JD and THE STRAIGHT SHOT
American Music Theatre – Lancaster, PA – 31 July 2016
Words and Photos by Scott Smith
On July 31, JD and the Straight Shot opened for Joe Walsh at the American Music Theatre in Lancaster, PA. The group is no stranger to touring with widely known artists, as they’ve toured with Bruce Springsteen, The Eagles, ZZ Top, Keith Urban, Jewel, the Dixie Chicks, and The Allman Brothers. Earlier this year the band released Ballyhoo!, an acoustic effort that has met with favorable reviews. Their 2014 release, Where I’ve Been, was produced by Joe Walsh.
JD and the Straight Shot is fronted by James Dolan, who is also the president and CEO of Cablevision Systems, executive chairman of Madison Square Garden, and owner of the NY Knicks. It’s hard to believe that someone with such tremendous responsibilities has time for a touring band, but somehow Dolan makes it work and his band has managed to release five studio albums since 2005.
The musicians that define the band’s unique sound are Dolan – vocals, Erin McCarley – vocals/guitar, JJ Appleton (David Bowie, Keb Mo, Darrius Rucker) – guitar, Marc Copely (B.B. King, Rosanne Cash) – guitar, Byron House (Robert Plant, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton) – bass, Alicia Enstrom – violin, and Shawn Pelton – drums.
In contrast to Joe Walsh’s impending licks on the electric guitar, the band played a 45-minute acoustic set that was both engaging and warm. The set included mostly songs from their Ballyhoo! album, including “Better Find a Church,” “Perdition,” and “Glide.” The songs incorporate elements of bluegrass, folk, blues and country which are all wrapped into one tasty morsel. With smart lyrics, excellent instrumentals and Dolan’s memorable vocals, the songs take you on a mental journey. Listening to “Perdition” conjures images of walking by the Sonoran Desert in the old west, so much so that if you saw a tumbleweed roll past your seat you wouldn’t be surprised. In addition to their music, they slipped in two covers, Spirit’s, “Nature’s Way” and Little Feat’s, “Let It Roll.”
The band’s set was well received by the crowd. Although their sound was opposite of Joe Walsh, it was a nice blend of two musical genres. JD and the Straight Shot will continue on Walsh’s tour through September.