Charlie Worsham – Auburn Hills, MI – 9.18.13

Charlie Worsham - 09.18.13 - Auburn Hills, MI (Jon Diener)

 

For the last few months, I’ve been seeing the name ‘Charlie Worsham’ pop up in music circles and social media. So, I decided to see what all the fuss was about and checked out his August, 2013 release Rubberband on Warner Bros. Records. Not only did I immediately hear/see what all the fuss was about, but I instantly felt a connection to Charlie’s songwriting, voice and instrumental prowess. Short version = this guy is going places.

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Little Big Town – Huntington Center – 10.04.12

A selection of my favorite images from the October 4, 2012 show at Huntington Center in Toledo, OH. As with the Eden’s Edge photos from the previous post, this Little Big Town set was part of the Rascal Flatts “Changed” Tour of 2012.

 

 (Jon Diener)  (Jon Diener)  (Jon Diener)

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The full gallery of images can be viewed here.

All images ©2012 Jon Diener. No unauthorized copying, reposting or distribution permitted.

 

Eden’s Edge – Huntington Center – 10.04.12

Back in about 2007, when my son was in the Music Business program at Belmont University in Nashville, he met a trio of musicians that were relatively new to Music City and needed some demo recordings. He did a few sessions with them over a period of a couple years and shared some of those recordings with me at the time. I thought the singers/musicians were very talented and showed a great deal of promise with their songwriting.

Now, fast-forward to 2012…

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Little Big Town – DTE Energy Music Theater

After a few months of distractions in other areas of life, I realized I haven’t posted anything about the last couple shows I’ve shot. So, here’s the first installment of Operation Catch-Up 2012.

You may have read an earlier post of mine, 10 Years and 180 Degrees Later, about returning to DTE Energy Music Theater to witness my son work his magic as Front-of-House sound engineer for Joe Nichols. That was on June 20, 2010. Fast-forward 2 years and a month… and it’s deja vu all over again. This time with Chris working for Little Big Town, and touring the country as part of the Rascal Flatts “Changed” tour.

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Little Big Town

Little Big Town – November 18, 2011 – Honeywell Center, Wabash, IN

As you probably know by now, my son works in the music business in Nashville. He has toured as sound engineer for several country music acts including Chris Cagle and Joe Nichols. Currently, he is approaching his one-year anniversary with Little Big Town, as their monitor engineer and production manager.

Last November, I was able to spend the afternoon and evening watching him do his thing at the last show of their tour in Wabash, Indiana. After meeting LBT members Karen Fairchild, Jimi Westbrook, Kimberly Schlapman and Phillip Sweet (as well as band members and remainder of the crew), I watched the soundcheck, took a group photo of everyone to commemorate the final show, and then got to watch and photograph the entire show. Here are a few of my images from that experience.

 

 (Jon Diener)

 

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My son's view at each show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strike and load-out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Big Town members, band and crew.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite the nearly 7 hour round trip drive, I enjoyed every minute of my day with Chris and the LBT gang. Being treated like one of the family, I was extremely grateful for the southern hospitality extended to this middle-aged yankee.

Be sure to check out my complete portfolio of live music images here.

Thanks for visiting!

 

 

Sonia Leigh

Front of House Sound Engineer Chris Diener mixing for Joe Nichols at Ferris State University

Last week, I had the chance to visit briefly with my son again, while they were on a tour stop at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI.  And while I love shooting Chris at work, along with Joe Nichols and his band (The “We Ain’t Got No Damn Band Randys”), I decided not to do much of that this trip. After all, I’ve already shot about ten or eleven of Joe’s shows over the last couple years, with pretty much unlimited access.

So I didn’t feel like I would be shooting anything new or unique at this show. Plus, my wife was with me and I didn’t feel like deserting her for an hour or so, to go run around the arena shooting Joe’s set.  Instead, I shot a few band images from back near the sound board, as well as a few of Chris at work in front of a large Midas console. (It was incredibly dark near the sound board, so I had my camera’s ISO cranked to about 4000 for some shots of Chris, resulting in fairly noisy images.)

But like any photog worth his salt, I couldn’t just sit through the warm-up act with my camera gear sitting idly by. The opener was a singer-songwriter from Atlanta named Sonia Leigh.  Honestly, I had never heard of her, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Let’s just say, I think you’ll be hearing her name in music circles quite a bit more in the future.  She’s a young, scrappy, tomboy-ish little thing with a voice bigger than her diminutive frame would suggest.

As I started shooting her set, I tried to dissect her musical influences, and more specifically, which other singers she reminded me of. I detected (in no particular order) Melissa Etheridge, a little Indigo Girls, a touch of Bonnie Raitt, a splash of Janis Joplin, maybe some Tanya Tucker, a little Sheryl Crow, some Brandi Carlile, and much more.  Her songs covered the usually country fare – livin’, lovin’, drinkin’, fast cars, and broken hearts. The basic band (guitar, bass, drums) behind her smoky voice and acoustic guitar, was a natural fit for her no-frills music.

She won over the crowd pretty early on, and seemed to keep them entertained for the duration of the set. I moved around the middle of the arena floor shooting Sonia and the band.  While I could have pushed my way through the crowd to the front of the stage, I didn’t really feel I could have gotten any better images there.  It’s always interesting and exciting shooting an act I have never heard – I think it causes me to pay more attention to the performers to try and predict what will happen next.  I felt I walked away from venue with some pretty solid shots, and I learned about a new, up-and-coming artist in the process.

The full photo gallery of images from the show can be seen at my website.

Endorsement-Mania!!

