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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Cheers Elephant / Toy Soldiers at Union Transfer, Puss N Boots at TLA, Tutlie at Bourbon and Branch and more

Cheers Elephant | photo by Debbie Zak Cohen
Cheers Elephant | photo by Debbie Zak Cohen

Philly-born, Cali-based rock n’ rollers Cheers Elephant headlines Union Transfer tonight with Toy Soldiers, who are playing their farewell show. Self-described as a “Chew it up, Spit it out, Rock and Roll” type of band, Cheers Elephant relocated from Philadelphia to Southern California late last year. Read their impressions of their new digs in Maura Filoromo’s interview here, check out the music video for “Doin’ It, Right” below and find more information and tickets on the XPN Concert Calendar.

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Country, Cover Songs and Camaraderie: Sasha Dobson shares the winning blend of Puss n Boots

Puss N Boots | photo via https://www.facebook.com/pussnbootsband
Puss N Boots | photo via https://www.facebook.com/pussnbootsband

Norah Jones and Sasha Dobson were born within one day of each other in March, 1979, so as Dobson sees it, “We had so much in common right away. It was impossible for us to not hit it off. ”

It was another 20 years before they actually met one another, however, when both were sitting in on the same jazz gig in New York City. They had accumulated more common interests than their shared zodiac signs in the intervening decades, and soon the two were sharing another gig on alternating weeks before Jones’ career exploded with the release of “Don’t Know Why” in 2002.

Dobson and Jones shared jazz roots and musical families; Jones’ father was renowned sitar master Ravi Shankar, while Dobson’s father, Smith Dobson, was a jazz pianist who played with the likes of vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, saxophonist Joe Henderson, and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard.

The two fell out of touch as Jones’ debut album, Come Away With Me, netted her five Grammy Awards and became ubiquitous on the radio and in coffee shops. But at a chance meeting after the release of her 2004 follow-up, Feels Like Home, Jones and Dobson discovered that they were both trying to improve their guitar skills and began playing unannounced shows together at the West Village pool hall Fat Cat. “We duked it out at the pool hall for about a year and a half and once we reached a somewhat functional place we talked about how great it would be to invite Catherine, who’s amazing for a multitude of reasons, and find a gig.”

That would be Catherine Popper, a bassist and vocalist who was a member of Ryan Adams and the Cardinals and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. When Popper signed on the trio became Puss N Boots and began playing intimate, unannounced shows for audiences chiefly made up of friends in New York clubs. They gradually accumulated a catalogue of country songs by influences including Johnny Cash, Rodney Crowell, and Roger Miller and roots-inflected rock tunes by Neil Young and Wilco, supplementing the covers with a few well-chosen originals.

With the release of their debut album, No Fools, No Fun, this month on Blue Note Records (the title comes from Johnny Cash’s song “Bull Rider,” which appears in a live version recorded at the Bell House in Brooklyn), Puss N Boots is graduating from their low-key club settings to festival stages and larger venues. They’ll play the TLA on Friday night.

With all three members busy with their own more high-profile careers, Puss N Boots was always considered more of an outlet for camaraderie than a serious pursuit, according to Dobson. “For years we never charged a cover,” she says. “We played just for fun, working on new things, trying different instruments.”

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Watch Puss N Boots revive Johnny Cash’s “Bull Rider”

Photo credit Richard Ballard
Photo credit Richard Ballard

Country-pop trio Norah Jones, Sasha Dobson and Catherine Popper – better known as Puss N Boots – recently released a cover of Johnny Cash’s classic “Bull Rider”. Although Jones and Dobson did a solo cover of the song in 2010, this was the first time Puss N Boots covered it.

The sultry voices of of the trio gave the song a fresh new perspective. The band slightly increased the tempo of the music, making the message more urgent. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Dobson said the song represents the spirit of taking risk and living an ever-changing life. She explained that the band’s success as artists is due to the fact that they “took the path of the artist and the outlaw.” The line “No fools, no fun, bull rider” inspired the title of the upcoming album from Puss N Boots. The album is out July 15th and features original music as well as covers of Neil Young and Wilco.

