REVIEWS & AUDIENCE FEEDBACK
Long Road @ Nighttown 3/31/12
Reviewed by Elsa Johnson & Victor Lucas
We go out to hear live music about three times a year, but last Saturday we followed up on a longstanding personal relationship with David Budin and went to hear his group, Long Road, at Night Town.
We were already familiar with the group’s website and their credo, “Cleveland’s favorite — and only — ’60′s-style folk group… making old songs new (and new songs sound old).” And, given the group’s vintage, we weren’t surprised at the audience, nearly all aged 60-plus, like us.
We were the people our parents warned us about and there we were, 40 or 50 years later, all of us looking pretty straight, pretty respectable.
As the six musicians tuned up, we tried unsuccessfully to identify all the stringed instruments that crowded the stage. Budin on guitar, vocals, and comedy, towering Raymond DeForest on upright bass and vocals. Everyone else — Celia Hollander Lewis, Charlie Lewis, Kevin Richards, and Bob Sandham — played too many stringed instruments to name and also did vocals. No drums or percussion.
At 8:21 pm — before the official 8:30 starting time — the house lights came down and the band smiled and sang “Earthly Pleasures,” a country-pop song that we couldn’t place. We smiled, too. Nice harmonies in the chorus. John Denver? Later we saw the set list and learned that “Earthly Pleasures” was written in 1978 by Baxter Shadowfield, Budin’s old stage name.
Then Celia Lewis sang lead vocals on “The Water Is Wide,” the English ballad from the 1600s. David Krauss of Tiny Alice (remember them?) guested on harmonica.
Budin sang lead on “Loving Arms,” a pop hit from 1974.
DeForest brought his fine bass voice out for “Well, Well, Well,” a folk song written by Bob Gibson in the early ’60s. References to Noah’s flood and the fire next time struck a welcome note with us. What kind of folk song concert would this be without dire warnings of apocalypse? Maybe next they’ll play an anti-war song!
But no. The next song, we later learned, was “Shelly’s Blues,” written in the late ’60s by former Monkee Mike Nesmith.
Budin’s guitar licks at the beginning of Bruce Springsteen’s “Pink Cadillac” were the most rock and roll moments of the concert. Interesting how difficult it is to sustain syncopated dance rhythms with all stringed instruments. Did you ever try dancing at a Grateful Dead concert?
But maybe if you knew the “Turkey Trot” you could have danced to “Dallas Rag,” a 1920s instrumental led by Kevin Richards on mandolin. We can’t get enough of our digitally remastered recordings of Louis Armstrong in 1929 and if contemporary musicians will take us back further, we’re all ears.
Next it was a mostly a cappella version of James Taylor’s “Close Your Eyes.” Then Merle Haggard’s “Workingman Blues” and by golly the first set was over.
We hung around for a while, talking to some people we knew, some we didn’t. Remember La Cave on Euclid Avenue in the ’60s? When’s the last time you went to Beachland Ballroom?
We were genuinely impressed with Long Road’s musicianship and their ability to make something fresh out of moldy oldies. Budin’s humor made us laugh more than once and the band cranked through the set with no dead air.
It was only 9:20 pm but already coming up on our bedtime. We drove home, mulling over Long Road’s concert. Maybe the second set had biting political commentary and psychedelia, but nobody started early in the ’60s.
Cool Cleveland, February 25, 2009
The band made up of all strings, including a variety of guitars, harps, and mandolins; a pedal steel, and an upright bass. Almost everyone took a turn at lead vocals, backed by beautiful harmonies and really fine musicianship.
