Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Recap, Wrap-up, Catch Up - Well Respected Men, Peter Holsapple with the Forryst Bruthers, Little Diesel, Baron Von Rumblebuss

Little Diesel
Photo by Ed Speas
L to R: PH, Bob Northcott, Will Rigby, Phil Thomas, Tommy Eshelman

Sorry, I got sorta behind here. Gigs, gigs, gigs! Let me start by saying all of the shows over the past couple of weeks have been just wonderful, reaffirming for my return to music. Hell, I nearly feel professional, even!

1. The Well Respected Men - The Garage, Winston-Salem - June 25

The Well Respected Men
Photo by Laura Hart
L-R: PH, Glenn Jones, Jeff Hart, Andrew Snee
The mighty Kinks kover band opened the Near Strangers' album release party at Winston-Salem's Garage, a club that's defied the odds by staying open for years in a town that doesn't make that an easy thing to do, for some reason. The Well Respected Men played Kinks favorites for an hour to an appreciative crowd, including some who decided they'd dance, which is always gratifying. The celebrants' band, fronted by Lee and Susan Terry, sounded excellent, what little I could stay for. They have sweetness and soul in abundance. The new Near Strangers' album, Echo Reverse, is a worthy addition to your already overloaded record collection, so go forth and get it.

2. Peter Holsapple with the Forryst Bruthers - Millennium Center, Winston-Salem - Stand Against HB2 - June 26

My first foray into the fray with the new ensemble. The Forryst Bruthers, a standalone bunch of pros, took time from getting their own act together to serve as my accompanists. James Wallace and Mark Simonsen, both of whom you know from these pages as the producers of my new single, are Bruthers, as are Aaron Oliva and Evans Nicholson, and the four of them have a tight-but-loose sound that seems to complement my tunes nicely. So we practiced a few of 'em and headed down to Winston-Salem for Stand Against HB2. I'm pretty sure the folks in the audience enjoyed the set, which was followed directly by Winston's own Luxuriant Sedans who are what a blues band can sound like with arrangements and rehearsals and no reliance on long jammy jams. 

3. Little DieselMillennium Center, Winston-Salem - Stand Against HB2 - June 26
Little Diesel
Photo by Florence Dore
L to R: PH, Will Rigby, Phil Thomas,
Bob Northcott, Tommy Eshelman
If anything might have overshadowed my first nervous performance with the Forryst Bruthers earlier in the afternoon, it was likely the first show by Little Diesel, Winston-Salem's first real garage rock band, in over 40 years. Bob Northcott, Will Rigby, Tommy Eshelman, Phil Thomas and I ripped through half a dozen songs from the No Lie album to a wildly enthusiastic crowd, many of whom were around for our first incarnation as R.J. Reynolds High School seniors in the mid-1970s. We even did two originals, our paean to the legendary skin-flick drive-in theater "Flamingo" and our theme song "Kissy Boys." We had so much fun we made plans to do it all again one day soon.

4. Baron Von Rumblebuss - Festival For the Eno, Durham - July 4 

Mush pit
My final performance as The Black Hole with Tray and Kathleen Batson's band, Baron Von Rumblebuss, took place on a soggy stage surrounded by mud and a raging Eno river. Despite the meteorological conditions, it was a bright and fun set of the brilliant kids music that Tray has been writing and recording. Mark Simonsen has been my rhythm partner in the band, and I will miss the locking we were able to accomplish together. The new BVR release Summer-Sonic is coming out this summer, appropriately enough, and we played a number of songs from it, as well as hits like "Did You See Where the Cat Threw Up" to a damp but appreciative audience. The band was joined by ace flautist Tim Smith, with whom I'd played in Hobex several years earlier.
L to R: Mark Simonsen, Tim Smith,
PH as The Black Hole
I have had a great time playing with the band, but it's gotten difficult recently to play bass because of damage to my left hand and arm from a fall a couple years ago that has not improved. So I'm moving along, but not without sadness and gratitude to Tray, Kathleen, Mark, Steve Carr and the late Matt Brown for being a part of a grand adventure for seven years.

5. Peter Holsapple with the Forryst Bruthers - Festival For the Eno - July 4

Photo by Kathryn Wall
After a few inspired tunes by the Bruthers, I took center stage for a set of mostly new songs. It felt just fucking fantastic to be doing a show with a band again. We had a couple small misfires, but overall, the tunes were handled with the appropriate care and feeding, and I think that the audience was happy to hear new stuff from me finally. It was a trial by fire in my own mind--"do I still have what it takes?" as my song "Game Day" says. Apparently, I do. We had a ball, and again, I hope to do more shows with Mark, James, Aaron and Evans sooner than later. They're busy lads, so we'll need to carve some space in their collective calendars. It felt right, it felt natural, it was a fine experience and I'm so delighted to have been invited to play at the Festival For the Eno.

"What, me worry?"
Photo by Kathryn Wall

L to R: Aaron Oliva, PH, James Wallace