Anyone who’s seen drummer Russ Lawton and keyboardist Ray Paczkowski participate in any of their various and sundry projects (TAB, Strangefolk, Vorcza, Grippo Funk Band, Dave Matthews & Friends) knows what stylish musicians they are. Now, however, formally united as the duo Soule Monde, Ray and Russ are bringing their skills to a whole other level and they made this small club seem like it was situated on Bourbon St instead of just off the main street of the smallest city in the US.
Guitarist Trey Anastasio kicks off a 12-show tour with his solo band tonight at the State Theater in Portland, ME. To preview the Phish front man’s latest TAB tour, we’ve dedicated a post a day to Anastasio as part of the first-ever Hidden Track “Trey Week.”
[Photos by Joe Ringus]
“Trey Week” concludes today with the second part of our wide-ranging e-mail interview in which the guitarist talks to us about TAB keyboardist Ray Paczkowski, his songwriting process, black shirts and much more…
Hidden Track: Ray Paczkowski has been the one constant in this band since 2001. Can you tell us what aspect of Ray’s playing makes him perfect for this band and these songs?
Trey Anastasio: Oh man, where do I start? , Ray.. Ray takes my breath away. Ray’s spirit, Ray’s playing… Indescribable. His playing is… “unhinged?” He’s capable of letting go in a way that I’ve rarely heard a musician let go.
The thing is, if you believed in the muse, or the spirit, or the concept of an artist being a channel, then you would know that there is nothing in music to fear except fear itself. The more you let go the more “right” everything would sound, you know what I mean? Ray has that fearlessness. I’ve been in the studio with engineers and producers, and I’ll say “turn up Ray,” and we’ll turn him up and up and up and you can’t turn him up too much, because it’s a selfless playing so it never seems to intrude on the overall sound. It’s an amazing thing. I just love playing with him so much. I can’t wait to get to do it again. I usually spend the whole night just staring at Ray.
READ ON for more of our interview with Trey Anastasio…
Trey Anastasio announced today a two-week tour opening Friday, February 18th at the newly re-opened State Theater in Portland, ME and closing 15 days later on Saturday, March 5th at
This afternoon, former 70 Volt Parade vocalist Trey Anastasio announced a solo tour that puts together the members of his Classic TAB ensemble with a three-piece horn section for three weeks worth of shows. For this run of shows Anastasio will be backed by Classic TAB members Tony Markellis on bass, Russ Lawton on drums and Ray Paczkowski on keyboards as well as a three-piece horn section featuring Jennifer Hartswick, Russ Remington and Natalie Cressman.
The tour which features 16 shows in 21 days opens in the city that Coran Capshaw built, Charlottesville Virginia at the Jefferson Theatre. Trey is bringing his band to a few states that Phish hasn’t been able to hit in their first year back, most notably Georgia as well as Kansas and the District Of Columbia. The venues are exclusively clubs and theaters and for some reason their New York City stop is at one of the cities most hated venues, Terminal 5.
Let’s take a look at the players:
Tony Markellis [bass]: The “Meatman” first performed with Trey in 1998 as part of his Eight Foot Florescent Tubes project that opened the original Higher Ground in Winooski. Trey enjoyed the experience so much that he asked Markellis and drummer Russ Lawton to join him on his first solo tour back in 1999. Tony was a member of TAB through the 2003 Spring Tour and returned for the Classic TAB shows in 2008.
READ ON for profiles on the rest of the members of Trey’s band and the full list of tour dates…
Although nationally regarded for his keyboard work in the Trey Anastasio Band, Ray Paczkowski’s jazz trio Vorcza has recently released their debut release – Maximalist. Solidified in a traditional jazz foundation, the three members capture the music of the precise moment through rhythmic and harmonic explorations that involve shake your ass funk, mellow jazz and progressive instrumental improvisations.