The players in Long Road go back many years both together and separately; all have impressive musical histories. Budin's dates back to the late 60's and the local folk scene around the legendary La Cave club. He spent some time as a part of the New York City music scene in the 1970's. Bassist Ray DeForest has played with a who's who of Cle musicians over the last 30 years -- performing everything under the folk, rock, jazz, and blues umbrellas. Charlie and Celia Hollander Lewis often perform as a folk and bluegrass duo based in Athens, Ohio. Kevin Richards amongst many things is the founder of both the Fairmont School of Music and the Roots of American Music program. Robert Sandham is another long time local folk musician who has worked with John Bassette and Alex Bevan. He is also currently a church pastor. Together they make wonderful music.
The group's set list at Nighttown Sunday night featured songs from several different eras and genres. Amongst the highlights -- Donovan's "Catch the Wind"; Bob Dylan's "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" with some fancy country guitar playing; a haunting version of Nanci Griffith's "Gulf Coast Highway" with Celia and Charlie Lewis doing the vocals; and an equally haunting version of James Keelaghan's "Cold Missouri Waters" about a 1949 wildfire in Montana. Amongst the surprises were acoustic versions of the rock standards "The Letter" and "Strange Brew." My favorite song of the evening was their version of Marty Robbins' "El Paso," with Charlie Lewis on lead vocal and almost everyone adding some sort of string solo along the way.
While strings were being tuned and guitars were being changed between songs, Budin kept the show going with short little monologues on everything from musical history to current events. His soliloquy on cheese that costs $19 a pound at the Whole Foods Market was exceptionally entertaining.
Long Road has at least four, and maybe a few more, shows planned for 2009, including two events at Cain Park this summer. For more about Long Road check out their website http://www.longroadsongs.com.
And if Long Road's track record is any indication, that cheese at Whole Foods will be more expensive than the tickets to those shows.
Cool Cleveland, January 30, 2008
"It's great to be back in Cleveland Heights," was the first thing out of David Budin's mouth when his band Long Road hit the bandstand at Nighttown on a beautiful Monday evening this week to do an eclectic collection of songs ranging from 1935's I'm In The Mood for Love, to Crowded House's Don't Dream It's Over to a Budin original We Don't Have To Be In Love, to newer stuff by Nanci Griffith & Mark Knopfler. Songs were presented as if they had been "curated" by Budin, without the stuffy anthropological feel that such an evening might have engendered. Budin, who writes regularly for Cool Cleveland helped the already-comfy vibe of Nighttown with his hilarious between-song banter. While the songs were the thing, the band's non-slick professionalism endeared itself to the standing-room sold-out crowd (a return date is being planned). With Budin (guitar, vocals), Kevin Richards (acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, vocals), Bob Sandham (acoustic and electric guitars and vocals), and Ray DeForest (bass) showcasing their instrumental prowess, and no less than four lead vocalists in combo with backing vocals, the group's versatility lent variety to their sound.
(after opening for America:)
Great show last night. I enjoyed you far more than America.
– Chris K.
Long Road sounded great last night and David was hilarious as usual. We thoroughly enjoyed the performance. For our money we preferred listening to you over the main act (America).
– Jim M.
Great show. Sounded fantastic. Great mix. Great play list.
– Dan G.
You were a class-act opener. Loved everything you did. Your time flew by too quickly. I wanted more, and I shall have more; I'll be at your next concert. Thanks for helping to make a great evening. – Elaine M.
We were sitting on the lawn and LOVED the concert last week. We were SOOO hysterical from your humor. – Sue C.
Great job, David. I am mostly working during the shows at Nighttown, but I kept having to stop and listen. What a great group! - Brendan Ring [Nighttown’s owner]
Loved the evening. Everyone is still talking about it and looking forward to Cain Park. - Elona G.
It was certainly our pleasure, as always. [My husband] especially loved last night’s selection. You guys are musically superior -- it’s such a treat to be with you all. The Chagrin Falls contingent loved it. - Chris H.
It was a wonderful concert, it quenched a thirst!! Do it again!!!! – Mattie D.
The concert was wonderful! Not only are you individually talented, but your group, the selections, and sound was fun throughout. – Steve G.
