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A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

Topic: Tractor Tavern

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May 12, 2014 at 12:51 AM

Sarah Jarosz thrills packed Tractor | Concert review

Sarah Jarosz played the Tractor Tavern Friday night. Photo by Scott Simontacchi.

Sarah Jarosz played the Tractor Tavern Friday night. Photo by Scott Simontacchi.

If playing the last show of a month-long West Coast tour had Sarah Jarosz feeling worn out, she hid it well Friday night at the Tractor Tavern.

Jarosz was effervescent as her talented roots trio delighted the sold-out room with a choice blend of sublime bluegrass skill and Jarosz’s mature ear for songwriting. And it seems that many of Jarosz’s peers—the Grammy-nominated singer and multi-instrumentalist is just 22—were interested in seeing her play, as there were plenty of younger people to balance out the decidedly older crowd.


| More in Americana, Country, Folk | Topics: Sarah Jarosz, Tractor Tavern

April 25, 2014 at 6:31 AM

What the Shook Twins do: make great music | Concert preview

It’s entirely appropriate that Portland’s Shook Twins, who play the Tractor Tavern Friday, April 25, named their vibrant new studio offering “What We Do.”

After churning out three studio albums and two live records in six years, making good music is, indeed, what Idaho natives Katelyn and Laurie Shook “do.”

“It feels really good, like it’s got some steam and momentum,” said the band’s lead singer, Katelyn, of the new album. “We’re really proud of it.”


Comments | More in Americana, Folk, Rock/Pop | Topics: "What We Do", Concert Preview, The Shook Twins

April 21, 2014 at 12:01 PM

Old sounds made new at the Tractor | Concert review

St. Paul and the Broken Bones played the Tractor Tavern Saturday with Radio Raheem.

St. Paul and the Broken Bones played the Tractor Tavern Saturday with Radio Raheem.

Neo-soul band St. Paul and the Broken Bones’ first time playing in the state of Washington was Saturday, and a sold-out crowd at the Tractor Tavern rewarded the Birmingham, Ala., band for their journey by showering them with affection.

It was a night of old sounds made new, especially with Seattle band Radio Raheem opening things up. They’re a quirky outfit that mashes together everything from 80s music and a little rap with a little neo-soul/funk vibe. It’s a mouthful, but it’s reflective of the band’s multiple influences, all built around highlighting frontwoman Josie Howell’s commanding vocals. 


Comments | More in Blues, R & B/Hip-hop, Rock/Pop | Topics: radio raheem, st. paul and the broken bones, Tractor Tavern

March 27, 2014 at 2:19 PM

Indie rock and rumble at the Tractor | Concert review

The Lonely Wild played the Tractor Tavern Wednesday.

The Lonely Wild played the Tractor Tavern Wednesday.

The Tractor Tavern billed its Wednesday show as “Indie Night,” which isn’t quite descriptive enough for our purposes. Sonic earthquake would be more accurate.

It’s not rare to find bands that are loud, but catching two groups on opposite ends of the Wall of Sound spectrum was a treat. First up was the nuanced avalanche of sound from Nashville, the Apache Relay, and the satisfying jangle of “Growing Pains,” from the band’s 2014 self-titled album. 


Comments | More in Americana, Rock/Pop | Topics: the apache relay, the lonely wild, Tractor Tavern

February 8, 2014 at 1:27 PM

Morrison and West celebrate new album Sunday at the Tractor | Concert preview

Cahalen Morrison and Eli West record their new album, "I'll Swing My Hammer With Both Hands," with Tim O'Brien.

Cahalen Morrison and Eli West record their new album, “I’ll Swing My Hammer With Both Hands,” with Tim O’Brien.

When Cahalen Morrison was introduced to Eli West upon moving to Seattle from New Mexico, he formed his first meaningful musical partnership in his new home.

Both men have gone on to numerous other projects independent of each other, but they always seem to return and released their third studio album, “I’ll Swing My Hammer With Both Hands,” on Feb. 4. The duo will celebrate the album’s release at the Tractor Tavern Sunday night with Ruth Moody. 


