If you wanted to assemble a backing band for your record, you could do worse than gathering the instrumentalists who played on all your favorite records when you were growing up.
That's precisely what Pat McGee managed to do on his latest, eponymous album. McGee, who appears at the Ivywild School this Sunday, Oct. 11, was inspired by the sound of classic rock albums of the 1970s when writing songs for the double album. That in mind, McGee went straight to the source and enlisted the help of drummer Russ Kunkel, bassist Leland Sklar and guitarist Danny Kortchmar. While not necessarily household names, the trio constitutes three-quarters of The Section, the instrumental rock unit who performed on albums by Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Carole King and Warren Zevon, among many others.
For additional '70s points, the album also features appearances by Little Feat guitarist Paul Barrere, prolific multi-instrumentalist Jeff Pevar, and guitarist Robert "Waddy" Wachtel, so one can't say McGee doesn't deliver on this whole premise.
McGee, himself, built a following as the leader of the vigorously touring Pat McGee Band in the mid-'90s, claiming eight studio LPs and a stretch of 98 shows in 103 days; playing for President Bill Clinton; and sharing stages with The Who, The Allman Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, James Taylor, Counting Crows, RatDog and The Band's Levon Helm.
While McGee and his band experienced a tragedy with the sudden passing of founding drummer Chris Williams in 2006, they have soldiered on, continuing to tour, frequently performing for the USO, and offering interesting shows such as "Pat McGee's Ocean State of Mind," a three-day vacation package in Rhode Island that includes intimate acoustic performances by McGee and friends.
Now, for additional notable events of the week:
Venerable alt-metal band Helmet hits the Black Sheep on Wednesday, Oct. 7, for a show commemorating the 20th anniversary of their 1994 album, Betty. (See interview with bandleader Page Hamilton here.)
A night of hip-hop at the Flux Capacitor on Thursday, Oct. 8, features the Seattle-based Sadistik and Graves 33, Oregon's Sapient, Connecticut folk-rapper Ceschi, Boston's Early Adopted, and local punk act Shiii Whaaa, for good measure.
If you're a jazz aficionado, you won't want to miss the Tom Taylor Conundrum on Thursday, Oct. 8, at Ivywild School. The Conundrum plays a bold mix of classical, jazz, bluegrass and rock led by virtuosic guitar work, and Taylor has worked with the Kronos Quartet and the Turtle Island String Quartet. The show will also introduce up-and-coming guitarist Jake Sabetta.
Meanwhile, New York indie-pop quartet X Ambassadors play the Black Sheep on Friday, Oct. 9 (before playing Red Rocks Amphitheatre the next day, incidentally), joined by Los Angeles' R&B-tinged Lostboycrow.
Denver indie six-piece Instant Empire stops by the Flux Capacitor on Friday, Oct. 9, joined by local acts Biskerwhiscuit and Windowshoplifter, the new project of Tango Red Tapestry's Brian Eastin. And that same night at Sunshine Studios, a wide-ranging array of metal bands hit the stage, including California's Alterbeast, England's Malevolence, La Junta's October Skies, and locals Crown Magnetar and White Phantom.
Saturday, Oct. 10, brings the luchador-mask-wearing "surf thrash" guitarist and overall weirdo General Bastard to the Flux Capacitor, joined by Pueblo punk rockers Haj Paj.
Finally, in what will surely be an "energetic" show, to make the understatement of the year, beloved hardcore/thrash band Suicidal Tendencies come to the Black Sheep on Sunday the 11th, joined by California's RETOX and local Indy Music Award winners The Mostly Don'ts.
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