Featured Artist November 2006: Lionel Lodge

I’m getting the biggest kick out of singer-songwriter Lionel Lodge’s live album with Rens Newland and their Rock Quartet. It’s all cover tunes, performed in one of the local vineyards/winebars in Vienna, Austria, where this Canadian expatriate calls home. It starts off with a rollicking version of the Beatles “With A Little Help From My Friends”. As I listened, I noticed that along with the two guitars and drums, the “bass” sounded a little brassy, almost like the “bass” player somehow figured out a way to make little “toot” noises on his instrument. Then I realized (and had confirmed for me by the liner notes) that there was no bass player in this band, but rather, a tuba(!) player (Markus Weissenbach). A tuba! TUBA! These guys know how to have fun, and this is one of those rare live albums that made me feel like I wish I was at that concert. An incredibly successful collection of cover tunes. I’m not a big fan of cover tunes, unless they lend something new to the song. Well, the something new is Lionel’s warm, soulful voice, Rens’ stunning guitar work, the tuba, and the great intangible–the energy produced and shared when good musicians feed off of each other. Lionel and company also paid tribute to REM, Bruce Springsteen, Dr. Hook, and many others. This album has it all!

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