Building Musical Bridges Between Past And Present – Leon Bridges’ Soulful Coming Home

This is how it works…
I was at a My Morning Jacket show (Post from May 18, 2015). I met some new friends. One of them suggested I listen to Leon Bridges… and now here I am, smitten.

This is what it is…
Music is communal… and live shows and bands build a community. In a record shop… with a radio station and especially live… We are together in the dark… a bar, or theatre or huge concert hall… sharing intimate moments… dancing and grooving… laughing and singing… crying and opening up. Music is this… Music is everything.

I was able to immediately track down four singles that he had put out through Columbia Records: “Coming Home”, “Better Man”, “Lisa Sawyer” and “River.”

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Sam Cooke immediately came to mind… and that is only a good thing… I love Sam Cooke… those smooth, stunning and soulful vocals… You’ll also hear and long for some Otis Redding. Not because you need it, I like Leon just fine… but it makes you realize just how good that music was.

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Retro is back… What’s old is new… Just check out Alabama Shakes, Sharon Jones And The Dap Kings… so good.

Reviews will also mention his label mate Raphael Saadiq.  If the ’60s R&B is not your thing, then stroll on by. But if it is… Mmm… I think you will be digging on this one and Leon Bridges.

Leon Bridges – Coming Home

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Leon is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who, according to AllMusic: “performed in and around Fort Worth, Texas and stirred up music industry interest with analog recordings, produced by Justin Block and Austin Jenkins of White Denim, which were uploaded to his SoundCloud page.”

I dig the band White Denim… and that s a good story right there… You work hard… you make music… you get discovered. Rather old-fashioned, I’d say. Unlike today’s, Hey, let’s get on a reality show and have a career. Yuck… Mostly. There have been a few lasting artists, but that is rare.

AllMusic continues: “Bridges touches all the retro-soul bases. Each element of his ten-song, half-hour debut evokes early- to mid-’60s R&B: the song structures, the application of reverb, the dust-coated church organ, the doo wop background vocals, the horn charts that accent rather than dominate. Bridges sings of seeking salvation and taking trains, and he offers proposals as modest as “I won’t weigh you down.”… It’s all a pleasing time warp without turbulence, one with songs built more to evoke the past than to last in one’s memory.”

Mediocre review at best… and perhaps this won’t stick. With an iTunes library filled with music and shelves filled with CDs it takes a lot for me to really hit something over and over… and to have it lovingly linger. We’ll see how this one goes…

It’s mostly ballads, true… and would make a nice late night record, if you know what I mean… And it’s hard to think of anyone topping Sam or Otis or Wilson (as in Pickett)… There is a reason that their music is so timeless… why it endures.

This album might come across as derivative… and it does not stray much from the formula mentioned above… it does not really add a 2015 flair… but perhaps it doesn’t need to. The ’60s were rich with music and musical stylings… and this record fits right into that groove.

“Twistin’ & Groovin'” is my favorite track… I guess I’m a sucker for a saxophone. And since “Coming Home” was my introduction to Leon, and immediately got me thinking of Sam’s “Cupid” that one has stuck with me.

I dig this record. But let’s check back in a month and see if it’s still in rotation. With so much music being put out into the world (a very good thing) it is hard to really stand out and withstand the test of time… but so far, so good. I am groovin’… and we ALL NEED TO BE GROOVIN’!!!

 

 

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103 Years, 103 Tears… Music Comforts And Consoles And Sends Me Messages From Beyond – This One Is For GG

June gloom… I’ll say.
On June 1st my Grandmother passed away. Many knew her as Mildred. I knew her as Grammy
And with the birth of my daughter, she became GG, Great Grandma. She got to see three great granddaughters… and up until maybe a year ago she was all there… and that is an amazing thing.

She was 103. But to quote or paraphrase from Billy Crystal in Mr. Saturday Night, “It wasn’t enough.”

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Perhaps I am naive… I know in many things I am… but… I think that all of us innocently hope and expect that people we have known for our entire lifetimes will be with us for our entire lifetimes. It obviously just doesn’t work out that way.

