Sunday, December 11, 2011

Good Times and Good Tunes at the Heavy Anchor—12/9/2011

Music lovers got a treat this Friday night as three up-and-coming singer/songwriters put their unique music on display at The Heavy Anchor on Gravois.  Two local musicians, Jon Tree and Andy Hyland, co-billed with traveling songstress Abbi Rajesakhar making for a variety of styles and moods throughout the night.

I got the opportunity to talk with each musician after the performance to get a little insight into their style and influences as well as what lies in their immediate futures.

Jon Tree
Jon Tree was the first to take the stage. Eccentric without losing accessibility, Jon’s tunes consist of contemplative lyrics over dynamic chord changes—at times rolling, at times punchy and staccato.  His style puts one in the mind of an early 90s grunge act’s acoustic set minus the teenage abandon.  He says he’s interested in creating music that could be described as “sophisticated grunge”, aspiring to the jazz maxim, “never play the same phrase twice.”

Jon will be playing drums with another up-and-coming singer/songwriter, Mark Brainnard but says he’s most concerned with perfecting his own music.  You can find more information on Jon, his music and his upcoming shows on his facebook page;
However, Jon is still recording so, to give him a listen, you’ll have to hear him live.

Andy Hyland
You could call the second act on Friday’s bill a bluesman and you would be entirely correct!  To be more descriptive, you might say that Andy Hyland is a growling, groaning, shuffling, sliding, flat picking, harmonica playing animal. 

Andy’s skill is homegrown.  He is self-taught and readily admits that he hasn’t had much music theory.  But for Andy, the blues isn’t something you learn to play; it’s something that springs up from the gut—something felt as much as played.  And in listening to his records or watching him live, whether he’s playing a cover or an original, whether the song has those mournful blues lyrics or is one of his instrumental masterpieces, the emotion is palpable, exactly as it ought to be.

Catch Andy at Lemmon’s on January 7th with No Man's Law, Insomniac Folklore, and Han Ma and the Camaros.  You can find more information on Andy, his blues, and his performance schedule on his facebook page.
And be sure to check out his original tunes on reverbnation.

Abbi Rajesakhar
You hear a lot of songs celebrating the rambling man, extolling that always-on-the-move lifestyle so near and dear to the heart of the musician.  With her dedicated habit of touring at least one week out of every month—supported only by the take at the door, cd sales, and the kindness of strangers—Abbi Rajesakhar certainly qualifies to be fitted with the moniker “rambling woman.”  Her stop at The Heavy Anchor as headliner this past Friday was fourth in her December tour, after Fort Wayne, IN, Kalimazoo, MI, and Beloit, WI.  She ended her tour Saturday with a gig in Chicago, IL.

Abbi has the kind of voice and sings the kinds of songs that make you ask, “How is it that this person isn’t all over the radio?”  Much of Abbi’s strength comes from the variety she presents as a singer and musician.  The vibe of her music spans the gap from energetic and upbeat to subdued and somber.  As a singer, she shifts effortlessly from powerful belts to soft croons.  Her subject matter reaches from the heights of love and optimism to the pits of heartbreak.  The one constant is her masterful lyricism.  Abbi writes about life as she experiences it and says that she finds the songs that apply most closely to her personal life are those that stick with fans the best.

Abbi is currently booking for the early part of 2012.  You can find more information on Abbi, buy her albums, and hear her tunes at her website.

The performance area of The Heavy Anchor-- a small theatre with adjustable seating and a stage elevated about three feet-- is suitable for showcases like this past Friday's as well as full band performances.  All three artists had praise for the venue.  Both Andy and Jon complimented the talents of the sound operator, saying he was very attentive to what the artist is hearing in the monitors.  You can view the The Heavy Anchor's event calendar at their website,

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