We Love Music: The TFDI Tour featuring Tony Lucca, Jay Nash, and Matt Duke

Photo by Rachel Levitin

Wednesday night’s performance by Tony Lucca, Jay Nash, and Matt Duke on the Virginia stop of their TFDI Tour at Jammin’ Java was an example of the theory that less is more. The stage was set with three microphones, three guitars, and three of the most talented one-man bands I’ve ever seen live.

When combined, the TFDI (aka “Totally F*ckin’ Doin’ It) Team of Lucca, Nash, and Duke produce a sound comparable to Crosby, Stills, and Nash with a touch of The Band on guitar and some Motown soul in their vocals. The harmonies produced by both their instruments and their vocal chords were enough to pique any music theory majors’ interest and leave an Average Joe listener’s jaw dropped all at the same time.

And to think – this musical tour de force started out as a side project for a trio of guys looking for something creative to dabble with in their spare time.

Photo by Rachel Levitin

It all started back in Los Angeles with veteran singer-songwriter Tony Lucca and his songwriting buddy Jay Nash. The two met through the same circle as part of the Hotel Cafe troupe of musical characters. The two got to talking around this time last year about collaborating on each other’s songs. It sounded like a good idea at the time so they decided to run with it. The duo then teamed up with Matt Duke and the first TFDI Tour was born.

That tour turned into an EP.

That EP turned into a second music making session in a Chicago hotel room.

And that second music making session in a Chicago hotel room spawned what we now know as the second TFDI tour.

“After years of recording, experimenting and exploring new sounds and directions, you just know when you’ve tapped into something truly exceptional – something that far exceeds any kind of expectations you might have had, whether your own or of others. That’s how the first TFDI felt to me,” Lucca said about the tour.

“I’ve never been one to tempt fate twice, but in this instance I’m willing to give it a go. I look forward to recording and touring with Jay and Matt again.”

It’s a shame that performers like Lucca, Nash, and Duke don’t get more attention. It’s unfortunate but we live in an age of music where the general public tends to skew toward calling John Mayer their favorite default singer-songwriter and then they never bother to research the developing and vibrant scene beyond the shiny, up-in-lights , Grammy award winning name.

Here’s a lesson to put in your metaphorical pipe and smoke — there are some really talented people out there if you take a second to dig deeper and look around for it. Sure it takes a little effort but it’s worth it. Lucca, Nash, and Duke are three examples to prove that point.

Photo by Rachel Levitin
Photo by Rachel Levitin

Matt Duke, the newest addition to the bunch, is a 24-year-old rock influenced, baby-faced, soul searching writer with a heart of gold. You could almost see the tears seep out of the corners of his eyes while he was singing the self-reflective selection “Tidal Wave,” which makes reference to biblical stories, whiskey, and relationships. His lyrical honesty and pure vocal sound combines for a Dave Grohl circa his time in the Foo Fighters combined with a young Bright Eyes — it’s a unique sound for a broad audience.

Jay Nash is the jester of the group for sure. His comedic ramblings and asides on-stage are reminiscent of a young Dan Akroyd in The Blues Brothers with a voice and performance style similar to singer-songwriter Josh Kelley. His voice is rich with a timbre that I have yet to hear matched from any other solo act of Nash’s caliber. His bearded face almost convinces the audience that he is a wise sage or traveling man who has a must-hear story that leaves you mesmerized from the moment he opens his mouth to tell it.

Tony Lucca is veteran of the singer-songwriter scene at this point. The man’s been recording and performing under a solo billing for nearly a decade. He blames picking up a guitar in high school and figuring out that all guitar music doesn’t have to be rock and roll – that lesson was compliments of Miles Davis and John Coletrane of all people.

Photo by Rachel Levitin

Lucca is kind of the Papa Bear on stage. He’s never over-powering (nor are Nash and Duke). He’s always right on pitch and plucking the precise note on his six-string. There’s just an aura about the guy. He knows what he’s doing, he does it well, and he’s teamed-up with two other guys who write and perform just as well as he does – it’s a bromance made in musical heaven.

The flow of the evening’s show played nicely to the theme of collaboration. The trio opened with a couple of numbers featuring all three of them and then segued seamlessly into a solo set for Duke with the occasional “calling the boys back to the stage to help out” and then back into trio play and so on.

Each guy got his solo turn at the mic and all of them were on their a-game, but what made the evening special wasn’t Lucca’s solo version of “Death of Me” or Nash’s solo selection of “Golden State Goodnight” – it was the all three of the TFDI guys at the mic at the same time that made the night a memorable one.

Cover song performances included “The Weight” by The Band, “American Girl” by Tom Petty, “On The Road Again” by Willie Nelson and “Lover I Don’t Have to Love” by Bright Eyes – all of which left my opera major friend with his jaw dropped due to how impressed he was.

That must mean they were doing something right.

Rachel moved to DC in the fall of 2005 to study Journalism and Music at American University. When she’s not keeping up with the latest Major League Baseball news, she works on making music as an accomplished singer-songwriter and was even a featured performer/speaker at TEDxDupont Circle in 2012. Rachel has also contributed to The Washington Examiner and MASN Sports’ Nationals Buzz as a guest blogger. See why she loves DC. E-Mail: rachel@welovedc.com.

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2 thoughts on “We Love Music: The TFDI Tour featuring Tony Lucca, Jay Nash, and Matt Duke

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  2. I love the 3 of them together and they are my favorite bromance. On top of their amazing shows, they have the greatest videos on YouTube with footage of them on tour. Tony and Jay are amazing, and Matt is super amazing and needs a whole heap of a lot more exposure and recognition. :)