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Jan 28

Cafe La Flore – Sunday, February 1, 5 PM

Filed under: gigs | Back to: Homepage

Robin has asked me to share a gig with them this Sunday at Cafe La Flore (THANKS!).   Here are the details:

Sunday, February 1 at 5pm.
Cafe La Flore
1032 Clement St, San Francisco (map and directions)

This should be a fun, casual gig – more like sitting around a living room and trading songs than a formal performance.  Stop by if you’re looking for a break on Sunday.

Also, mark your calendars for my February 28th gig with Erston Pearcy.  See you soon!

Jan 27

Mark Olson & Gary Louris: Ready for the Flood

Filed under: albums | Back to: Homepage

image Mark Olson & Gary Louris, the original founders of the Jayhawks, released their first joint album in 13 years today.  I have been excited about Ready for the Flood since seeing these guys at last year’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival – the highlight of the weekend.  I’ve been listening all morning and it just brings a smile to my face.

I’ve been a Jayhawks fan basically forever.  I can remember hearing Blue in a hotel lobby in Baltimore about 13 years ago and telling my co-worker that it was my favorite song EVER.  (A time in my life where I still felt the need to talk in absolutes…).  Mark left the Jayhawks around that time and Gary put out some great albums after, but I sorely missed the soaring harmonies and songwriting of the original duo.

Ready for the Flood is what you would expect from these guys – mostly acoustic music with poetic lyrics and beautiful two part harmonies.  The AllMusic guide says the songs are “faded and familiar.”  That just about sums it up.  Listening to these guys feels like going home and hanging out with old friends.

Here are some songs from Ready for the Flood to whet your appetite:

The Rose Society
Bicycle
Turn Your Pretty Name Around
Saturday Morning On Sunday Street

image If you want to explore The Jayhawks post-Olson, Rainy Day Music is a spectacular album.  Panned by critics for reasons that I can’t fathom and a precursor to the demise of the band, this is yet another record that I couldn’t put down for a long, long time.  Some tracks:

Stumbling Through The Dark
Angeline
Tampa To Tulsa

Enjoy.  I’m off to see Neko tomorrow night.  Sweet.  She’s my favorite EVER.

Jan 12

I Love Rockabilly Music

Filed under: live music | Back to: Homepage

Twice this weekend I found myself trying to explain Rockabilly.  Sadly, I used to be able to say, “you know, like the Stray Cats” but apparently quoting Rockabilly Revivalists dates me.  Here’s what wikipedia has to say about it:

Rockabilly is one of the earliest styles of rock and roll music, and emerged in the early 1950s.

The term rockabilly is a portmanteau of rock (from rock ‘n’ roll) and hillbilly, the latter a reference to the country music (often called hillbilly music in the 1940s and 1950s) that contributed strongly to the style’s development. Other important influences on rockabilly include western swing, boogie woogie, and rhythm and blues. Although there are notable exceptions, its origins lie primarily in the southern United States.

Photo by CLEANandSOLID.comBut of course, that doesn’t begin to explain it.  Rockabilly is pompadours and tattoos, whisky and Cadillacs, electric and electrifying rock and roll with a dash of twang and just enough melody to make it interesting.  A good Rockabilly band is almost always a trio and a stand-up bass is a must have for the traditionalists.  I don’t dance, but you just can’t sit still when a rockabilly band takes the stage.  Think Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Eddie Cochran, Bill Haley & the Comets and Gene Vincent.  (More) recent bands that have expanded beyond tradition include Chris Isaak, Reverend Horton Heat, The Cramps, Queen and Southern Culture on the Skids.

A quick story.  When I was in college, I walked into the Tastes of Houston festival just as the Road Kings were finishing up their set.  The guitar player (Jesse Dayton) was in the middle of a blistering solo on his big Gretsch guitar, the drummer was driving a killer shuffle beat and the bass player was balancing precariously on top of his upright.  I don’t have the writing talent to accurately describe how eye-popping this experience was for me.  Prior to that show, I didn’t know that you could play music with that kind of energy.  What I did know was that I would be spending a lot of my time in bars listening to live music.

