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Jam Central Station 4.19.14: String Cheese Incident - Song In My Head
Posted by Jeff Modzelewski on 04.19.2014

It's been 9 years since the last time the String Cheese Incident put out a studio album. In that time they've taken a hiatus, reunited, and pulled of an impressive balancing act with SCI and their various side projects. Since their full-time return in 2010, the band has been playing a regular rotation of newer songs to go along with their old staples. It was obviously only a matter of time until the band went back to the studio to give some of these songs the studio polish. The result is Song In My Head, a 10 song album set to be released on 4/29. The band did some significant studio work and even brought in Jerry Harrison of the Talking Heads to produce the album. The real question, however is how do these songs translate to the studio?

Having followed Cheese pretty closely over the past few years, I was familiar with most of the songs on the album. The songs are a good cross section of Cheese's new material, from bluegrass to funky to dance music. The album starts off on a classic SCI bluegrass note with "Colorado Bluebird Sky." The band takes what's really a simple bluegrass tune and just puts in a great performance of it, playing it very tightly and showing how solid they still are with this style. They could've cut the song at under 3 minutes and left it as a old-school bluegrass tune, but instead they extended it with a nice little jam and then build into a final climax for the song. Typical Cheese, taking one style and then throwing a bunch of other stuff at it to make it their own. "Betray The Dark" is more in the straight rock song category, a little dancy, a little poppy, and providing a nice platform for the band to jump off of. The studio treatment highlights the overall songwriting of the band, and, for this song, it comes up as just OK. There's nothing very fancy going on with the song, but it's well crafted and executed. "Let's Go Outside" is a fun, funky song that again shows tremendous potential and is well crafted in the studio.

The title track is another bit of rambling mountain music, a song that could've been written very early on in the band's career. It's probably the least-complicated song on the album, with a few fills and a short bass solo giving it some depth. The little jam at the end is good enough but I don't think I'm out of line by saying this is the weakest track on the album as it just sort of plods along. "Struggling Angel" is a bit of an oddball for the band, a slow ballad. The band comes back with a tight "Can't Wait Another Day," a great song from Kyle with tons of layers and a great feel. Rock, funk, calypso, and reggae notes are all found in the song, and it's a real representation of the "melting pot" nature of the band. Not that they're going to get any radio play, but it's probably the most "radio ready" song on the album. "So Far From Home" is a fast-paced mountain song that the band could expand on, but it fits nicely as a short 4-minute jam on the album.

"Rosie" is one of my favorite newer songs from the band, and one that I'm surprised they brought to the studio. The electronic dance feel is great live and gets folks moving, but I was worried about how that would translate on the album. This version sounds great and is a lot of fun. The unfortunate part of it is that it's so tight and so spot-on that it almost takes some of the mystique out of the live version. It's a song with so many parts and switches that, when it's done live, it's very impressive. Having it in the studio though I think pulls back the veil a bit. On the other hand it's still another great song. "Stay Through" sounds like it was written somewhere in the islands and it would be a great song to drink a margarita to. The "melting pot" of layers is again apparent on this one. "Colliding" closes the album with a similar feel to "Rosie," although with more lyrics. It's a fun jam dance song, and the jam in the middle of the song is as close to a live jam as anything on the album.

String Cheese Incident, much like Phish, The Grateful Dead, Widespread Panic, and so many other bands, will always be first and foremost a live band. Their songs are best experienced in the moment, at a concert. That doesn't mean that they're unable to perform in the studio or that their studio work doesn't have merit, but it's never the best way to experience what they can do. That being said, this is a solid representation of these songs. Good energy throughout, some good jams, and the band sounds very tight throughout. There are obvious places in the song that the band can go and explore in a live setting, but in some ways it's like reading a "choose your own adventure" book without ever making a choice. There are many points for the band to jump off, but, without taking those, the final result is a little incomplete. The album is a good studio album, but if I want to listen to some Cheese, I'm going to go the live route.

Bear Creek announces lineup
The lineup for this year's Bear Creek Music & Art Festival was announced this week. The event will take place at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida on November 13-16. The event will feature two shows from Umphrey's McGee, two shows from Lettuce, two from Dumpstaphunk, two from The New Mastersounds, as well as Break Science, The Main Squeeze, Turkuaz, and many other great acts.

Strings and Sol announced
The Strings and Sol destination event will return to Puerto Morales, Mexico in December. The festival will include three shows from Yonder Mountain String Band as well as two each from Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon, The Infamous Stringdusters, and Greensky Bluegrass.

Trey Anastasio Band announce shows
The Trey Anastasio Band announced a pair of shows running up to their show at Summer Camp this year. The will be performing at the House of Blues in Cleveland on 5/23 and the Taft Theatre in Cincinnati on 5/24 before their Summer Camp show on 5/25.

