Skipper’s Smokehouse is ground zero this Friday for a musical explosion with Come Back Alice and the Heather Gillis Band. Both groups have been thrilling audiences everywhere they go with their superb shows, including brilliant sets at the recent Orange Blossom Jamboree.
After Gillis’ stunning afternoon set there, she joined Come Back Alice during their headlining set-closer for “Fast Train, and we have video evidence!
In our OBJ review, we wrote:
Everybody — and I mean everybody — was anticipating the Come Back Alice. Everyone (the ones who were awake) remember how Tony Tyler proposed to Dani Jaye at the end of their set last year. What could they do for an encore?
Answer: throw down an amazing set! Tony began on keys, the Hammond B3 and the electric piano/clavinet/synth thing, with Dani on guitar. Kenny Harvey was on bass, paired up again with Yral ‘datdudeondrums’ Morris. Jimmy Rector was sitting in on percussion. The entire set was perfect, and the packed Big Cypress stage crowd was in rapt attention.
There was big response for “Coraline,” the tune whose video won at the L.A. Video Awards. The funk just got huge on “Ugly Rumors,” punctuated at the end by a righteous wail by Tony. “Illusions” included various members trading fours, then Tony scatting while playing guitar.
Tony called up Kenny Stadelman (bass), along with Heather Gillis (guitar) and Juanjamon (tenor sax). Heather told a funny story later. “They said they were going to play ‘In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.’ I said great, and we worked on it during the afternoon. As we got on stage, Tony announced a CBA song, ‘Fast Train.’ Dani leaned over and said it would be OK, and it was. And, in the middle of the tune, we did go to ‘Liz Reed.’” It was over-the-top awesome.
Heather Gillis has a fan base expanding exponentially, and it really exploded after her band’s amazing OBJ set. At the time, we said:
Then it was Heather Gillis’ turn. And here is why we love festivals, OBJ in particular. You have a rabid crowd of music fans just ready to soak up some music from bands new to them. That happened a number of times during the weekend, but the first was this monster set by Gillis and band. We had just seen her and the Corbitt-Clampitt Experience in Tallahassee the week before. But this set by the Heather Gillis Band seemed several light years beyond last week’s great set.
They started out with an enormously kick-ass instrumental, and suddenly all heads were turned in their direction. Kyle Chervanik (bass) and Gerald Watkins (drums) are the perfect rhythm section for this powerhouse band. After Gillis belted the lyrics to “I’m a Ram” and a tremendous tenor sax solo from Nyan Feder, they roared into a wicked jam.
Another original from the band’s album, “Fight to Win,” was followed by Gillis grabbing her lap steel and searching the crowd for a harp player. MusicFestNews’ own Matt Hillman jumped up and did us all proud as they played “Gonna Be a Storm > Shake Your Money Maker.” And Gillis, just 21 years old, is from Brooksville, and there we were at the Sertoma Youth Ranch in Brooksville. How cool is that?
Come Back Alice describes their music as “Southern Gypsy funk,” just dripping in swampy blues and riveting rock (like when they covered Led Zep’s Song Remains the Same). They just blew out another great set at… Great Outdoors Jam, and they will play Roosevelt Collier’s Suwannee Splashdown from July 29-31 and Suwannee Hulaween at the end of October.
Fans of the group also recently toasted the wedding of Tony Tyler and Dani Jaye, culminating in the amazing wedding celebration the next day in Myakka City.
Gillis really emerged after Magnolia Fest and her sets with Col. Bruce Hampton (Ret.). She was considering taking a semester off before finishing her degree at FSU when Butch Trucks asked her to join his Freight Train Band. In that unit, she matches up with two other great guitarists: Vaylor Trucks (Yeti Trio) and Damon Fowler. She played a great set at Purple Hatter’s Ball last month and will be back out on the road with Butch Trucks and the Freight Train Band for a three-week tour from Florida through Maryland, New York, Connecticut and more.
Ready with your Google calendar? Friday. July 15th. 8:00 PM. Skipper’s Smokehouse.
Just do it!
Photographs by kind permission of Brian Hensley Photography, David Lee / Gypsyshooter, and Mandi Nulph.