by Dan Schram
We return to our Simple Music Video Series with a February performance by John Howie Jr. & The Rosewood Bluff with Mandolin Orange. Here, Howie is backed by drummer Matt Brown, who passed away last month. On Sunday, June 3, a benefit concert at the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw will assist Brown's family. Here's what Peter Blackstock had to say about the show in this week's Independent Weekly.
When drummer Matt Brown passed away April 25 from a heart attack at age 42, it hit home with a lot of people, and affected quite a few bands. Here's one way to measure how important a musician is to his community: Among my duties at the Indy is updating our live music calendar, and in May, I started seeing quite a few previously booked shows falling off of various venues' listings. Baron Von Rumblebuss was suddenly missing from the ArtsCenter's schedule. John Howie Jr. & the Rosewood Bluff canceled a Casbah appearance. Stratocruiser disappeared from a booking at the Cave. There were others, too, all hit by the same thing: Matt was their drummer, and now they had to readjust to a future without him.
No one has a harder challenge in facing that future than Brown's wife and two young children, and so this show was organized on what would have been Matt's 43rd birthday as a way to raise funds for his family, with performances by more than a dozen bands he played with. Headlining are two of honky-tonk singer John Howie's bands—the Rosewood Bluff and a reunited Two Dollar Pistols—along with visiting luminary Grant Hart (formerly of Hüsker Dü), whom Brown had backed on recent visits to the area. And there's more, lots more, all the acts missing a heartbeat in their lineup without Brown's presence, but remembering him through their music: The Venables, The Independents, Stratocruiser, Baron Von Rumblebuss, Randy Whitt, Pagan Hellcats, The Kinksmen, The Jaybirds, The High & Mighties, 40 Oz., Brian Hill and Project Mastana. The event runs from 4 p.m. to midnight; suggested donation is $5, and there'll be T-shirts, posters and music for sale as well, with proceeds to going to Brown's family.
The purpose of the Independent Weekly's Simple Music Video Series is to capture local and touring musicians who we feel are producing something special. The hope is to capture something very simple in order to mirror the experience of viewing a performance as if you were in a small crowd watching a quiet set. We hope for content of the music to be the primary focus of the series, not multiple camera angles meant to keep the viewer guessing and entertained.
Most bands featured in the series will be a sample of the deep pool of talent in the Triangle, while others will represent some of our touring favorites. Through the series, some local acts will cover songs by other local acts. Here, Howie and company cover "Almost Hear the Blues," by Stonewall Jackson of Tabor City, N.C.