On Monday night we checked out Red Orange Morning at Rockwood Music Hall. The mood at Rockwood was festive but low-key. As the venue is small, loud conversation could be a distraction from the performance on stage, so a mellow crowd is needed in order to enjoy the show. Red Orange Morning is a duo featuring Cyndi Ocava on vocals, keyboard, and melodica and Ryan Hampton on vocals and guitar. Cyndi and Ryan’s ability to switch seamlessly back and forth on lead vocals is unique and adds depth to the songs of the singer-songwriter duo with a pop/rock feel. Their unpredictable harmonies and bittersweet lyrics range from fun and joyful to melancholy and remorseful. I have seen ROM a few times now and this was one of their best shows. Cyndi and Ryan each bring a distinctive presence to the stage and their strong vocals and musicality as a duo are always fun to see:
Based in Brooklyn, Red Orange Morning has played many NYC venues since its inception in late 2005, such as Pianos, Rockwood Music Hall, The Annex, and Pete’s Candy Store. They also have a strong presence in the Philadelphia music scene, their song “The Woman Lies,” has been a part of Philadelphia WXPN’s rotation. Red Orange Morning’s future plans are to record a full-length record with more extensive touring in 2009.
*Note for those of you unfamiliar with the melodica, as I was, it a wind instrument with a keyboard on top, and is played by blowing air through a mouthpiece that fits into a hole on it’s side. Pressing a key opens a hole, allowing air to flow through a reed. The keyboard is usually two or three octaves long. (See, you learn something everyday.)
At Rockwood that night, we were also able to catch the Spirit Family Reunion show. Their bluegrass rhythms were a perfect fit for the Rockwood’s small performance space. The trio featured the banjo, the piano, a violin, and some bluesy vocals with poetic, solemn lyrics which could be heard, and seen, in the lead singer’s performance. The performance was nuanced and at times, reminiscent of the sounds of the bluegrass band Union Station. Spirit Family Reunion is also based in Brooklyn and was on an east-coast tour in April, playing dates in D.C., North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Pennsylvania before this New York show.
The evening also featured some comedians including Brooke Van Poppelen, whose self-deprecating humor kept the crowd entertained.
Red Orange Morning was playing as a part of Local Correspondents Night. Local Correspondents is an organization that describes themselves as “a supportive community for independent artists that are based in Brooklyn, New York.” Local Correspondents hosts a showcase series for indie bands and songwriters.
Rockwood Music Hall
196 Allen Street
New York City 10002