live session

Kopecky Family Band, Live Session #112

by oz on April 17, 2013

Kopecky Family Band

My discovery of Kopecky Family Band happened during one of those serendipitous moments at South By Southwest a couple/few years ago. I was at South Congress, walking in an alley behind Yard Dog Art Gallery to get to my next destination, when I heard some sweet music sounds coming from a small stage near a keg full of free beer. Never one to pass down free beers, I filled up a cup of Shiner Bock and settled in for a set from a band I’d never seen – Kopecky Family Band. It was one of my favorite SXSW discoveries – and completely accidental.

The band is Kelsey Kopecky (vocals, keys, bass), Gabe Simon (vocals, guitar, horns), Steven Holmes (guitar, lap steel), David Krohn (drums), Markus Midkiff (cello, guitar, keys), and Corey Oxendine (bass, guitar, horns). As you probably noticed by the last names, they are not blood relatives. Earlier this month, the band released Kids Raising Kids via ATO Records and it’s a fantastic body of work. The complexity in many of their songs is masked by the band’s chemistry and cohesive delivery and, as many of their fans will attest, their live shows bring the songs to life and are not to be missed.

The Nashville band is about to hit the road with tour dates listed through the end of August. Give a listen here and get on out to the rock show.


Kopecky Family Band Introduction

Exclusive: Kopecky Family Band – The Glow

Exclusive: Kopecky Family Band – Are You Listening

Exclusive: Kopecky Family Band – Angry Eyes

Download the Kopecky Family Band Live Session as a zip file.


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Bahamas, Live Session #111

by oz on March 26, 2013

One of my fondest memories at SxSW 2012 was watching Bahamas at Antones at noon on Wednesday with a crowd of about 40 people. I attended with Woody, who was not yet a Bahamas fan. As Bahamas founder and lead singer, Afie Jurvanen, demonstrated his impeccable guitar skills on his electric Strat, Woody began to light up. As if sensing that Woody was converting, Afie seemed to stare directly at him as he crooned into the microphone. Woody leaned over slowly and whispered “He’s singing straight into my soul right now.”

We had a quick laugh and then were entranced with an incredible half-hour set by Bahamas. The tone of Afie’s guitar was overshadowed by the tone of his silky smooth vocals which are accented by his band of angelic backup singers and gentle percussion from Jason Tait, who previously played with the Weakerthans, Broken Social Scene and the FemBots. It was after that set that we met Afie and tentatively booked a session for a TBD date in the future in Chicago.

The session is pure magic. All the musicians in one room and only one microphone. This is what live sessions are about – simplicity and unbridled talent at the epicenter. The songs represent a mix of both Bahamas albums, Pink Strat and Barchords, released by Jack Johnson’s label Brushfire Records. And you’ll get a bit of that beach vibe when listening to Bahamas, but Afie’s Canadian roots somehow make his albums all-season affairs, suitable for both summer barbecues and winter nights by the fire. Take a dip into the session and check out those albums. If Bahamas doesn’t break like the Lumineers at some point soon, I’ll be shocked.


Bahamas Band Introduction

Exclusive: Bahamas – Already Yours

Exclusive: Bahamas – Till The Morning

Exclusive: Bahamas – Montreal

Exclusive: Bahamas – Southern Drawl

Download the Bahamas Live Sessions as a zip file.




Patterson Hood is responsible for this music blog existing. We’ve probably never told the story, but Woody and I met at a business event in Chicago where things like insurance, mortgage, real estate, home security systems, outsourced HR, search engine optimization or similar such bullshit was being discussed. I think we were both wearing slacks. As we were filling up our coffee cups, one of us asked the other what we were into in real life. “I like music” said the other. “What type of music?” asked the other. “Have you ever heard of Drive-By Truckers…”

Have you ever heard of Drive-By Truckers? That became my qualifier for anyone that I met at a party or on an airplane if music entered conversation. I’d ask a stranger, “What type of music do you like?” and they’d reply, “I like everything!” When they asked me, I’d say “Have you heard of a band called Drive-By Truckers?” On one or two occasions I got a “yes” response. I still keep in touch with those people.

So Patterson Hood walking through the doors of Shirk Music + Sound to lay down a HearYa session? Kind of like Justin Beiber walking into an all-girls middle school. Patterson Hood’s side projects have always been worthwhile departures from his core DBT body of work and with each album, he has matured as a solo artist. For me, last year’s Heat Lightning Rumbles In The Distance  proved that Patterson Hood can firmly stand on his own. It shows that his songwriting isn’t restricted to the southern rock DBT sound and that he can weave in graceful piano ballads and deeply moving (and very personal lyrics) without making the die hard Truckers fans flinch. At the session, Woody asked Patterson about why he decided to use the piano as a centerpiece on Heat Lightning and his response was simple: “Because I have Jay.”