I bumped into several of the concert-goers this morning and they were still saying how much they enjoyed the concert. – Brian L.
Long Road was, as usual, fantastic! Our guests, who had never seen you before, loved the show, as did we! – Steve. T.
It was a wonderful musical night, and I always learn something new. Thank you for a great night. – Joan H.
A great evening!! Thanks Long Road. Don't ever stop!
– Laurie A.
Fantastic concert Saturday! I think it was the best yet. The harmonies and groove of the entire group were so tight and smooth. Could have listened all night. – Liza G.
Everyone in my group greatly enjoyed the concert Tuesday evening. With the 10 from the [church auction] plus the other five friends who came, we filled up 15 seats in Row F. There were several in this bunch who said they are fans of folk music but they were not previously aware of Long Road. I guess I’ll have to think about [buying Long Road tickets for the auction] next year. And since you now have several more groupies, maybe I’ll have to get more tickets. It could be a challenge, though: From my vantage point it appeared to be a full house, so the competition for tickets appears to be heating up. – Brian
Thank you! It was a beautiful evening filled with great music. Looking forward to the next show! – Lynne
Just wanted to drop you a quick line and let you know that we really enjoyed the show last night. You guys are good, no BS. And what a great chance to hear singer/songwriter music live. I don't know anywhere else we could catch that kind of music and performance. It was great. Thank you. – Matt
We all thoroughly enjoyed the music, stories, and jokes last night. Sorry for always being late to these Long Road nights at Cain Park. These 7p.m. starts have me leaving work early and I'm still late. The only other reason I will leave work early is for the High Holy Days ... so now you know how important this night is for me each year. – Dan
The show last night was absolutely spectacular. I loved it so much. It was just wonderful. Wonderful. Every time I hear you you’re better – and better and better. I can’t imagine your being better than you are now. I can’t wait till your next performance. Your harmonies, the blend of your voices, and the incredible musicianship of everyone up there. It was tight; it was beautiful; it was real. it was just an amazing experience.– Linda G.
Celia’s voice is a gift from God. Beautiful; magical. The intricate thing about music is that it means something. It is essential that people who play music are able to grip the listeners who hear it; I mean, otherwise - what's the point?? And when I have heard you and your excellent cast of characters sing songs, ah, I just go home at night a better person. What you are doing is stellar. I thank you all for a spectacular evening, great show, cherished memories (for real) and positive hopes for the future. – Tim M.
We really enjoyed another performance of Long Road. What a great selection of songs: from “Zorro,” the Beatle tunes, Bob's instrumental, your stories, the balance of instruments. It was all good. All of us enjoyed the show and can't wait to hear you again. – Jim M.
I really enjoyed the entire show – great harmonizing, wonderful musicianship. And I definitely liked the Beatles songs. The group did them beautifully. It's such a treat to see you all perform together. – Kathy D.
Very talented people in the Long Road band – and with smooth, amazing vocals! Pleasure to partake! Witticisms and stories included! – Cynthia B.
The show was great! We all really enjoyed ourselves.–Steve T.
I REALLY enjoyed hearing Long Road on Monday. Entertaining intros and info, very talented musicians and great singing. Good job! – Evie M.
It was a wonderful, relaxing experience for my sister and me to sit and listen to Long Road at Nighttown on Monday evening. The room was filled with amazing smooth vocals and awesome music. Your natural wit and story telling thrown in between the tunes was really enjoyable! The music was unique, pure and very special and we were happy to partake in this event. Really enjoyed the bass player, and all the artists were superb. A great evening had by all!!! – Sally A.
Your group gets more thrilling to see and hear each time I'm able to be in your audience. Charlie and Celia have made the absolute perfect addition. The group’s musicianship is awesome – so tight, so creative, so much fun to hear. And your voices – the blended voices make your harmonies absolutely amazing. Seriously. You are a wonder. Peace to each of you. And, thank you! – Linda G.