Once again, I had the opportunity to hang out with my son and the rest of the Joe Nichols band and crew during a recent show in Ohio.  Sure, I enjoyed visiting with everyone and shooting the concert.  But I was also asked to shoot a few artist endorsement photos with several of the band and crew with various pieces of gear that they use.  These photos are typically used on a manufacturer’s website or in printed catalogs, showcasing their product being used by a touring musician.  I had done a couple of these (Egnater Amplification and Flatline Guitars) during my last hang with the JN gang and they were received quite well.

So, below are some of the endorsement images I shot that afternoon, after soundcheck but before the show.

Alcorn Case Endorsement

Wes with one of his cases by Alcorn

Armor Gold Cables Endorsement

Michael endorsing Armor Gold Cables

Digidesign SC-48 Endorsement

Chris with the Digidesign SC-48 Console

Pearl Drums Endorsement

Wes with his Pearl drum kit

Open Labs Endorsement

Dave and his Open Labs DBeat

$120 Coincidence? You Decide.

No riveting stories this week about brushes with greatness, or anything photographically related. Instead, a simple, short anecdote about how music saves the day.

So last night, after a stressful week worrying about finances, I went out to cut my grass in hopes of relieving some stress. Once finished, I came back inside, showered, made some dinner, and settled in for the night with some comfy clothes and my laptop. I was feeling particularly lousy – emotionally, physically, and spiritually spent. So the relaxing evening at home seemed to fit the bill.

Just as I had mentally subscribed to an evening of nothing, my phone rang. The ID on my iPhone said “Dave Stella”, my guitar playing friend, and fellow member of one of my bands, The Grape Smugglers. I figured he was calling about scheduling the next rehearsal for the band. Instead, he told me that the regular bass player for his other band, Dry Bones Revival, had a family emergency and would not be able to make that night’s gig at The Village Idiot in Maumee. He asked if I was available to fill in with them that night, as they had run out of other options. To be honest, my initial feeling was to say, “Sorry, no. I’m really not feeling well.”  But within a millisecond, my brain flip-flopped and said yes. I figured that a night of playing music might take my mind off of my worries, and the money wouldn’t hurt, either.  Now keep in mind, this is 9pm when I’m getting the call, and the gig started in about 45 minutes at a venue 25 minutes away.

Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison

A large mounted print of the iconic Jim Marshall photo of Johnny Cash leaned up against the wall next to me at the gig. It seemed to reflect my mood from earlier that evening.

Luckily, I had already showered and eaten by then, and most of my gear was already loaded into the car. So I threw on some jeans and a decent shirt and headed off to Maumee. After a quick stop at my office to pick up my basses, I made my way through the fading daylight. I arrived at “The Idiot”, unloaded my gear, and got myself ready to play. Fortunately, some of the other band members were still finishing setting up their gear, so I took a couple deep breaths to try to relax.

Fortunately, the gig went pretty smoothly, and the crowd was awesome. Soon, I was immersing myself in the music and starting to forget about my troubles. Afterwards, we packed up our gear, and waited to get paid. When band leader Bobby May passed out the pay for the night, I was thinking I might get $60 or $70 bucks for the night. To my surprise, Bobby handed me $120 for my share – apparently, the bar’s cover charge added up nicely, thanks to all folks who came out to hear us.

This morning, I reviewed our limited bank balances, and determined that I would put the previous night’s pay to good use by doing some Krogering. The refrigerator had been looking pretty bare lately. So as I made my way through the store shelves, I kept an approximate running total in my head, trying not to exceed my available funds.  As the checkout clerk  totaled up my haul, I held my breath. And the final tally for the groceries?

Exactly $120.00.  I was stunned by the fact that about twelve hours earlier, I was stressing about how I would be able to cover all the current bills and still put food on the table. Then out of nowhere, I landed a gig that paid exactly what I would need to get over another financial hurdle.  So, depending on your belief system, this was either a freaky coincidence, or something much bigger. My money is on the latter, as this is not the first time I have been shown a path through the financial minefield, at the last possible moment.

Avon Calling

OK, I’ll admit it. This is going to be another post about me and a recent Joe Nichols show. But the angle may be a little different than what you might be expecting. And of course, I’ll throw in some visuals along the way, for those who get bored with all those silly words.

All Pro Freight Stadium

click image to enlarge

Unlike the last couple years my son has worked for Joe Nichols, their tour has made several stops in the area so far this year. Like any proud father, I make it a point to visit with Chris and the guys whenever the schedule permits. So this past Thursday, I headed off down the Ohio Turnpike to Avon, Ohio. Joe was opening for country superstar Alan Jackson at All Pro Freight Stadium with ticket proceeds benefitting the Boys & Girls Club of Lorain County. It didn’t really hit me at first. But as the day went on, it began to dawn on me just how much work had to be done to bring this event to fruition – much of the work being done by volunteers. Now, I’m not saying a great deal of hard work isn’t required for every concert event. But most of Joe’s shows that I’ve attended, were held at dedicated music venues or fairgrounds, where much of the needed infrastructure was already in place.  In contrast, this show was being staged in a Frontier League baseball stadium. So virtually EVERYTHING had to be procured, brought in, setup, staffed, and struck in a very short time frame, while protecting the delicate field and grounds, and all on a minimal operating budget. No small feat, to be sure.

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New Gallery: Justin Moore


Justin Moore – Erie St. Theater – November, 2009 – Images by Jon Diener

Here are select images from the Justin Moore show I shot last November at the Erie Street Theater in Toledo, OH. All of the images were shot with a Nikon D300 using two lenses – the 28-70mm f/2.8 and the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR. Due to the low light levels, I was cranking up the ISO (around 2000) for most shots. A majority of the stage lighting was above or behind Justin, and almost no frontal lighting existed, except for two PARs shooting up from the photo pit. I used a little fill flash on some of the images, but decided to go back to just using available light.

(Click the link right under the slideshow above to view full gallery.)