Earlier this year, the band played at XPN’s NonComm and released a cover of Neil Young’s “Down By the River”. The group will be playing at TLA on July 18th. Get more details here. Listen to the cover below.

 

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Stream Norah Jones’ sweet “It Was The Last Thing On Your Mind” video

Photo by Frank Ockenfels
Photo by Frank Ockenfels

Today, Norah Jones released the video to her newest original, “It Was The Last Thing On Your Mind”. The video starts off with a few romantic scenes from the summer rom-com They Came Together staring Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd, out June 27th. (The best part comes when the two stars are frolicking in fall leaves next to a dead man.) It then cuts to scenes of Jones recording the album in the studio along with cameos from Adam Scott and John Stamos as sound engineers. Jones’s sultry voice accompanies the video perfectly.

Previously, Jones’s tracks have been featured on soundtracks to My Blueberry Nights and The Princess Diaries 2: A Royal Engagement among others. Earlier this year, Jones’s latest project, Puss N Boots, announced the release of their debut album “No Fools, No Fun” out July 15th by Blue Note Records. The band consists of powerful pop trio Sasha Dobson, Jones and Catherine Popper. Earlier this year, the band played at this years XPN Non-Commvention and released a cover of Neil Young’s “Down By the River”.

Catch the band at the TLA July 18th. Get more details here. Stream the video below.

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Listen to Puss n Boots cover a Neil Young classic

Puss N Boots-12
Puss n Boots at NonCOMM | Photo by Cameron Pollack

Puss n Boots, a trio that includes Sasha Dobson, Norah Jones and Catherine Popper are releasing their debut album No Fools, No Fun on July 15 on Blue Note Records. The trio recently played WXPN’s Non-COMMvention and return to town on Friday, July 18th to the TLA. Go here for tickets and more information about the show. Puss n Boots will also be on World Cafe on July 22nd.

No Fools, No Fun features a handful of original songs and covers of songs by Neil Young, Wilco (“Jesus, Etc.”), The Band (“Twilight”), Jeb Loy Nichols (“GTO”), Tom Paxton, Rodney Crowell and Roger Miller.
While Norah Jones is the most recognizable name of the trio, Sasha Dobson and Cat Popper each have released solo records. Dobson, originally from Santa Cruz, is based in New York. She’s toured with Norah Jones and released her debut album in 2006. Popper was a member of Ryan Adams & the Cardinals, toured and recorded with Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, recorded with Joseph Arthur and Mike Doughty, and most recently has worked with Jack White.

Below, listen to their cover of the Neil Young classic, “Down By The River.”

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Sasha Dobson, Norah Jones and Cat Popper are Puss N Boots; hear them live at NonCOMM

Photo credit Richard Ballard
Photo credit Richard Ballard

After playing together live since 2008, singer-songwriters Sasha Dobson, Norah Jones and Catherine Popper have recorded an album under the name Puss N Boots, No Fools, No Fun, out July 15th on Blue Note Records. The album features a handful of original songs and covers of songs by Neil Young (“Down By The River”), Wilco (“Jesus, Etc.”), The Band (“Twilight”), Jeb Loy Nichols (“GTO”), Tom Paxton, Rodney Crowell and Roger Miller.

While Norah Jones is the most recognizable name of the trio, Sasha Dobson and Cat Popper each have released solo records. Dobson, originally from Santa Cruz, is based in New York. She’s toured with Norah Jones and released her debut album in 2006. Popper was a member of Ryan Adams & the Cardinals, toured and recorded with Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, recorded with Joseph Arthur and Mike Doughty, and most recently has worked with Jack White.

Puss N Boots are making an appearance at WXPN’s Non-Commvention in May, and play the TLA on July 18th. Below, listen to solo material from Sasha Dobson and watch a live performance of Puss n Boots covering “Down By The River.”

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