Celebrating 20 Years Of JamBase

Memorable Television Performances By Jam Acts

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This year marks the 20th anniversary of JamBase. Part of the yearlong celebration includes the 20 For 20 series featuring 20 lists focusing on 20 notable topics and events of the JamBase era. The lists were compiled by current and former JamBase staff members and contributors, music industry professionals and other experts. Stay tuned for more, as the series continues throughout the year and we look back at two decades of encouraging fans to Go See Live Music!

Previous 20 For 20 Lists include Standout Debut Albums By Jam Acts, Pranks & Gags Played By Jam Acts, Festivals We’ve Lost, Memorable Reunions, Farewells Of The Past 2 Decades, Longest Jams & Standout Improvisations, Fan Sites, Memorable Halloween Concerts, Bands Covering Phish, Post-Grateful Dead Bands, Holiday Songs, Supergroups, Memorable Live Collaborations, Jam Acts Covering Jam Acts, New Concert Venues and Memorable New Year’s Eve Concerts from the past 20 years. Next up is a look at 20 Memorable Television Performances By Jam Acts.

Performing on national television is a landmark career event in the life of a professional musician. Dating back to the 1950s, when an appearance on a showcase program like the Ed Sullivan Show or American Bandstand could be viewed by millions of Americans, the chance to perform on TV is a highly sought after and coveted break that only a few acts ever get.

More recently, as television expanded in the cable age, more and more opportunities arose for bands to perform on nationally televised shows. Broadcast late night talk shows and public broadcasting programs continue to be prominent sources of TV exposure for bands, alongside syndicated daytime talk shows, weekend news profiles, all-star benefit concerts, awards shows and other music-centric events and series.

The list below features 20 noteworthy television performances of the past 20 years, with each artist limited to one entry. While none of the entries are perhaps as significant as The Beatles’ February 1964 appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, they are all standout highlights of important events in these performers’ careers.

The Word | Late Night With Conan O’Brien
Aug 7, 2001


Song: Joyful Sounds

Notes: 20 For 20 Supergroup The Word issued their self-titled 20 For 20 Standout Deubt Album in 2001. The band comprised of keyboardist John Medeski, steel guitarist Robert Randolph and North Mississippi Allstars guitarist Luther Dickinson, drummer Cody Dickinson and bassist Chris Chew supported the release of The Word on Ropeadope Records with an appearance on the now defunct Late Night With Conan O’Brien.

The Word’s 2001 appearance on Late Night — one day before Randolph’s 24th birthday — saw the collective work through The Word cut “Joyful Sounds.” When the supergroup reunited in 2015 to release their sophomore album, Soul Food, they also reunited with Conan O’Brien, appearing on his TBS talk show Conan to perform “Come By Here.”

Trey Anastasio | The Late Late Show With Craig Kilborn
Jun 24, 2002


Song: Pebbles & Marbles

Notes: In 1999, former SportsCenter anchor and original The Daily Show host Craig Kilborn took over the The Late Late Show. The CBS program had been helmed since 1995 by former Tomorrow host Tom Snyder. During Kilborn’s tenure, which ended in 2004 when Craig Ferguson became host, Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio made an at-the-time rare appearance playing solo acoustic guitar.

Anastasio’s Late Late Show spot came during Phish’s first hiatus that began in October 2000 and ended on New Year’s Eve 2002. The guitarist was on the show to promote his 2002 self-titled solo album, but instead of playing any of the tracks on that record, he instead played “Pebbles & Marbles.”

Originally introduced via Trey’s solo band’s instrumental “Nothing But An E Thing” arrangement, “Pebbles & Marbles” later landed on Phish’s 2002 studio album, Round Room. The song ended up being one of three on the album played by Phish on television prior to their hiatus-ending show at Madison Square Garden on December 31, 2002. Two shows after New Year’s Eve, at Hampton Coliseum on January 3, 2003, saw the Phish debut of “Pebbles & Marbles.”

Phish | Saturday Night Live
Dec 14, 2002


Songs: 46 Days, Chalk Dust Torture

Notes: Weeks prior to taking the stage at Madison Square Garden in New York City on December 31, 2002 to formally end a two-year hiatus, the four members of Phish came together at another iconic venue in New York City.

