You’d think a man whose day job includes running much of New York City’s most recognizable music and sports entertainment has enough on his plate, but for James Dolan of JD and the Straight Shot, there’s always room for rock ‘n’ roll.
Taking the stage at the Paramount before Joe Walsh, JD and the Straight Shot wasted no time cooking a groove of Southern-spun blues-rock that has made its way to shared bills with the Allman Brothers Band, Robert Randolph and the Eagles. Off of their most recent album, Midnight Run, “Voodoo Stew” finds that signature Bo Diddley beat shaking its maracas proudly all the way down to New Orleans with guitarists Adam Levy (Norah Jones) and Marc Copely (B.B. King) blazing the trail. Those heading down to Louisiana early next month for Jazz Fest have something to get excited for.
On stage, the band works cohesively as a single unit, buts it’s easy to get caught up in any single musician’s mastery, like Brian Mitchell (Bob Dylan, Levon Helm) who simultaneously blows harp and pounds on the Hammond like he invented the damn thing. When the band dips into the covers, it’s not because they have run out material, yet a reminder of what got them jamming in the first place. An homage to his high school glory days, Dolan and company caught a psychedelic fever with their rendition of A Beautiful Day’s “White Bird.” Beautifully orchestrated and boasting a mean little violin from Lorenza Ponce (Sheryl Crow, Ben Folds, Bon Jovi), the band not only demonstrated their variety, but maintained the integrity of sixties psychedelia.
The naysayers can say what they want about this band—clearly you’re onto something if Willie Nelson has recorded one of your songs for a major motion picture.