Friday March 16, 2007
Trip Start Mar 12, 2007
6Trip End Mar 18, 2007
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Red House Records Party.
We walked into the almost empty patio at Mother Egan's a bit before noon and the girls before the bar tried to sell us a Guinness out of boredom I guess. I looked over and the only non employee in the place besides us was Chris Smither sitting alone at a table reading the Austin Chronicle. After awhile we talked and he told us he was leaving the next day for Australia and would be there for almost a month.
The Pines started the afternoon off. They are a bluesy duo from Iowa and now Minneapolis based who are about to release their first release on Red house.
Chris Smither started out with 'Hold On'. The rest of the songs were from his new Red House release 'Leave The Light On' and new to me. The next song was the title cut followed by 'Seems So Real', 'Intelligent Design', Diplomacy', 'Fathers Day', written for his father who just turned ninety, and ending with 'Open Up'. The first three songs were in D tuning.
I found out later that Karen Miller of 'The Miller Tells Her Tale' podcast fame was in attendance. If you haven't heard her shows, you owe it to yourself to check it out. She was also here during James McMurtry's set earlier in the week. I love her show and sure would like to meet her. Maybe next year.
We would have liked to stick around, but we had been at the Bloodshot Party last year and it's the place to be. So we walked up Sixth St. past the Fat Caddy at the Molotov Lounge on the corner where two pink '59 Cadillac's were parked at the curb and two big tour busses were parked around the corner.
Bloodshot Records Party at Yard Dog
Yard Dog Folk Art on south Congress is an art gallery that specializes in art by musicians. There were works by Tom Russell, Jon Langford, and others. There is a small parking area out back where there is a stage under a tent and another tent for the audience. Once again, Pabst Blue Ribbon was giving away beer as fast as they could hand them out.
We arrived in time to see Mark Pickerel & His Praying Hands. Mark is a Seattle music veteran with the bands Truly and Screaming Trees. 'Graffiti Girl'. The band includes a Danish lady on pedal steel guitar.
Up next were the Deadstring Brothers with exotic singer Masha Marjieh, Kurt Marschke vocals and guitars. We saw them here last year and looked forward to seeing them again. They began their set with the Band's 'Get Up Jake' and played their own 'Sacred Heart' which reminds me of 'Exile' era Rolling Stones. Their sound is also reminiscent of Gram Parson's work with Emmylou Harris.
Graham Parker played 'I Discovered America' from his new record 'Don't Tell Columbus' and old favorite, 'Hotel Chambermaid'.
Walter Salas-Humara and the The Silos from NYC were up next. I had been looking forward to seeing these guys all week because I had heard a lot about them. Maybe it was because of the other acts I had seen that day that I can't rate them very highly.
We didn't stick around for the Gore Gore Girls because we wanted to see the Band of Heathens at Jo's Coffee. The recipient of New Band of the Year at the Austin Music Awards, they are singer-songwriters Colin Brooks, a 2003 Kerrville New Folk award winner, Ed Jurdi, Brian Keane, and Gordy Quist, a 2006 Kerrville New Folk award winner. I was only disappointed that we didn't see their whole set and I look forward to seeing these guys play in a better setting where I can really listen and appreciate them.
Jon Langford's Waco Brothers kept telling the crowd, "We're professional musicians".Abunch of British cow-punks, billed as a "Wasted Swing Band" they later admitted to being entertainers and they certainly are entertaining. Their antics between songs had everyone laughing.
They began their set with 'Nothing at All' that I've heard on Richard Taylor's excellent podcast, 'Roots, Rock, Radio'. They were joined onstage by a young lady who joined them in singing 'White Lightning', one of the high points of their show. 'Do As I Say, Don't Do As I Do' 'Big River'
Jon is also a multi-media visual artist whose work was on display in the Yard Dog Gallery. I really like what he does and was surprised when I connected the two.
The Waco Brothers ended the party and played for over an hour. People were walking around handing out the last of the cans of beer so they wouldn't have to haul any away and they didn't have a hard time finding takers.
Bill Kirchen was playing happy hour at the Continental Club and we had to wait briefly for someone to leave before we could gain entrance to the packed house. He was playing Tryin' to 'Turn Her Memory Off' when we walked in and then he introduced 'Hot Rod Lincoln' as a song that he wore out the old Tele playing during his years with Commander Cody. As the Lincoln blows down he highway he passes (with guitar sound effects) a VW bus, a big rig, and the Edmund Fitzgerald. Then he passes and plays solos in the styles of many famous rock, blues, power pop, punk, and country guitarists, including Johnny Cash, Duane Eddy, Roy Orbison, Johnny Rivers, Marty Robbins, Buck Owens, Merle Travis, Merle Haggard, Bob Wills, Bo Diddley, Elmore James, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Link Wray, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, The Ventures, Jerry Reed, Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt, Jimi Hendrix, "The Fab Four", "The Prefab Four" Cream, Deep Purple, The Rolling Stones, The Sex Pistols, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and, "The Kings" -- Elvis, Ferddy King, B.B. King, Albert King, Billy Jean King (using the guitar as a tennis racket), Don King (by pulling his hair up), and others.
For an encore he did Dylan's 'Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues' Not something I'd expect from him, but a killer version.
"When you're lost in the rain in Juarez
And it's Eastertime too
And your gravity fails
And negativity don't pull you through
Don't put on any airs
When you're down on Rue Morgue Avenue
They got some hungry women there
And they really make a mess outa you"
Tremendous guitar work from one of the top practitioners of Telecaster twang in the nation!
From there we walked over to Zen said hello to Austin's wife Connie before going inside and enjoying sushi and noodle bowls before walking across the street to the San Jose Motel parking lot.
Billy Joe Shaver took the stage at Jo's Coffee at 8PM
Billy Joe had a new band this year and I liked them better than Diamondback Texas whom he played in front of last year. They were a bit too slick and polished and Billy Joe is rougher than a cob! Billy Joe would start off most songs and then lay down his guitar and concentrate on singing. His guitarist played an amplified acoustic guitar through out the set that began with his autobiographical,' Georgia on a Fast Train'. I'm not sure of the order but he played, 'Good Ole USA', 'Black Rose', 'The Hottest Thing In Town', 'Tramp On Your Street', 'That's what She Said Last Night', 'If At First You Don't Succeed', 'You Can't Beat Jesus Christ', 'You Wouldn't' Know Love If You Stepped In It'
He introduced 'Old Chunk of Coal' as having been written when he was at the bottom of his rope. Billy Joe no longer drinks, but told us, "It ain't what a man puts in his mouth, but what come out that defiles him".
Next, he introduced 'When The Fallen Angels Fly' by speaking of his son Eddy who died New Years Day 2000 of a heroin overdose and told everyone to be careful if they do dangerous things. "If you dance around on the edge of the cliff long enough, God's going to reach out and take you." Also played were 'Ride Me Down Easy' and 'You Asked Me To'. Billy Joe encored with 'Georgia on a Fast Train' one more time.
After Billy Joe's set we walked back across the street to the Gallery above The Continental Club to see the Greyhounds. These cats had played the House of Blues in New Orleans the night before and would be playing the Majestic Theater in downtown San Antone the next night. Hammond B-3, guitar and drums. Very cool room with big windows overlooking South Congress and photography on display featuring Stevie Ray Vaughan. It was like being at a private party and we should have stayed longer as they were really good. We were worn out from a really long day of music so we called it a night.