On December 14, 2002 the band performed at 30 Rock while making their only appearance to date on Saturday Night Live.

Phish played the typcially allotted two songs on SNL, first delivering the debut of “46 Days,” a new Round Room song that would be part of opening night of the Hampton run that followed New Year’s Eve. The band’s classic “Chalk Dust Torture” was chosen for their second SNL song, but that was not the only time Trey Anastasio, Page McConnell, Mike Gordon and Jon Fishman showed up on the episode hosted by Vice President Al Gore.

As noted by Phish.net:

Phish appeared in the recurring “Jarret’s Room” sketch series, where Jimmy Fallon plays a college dorm room web-show host. In the sketch, the band was forced to hang out with Jarret and his friends after being involved in a car accident with one of them. Gore appeared in the sketch as one of the students’ professors. All four members of Phish joined in to play a snippet of “Contact” in the dorm room. Later, Robert Smigel’s TV Funhouse cartoon parodied the ability of Charlie Brown and his Peanuts friends to transform and enliven anything (e.g., a dumpy Christmas tree) by just “waving their arms around a lot.” Phish appeared as the “transformed” version of Schroeder and his friends, who had been playing music themselves. During the cartoon, two pieces of “You Enjoy Myself” were used as the Peanuts characters danced around.

Following the recent antics that occurred during Phish’s 2019 New Year’s Run at MSG, be sure to check out the Zamfir/pan-flute joke that’s part of the “Jarret’s Room” sketch below:

Gov’t Mule | Late Night With Conan O’Brien
Oct 8, 2003


Song: Bad Little Doggie

Notes: Three years after the death of bassist Allen Woody, Gov’t Mule announced on September 13, 2003 that Andy Hess had joined the band as a fulltime member, ending years of revolving guest players (that included Hess). Hess’ first official performance as a member of Mule coincided with the band’s return to Late Night With Conan O’Brien.

Guitarist Warren Haynes and drummer Matt Abts first appeared on Late Night in support of their 1995 self-titled debut album. Their 2003 appearance on the NBC late night talk show saw Haynes and Abts joined by Hess, as well as another newcomer to the band’s lineup, keyboardist Danny Louis.

“I think those guys are also really psyched to have a unit again,” Hess said when his membership was confirmed in 2003. “To be a group just coming together and playing music, maybe doing some recording — becoming a band again.”

Hess’ formal introduction as a permanent member of Mule came during a performance of “Bad Little Doggie.” The song was released on Gov’t Mule’s 2000 album Life Before Insanity, the last with Woody, and was co-written by Haynes, Abts and Woody. Hess remained a member of Gov’t Mule until 2008 when current bassist Jorgen Carlsson joined the quartet.

My Morning Jacket | The Late Show With David Letterman
Jun 8, 2006


Song: Gideon

Notes: Tuxedos. Members of the Boston Pops Ochestra. My Morning Jacket went all out for their 2006 appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman.

The band and guest orchestral accompaniment played “Gideon” for the Ed Sullivan Theater audience. The song appeared on MMJ’s 2005 album, Z. After undergoing several personnel changes, My Morning Jacket’s lineup was seemingly solidified with Z.

The album was recorded by co-founding members, frontman Jim James and bassist Tom Blankenship, along with drummer Patrick Hallahan who appeared on MMJ’s 2003 album, It Still Moves. Contributing to their first My Morning Jacket record were guitarist Carl Broemel and keyboardist Bo Koster. It was that same group of musicians, with the Boston Pops, that were formally attired for the Letterman gig.

Like their appearance on Letterman, strings (and whistles) were employed by My Morning Jacket for the studio recording of “Gideon,” which were provided by Andrew Bird. Weeks after the Letterman taping, MMJ again teamed with the orchestra for two Pops On The Edge concerts held at Boston’s Symphony Hall.

Umphrey’s McGee | Soundstage
Aug 27, 2007


Songs: Ocean Billy, Higgins, Got Your Milk (Right Here), Out Of Order, Great American, The Bottom Half, Walletsworth, Believe The Lie, Eat, Words, Morning Song, Alex’s House, Glory

Notes: From 1974 to 1983, Chicago-based Public Broadcasting Station WTTW aired the live concert series Soundstage. Those years saw many legendary performances on Soundstage from the likes of Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Waits, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Koko Taylor, Dr. John, Professor Longhair and several others.