Phil and Friends to play Central Park
Phil Lesh and Friends are set to play at the Rumsey Playfield in New York's Central Park on May 28. Lesh will be joined by Warren Haynes, John Scofield, John Medeski, and Joe Russo.

Gov't Mule announces Island Exodus guests
Gov't Mule announced some artists that will be joining them at their Island Exodus destination event. Announced guests include johnny Winter, Anders Osborne, and Ron Holloway. How the event will be set up hasn't been announced yet, but, along with the music, various events and clinics will be available for guests.

moe. adds dates
moe. continues to add dates for their 2014 tour in support of their upcoming studio album, No Guts, No Glory coming out 5/27. The band will be on the road throughout the summer and hitting up many of the festivals around the country.

April 25-26 New Orleans, LA – The Civic Theatre
May 23-25 Chillicothe, IL – Summer Camp Music Festival 2014
May 28 New York, NY – No Guts, No Glory Album Release Party at Stage 48
May 30 Providence, RI – Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel
May 31 Hampton beach, NH – Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom
June 13 Bellevue, CO – Mishawaka Amphitheatre
June 14 Denver, CO – LOHI Music Festival
June 15 Kansas City, MO – The Crossroads
June 17 Apple Valley, MN – Weesner Family Amphitheatre at the Minnesota Zoo
June 20-21 Utica, NY – Saranac Brewery
June 22 Croton-On-Hudson, NY – Clearwater's Great Hudson Revival Festival
July 5 St. Petersburg, FL – Jannus Landing
July 6 Fort Lauderdale, FL – Revolution Live
July 8 Orlando, FL – The Plaza Live
July 10 Birmingham, AL – Avondale Brewing Company
July 11 Black Mountain, NC – Pisgah Brewing Company
July 12 Wilmington, NC – Greenfield Lake Amphitheatre
July 13 Norfolk, VA – The NorVa
July 15 Richmond, VA – The National
July 17 Hyannis, MA – Cape Cod Melody Tent
July 18 Mount Pocono, PA – Sherman Theater Summer Stage
July 19 Patchogue, NY – Great South Bay Music Festival
July 20 Atlantic City, NJ – Showboat Atlantic City
July 31-August 1 Breitenbach am Herzberg, DEU – Burg Herzberg Festival
July 31-August 3 Bridgeport, CT – Gathering of the Vibes
August 29-31 Turin, NY – moe.down at Snow Ridge Ski Resort

Bob Weir & Ratdog announce dates
Bob Weir & Ratdog announced a run of summer dates this week. The band will be on the road most of the summer, with a few breaks here and there. They'll be playing larger theatres as well as festivals around the country.

June 4 Brooklyn, NY—Brooklyn Bowl
June 5-8 Hunter Mountain, NY—Mountain Jam
June 7 Hyannis, MA—Cape Cod Melody Tent
June 8 Asbury Park, NJ—The Paramount Theatre
June 10 Grand Rapids, MI—DeVos Performance Hall
June 12 Madison, WI—Orpheum Theatre
June 13 Minneapolis, MN—Northrop Auditorium
June 14 Kansas City, MO—Midland Theatre
July 2 Los Angeles, CA—Greek Theatre
July 3 Santa Barbara, CA—Santa Barbara Bowl
July 5 Las Vegas, NV—Pearl Concert Theater
July 6 San Diego, CA—Humphrey's Concerts by the Bay
July 7 Phoenix, AZ—Celebrity Theatre
July 10 Salt Lake City, UT—Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre
July 11 Morrison, CO—Red Rocks Amphitheatre
August 14-17 Scranton, PA—Peach Music Festival
August 31 Highland Park, IL—Ravinia Festival
September 4-7 Arrington, VA—Lockn' Festival
September 11-14 Danville, IL—Phases of the Moon Festival

Greensky Bluegrass confirm new album
Greensky Bluegrass will release their new album If Sorrows Swim on September 9. Pre-order options will be available soon, and the band will be touring extensively behind the album.

String Cheese Incident announce free show
The String Cheese Incident will be playing a free show in Boulder on The HIll on April 28 to celebrate the release of their new album. No need for tickets, just show up, and the band is scheduled to go on at 6.

Wanee Festival
April 10-12, 2014
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oaks, FL
Performers include: Allman Brothers Band, Trey Anastasio Band, Umphrey's McGee, moe., Lynard Skynard, Gov't Mule, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Dumpstaphunk, and many others

Tortuga Music Festival
April 12-13, 2014
Beach Park
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Performers include: Sheryl Crow, Train, Slightly Stoopid, Ziggy Marley, Brett dennen, Delta Rae, Moon Taxi, The Revivalists, and many others.