Living so far away means there were gaps in visits and stories and seeing her… and luckily we got to spend the past holidays with her… But I was hoping to get at least one more visit… one more kiss… one more holding her hand and letting her know how much we loved her.

When someone passes, I think part of the reason we are so sad… and perhaps this is selfish… is that regret kicks in… that movie of all the things we COULD have done starts playing in our minds. We realize where we dropped the ball… what mistakes we made… what we missed with that person, but also what we have missed for ourselves… How we have not lived up to our true potential… It’s a sad and horrible feeling.

I never got to show my Grandmother much professional success. She questioned my career, my lifestyle, my facial hair… but I know she got to see love and caring, and perhaps that is the most important thing.

I went to pick up J from school early the other day and as I got out of the car, the last thing I heard was Bono singing:
“And there is a light, don’t let it go out.” (From “Song For Someone” by U2)

Then a short while later, the man who used to be about peace and love, Cat Stevens sings:
“My body has been a good friend, but I won’t need it when I reach the end.” (From “Miles From Nowhere”)

That is some heavy shit right there… Profound… And on point? Uh, yeah!
There are no coincidences, so I knew they were messages and words I needed to hear.

My Grandmother was not much of a Rock n’ Roller… and certainly not a DJ… but she seems to be spinning some great tunes for me and sending some amazing messages my way…

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I got in the car this morning at about 4 am, heading to LAX to fly home for the funeral…
First song… actually the very first lyrics I hear from my radio, tuned to the great KCSN:

“Yes, I understand that every life must end, uh-huh
As we sit alone, I know someday we must go, uh-huh
Oh I’m a lucky man, to count on both hands the ones I love
Some folks just have one, yeah, others, they’ve got none.

Stay with me…
Let’s just breathe…”  (From “Just Breathe” by Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam)

Come on! That is crazy!  And yet… it is not. Not crazy at all. There is so much more out there… a true higher power or being or whatever you choose to believe in… but there is something there.

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Then there was some Bruce, which had nothing to do with anything… other than it being BRUUUUUUCE! I cannot tell you how much I LOOOOOOVE this station! And you KNOW how much I love Bruce.

I park my car… get on the shuttle bus… and though it is about a different kind of lost love, what is the song playing… which literally starts as I sit down?

“Every time I think of you, I always catch my breath
And I’m still standing here, and you’re miles away
And I’m wonderin’ why you left…”   (From “Missing You” by John Waite)

Come on now!!! Again! Who let my Grandmother into the music library?

My Morning Jacket’s “Believe (Nobody Knows)” still powerfully resonates, and plays all the time in my head… ALL THE TIME!

“Believe, believe, believe, believe
Nobody knows
Believe, believe, believe, believe
Nobody knows for sure.”

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And I cannot get this song out of my head, though it’s been there from before her passing, too… Thank you for that one as well, KCSN!!!

“Where do you fall when you have nowhere to go?
Where do you go where you have no one to see?
What do you see when you have nothing to feel?
What do you feel when you’re all alone?”  (From “Falling From The Sky” by Calexico, featuring Ben Bridwell)

You know how much music means to me from this blog… Hopefully you know how much my Grandmother meant to me… and will continue to mean…

So these tunes… these words… these ideas are so very powerful… and the fact they are coming to me precisely when they are is beyond my brain to ponder…

Thank you for the music… thank you for the strength and the faith… the Emuna…

I need to be… We all just need to be… Open… take it all in… and let it fill our loving cup.

103 years… 103 tears… probably a lot more… And I will always love you.

I know it was just an oil slick on the rain-soaked pavement, but as I got into my parents car at the airport, there on the ground were several rainbows…

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Goodbye GG… and hello. From one world to the next and always by my side. I will love you forever… for as long as I live and beyond.

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Making The Unfabulous Forum Really Fabulous… The Utter And Astounding Magic Of U2

So let me just say it… the new Forum sucks. I prefer the old Forum. I have been there three times now, and am not impressed… and what blew me away last night was U2. Emotionally, musically and technically… They should be designing the audio and visuals for every single arena… everywhere!!!