And yes, it’s one of the great tragedies of my life that I can’t grow sideburns.

Photo by CLEANandSOLID.com

Jan 10

Robin Galante & Eric Pedersen: The Fuzz Sessions

Filed under: albums, live music | Back to: Homepage

image On Saturday, January 17th, Robin and Eric debut their album at the Bazaar CafeThe Fuzz Sessions is a collection of all-acoustic folk songs, with tight, two-part harmonies and beautiful, sparse accompaniment that give color to the music while keeping focus on the songwriting.  Recorded live and minimally produced, this album perfectly captures the essence of their live show.  I really like this music and have had a few of the songs stuck in my head for weeks (i.e. Hangman).  Listen to a few tracks over at Robin’s Myspace page to see what I’m talking about.

Here’s a performance of Follow Me, which sounds like a lost Simon & Garfunkel song (if one of them was a girl I guess…):

If you’re in the Bay Area, come out to the record release party on Saturday and support local, live music (and wish Eric a happy birthday!).  I’ll see you there.


Robin Galante and Eric Pedersen Record Release Party
Saturday, January 17 at 6:30
7 PM
Bazaar Café

http://www.bazaarcafe.com/
5927 California Street, between 21st & 22nd Avenues
San Francisco, CA 94121

UPDATE 2-24-2009: I just found Fuzz Sessions on Rhapsody.  Here’s a few tracks:

Worth It
Hangman
Unrequited

Jan 09

San Francisco Bay on a Foggy Morning

Filed under: san francisco | Back to: Homepage

There’s not anyone who would refer to me as a morning person, but I’ve been up since 5:15 AM listening to boats blow their horns out in the San Francisco Bay on a very foggy day.  This is the usual view from my balcony:

PICT0004

This is what I see this morning:

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Initially I was upset, but then I decided that this is part of the charm of living in San Francisco.  So, for your listening pleasure, check out Boats on SF Bay on a Foggy Day.  Maybe I’ll use this on a recording sometime…

Jan 07

Andrew Bird – Noble Beast

Filed under: albums, live music | Back to: Homepage

When I went to see multi-instrumentalist (and damn fine whistler) Andrew Bird at the Warfield last year I walked out seriously depressed.  Usually when I go see a band I have some thought that with just a little more work on my part I can get to their level.  But Andrew Bird’s music is so complex and so creative and so indescribably unique that I have no idea how I could ever approach it.  Depressing and uplifting at the same time I guess.  To see what I’m talking about, watch this video of him playing violin through a looping pedal:

Andrew Bird @ From The Basement from Daniel Caballero on Vimeo.

See what I mean?  I have recommended Bird’s last two solo albums to many friends, and they have been universally liked.  Most folks find Armchair Apocrypha more accessible, but trust me – after several listens you will love The Mysterious Production of Eggs.  This is another one of those albums that I listened to every day for months.  That’s why I’m so excited about Noble Beast, which will be released this month.  NPR has the whole album online and the New York Times has an in depth feature on Bird and this release (with a really interesting account of what it took to get started).  Bird is one of the writers on the New York Times’ Measure for Measure songwriting blog, where he writes a little bit about the making of this album.

A few songs for your enjoyment:

image The Mysterious Production of Eggs
A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left
Masterfade
MX Missiles

image Armchair Apocrypha
Fiery Crash
Imitosis

Andrew is playing at the Fillmore next month.  I’ll be the depressed, awed guy in the back.

Jan 05

Middle Cyclone

Filed under: albums | Back to: Homepage

clip_image002Given that I couldn’t put down Fox Confessor Brings the Flood for months, I can’t wait for the March 3rd release of Neko Case’s Middle Cyclone!  I’m definitely intrigued by the album art…

There’s a video on the Amazon site with a little more information.  Check it out.

UPDATE – of course the video is on YouTube.  Here it is for your viewing pleasure: