This Little Underground: Richard Sherfey & All God's Children, Matt Butcher & the Schoolyard Band, Joshua Pearson, Phil Longo

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This Little Underground is Orlando Weekly's music column providing perspective, live reviews and news on the city's music scene. Read the latest column here.

Richard Sherfey & All God's Children at Will's Pub (photo by Ashley Belanger)
  • Richard Sherfey & All God's Children at Will's Pub (photo by Ashley Belanger)
Richard Sherfey & All God's Children at Will's Pub (photo by Ashley Belanger) It’s nice to see country-rockers Richard Sherfey and All God’s Children play out more these days. After moving to town and getting into the craft beer business at Redlight Redlight, Sherfey sort of put his music career on ice. Well, there are some signs of new life, the latest being this recent headlining show (Oct. 1, Will’s Pub). He’s assembled an all-star band locally by cherry-picking top talent from the remnants of the city’s once-defining American trad-rock scene, including members from Mike Dunn and the Kings of New England, Gasoline Heart and Squad Five-O. As for Sherfey himself, the guy’s still got the gospel and fire in his throat. The astonishingly convincing CCR cover they played proved that. The Sherf tells me that the increased gigging has been a result of him and the boys rediscovering the high of live performance and that there are even a couple new songs they may try and record soon. Stay tuned.
Matt Butcher & the Schoolyard Band at Will's Pub (photo by Ashley Belanger)
  • Matt Butcher & the Schoolyard Band at Will's Pub (photo by Ashley Belanger)
Matt Butcher & the Schoolyard Band at Will's Pub (photo by Ashley Belanger) The other notable reawakening on the bill was the newly rebooted Matt Butcher with his Schoolyard Band. You can tell the formally local star is rapt with the gospel of rock and roll because of the spirit of his new sound – that and the fact that the term “rock and roll” makes several dozen appearances in the lyrics of his current album. This second homecoming in this current guise was duly charged, with even a classic Heathens song (“Sucker or a Lover”) thrown in for good measure. The energy feels real and the songwriting’s still there. And it’s always good to see a talent rekindled.
Joshua Pearson & Mary Hannah Butler at Will's Pub (photo by Ashley Belanger)
  • Joshua Pearson & Mary Hannah Butler at Will's Pub (photo by Ashley Belanger)
Joshua Pearson & Mary Hannah Butler at Will's Pub (photo by Ashley Belanger) Also playing was local twang-pop balladeer Joshua Pearson, accompanied by the sweet-voiced Mary Hannah Butler. Together, they spun that particular kind of direct and guileless emotion that grown-up church kids seem to specialize in. Though not especially revelatory, it was pleasant and sweet. But even alongside a playlist that included the hymn “I’ve Got Peace Like a River,” they did show a little sly leg with a Magnetic Fields cover (“The Book of Love”) so major bonus points there.
Phil Longo at Will's Pub (photo by Ashley Belanger)
  • Phil Longo at Will's Pub (photo by Ashley Belanger)
Phil Longo at Will's Pub (photo by Ashley Belanger) Rounding out the night was Phil Longo. With one of the city’s longest and most diverse music résumés, he’s been the engine behind tons of local bands. But seeing him so up front and unaccompanied is actually a very rare thing, and the songs on this solo performance were mostly ones that don’t appear in his other projects. Longo is, through and through, a product of American underground rock. And this set of raggedly tender and obliquely melodic songs was an interesting and direct glimpse into the mind of one of Orlando’s most vital, authentic and quietly influential indie musicians.

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Broncho’s still criminally underrated
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