I’ll get my griping out-of-the-way, and move on to the mind-blowing, joyous, Rock n’ Roll show that will melt your face… and your mind.

The parking… a rip off at $20… and the people they have at the end “directing traffic” is like the blind leading those who have NO IDEA how to drive.  Couple that with the jerks and the timid, non-aggressive drivers and add in the kids with colored flashlights who have no spatial conception or any idea how to take 20 lanes and merge them into ONE. They were basically just moving their lights back and forth as they talked to each other, utterly clueless.

The food… In a word… disgusting… and expensive… And while the employees are all really nice, the wait times are ridiculous and the lines drift into the walkways which are crammed and ill-designed.

The bathrooms… huge, but equal opportunity waits, as the women AND THE MEN had lines up the stairs and out the door. Thanks to the one security woman who lead a group of us guys to an outside and fairly empty restroom.

The seats… narrow on the sides… and in front… BANG! Ouch, there go my knees.

The floors… I kid you not, the “stick” in our row was so strong it felt like we were Crazy Glued to the floor… Dancing? Almost involved twisted ankles. Seriously.

The sound… If you sit above the speakers, which we did for Fleetwood Mac, it is horrible and sounds terribly muffled…

Which brings me to U2… who created and brought their own sound system… and it is MAGNIFICENT!!!

Crystal clear and loud enough without blowing out my ear drums… And the visuals… Stunning… mind-blowing… and created a multi-media experience like no other.

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U2 – Live At The Forum (May 26, 2015) – Opening Night In LA
This is what a rock band is… This is what a rock band does.

Bono can sometimes be a little… well… too much… But he is a true Rock Star in every sense and idea of the word.  He commands the stage and when he moves or speaks or does anything, you have no choice but to take notice… Iconic, powerful, hypnotic… and while he can be preachy, he can also make fun of himself for it. And the fact remains, that he DOES make a difference in the world… and he DOES use his pulpit well.

Each and every band member probably covered a few miles as they moved from end to end… side to side… up and down… It was beyond expectation and something I have not seen, to this extent… well… EVER!

The Edge is just the coolest cat in the room, and you realize the leaps and jumps he has taken as a musician. He plays like a M—– F—–, but also gets sounds out of his instrument that had never been heard of before him… He is a master innovator and the joy with which he plays… watching the music take over his body… is joyous for the audience. This is what Rock n’ Roll does.

I noticed Adam a lot more on this tour… and not just because he was on “our side”… but because he seemed more vibrant than I have ever seen him.

They just looked like they were having the times of their lives… and I hope that there are no stories of secret hate and in-fighting…

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Larry was also on fire… and had drum kits on the satellite stage and on the riser… as well as a few traveling pieces.  This was a whole band effort and not at all just a two-man show.

This was a spectacle… this was visual and moving and breathtaking… This is the kind of show you just don’t want to end… and there are so many things going on at the same time… so many things flashing by you, that a repeat show, or three… would only add to the magic!

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The mix and integration of the live show, live video and animation is mind blowing. Yes, that is live Bono walking down an animated version of his street. While we understand the technology and appreciate it for what it is, watching the elements come alive so seamlessly and perfectly is astounding… miraculous… and a hell of a lot of fun. There is always something to see and hear… to the left, to the right… in front of you… above you… below you… The way the cameras and crew move… Stunning. Not sure about Bono’s obsession with spitting water on/baptizing the audience… but I am sure those drenched in his backwash and able to get one of the few bottles he tossed out into the crowd feel blessed! Ah, the simple things…

I would easily rank this amongst the best concerts I have EVER seen… and while I still put the Boss firmly at the top of that list, this had some similar spiritual moments… While not quite a “religious experience”, it was moving and got me thinking about my place in the world… and all the good that we as humans could and SHOULD do.

U2 has always had a message… has always had a deep spiritual tint to their music… And of course, have never shied away from politics… But their songs resonate for so many reasons… and most importantly because of their beauty and power… They write great music! If they didn’t we would not be listening for as long as we have. Heck, I first saw this band live in 1984… Yes, the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, with the Waterboys opening… Wow! I am still a huge fan… still love the music… still turn to so many tunes, in good times and bad.