The Downtown Rumblers include the aforementioned Jay Gonzalez and Brad Morgan from DBT, Page and Claire Campbell from an Athens band called Hope For a Golden Summer, and Jacob Morris on cello. The songs performed in session with us are three of my favorites from the album – “Come Back Little Star” was on of my favorites all year. It was co-written by Kelly Hogan in tribute to the tragic loss of their friend and Athens music icon, Vic Chesnutt, who died in 2009. I’ll leave you with the opening lines and you can hear the rest below.

Heaven blue eyes
Those long black lashes
Razor tongue and Southern drawl
Pouring out like molasses
That trail of silver mercury
To show us all where you’ve been
You always have a drink in your hand
But your liver ain’t what it used to be

I’m really not mad
I’m just trying hard to understand
We both had these dreams too long
to let them slip through your hands
I’ve had a drink or two myself to control the sting
This town got blown to tatters
when you traded in your wheels for wings


Patterson Hood & The Downtown Rumblers Intro

Exclusive: Patterson Hood – Disappear

Exclusive: Patterson Hood – Heat Lightning Rumbles In The Distance

Exclusive: Patterson Hood – Come Back Little Star

Download the Patterson Hood & The Downtown Rumblers Session as a zip file.



Kopecky Family Band caught our attention in the fall of 2012 with the release of  Kids Raising Kids.  And after countless listens it became one of my most listened to albums of the year and we placed it in HearYa’s Top 50 albums of 2012.   Songs like My Way, Angry Eyes, Hope and The Glow  get regular airplay in my house.  The bridge section of The Glow in particular might be my favorite minute of anthemic indie-pop bliss to be released in 2012.

So when the Kopecky Family Band came through Chicago last October, we were excited to have them in for a HearYa Live Session.  Here is the first video from the session  – the rest is coming soon. Be sure to check them out as they headline Schubas this Saturday (1/26/13).  It’ll be my first time seeing them in concert and I’ve heard nothing but great things about their energy on stage.

Note: You may have noticed a slow release cycle with our recent HearYa Live Sessions.  I apologize for that.  Know that we’ve been hard at work and have big plans for 2013.  Next month we’re relocating SHIRK music + sound studios to a larger facility here in Chicago and ramping up our partnership with StubHub! as our official HearYa Live Session sponsor.  Sessions with Patterson Hood and Bahamas are due to be released very soon.


Yellow Ostrich, Session #109

January 11, 2013

A couple of years back when Yellow Ostrich (aka Alex Schaaf) released his excellent debut, The Mistress, I read about how it was self recorded at his home using laptops, loops, etc.  When laptops enter the picture, I usually head for the door so I initially ignored Yellow Ostrich. Fast forward a year or so […]

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River Whyless, Live Session #107

October 19, 2012

The last time I see River Whyless I was in Austin, Texas for SxSW 2012. It was a Wednesday afternoon, which is typically my favorite day of that week. I’ve just arrived in town with fresh legs and a grin on my face as I prepare to see a hundred bands and meet up with […]

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Lindsay Fuller, Live Session #104

July 2, 2012

Words I use to describe Lindsay Fuller’s debut album You, Anniversary: Aching. Heartbreaking. Devastating. Haunting. Beautiful. The album is paradoxical with dark subject matter enveloped in a sound that is warm and inviting, like Gillian Welch singing passages from Edgar Allen Poe. If you’re unfamiliar with Lindsay Fuller, I’d urge you not to listen until […]

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Heartless Bastards, Live Session #101

April 25, 2012

On day one of SXSW, Heartless Bastards gave us one of our best memories. If you’ve ever been to SXSW, you know to expect your fair share of problems – venues with awful acoustics, sound problems, and laptop failures for the hipster bands. You expect issues in parking lots set up as makeshift stages, but […]

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Alabama Shakes, Live Session #100

April 3, 2012

The Alabama Shakes have been on quite the ride over the last year. They emerged from relatively unknown status to an opening slot for Jack White. We were lucky enough to have them in studio this past December as they were in the midst of their meteoric rise. While Alabama Shakes continue to develop, they […]

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Alabama Shakes “Hold On” Official Video (is our live session video)

April 2, 2012

Alabama Shakes have just released he official video for “Hold On,” the first single from their debut album Boys & Girls, which will be released on April 10th. The band selected our live session track and video as their official video. We’re all smiles. Keep an eye out for the full session any day now. Tweet

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