Musical Red, White & Blue (video 2:12)

Musical Red, White & Blue (video 2:12)
Musical Red, White & Blue (video 2:12)
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It was an entertaining mixture of new and old for Flashlight Tag’s CD release at Ashland Coffee and Tea Thursday night. They showcased old tunes, as well as new ones off their historically-themed American Electronica, which celebrates “American history and the American song treasury” with both original and well-known classics done electric.


Patrick Henry

Jack Brush punks out Patrick Henry’s “Liberty or Death” speech

Now etched in my mind is the fact Patrick Henry was the first American punk (eloquently flipping the bird to England, 1775). Opening the show, Jack Brush owned Henry’s “Liberty or Death” speech with a punked-out performance, complete with spiked hair, eye make-up and a Sex Pistols’ t-shirt.


Justin Laughter (guitar, vocal) and Brian Phelps (bass, vocal), the core of Flashlight Tag, then took the stage to lead the crowd on a journey through Americana. Justin credits the Beach Boy’s Smile, which was to have been “a love song to America,” as his inspiration for American Electronica.



Brian’s song “Dukakis We Barely Knew You” didn’t fit the CD’s Revolutionary theme. “Look for it on the B-side of something someday” laughed Brian, who signed on to the project even though “Dukakis” didn’t make the cut.


Jand B1Flashlight Tag, including Lee Brooks (drums) and Sam Bennett (keys), was joined by 17 musicians on the CD. “We’re a small town with big talent!” Thursday’s show included a notable handful with Michael Bishop (Gwar, Kepone) singing “Wabash Cannonball,” up-and-coming Sarah White doing “Home on the Range” and the Tater Brothers Brad Tucker and Craig Evans harmonizing on “Oh Susanna.” Justin says the musician mash-up was part of the intent, “A celebration and sharing with each other.“


According to Brian, doing these projects often challenges them. “We choose to paint ourselves into a corner, so we can figure how to get out of it. Every time we get out of it, it ends up being something we think is interesting and worth listening to.” Practice sessions usually start with the duo throwing out the “craziest ideas,” shooting them down, then seeing the beauty. There’s a method to our “madness” adds Justin.


A new CD (Old House, Good Bones due in 2016), is already in the works and will take more of a pop-rock theme. Flashlight Tag is also lining up a December Christmas performance at ACT. If Thursday’s show was any indication, catching that show would be an excellent gift to yourself.


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A new Midlothian area house concert series, very similar in format to the JAMinc shows, will be hosting former Richmond singer/songwriter Ericson Holt Saturday, 8/15. For more info Send an email to Dale and Gene Rainey


Speaking of JAMinc, tickets are on sale for their first show of the season, 9/18 featuring the piano based Justin Kaulflin Trio. Details at .


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