Simply put… U2 rocks. They leave it all out there, on their records and on the stage. Blood, sweat, emotion, passion, connection… U2 is easily one of the greatest Rock n’ Roll bands of all time, and they should always and absolutely be uttered in the same breath as The Beatles, The Who, The Stones, Led Zeppelin, Bruce and the E Street Band.

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Just Look at that visual!!! Phenomenal!!! The staging was brilliant… BRILLIANT!!!

FIRST SET
The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)
The Electric Co. / Send In The Clowns (snippet) / I Can See For Miles (snippet)
Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio? (snippet) / Vertigo
I Will Follow
Iris (Hold Me Close)
Cedarwood Road
Song For Someone
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Raised By Wolves / Psalm 23 (snippet)
Until The End Of The World

SECOND SET
Invisible
Even Better Than The Real Thing
Mysterious Ways / Burning Down The House (snippet) / Young Americans (snippet)
California (There Is No End To Love) / God Only Knows (snippet)
Sweetest Thing
Every Breaking Wave
Bullet The Blue Sky / 19 (snippet)
The Hands That Built America (snippet) / Pride (In The Name Of Love)
Beautiful Day / I Remember You (snippet)
With Or Without You

ENCORE:
City Of Blinding Lights
Mother And Child Reunion (snippet) / Where The Streets Have No Name
California (There Is No End To Love) (snippet)
One / Invisible (snippet)

VERY SAD POST SCRIPT
Literally moments after I posted this, news broke that U2’s longtime tour manager was found dead this morning… Allow me to dedicate the post to his memory, and to the band, who is going to need some amazing emotional strength to perform tonight. This band has been through so much lately, and the fact that they carry on so valiantly is a testimony to the power of the individuals and their music. We need music in times of pain and crisis… and even those who make the music, realize how important playing it becomes. Music gets us through so much.

RIP Dennis Sheehan

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On This Memorial Day, Let Us Celebrate Something More Than Free, The New Record By Jason Isbell

Post #900!!! Dedicated to the lovely memory of Anne Meara, who showed me how people with fame and talent should and must behave.

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First, let me say this… Thank you to all of those who came before us… who gave their lives for freedom and democracy. Thank you to all who sacrificed so that we could enjoy living in the greatest country in the world. While it sometimes gets tarnished, it is up to us to keep America shining… to keep her light bright and as a true and powerful beacon for the rest of the world.

So let us celebrate… let us grill… let us crank up some great music… and let us always remember.

Jason Isbell spent six years in one of my favorite bands, Drive-By Truckers, and left them in 2007 for a solo singer/songwriter career… His debut was Sirens Of The Ditch, a record I need to spend time with as I jumped in after that. He quickly found success with his killer backing band The 400 Unit, releasing a self-titled record with them in 2009, Here We Rest came out in 2011 and the stunning and revelatory Live From Alabama in 2012, which includes some of my favorite DBT tunes.

In 2013 he released the amazing record Southeastern, which according to AllMusic was about embracing “his newfound sobriety,” and was “an album of haunting atonement and redemption.” I love that record… and this new one just continues that path for me, and certainly solidifies my admiration for Jason Isbell.

Jason Isbell's latest album, Southeastern, is personal and intimate.

Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free

The record comes out on July 17… Sorry, I thought it was tomorrow… My bad. But now you REALLY have something to look forward to!

I cannot wait to see him live, and clearly this recent review in the Village Voice is a great indication of the kind of night it will be. So let’s all go! And boy, if anyone is in the mood for a music cruise, filled with some of the best singer/songwriters EVER, check out the Cayamo… Dang!

He has definitely moved away from the Lynyrd Skynyrd roots that so influenced DBT, but elements of Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne and other classic singer/songwriters are very present.

The bright “If It Takes A Lifetime” opens this record and so reminds me of Steve Goodman’s “Souvenirs” with a hint of Pete Seeger.

“24 Frames” was the first single I heard… Thanks, KCSN!!! And it had me immediately smitten… and not just because of the hints of Bruce!!!

“How To Forget” is another favorite tune, and lyrically hits home. It’s amazing how we find songs… or they find us… just when we need them most.

“Teach me how to forget
I ain’t sorry just yet
Teach me to how to unlearn a lesson.”

It is followed up by the lush “Children Of Children”, which definitely has elements of C,S,N and Y

“When you were riding on your Mother’s hip
She was shorter than the corn.
All the years you took from her
Just by being born.”

Profound shit! And I love the strings on this one…

By the time the chorus of “Hudson Commodore” kicks, I can hear the Eagles… and in fact, his voice is almost a combo of Don Henley and Glenn Frey, at least on this one. Those influences keep explaining why I love Jason and this record so much, but this is most definitely his own record. He takes what was before and makes it something unique and special.

“To A Band That I Loved” closes this wonderful set out and is the perfect end to an almost perfect album.

For those who don’t know Jason Isbell or Drive-By Truckers, go out and explore and listen. It’s bands and artists like this who give me hope in the future of music… and we all need hope.

 

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Kicking Music’s Ass… JJ Grey & Mofro, And The Record Company Rock The Regent

Post #899… Wow… If I do say so myself… and I just did!

Downtown LA… or DTLA as the hip cats call it… Main Street between 4th and 5th Streets… The Regent Theatre.

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Part of a nice collection, including Spaceland Presents, The Federal Bar, Echoplex and Knitting Factory. Well done!

A hip area with some fantastic restaurants like Ledlow (who recently had their burger written up as one of the best in LA) and Baco Mercat, a true and worthy destination restaurant. BOTH are from famed and super creative chef Josef Centeno!

Also Prufrock Pizzeria, which is attached to the venue and looked and smelled insanely good! There are some great theaters around here, like the newly discovered and first-time visited Regent… well, new for me… and a whole other universe. There are so many worlds out there, folks… worlds within our worlds… and sometimes when those worlds collide it is a beautiful thing. We need to make a point of exploring as much of this planet as we can… and that should start with our own backyard!

Other times it reminds us of the haves and have-nots, and just how lucky we are.

As we drove around Los Angeles Street through parts of Skid Row on our way to The Regent Theatre, we saw both worlds. The depressing rows of tents on the streets on one block, and the fancy, hipster restaurants almost literally around the corner. Gentrification is alive and well, so the key is to enjoy life, but never forget.

That is what music does. We enjoy it immensely, can easily take it on face value… but quite often the lyrics or message make us recall or remember different times… troubling times… knock us around a bit. hell, that’s what the blues are based on… Taking something broken, something down and lifting it up… or maybe just telling it like it is… a lesson for the weary.

Last night’s show had some of that for sure… but mostly it kicked ass in the best possible way.

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The Record Company opened the evening, and may be one of the best examples of why you should get your ass to a venue early and show the opening act some love and respect. This three-piece bluesy, roots rock trio were remarkable… joyous and talented performers from LA who had the crowd in the palm of their hands. I guess I am late to the party, for in two short years they have already had their music featured in commercials, film and TV, played with the late and legendary B.B. King… One two of my all time faves, Robert Randolph and Blues guitar icon Buddy Guy.

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Chris Vos on vocals, guitars, lap steel, pedal steel, and a mean harmonica, and I know my harp players… Alex Stiff on bass, guitars, and vocals… and Marc Cazorla on drums, piano, and vocals. He also clearly knows how to spell his name correctly… and you KNOW I know Marcs!

Time Out LA described them as the love-child between John Lee Hooker and The Stooges. I will tell you these guys are the real deal, and their raw, swampy Southern sound will get you out of your seat. Hmm, can I get to the fantastic Bottlerock Music Festival??? Go check out that killer lineup.

The room was now officially “warmed up” and at 9:25 out came JJ Grey and the six-piece Mofro. I have been listening to these guys for a while… since their Alligator Records debut… but had shockingly never seen them live…

Well… That… has… been… RECTIFIED!

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They hit the stage and hit the gas and did not let up off the pedal for over two hours! I have said this before and I will say it again… When bands are having fun, it is infectious and makes all the difference in the world. Both bands tonight were loving the moment… loving where they were… and it transforms a room.