Counter.Point Festival
April 25-27, 2014
Kingston Downs, GA
Performers include: Outkast, Pretty Lights, STS9, Foster the People, Krewella, Big gigantic, Thievery Corp., Griz, Shpongle, Moon Taxi, and many others

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
April 25-27 and May 1-4, 2014
New Orleans, LA
Performers include: Phish, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Santana, String cheese Incident, John Fogerty, Galactic, Avett Brothers, and many others.

Hangout Music Festival
May 16-18
Gulf Shores, AL
Performers include: The Black Keys, The Killers,Outkast, Jack Johnson, Queens of the Stone Age, Pretty Lights, The Avett Brothers, STS9, The Flaming lips, Modest Mouse, Zedd, and many others.

May 22-25, 2014
Cumberland, MD
Performers include: The Del McCoury Band, The String Cheese Incident, Ricky Skags & Bruce hornsby, Yonder Mountain String band, Railroad earth, Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Greensky Bluegrass, and many others.

Summer Camp
May 22-25, 2014
Three Sisters Park
Chillicothe, IL
Performers include: moe., Umphrey's McGee, Trey Anastasio Band, Bassnectar, Primus, Yonder Mountain String Band, Zac Brown Band, Lotus, EOTO, The Devil Makes Three, Greensky Bluegrass, and many others

Dark Star Jubilee
May 23-25, 2014
Legend Valley
Thornville, OH
Performers include: 3 nights of Dark Star Orchestra, Yonder Mountain String Band, Galactic, Keller Williams & More Than A Little, Anders Osborne, The Werks, The Wailers performing Legend, and many others

The Ville
May 23-25, 2014
Clay's Park Resort
Lawrence, OH
Performers include: 3 nights of ekoostik hookah, Flether's grove, Tropidelic, Blue Moon Soup, and many others.

Sasquatch! Music Festival
May 23-25, 2014
The Gorge
George, WA
Performers include: OutKast, The National, Queens of the Stone Age, MIA, Foster the People, Kid Cudi, Neko Case, Violent Femmes, and many others.

Nelsonville Festival
May 29-June 1, 2014
Nelsonville, OH
Performers include: The Avett Brothers

June 5-8, 2014
Mulberry Mountain
Ozark, AR
Performers include: The String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar, STS9, Umphrey's McGee, John Butler Trio, Flaming Lips, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Lettuce, Dr. Dog, Papadosio, and many others.

Mountain Jam
June 5-8, 2014
Hunter Mountain, NY
Performers include: Gov't Mule, Bob Weir & RatDog, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Gov't Mule, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Umphrey's McGee, Pretty Lights, and many others

Governor's Ball
June 6-8, 2014
Governor's Island
New York, NY
Performers include: Outkast, jack White, Vampire Weekend, The Strokes, Skrillex, Interpol, and many others.

June 12-15, 2014
Manchester, TN
Performers include: Elton John, Kanye West, Jack White, The Avett Brothers, The Flaming Lips, Neutral Milk Hotel, Zedd, Umphrey's McGee, John Butler Trio, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Yonder Mountain String Band, and many others

Snowmass Mammoth Festival
June 13-15, 2014
Snowmass Village, CO
Performers include: LEftover Salmon, chris Robinson Brotherhood, Xavier Rudd, Les Claypool's Duo De Twang, The Motet, Bonerama, and many others

Telluride Bluegrass Festival
June 19-22, 2014
Telluride, CO
Performers include: Sam Bush Band, Bela Fleck & The Colorado Symphony, Brandi Carlile, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Del McCoury Band, Leftover Salmon, Greensky Bluegrass, and many others.

Firefly Music Festival
June 19-22, 2014
Dover, DE
Performers include: Foo Fighters, Outkast, Jack Johnson, Imagine Dragons, Pretty Lights, The Lumineers, Weezer, Girl Talk, Tegan and Sara, and many others.

Electric Forest
June 26-29, 2014
The Double JJ Ranch & Resort
Rothbury, MI
Performers include: The String Cheese Incident (3 nights), STS9 (2 nights), Ms. Lauryn Hill, Stephen Marley, EOTO, Anders Osborne, The Revivalists, Nahko & Medicine for the People, Rising Apalachia, Zedd, and many others.

High Sierra
July 3-6, 2014
Quincy, CA
Performers include: Widespread Panic, STS9, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Beats Antique, Trampled by Turtles, The Chris Robinson Brotherhood, and many more to be announced

July 17-20, 2014
Sunshine Daydream Memorial Park
Terra Alta, WV
Performers include: Shpongle, Beats Antique, EOTO, Conspirator, Zilla, vibesquad, Janover 7 Resunator, Cosby Sweater, Aliver Hall, Broccoli Samurai, and many others.

