroup” – and they share Paul Kowert, who must be busiest bass man on the planet. Dressed up and gathered around a single Neumann microphone, Punch Brothers evoke classic bluegrass while delivering a refined fusion of that genre, plus jazz, classical and pop, all delivered with humour and polish. I can’t imagine a better way to see this band – with good friends in third row seats, centre stage, at Melbourne’s gorgeous (and acoustically awesome) Elisabeth Murdoch Hall. I didn’t have a camera, but managed to get this souvenir shot with my iPhone, and it’s one of my favourite images of 2016.

 

 

 

 

And 'best new talent' goes to St Paul and the Broken Bones. Their singer, Paul Janeway, is a force of nature. They were the standout new band at Bluesfest Byron Bay (widely acknlowledged as the best ever Bluesfest) and the act signed for 2017.