Monday, February 23, 2009

Tennessee Road Trip, pt. X

All right! We did a good job tonight at Otherlands. What a relief!

I guess I was sweating it a little. The Folk Alliance convention was not exactly what I'd expected, and I wasn't sure by the end of the day yesterday whether we actually did belong at that confab, being old pop rock guys and not modern Woody Guthries. It's not that what we do is anything less than sincere; but we have never been the most portable of rock bands over the years, and this is our new step into uncharted territory that practically requires portability. Will our songs make the leap into the Quiet Realm of Folk?

Apparently so. It sounded good to me, and the audience seemed well pleased with what they heard.

Uncle Monk opened the show. That is Tommy Ramone (of THE Ramones) on mandolin and Claudia Tienan on guitar. Both of them sing, and it's very pure and rustic and pretty bluegrass they write and play. It ain't "Blitzkreig Bop" by a long shot.

Chris, Ilene and I plugged in, and she started the thumpy rolling riff of "Lord of the Manor", a wonderful Everly Brothers song we've played together since we toured for Mavericks (we're big on those guys, could you guess?) From there, we went straight into "Early in the Morning" and then our take on "I Am the Cosmos" by the late Chris Bell (of Memphis and Big Star). We try to play that song more like the flipside of the single that Chris Stamey's CAR Records put out in 1978, "You and Your Sister", much more delicately and without the Beatley bombast of "Cosmos"'s original version. I think it's a great and reverent tribute to one of our influences, and I hope the Memphis audience found it that way as well.

We rolled through a lot of songs. Ilene nailed the bass lines to everything and kept the rhythm incredibly accurate, as though there was some invisible, inaudible drummer that we were playing to. Lots of stuff from both Holsapple/Stamey records. A couple of dB's songs. The usual panoply we try to deliver. The singing was tuneful and easily accomplished, which was nice; sometimes it can be a strain to sound good.

The audience was full of Folk Alliance stragglers and a lot of my ex in-laws, who were all very sweet to me and stuck it out to the end to hear Ilene play with us. I was very happy to see them after all this time.

As Chris has an early flight, we left Otherlands fairly early and got home before midnight. I'm still a little revved (what I refer to as 'the second set', that downtime after a gig when I'd still love to be playing) so I'll finish this up before the long ride home tomorrow.

Yay! Home! That sounds so good....

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