Northwest String Summit
July 17-21, 2014
Horning's Hideout
North Plains, OR
Performers include: Yonder Mountain String Band, The Motet, Steep Canyon Rangers, Fruition, Dead Winter Carpenters, The Rumpke Mountain Boys, and many others

July 18-20, 2014
Waterfront Park
Louisville, KY
Performers include: Outkast, Jack White, Beck, The Replacements, Ray Lamontagne, Band of Horses, Nickel Creek, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Gary Clark Jr., Trampled by Turtles, JJ Grey & Mofro, and many others

July 23-27, 2014
Floyd, VA
Performers include: Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite, Ms. Lauryn Hill, ray LaMontagne, Thievery Corporation, Ziggy Marley, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Buddy Guy, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, and many others

Gratifly Festival
July 24-27
Westminster, SC
Performers include: Papadosio, Opilio, Gratifly Symphony, Earphunk, Earthcry, The Human Experience, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, and many others.

Gathering of the Vibes
July 31-August 1, 2014
Seaside Park
Bridgeport, CT
Performers include: Widespread Panic, John Fogerty, moe., Umphrey's McGee, The Disco Biscuits featuring Mickey Hart & Bill Kreutzmann, Ziggy Marley, Dumpstaphunk, and many others.

August 1-3, 2014
Grant Park
Chicago, IL
Performers include: Eminem, Outkast, Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys, White Denim, Broken Bells, Lorde, The Avett Brothers, Forster the People, The Head & The Heart, Trombone Shorty, Chromeo, and many others.

Werk Out Festival
August 7-9, 2014
Legend Valley
Thornville, OH
Performers include: The Werks (3 nights), Papadosio (2 nights), Emancipator, Future Rock Zoogma, Dopapod, Zach Deputy, and many others.

Outside Lands
August 8-10, 2014
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA
Performers include: Kanye West, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, The Killers, The Flaming Lips, Spoon, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Chromeo, John butler Trio, Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers, and many others

Arise Music Festival
August 8-10, 2014
Sunrise Ranch
Loveland, CO
Performers include: Galactic, Grateful Grass, Nahko & Medicine for the People, and many others

Peach Music Festival
August 14-17, 2014
Montage Mountain
Scranton, PA
Performers include: Allman Brothers Band (2 nights), Bob Weir & RatDog, Trey Anastasio Band, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Lotus, JJ Grey & Mofro, The Revivalists, Dopapod, The Infamous Stringdusters, papadosio, and others.

August 15-17, 2014
Wellston, MI
Performers include: Greensky Bluegrass, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Steppin' In It, The Ragbirds, and many others.

Camp Barefoot
August 21-23, 2014
Bartow, WV
Performers include: Beats Antique, Papadosio, Lettuce, Kyle Hollingsworth Band performing a tribute to Motown, Dopapod, Kung Fu, The Motet, Zach Deputy, and many others.

August 29-31, 2014
Snow Ridge Ski Resort
Turin, NY
Performers include: moe. (3 headlining nights), Lotus, O.A.R. Les Claypool's Duo de Twang, Soulive, Twiddle, Aqueous, and others.

Lockin' Music Festival
September 4-7, 2014
Arrington, VA
Performers include: The String Cheese Incident, The Allman Brothers Band, Phil Lesh & Friends, Widespread Panic, Umphrey's McGee, Wilco, Bob Weir & Ratdog, and many others.

Phases of the Moon Festival
September 11-14, 2014
Kennekuk County Park, IL
Performers include: Widespread Panic (2 nights), Tedeschi Trucks Band, Gov't Mule, Galactic, Leftover Salmon, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, and many others.

Catskill Chill
September 5-7, 2014
Camp Minglewood
Hancock, NY

Harvest Music Festival
October 16-18, 2014
Mulberry Mountain
Ozark, AR

Bear Creek Music & Art Festival
November 13-16, 2014
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oak, FL
Performers include: Umphrey's McGee, Lettuce, Dumpstaphunk, The New Mastersounds, Break Science, Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, Turkuaz, The Main Squeez, Tauk, and many others

Strings & Sol
December 11-15, 2014
Puerto Morales, Mexico
Performers include: Yonder Mountain String Band, Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon, The Infamous Stringdusters, and Greensky Bluegrass

Jam Cruise
January 6-11, 2015
Departs from Miami, FL

Island Exodus
January 14-18, 2015
Grand Lido Negril
Negril, Jamaica
Gov't Mule will host the event

Thanks again for stopping by. I'll be back next week with more jam. Until then, check me out on Facebook and Twitter for up to the minute concert announcements. Until next week, Jam On!


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