JJ even sings about it in “Every Minute”… just one of the highlights for me last night. I also absolutely love the philosophy and story he told behind the beautiful track “Everything Is A Song”, the opening tune from the brand new album ‘Ol Glory. It has such a classic R&B feel to it. Fantastic!

The whole set rocked, but I was particularly taken with “A Woman” from the great Country Ghetto album… “Brighter Days”, “Everything Good Is Bad” (probably my favorite tune of theirs… and from the Orange Blossoms record) and the slow, sweet smoker, “Lochloosa.”

Great rhythm section… great horn section… great keyboards and guitar work… This band is just tight. JJ shreds on guitar and on his vocal chords, and that smoky, soulful, bluesy drawl cuts through the night.

Music is alive and well in Los Angeles… all of Los Angeles… and tonight brought me something old and something new… the perfect concert wedding.

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The Blues Have The Blues – Goodnight And G-d Bless, B.B. King

Just so you know… in the background is B.B. playing the Newport Folk Festival on July 27,1968. The blues have a way of just piercing the soul. Mmm… I wish you could hear what I am hearing… Well, I guess you can… Go to Wolfgang’s Vault or just Google it… Even though I am downhearted… there is joy in the Blues!

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From the field hollers to the work songs, the Blues were quite literally born out of a harsh, frustrating and difficult life. They took that tragedy and made it into something artistic… made it into music..

Riley B. King was born on a cotton plantation on September 16, 1925. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, received the National Medal of Arts in 1990 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006… and in between, he played a hell of a lot of music… a hell of a lot of shows… and made a hell of a lot of us happy. He became a legend, an icon, a true ambassador of the Blues… and he will be missed… a lot.

I had the good fortune of going to school just outside of Chicago… and while I am not pleased with my university at the moment (something political that won’t be discussed here), I was exposed to some of the best Jazz and Blues you will ever hear… and I got to see some of the best names in music. I learned how to blow Blues harmonica in Chicago.

I will never forget Kingston Mines, Biddy Mulligans, Blues, etc., Mama Rosa’s… and I will never forget the greats I got to see… Albert King, Willie Dixon, Koko Taylor, James Cotton, Fenton Robinson, Lonnie Mack, Albert Collins, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, and of course B.B. King!

I saw him many times… I saw him standing… I saw him sitting, which sadly he had to do a lot at the end… and I saw him last year at The Greek, where he spoke for almost the entire time, with barely a guitar lick here or there… Many people were pissed… and I was a bit disappointed myself… He spent so much time talking about someone’s popcorn in the front row… but is what it was… and he was 88 years old at the time… 88!!! I likened it to holding court with royalty… with the King… We were literally having an audience with the King. When Peter Frampton came out to play with him, that was the highlight… and it really seemed to rejuvenate him. There was so much mutual love and respect… and I will keep that image in my mind for a long time.

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The fact remains, that this man was a true legend… and one of the last of his kind. Who is left? What Bluesman can take this mantle? Buddy Guy perhaps? Perhaps a woman will lead the way… Are you ready Bonnie Raitt?

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And so Lucille is put away in her plush case… The man who made her cry and sing is no more… But we are here… singing… and now crying… Because that is the Blues. Goodnight and G-d bless, B.B. King. You get to rest now… until your next concert upstairs!

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Storytelling Through Song And Stage – The Decemberists Rock And Regale The Greek

For some reason this did not post last week… so you get it now!!!

The Decemberists At The Greek – Sat. May 2, 2015
A HUGE SHOUT OUT TO KCRW and their ticket contests!!! It SO pays to be a member and support this great station.

What makes us human, I believe, is the art of storytelling. We have been telling stories since our cave man days, which has been proven through the discoveries of cave wall drawings and paintings.

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Clearly it has evolved over the years, with the invention of spoken language, the written word and the printing press, books, etc.