The show went dark between 1984 and its return in 2000. Airing through 2018, more recent episodes of SoundStage presented live performances by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Wilco, John Mayer with Buddy Guy, Dave Matthews Band, Robert Plant, Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris, B.B. King, Willie Nelson, Jason Isbell, Michael McDonald and others.

Umphrey’s McGee’s Soundstage taping came between a pair of concerts opening for Dave Matthews Band at the venue formerly known as Deer Creek and hometown headlining performances at the 2007 Riverview Music Festival held at DeVry University. UM’s set at WTTW’s Grainger Studios came a little over one year after the release of their studio album, Safety In Numbers, and saw the band playing several of the album’s tracks including “Ocean Billy,” “Words” and “Believe The Lie,” as well as songs from its 2007 companion album The Bottom Half including “Higgins,” “Great American,” “Alex’s House” and the title track.

Dave Matthews & Neil Young | Hope For Haiti Now
Jan 22, 2010


Song: Alone & Foresaken

Notes: According to 20 For 20 Fan Site DMBAlmanac.com, Neil Young first joined Dave Matthews Band onstage to cover Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” during the DMB’s set at Young’s Bridge School Benefit concert in 1997. By 2001, Dave Matthews had joined Young, Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp on the Farm Aid Board Of Directors.

Young and DMB have linked up at other Bridge School Benefits and Farm Aid concerts over the years. In 2010, Young and Matthews were part of the all-star benefit Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief telethon.

The event took place on January 22, 2010, just days after the devastatingly deadly Haiti earthquake. Among the other performers were Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Beyoncé, Coldplay, Bono, The Edge, Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Wyclef Jean, Sheryl Crow, Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, John Legend, Sting, Jennifer Hudson, Christina Aguilera, Shakir and Keith Urban.

DMBAlmanac lists the charity rendition of Hank Williams’ “Alone & Forsaken” as Matthews’ lone public performance of the song that originally appeared on Williams’ second and final album, 1952’s Moanin’ The Blues. Fellow 20 For 20 Fan Site Sugar Mountain also lists the collaboration at CBS Television City in Los Angeles as Young’s sole public offering of Williams’ classic.

The Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief telethon and iTunes-released album purportedly raised $61 million for relief efforts..

Michael Franti & Spearhead | The Late Show With David Letterman
Oct 27, 2010


Song: The Sound Of Sunshine

Notes: Michael Franti & Spearhead appeared on the Late Show With David Letterman in the fall of 2010 shortly after the release of their seventh studio album, The Sound of Sunshine. The album was inspired by Franti’s newfound optimism after a scrape with death due to a ruptured appendix while on tour in 2009.

Although it was not Franti & Spearhead’s first performance on Letterman, nearly a decade had passed since their last appearance which took place in 2001 just before the tragic events of 9/11.

Micahel Franti & Spearhead performed the title track from The Sound Of Sunshine for Letterman and the Ed Sullivan Theater audience. The band — consisting of Carl Young, Jason Bowman, James Taylor and James Cunningham — welcomed vocalist Jolene Rust for the upbeat number.

The Sound Of Sunshine remains Michael Franti & Spearhead’s highest-charting album on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals | Live From Daryl’s House
Aug 15, 2011


Song: Paris (Ooh La La), Money, Goodbye Kiss, Low Road, Things I Never Needed, Many Rivers To Cross, Room To Breathe

Notes: In August of 2011, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals were promoting their 2010 self-titled album. Potter and company swung by the critically acclaimed Live At Daryl’s House — hosted by Daryl Hall of Daryl Hall & John Oates — to perform a number of songs from Grace Potter & The Nocturnals with Hall.

“Playing in Daryl Hall’s living room is like stepping into a rock and roll time machine,” Potter said at the time as per Keyboard Magazine. “And then they feed you, which is awesome. Daryl went above and beyond to make us feel welcome; even satiating my eternal thirst for old guitars and good wine. He’s a class act.”

Along with a rendition of 1976 Hall & Oates classic, “Room To Breathe,” and a cover of Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers To Cross,” the set includes Grace Potter & The Nocturnals tracks “Paris (Oh La La)”,” “Money,” “Goodbye Kiss” and “Things I Never Needed” as well as “Low End.”

