1131 S. Broad Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Joey Sweeney & the Long Hair Arkestra

Joey Sweeney & the Long Hair Arkestra

Casey Neill, Heyward Howkins

Wed, June 11, 2014

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

The Boot & Saddle

Philadelphia, PA


This event is 21 and over

Joey Sweeney & the Long Hair Arkestra
Joey Sweeney & the Long Hair Arkestra
Joey Sweeney has been writing songs and non-fiction since he was a teenager in the 1980s. Over the years, he has fronted the groups The Barnabys andThe Trouble With Sweeney, as well as recording and performing as a solo artist. Meanwhile, he's also written for a wide array of publications, including, Philadelphia Weekly, the Philadelphia Inquirer and his daily perch,, the cityblog he established in 2004 after a decade-long run as a rock critic.

His songs and records have received widespread critical acclaim over the years; of his last record with The Trouble With Sweeney, Fishtown Briefcase, Pitchfork said "[Sweeney] mixes autobiography and fiction against the group's 70s-inflected indie pop, resourceful— and unabashed— enough to digress into an E Street interlude or an AM-rock guitar coda." He's also garnered curse and praise as a writer of prose, having won the AAN Award for Music Criticism and appeared in Best Music Writing 2002.

From 2004 through 2010, Sweeney mostly shied from performing and recording, focusing instead on his role as Publisher & Editor of the website In 2011, however, Sweeney stepped back into his old role of singer/songwriter, this time fronting the rock band Arctic Splash. Joey Sweeney Your Life Is Callingcompiles the best of everything before the Splash.

In early 2013, Sweeney went on to record Long Hair, with Grammy award-winning producer Aaron 'Luis' Levinson, Lushlife aka Raj Haldar, and others. Long Hair will be released in the fall of 2013. Of Sweeney's most recent work, National Book Award finalist Dana Spiotta has said: "Joey Sweeney is the indie-rock Rick Danko."
Casey Neill
Casey Neill
Casey Neill's career has always walked the line between lyrical song craft and ferocious electric live shows. His new album, "Goodbye to the Rank and File" ups the ante, bringing the power of his stage performances into the studio like never before.

This is the first recording to feature the full Norway Rats lineup which includes members of the Decemberists, Lucinda Williams Band, The Eels and Minus 5 -- Little Sue (vocals, acoustic guitar), Chet Lyster (guitar), Ezra Holbrook (drums), Hanz Araki (vocals, flute), Jesse Emerson (bass), and Jenny Conlee (piano, accordion). "Goodbye to the Rank and File" was recorded throughout the fall of 2009 & the winter 2010 with help from friends like R.E.M. touring musician Scott McCaughey & Talkdemonic's Lisa Molinaro, and produced by Ezra Holbrook. The final result combines post-punk energy, narrative storytelling, haunting ballads, and whiskey-fueled rave-ups with clear-cut influences by Richard Thompson as well as Hüsker Dü and The Clash.

As a full-time musician, Casey Neill has released records on famed folk label Appleseed Recordings and Amy Ray's (of the Indigo Girls) Daemon Records. He's toured the world several times and befriended some of his biggest musical influences - Jello Biafra, Pete Seeger, and Steve Earle. Of this new chapter in his career , Portland Oregon-based Casey Neill says, "'Goodbye to the Rank and File' is an album made by a working band. We've performed these songs live for awhile and fleshed them out. Our shared history together in the Northwest music scene and the sheer number of gigs we've played has all been poured into these performances."

This camaraderie as well as the Northwest environment has shaped and formed the record. "For me," Neill says, "The camaraderie is thematically built into these songs lyrically and musically. 'Goodbye to the Rank and File' is about resilience. It's about the endless drives up and down I-5 in the rain at 2am after a show with eighteen-wheelers blowing walls of rain onto the windshield. It's about watching some people fall away and others stay with you. There is a certain nostalgia in the music for a time when Seattle was a lot like Tacoma, and Portland was pretty rundown too. Things have gotten better in a million ways, but a certain feel has been lost." Love, defiance, defeat, and life in the Northwest are also topics covered on "Goodbye to the Rank and File." The twelve-track collection starts with "All Summer Glory," a song about hot summer nights, girls and cheap beer, and delivered with a summertime pop feel, then turns rustic with a roots-rock kick, and ends by invoking the chiming carousel sounds of the 1970s Jersey shore. The album also features the power-pop-punk feel of "This Year Was a Blur" and the heavy riff-rock of "When The World Was Young," about losing touch with people who you thought would be in the your life forever.