Wow!! If there were one word that said amazing, fantastic and fun all at once, it would fit your latest concert! We enjoyed it immensely. – Joanne W.
The Cain Park concert was just amazing. – Teri D.
Loved your show at Cain Park Friday night. My first listen to Long Road. Lovely. – Joan S.
Loved, loved, loved the show last night. Loved it. We had a great time. You put together a helluva show. Can’t wait for the next one. – Liza G.
I so love being a part of your audience. You put together, in your "long road," a phenomenal group of musicians. Your harmonies... perfect blends... and each of you can play. Loved, loved being there. – Linda G.
Concert was super great last night. Brought 2 new people with me and they are now fans of the group. We loved the close environment and the stories. Thanks for sharing such great music!!!!!!!! – Philip
Nice concert last night. It made me break out an old John Lee Hooker CD this morning. That's one of the great things about Long Road shows – you get a little flashback. – Mark
Thank you for a superb show at Cain Park last night! My son (also a musician) and I enjoyed it immensely. Appreciated being invited to sit there in the Alma around your “kitchen table!” – Tim M.
This was the best show yet! Music great, as always. Stories fascinating. Loved it! – Sue
The stories you all told were fun and brought back memories. What a talented group of musicians! – Dan
(Facebook post:) It was beautiful out, David Budin's Long Road group sounded spectacular at Cain Park – Tim S.
I would love to be a part of your newsletter email group. Thank you for this wonderful entertainment. There are many folk lovers out there and it's great not only to be able to have a band around that plays it, but that plays it so well -- not to mention the humor that is dispersed throughout the show.
David - great concert the other night. I was on a folk music high for a couple of days. Will need another fix soon. – Betsy
Thank you for another great show. I really enjoy listening to you and Long Road caress all the beauty a song has to offer. I'm a bit hooked on you folks, and you're quite amusing. – Ben
That was a great concert last night, which transported us back to the 60s. You all sounded terrific, and we enjoyed the song choices. – Joanne
Thank you for a thoroughly enjoyable time – awesome entertainment. All aspects were superb – instrumentals, vocals, harmony and humor were top-notch. It's hard to believe you haven't been together longer, seeing how well you perform together. – Chuck
What a wonderful show! Really brilliant, and a totally enjoyable evening. The event still resonates days later. Thanks! – Thomas
What a performance! Great show. Wonderful energy. – Linda
I had the pleasure of your music at Cain Park and Nighttown and it made me feel warm all over (and I wasn't menopausing). You are a very funny man and a splendid musician. – Ben
What a great show! The vibes from the audience, the vibes from on stage. It must have been pretty cool to have performed for a room full of supporters like that. – Liza
I had a ball. Congrats on the great house tonight, too. You should be very proud you got so many to come out on a dreary, wet Monday night. A nice testament to you !!! – Bruce
I'm one of your many groupies who always enjoys your concerts – and your humor. And my wife is a groupie now, too. I've gotten a few others to come check you out, too. – Brian
Debbie and I had a great time, as did those around us at the show. We'll do our best to let more friends, and even enemies, know about you guys/gal. KUDOS!!!!!!!!!!!! – Steve
It was a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful concert! – Ilana
Such a great concert. I love the variety of what you do, the superb musicians, all of you together. – Chris
Had a great time on Monday laughing at your jokes and listening to the beautiful harmonies. Congratulations on the sell-out! – Ksenia
This was a wonderful night. Thank you so very much.
– Joan H.
You are a gift to the community. You make people laugh at things they never would have thought of themselves and give them a respite and a bit of joy. – Ben
We are fast becoming Long Road heads. – Art
I really liked the songs you did last night, each and every one of them. I thought your comedy was really, really focused and very funny. – Paula
The best, best, best ever!! You were great. And your voices together.... harmonies were so beautiful. Tonight it really clicked. You are like the good wine... just getting better with age. Can't wait till the next show. – Linda