The Avett Brothers & Chris Cornell | Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
Oct 21, 2013


Songs: Footsteps

Notes: In 2013, The Avett Brothers released their eighth studio album, the Rick Rubin-produced Magpie And The Dandelion, and also appeared on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon four different times.

Their first Fallon appearance that year came on February 22. The group fronted by brothers Seth Avett and Scott Avett performed “Kick Drum Heart” from 2009’s I And Love And You and “Geraldine” from 2012’s The Carpenter.

The Avetts were Fallon musical guests twice in September. The sibiling-led outfit appeared on September 24 to perform the Magpie And The Dandelion track “Another is Waiting.” The Avett Brothers returned to Late Night for a September 30 premiere performance of the Magpie song “Vanity.” This visit, however, saw the band accompanied by Soundgarden frontman, the late Chris Cornell.

The unlikely pairing of the North Carolina folk-rockers with the iconic voice of Seattle grunge was repeated on the October 21 episode of Late Night. The collaboration was part of a weeklong celebration of fellow Seattle grunge rockers Pearl Jam that saw Cornell and The Avetts tackling the Pearl Jam deep cut, “Footsteps,” from the Lost Dogs rarities collection.

On December 2, 2013, Seth and Scott sat-in with Cornell during the latter’s acoustic concert at Knight Theater in Charlotte. The collaboration that evening consisted of “Vanity” and “Footsteps” plus “Like A Stone” by Cornell’s post-Soundgarden group Audioslave.

Cornell tragically died by suicide in 2017. The beloved vocalist was only 52-years-old.

“We have lost a dear friend and the world has lost one of its greatest voices,” Sett and Scott Avett wrote in response to Cornell’s death. “Chris Cornell was one of the kindest, funniest, and hardest working people who we have ever had the honor to know and to make music with. We will miss him terribly. Our love and deepest sympathy to his family.”

Brandon “Taz” Niederauer | Ellen
Dec 4, 2013


Songs: Are You Gonna Go My Way?, Jessica, Blues Solo

Notes: Guitarist Brandon “Taz” Niederauer was only 10-years-old when Ellen DeGeneres brought him on her daytime talk show. The fresh-faced “Taz” was just beginning a meteoric rise that continues to build momentum.

The youngster’s national television debut was still almost two years away from his Broadway debut in the originating role of Zack in the adaptation of School Of Rock. A truly full-circle moment for Niederauer who was inspired to learn guitar at age 8 after watching the 2003 feature film School Of Rock. At the time of his appearance on Ellen, Taz was studying at Rock N Roll University in Hauppauge, New York.

The Long Island-native showed Ellen his burgeoning guitar skills by playing Lenny Kravitz and The Allman Brothers Band licks at her request. Less than a year later, Taz would share the stage with Gregg Allman, who sought out the prodigy after seeing him on Ellen, counting the legendary musician — among others including Butch Trucks, Warren Haynes, Oteil Burbridge and Col. Bruce Hampton — as his musical mentors.

Mike Gordon | CBS This Morning
Mar 8, 2014


Songs: Long Black Line, Tiny Little World

Notes: Phish bassist Mike Gordon released his first solo album in 2003. When Gordon assembled a band to tour in support of Inside In he enlisted Max Creek guitarist Scott Murawski.

By 2014, Gordon was up to his fourth solo album after the release of Overstep and Murawski, as he is still today, was by Mike’s side both in the studio and on the live stage. Scott remains the only consistent member of Mike’s solo band, whose lineup changed several times over the years.

Prior to its February 25, 2014 release, two Overstep tracks were debuted by Phish during Summer Tour 2013. “Say Something” was played twice that summer but was shelved thereafter. “Yarmouth Road” has appeared in nearly 30 Phish setlists, most recently during their New Year’s Eve run at Madison Square Garden.

While promoting Overstep, Gordon appeared on CBS This Morning as part of their ongoing Saturday Sessions live performance series. Gordon, Murawski and now-former Mike Gordon band member, percussionist Todd Isler, worked up acoustic arrangements of the Overstep single “Long Black Line” and “Tiny Little World”

Bob Weir & John Mayer | The Late Late Show
Feb 5, 2015


Song: Truckin’, Althea

Notes: Guitarist John Mayer was among those tapped to guest host The Late Late Show during the late night talk show’s transition from host Craig Ferguson to current host James Corden. The only musician selected to subsistute host, Mayer found himself in impressive company with others who filled-in, which included Drew Carey, Judd Apatow, Will Arnett, Wayne Brady, Whitney Cummings, Jim Gaffigan, Lauren Graham, Sean Hayes, Tom Lennon, Kunal Nayyar, Adam Pally, Regis Philbin and Billy Gardell.

Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir was the musical guest on the second of three episodes hosted by Mayer. The February 5, 2015 taping marked Weir’s first public performance after having canceled a number of tour dates the previous August.

2015 proved to be a busy year for Weir and Mayer. Bobby rejoined the other surviving members of the Grateful Dead — Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart — for five Fare Thee Well concerts with Trey Anastasio, Bruce Hornsby and Jeff Chimenti celebrating the 50th anniversay of the Dead. That fall, Weir, Mayer, Kreutzmann, Hart, Chimenti and Oteil Burbridge set out the first of now many Dead & Company tours.

In a 2018 interview with JamBase, Weir’s Wolf Bros. band mate Don Was described introducing Weir to Mayer circa 2012:

[Was and Weir] were introduced in 1993. We were discussing making a record together even back then. I’ve run into him periodically since then, and we spoke about something completely different this time that Bobby and Mickey Hart came to see me at the Blue Note offices in L.A. From my time with John [Mayer], I knew what a fanatical Deadhead he was, and I said John, you gotta come upstairs right now. And that was the moment of inception for Dead & Company.

JamBase covered Weir’s 2015 Late Late Show performance, writing:

Mayer brought out Weir toward the end of the episode for a quick chat that was followed by two performances. John mostly spoke with Bobby about the upcoming Fare Thee Well shows in Chicago and even presented Weir with a hand-drawn mail order envelope that he created the previous evening.

Weir and Mayer, with acclaimed drummer Jim Keltner and bassist Sean Hurley worked through Dead classics “Truckin’” and “Althea.” The former was the opening song at the first Fare The Well concert and the latter has since become a vehicle for Mayer to sing lead and pull off impressive guitar solos both in his solo sets and with Dead & Co.

Vulfpeck | The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
Nov 20, 2015


Song: 1612

Notes: Since forming in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 2011, Vulfpeck has generated attention not only for their deliciously tight brand of retro-funk but often for the feats the group has accomplished in the early stages of their career. One of those impressive achievements came in September 2019, when the group became the first without a manager or record label to sell out Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Just four years earlier, on November 21, 2015, Vulfpeck played their first of two shows at the 600 capacity Brooklyn Bowl after making their NYC debut with a showcase held at Rockwood Music Hall in October 2013. The funky foursome from Michigan’s 2015 trip to NYC also included taping their national television debut.

Vulfpeck’s core-four co-founding members, keyboardist Woody Goss, bassist Joe Dart and multi-instrumentalists Jack Stratton and Theo Katzman, appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on the episode that aired on November 20, 2015. The band and their frequent collaborator Antwaun Stanley, sat-in with the late-night talk show’s house band, Jon Batiste and Stay Human.

Vulfpeck joined the house band throughout the episode, performing as the show went in and out of commercial breaks. Stanley also led a web-exclusive collaborative performance of “1612” from 2014’s Fugue State.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings | The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
Dec 11, 2015


Song: 8 Days (Of Hanukkah)

Notes: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings released the holiday album, It’s A Holiday Soul Party, in October 2015. The record featuring neo-soul vocalist Sharon Jones and her suprememly funky backing band The Dap-Kings mixed classic Christmas carols with a few new originals.

Just prior to the album’s release on Daptone Records, Jones revealed she was again battling pancreatic cancer. Jones had been in remission following intensive treatment administered after her 2013 diagnosis, which was chronicled in the documentary film, Miss Sharon Jones!.

Sadly, It’s A Holiday Soul Party would be Jones’ last album of new recordings released in her lifetime. The talented vocalist was just 60-years-old when she died on November 18, 2016.

Less than a year prior to her untimely death, Jones appeared on the new-at-the-time The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, which made its premiere on CBS in September 2015. Taped on December 11, 2015, Jones led The Dap-Kings through a rendition of their Jewish-themed original “8 Days (Of Hanukkah).”