Just as the stories are diverse, but pulled together sonically so is the sound of the record. The band showcases their strong Americana roots on "Radio Montana," their dreamy indie-folk leanings on "Ouroboros" and "Idyll," and the dark, Waits-ian ballad, "Guttered," the thematic centerpiece of the album. "Guttered" offers an opposing view to the defiant "When the World Was Young." "This character [in 'Guttered'] is filled with defeat. How does this kid get on with his life even though there are no more $5 Fugazi shows?" Neill says. "He can't decide whether he has held true to some pure punk rock ideal or whether the world is leaving him behind. He's drunk and stoned in a graveyard and lamenting to his friend that at thirty his world has passed him by. Meanwhile his friend is stronger and she is so fucked off with the Bush years that she is headed for Central America to redefine herself."

A huge fan of Joe Strummer and The Clash, Neill decided to write a song about Strummer's life, but also about other couples on "Nightowl and the Skylark." "When Joe Strummer died, there was an interview with his wife Lucinda in a British paper. She talked about how she was a morning person and he stayed up at night. She said he was a nightowl and she was a skylark," explains Neill. "The song has specific references to Strummer's life but it is about another couple also. In both cases the nightowl is a well-loved public icon and she is singing to him how the whole world loves you but no one knows you like I do." Also a big fan of Hüsker Dü, Casey Neill & The Norway Rats decided to cover the Grant Hart-penned "She Floated Away." "[It] has been a staple of our live shows for over three years. We included it for a few reasons," recalls Neill. "Audiences really respond to it for one. We also needed something in triple time as the rest of the record is in four. But the main reason is that it echoes the themes of the record - not just the lyrics but Husker in general. "We made a very American record and any cover had to be an American band. I am a huge Bob Mould fan, but it felt good to work on a Grant Hart song as he wrote so many of their most timeless songs. This being one." Now, with a new record ready for launch, the band's new goal is to pack up, hit the road, and tour as much as they can to get these songs into people's hearts & minds.
Heyward Howkins
Whether insisted upon or lovingly squelched, "candor" marks the
pervasive theme on Be Frank, Furness—the swift successor to last
year's acclaimed The Hale & Hearty LP (produced by Chet Delcampo).
This go-round Heyward has captured an even more honest and relaxed
vibe with the help of co-producer Ben Riesman (Le Fits, Bart
Davenport) and mixing engineer Quentin Stoltzfus (Mazarin/Light Heat,
The Walkmen, Lilys, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah). Many of the tracks were
rendered to tape with a full band in a cavernous trolley repair depot
that was being transformed into a recording studio right under
Howkins' feet—imparting palpable warmth, breadth and unpredictability
into the sessions that ultimately became Furness.

While most of the central thematic figures on The Hale & Hearty were
too far gone—beautiful but broken, these folks still have a chance and
in some cases get a free pass—if for one night only—like the couple in
"Sweet Tea Oleander." It's a slippery ballad where the "whole night's
a pardon from guilt now departed" and a newly sprung couple sip from a
questionable brew just to have "anything to break up this candor."
It's a sweet but toxic mixture of Nathaniel Hawthorne meets Cool Hand

In the title track, Heyward cleverly casts the famed Philadelphia
architect Frank Furness into the role of his butler and demands verity
(and clarity) when he poses the question—"how could I get so mashed by
a neutral spirit's glass and not come out straight bitters?" The song
portrays a familiar tension between the inner-city and the privileged
outskirts where Furness may hold both the keys to reconciliation and
your parent's liquor cabinet—"I should have quit this Main Line mess.
They were first world problems, yes. Turned into first world debt."

Speaking of family, Heyward takes his name from his five-times
grandfather Thomas Heyward (dubbed "The Singing Signer"), founding
father and signer of the Declaration of Independence. On "Brite
Kites," Howkins takes his fascination with family history and familial
connections in a new direction, setting to music a poem written by his
mother. Layers of history combine to speak through one voice as
perspectives collide and push thoughts from long ago into the present.

Heyward first garnered attention in the early 2000s as the lead
guitarist for The Trouble With Sweeney, with releases that included
the widely praised I Know You Destroy and Fishtown Briefcase—both
records landed on's Editor's Top Picks of the Year.

Howkins is also a founding member of The Silver Ages, the critically
acclaimed choral group featuring singers from a wide array of
Philadelphia-based bands, including David Hartley (Nightlands, The War
on Drugs, BC Camplight), Charlie Hall (Jens Lekman, The War on Drugs,
The Lindsey Buckingham Appreciation Society), Brandon Beaver (Buried
Beds, Nightlands), Zach Miller (Dr. Dog) and Dan Matz (Windsor for the
Derby, Birdwatcher).

Though dark themes creep in as many of the songs' characters struggle
and face the hardships of life, ultimately the album is defined by
Heyward's embrace of the playful and celebratory. With melodies that
pull you in (such as the buoyant album opener, "Nogales") and lyrics
that evoke feelings and situations both specific and universal ("Then
ran your first love Billy / All of ours really," Heyward sings in the
Stacker Lee-infused "Praline Country").
Venue Information:
The Boot & Saddle
1131 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19147