Comments | More in Americana, Country | Topics: cahalen morrison, eli west, tim o'brien

February 3, 2014 at 12:05 AM

The Maldives kick off Tractor’s 20th anniversary | Concert review

The Maldives. Photo by Hayley Young.

The Maldives. Photo by Hayley Young.

Seattle alt-country staples The Maldives helped the Tractor Tavern celebrate its 20th anniversary with a pair of packed shows over the weekend. The Friday-Saturday bill marked the first in a planned series of concerts by artists with longtime ties to the Ballard venue.

The Maldives threw down the gauntlet on Friday night with a tight set that will be tough to match. Appropriately, the band got things rolling on Friday with “The Time Is Right Now,” a perfect example of the kind of layered, atmospheric roots rock that is their calling card. 


Comments | More in Country, Rock/Pop | Topics: the maldives, Tractor Tavern

January 27, 2014 at 1:13 AM

Potent Shelby Earl celebrates vinyl ‘Swift Arrows’ release | Concert review


Shelby Earl celebrated the vinyl re-release of 2013’s “Swift Arrows” at the Tractor Tavern Saturday.

Shelby Earl’s tight set at the Tractor Tavern Saturday celebrating the vinyl re-release of last year’s “Swift Arrows” didn’t offer too many revelatory moments. After all, Damien Jurado-produced album — aside from a couple new songs released on wax only — is familiar and remains very good.

What seems new is Earl’s confidence and command on stage, which was apparent from the first words of “The Seer” all the way through her signature song “Sea of Glass.”  Even her normally powerful voice had an increased potency to it, or so it seemed as it came through the PA quite hot during the first few songs until Earl got things worked out with the sound board.

It’s not like Earl is new to the business of playing in front of people. Far from it. But there was a definite shift and it gave added meaning to “This Is Me Now” and “Grown Up Things,” a couple of prickly songs that Earl used to remind the crowd she’s not afraid to tackle heavy subjects. “Look out, look out, s–t’s getting real,” Earl sang as her band growled away, offering it as much as a threat than as a warning. 


Comments | More in Americana, Folk, Rock/Pop | Topics: Shelby Earl, Tractor Tavern

January 24, 2014 at 1:14 PM

Nashville indie darlings Wild Cub tear up the Tractor | Concert review

Wild Cub was at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard Thursday night.

Wild Cub was at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard Thursday night.

The Nashville indie rock scene is getting plenty of attention these days, and rightly so. It takes just a cursory listen to the “Nashville Indie Spotlight” album available on Spotify and iTunes to realize that Music City has more to offer than simply country music.

While electropop rockers Wild Cub weren’t one of the 30 bands featured on the spotlight, it’s just proof of how deep the scene is. Fresh off the major re-release of their self-released 2013 album “Youth” and an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel, Wild Cub treated a sold-out Tractor Tavern to an intense, if brief, dance party Thursday night.


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Tractor Tavern, wild cub

January 24, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Ash brings stadium-sized sound to tiny Tractor | Concert preview


Northern Irishmen Ash have been making music together since 1992. They’ll play Seattle Monday. Photo by Karen McBride.

From sensation to slump to comeback story, Northern Ireland’s Ash has lived many lives since forming in 1992. Remarkably, frontman Tim Wheeler, bass player Mark Hamilton and drummer Rick McMurray are still only in their mid-30s. The band kicks off its first U.S. tour in nine years Monday at Ballard’s Tractor Tavern.

Like many groups, Ash began in a small-town garage.

“We were trying to play metal,” Hamilton remembers. “Then, Nirvana came along and showed us you didn’t have to be technically amazing to play your songs. We loosened up, stuck to the melodies, didn’t think about solos as much… just bashed it out.”

Their timing was excellent. Following Nirvana’s left-field success, record execs combed the world’s regional scenes for the Next Big Thing, throwing bands against the wall and seeing which stuck.

Unlike most, Ash stuck.


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: alternative, rock, Tractor Tavern

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