Tedeschi Trucks Band | Austin City Limits
Feb 13, 2016


Songs: Don’t Know What It Means, The Letter, Bird On A Wire, Anyhow, Let Me Get By, I Want More, Midnight In Harlem

Notes: PBS live concert series Austin City Limits is “the longest-running music program in television history, the only television show to have been awarded the National Medal of the Arts … and enshrined as a Rock & Roll Landmark in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.”

According to the public television program’s website, the history of ACL dates back to 1974:

That was the year Austin PBS, KLRU-TV (then KLRN) program director Bill Arhos, producer Paul Bosner and director Bruce Scafe hatched the idea in response to PBS’s call for original programming from its member stations. Scafe had already directed the music show The Session for WSIU in Carbondale, Illinois, while Bosner was a dedicated fan of the so-called cosmic cowboy scene in Austin. After the latter turned Arhos on to Jan Reid’s book The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock, which covered the progressive country scene, the trio came up with the idea of a TV program to showcase Austin’s diverse mix of country, blues, folk and psychedelia. Thus Austin City Limits (title courtesy of Bosner, who saw the sign every week when he commuted from Dallas to Austin) was born.

The pilot was shot on October 17, 1974, and starred Willie Nelson, who was not yet the iconographic American music figure he would become. (B.W. Stevenson was actually taped the night before, but the recording was deemed unusable.) The deliberate lack of production slickness and attention to audio detail pleased even the notoriously TV-shy Nelson, and Arhos pitched the pilot to PBS as part of its 1975 pledge drive. The show’s success as a fundraiser was enough for Arhos to get ACL greenlighted as a series, and the odyssey began.

For 36 seasons, Austin City Limits taped in Austin at the University of Texas. In 2011, the show moved to its new home in downtown Austin at Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater. Performers include such legends as B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Paul Simon, Bonnie Raitt, Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, John Prine, Merle Haggard, Ray Charles, Emmylou Harris, Kris Kristofferson, Roy Orbison, Neil Young, Tanya Tucker, Chet Atkins, Leon Russell, Asleep at the Wheel and scores of others. More recently, the show has hosted Widespread Panic, Dave Matthews Band, The Allman Brothers Band, Ben Harper, Pearl Jam, The Avett Brothers, My Morning Jacket, Jason Isbell, St. Vincent, Radiohead, Vampire Weekend, Bon Iver, Sturgill Simpson, Wilco and many more.

Guitarist Susan Tedeschi made her ACL debut in 1999, performing as a solo artist on a season 24 episode with Bobby “Blue” Bland. Tedeschi returned for a season 26 episode in which she performed with Double Trouble alongside Jimmie Vaughan, Jonny Lang, Doyle Bramhall II and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Tedeschi then headlined as a solo artist on a season 29 episode.

For her fourth ACL appearance, Tedeschi brought her husband Derek Trucks for his debut alongside the other members of Tedeschi Trucks Band. The group’s debut performance took place on December 14, 2015, and aired as the season 41 finale on February 13, 2016. TTB performed songs from their new-at-the-time album Let Me Get By and some choice covers including The Box Tops’ “The Letter” and Leonard Cohen’s “Bird On A Wire.”

Bob Weir & The Campfire Band | The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
Oct 17, 2016


Song: Lay My Lily Down

Notes: It was 38 years between the release of Bob Weir’s 1978 solo album, Heaven Help The Fool, and its 2016 follow-up Blue Mountain. The latter was a collection of 12 original “cowboy” songs co-written by the Grateful Dead guitarist and singer-songwriter Josh Ritter.

Here’s a previous JamBase description of the album:

A major piece of Blue Mountain was inspired by a period in 1962, when an idealistic 15-year-old Bob Weir decided to run off to Wyoming to become a cowboy. Weir found work on a ranch as a farmhand and as the young newcomer was tasked with grunt work. Yet, the cowboys treated him well and he was introduced to a form of music that years later would be called Americana. Bob also revisited Wyoming a number of times over the years to both visit and stay with his long-time writing partner John Perry Barlow. It was these experiences that informed the music of the 12-track record.