Today, Pixar films are considered amongst the best storytelling of all time. How can one ever forget the absolutely brilliant and moving opening of Up; which was able to tell the most poignant love story in several minutes, with no words or dialogue. So powerful… so moving. Just thinking about it makes me emotional.

images As I watched another of my favorite bands, The Decemberists, at the Greek Theatre this past Saturday night (May 2), I realized how much good music really is, essentially, storytelling. It uses music and lyrics to create characters, images, situations and themes… real or imagined. And when you see a band live, the enthusiasm, the energy, the interaction, the dance, the staging, the lighting is all part of the storytelling… and used to create those tales… to bring them to life, in a once-in-a-lifetime way… No two performances are every exactly the same.

“And if only for a second
(Only for a second)
And if only for a time
(Only for a time)

And if only for a second
(Only for a second)
And if only for a time
We’ll be alive
We’ll be alive…”

The Decemberists “Cavalry Captain”

This song is off their stunningly beautiful new record What A Terrible World, What a Beautiful World. I adore this track and the entire album, and I can tell you that for those two or so hours at the Greek, everyone there was alive. How do we hold on to that? How do we keep that upbeat, glorious feeling going… and move it into our daily lives?

At a concert we get the story of the song and hopefully, sometimes, the story behind the song. It is communication at its purest form, because storytelling is a retelling of history, a retelling of the past, but also a wish for the future… a desire to have things be a certain way. Ideally it is a way for us to learn from our past… and create a new scenario… hopefully.

This is what human lives are. We think… we feel… we have memories. We talk about our family and relatives. We talk about our childhood… We learn from it… we grow from it. We talk about our dreams. We talk about our goals. We talk to each other about life and love. We bond over words… and music… which is why the arts… theatre, live music, orchestras, symphonies, concerts, performances, paintings, sculptures… are so vital and important to humanity. Through them we realize that we are all very, very similar… and have a common bond, a common thread, a common DNA, both literal and metaphorical. THIS is what makes us human beings… musical, theatrical and yes, sometimes too dramatic human beings.

The Decemberists took us on a journey through folk, Americana and good old Rock n’ Roll. They were vital and joyous and they seemed to truly love what they were doing. That makes a HUGE difference to a show and how much it affects and moves us. Yes, they are professionals… Yes, this is a job which should be taken seriously… but it is music… MUSIC… It HAS TO BE FUN!!! If it is not, and not a celebration and joyful, then it is lost.

The opener, Lucius was the same way. They loved to be performing for us, yes… but it was something more… a connection… a human connection.

SETLIST

  • The Singer Addresses His Audience
  • Cavalry Captain
  • Down by the Water
  • Hank Eat Your Oatmeal / Calamity Song
  • Billy Liar
  • Philomena
  • The Wrong Year
  • Make You Better
  • Carolina Low
  • The Crane Wife 1 & 2
  • The Crane Wife 3
  • Los Angeles, I’m Yours
  • The Wanting Comes in Waves / Repaid
  • The Rake’s Song
  • 16 Military Wives
  • Dracula’s Daughter / O Valencia!
  • A Beginning Song

Encore:

  • 12/17/12
  • The Mariner’s Revenge Song

The first two songs mirrored the opening of the new album… and obviously that record was probably the most represented of the evening, but they did a great job of working their entire catalog.

“The Singer Addresses His Audience” is about the most perfect way of starting any show, as it is a most brilliant and honest song about the relationship between fans and a band or musicians they love. It could easily  be egotistical if it was not so honest and sincere… and right on. It recognizes what we expect of each other… and how bands, though we often don’t want them to, have to change and grow and explore… especially in order to stay vital and together! Well done, Colin Meloy!

I would have loved more from The King Is Dead, which I still think is my favorite… and two songs were not enough… But I also am really enthralled with the new one. I cannot stop listening.

The Wanting Comes In Waves/Repaid from The Hazards Of Love album was an absolute highlight, with guitars and vocals soaring. What a night!

As we left the beautiful outdoor Greek Theatre, and made our way back to the car, we felt alive… we were alive…

By writing this, I am keeping that energy alive, sharing… and telling the story… re-telling the story… my experience… my story… and THAT is what live music is all about. A common space, a common band, a common love… and a whole bunch of human beings, dancing and singing and finding those moments of bliss. Rock on!

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Filed under Live Music Reviews, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me