Blue Mountain was produced by Josh Kaufman, who performed on the record. Others appearing on the album were The National‘s Bryce Dessner, Aaron Dessner and Scott Devendorf, as well as Ray Rizzo, Joe Russo, Jon Shaw, Rob Burger, Sam Cohen, Nate Martinez, Jay Lane, Robin Sylvester and Steve Kimock.

In October 2016, Weir assembled a band to tour in support of Blue Mountain. Dubbed The Campfire Band, the lineup saw Weir joined by Kimock, Shaw, Kaufman, Scott Devendorf and The National’s Byran Devendorf.

Aaron Dessner, who was originally cast as part of the touring band but backed out due to a family emergency, joined Weir and The Campfire Band at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City for a taping of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. The ensemble performed “Lay My Lily Down,” one of several Blue Mountain songs to see consistent play from Weir’s various solo projects.

The Marcus King Band | Conan
Aug 28, 2018


Song: Where I’m Headed

Notes: The Marcus King Band was still weeks away from the release of their 2018 Dave Cobb-produced album Carolina Confessions when the band was tapped to be musical guests on Conan. The group’s then lineup of guitarist/frontman Marcus King, keyboardist DeShawn Alexander, bassist Stephen Campbell, trombonist/trumpeter Justin Johnson, saxophonist Dean Mitchell and drummer Jack Ryan performed the album’s opening track, “Where I’m Headed.”

The group’s late-night national television debut resonated in King’s hometown of Greenville, South Carolina. Local CBS affiliate WSPA 7News aired a segment previewing King’s Conan performance.

“Since I was really young, I’ve been watching the show,” King told the outlet from backstage at Conan. “So it’s really incredible to be here.”

The Marcus King Band went on to add The Late Show With Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel Live to their resume of late-night talk show appearances.

Lettuce | Bluegrass Underground
Oct 10, 2018


Song: JB’s > Squadlive

Notes: After opening in March 2018, The Caverns in Pelham, Tennessee — a 20 For 20 New Concert Venue — became the new home for the PBS live concert program Bluegrass Underground. Founded in 2008, Bluegrass Underground had been taped in the Volcano Room at Cumberland Caverns in nearby McMinnville, Tennessee.

Despite its name, the show’s programming goes beyond bluegrass, though typically remaining within the roots-rock/Americana sphere. Previous seasons featured the likes Widespread Panic, Old Crow Medicine Show, Infamous Stringdusters, Yonder Mountain String Band, North Mississippi Allstars, The Wood Brothers, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Keller Williams with the Traveling McCourys, Leftover Salmon, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth, Chris Robinson Brotherhood and many others.

The show’s eighth season was the first inside The Caverns. Among that season’s featured performers were Brandi Carlile, Billy Strings, Sam Bush Band, Tim O’Brien and Lettuce.

The Boston-born funk/jazz outfit Lettuce may not be the first band to come to mind when surveying potential BGUG performers but in this case, the emphasis was on the “underground.” Lettuce, who was nominated for the 2020 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album in a diverse field that saw them vying against Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Theo Croker, Mark Guiliana and eventual winners Rodrigo y Gabriela, laid some “spelunk funk” down on the majestic venue’s stage.

Recorded in April, Lettuce’s Blueground Undergrass episode premiered that October. The band must have dug the impressive surroundings as Lettuce returned to the The Caverns for a second performance (not recorded for television) in September 2019.

The Revivalists | The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
Oct 18, 2018


Song: All My Friends

Notes: New Orleans-based rockers The Revivalists swung by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert in October 2018 to support their upcoming album at the time, Take Good Care. The record came out a month later as the long-awaited follow-up to their critically acclaimed 2015 LP Men Amongst Mountains.

For Colbert and the Ed Sullivan Theatre audience, the band performed their wildly successful single “All My Friends.”

Upon release in August of 2018, “All My Friends” — described as “striking, sharp and soulful with swaggering piano and boisterous horns” — shot straight to the top of numerous charts, making the infectiously catchy tune a likely candidate for The Late Show performance.

Along with the core eight members — vocalist and guitarist David Shaw, guitarist Zack Feinberg, drummer Andrew Campanelli, bassist George Gekas, keyboardist and trumpet player Michael Girardot, pedal steel player Ed Williams, saxophonist Rob Ingraham and percussionist PJ Howard — an extended horn section and backup singers joined The Revivalists as Shaw led them on “All My Friends.”