I cannot put into words how much I love music. I think we tend to take it for granted a lot of the time… We turn on the radio and there it is… We pop in a CD or lay down an album and the sound just comes to life. Okay, maybe I should not talk for the proverbial “we” and speak for myself…
I did not delve into music when I was really young… Not as deeply as I could have or should have. High school was filled with classic rock and ’80s New Wave bands and some amazing live shows… but that was it.
It took college to open me up to jazz and classical… although I did actually fall in love with Opera in high school strangely enough… Need to mention that. My Dad advertised for the New York City Opera and would get tickets for us… I met Beverly Sills and Maurice Sendak that way (he was designing sets and art directing).
College at Northwestern, just outside of Chicago, made listening to jazz and blues easy. I started playing harmonica and saw some of the greatest blues artists of all time… Willie Dixon, Albert King, Albert Collins, Junior Wells, James Cotton, Buddy Guy and Koko Taylor to name a few.
Moving to LA opened me up to punk and alternative and indie and my friend Colin got me heavily into Outlaw Country and the singer-songwriters of Texas… Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, and Lyle Lovett. From there it was a flood… a Texas Flood… Ha, ha… The defunct KSCA brought me into the witty and beautiful musical worlds of Ben Folds and Barenaked Ladies… and the still going and wonderful KCRW helped me discover Afrobeat, Electronic, and even more alternative and indie music. The artists and bands and genres I was listening to grew exponentially… I started to really get it. I understood the process, the immense creativity and art… Music meant more to me than ever before. I stopped taking it for granted and fell deeply and truly in love.
That was a long way to get to here and to the concert last night… but I wanted to say it… needed to say it..
Jackshit – Jackshit No. 2
So this is a concert review AND a musical blog album entry. It’s a little longer than usual, but I hope you’ll enjoy. Discovering this band will be well worth your while…
Jackshit is made up of Pete Thomas (drums/vocals), the long time drummer for Elvis Costello… Davey Faragher (bass/vocals), who co-founded Cracker (the great alternative country tinged rock band… love ’em!) and now plays with Elvis… and Val McCallum (guitar/vocals) who has played with Lucinda Williams, Vonda Shephard, Sheryl Crow, Jackie Greene and Jackson Browne to name just a few.
I knew Val the least, but after this concert will be seeking him out. The guy is stunning on guitar… All these guys are amazing musicians… duh… but here is the thing… They are also gracious and funny as hell. I mean laugh out loud, witty and just shit kicking funny. The show put a smile on my face from ear to ear…
First off, I had the distinct pleasure of sitting in front of and talking with Judy Thomas, Pete’s wife. I loved her passion and pride and joy. We bonded over our mutual love of New York City and I will definitely be adding their daughter Tennessee and her band, The Like to the listening list… more pride and joy!
Second, Jenny Lewis. I have loved her for a long time… love Rilo Kiley… and was thrilled to see her come out as “Little Jenny Shit”. She has a voice that is divine and would easily fit in a 1930’s show at the Grand Ole Opry. Jonathan Rice, who looks like he is 18… bastard… and plays with her now as Jenny and Johnny, was also amazing on guitar and vocals… Will be definitely listening to his solo stuff, too. Forgive me for not having you both sign the CD I bought… Should have bought a poster and had you all on it.
Third was seeing Browne Shit five feet in front of me… Jackson Browne joined in the fray, closing with “Take It Easy”. He was great if a little odd when I asked for his autograph on the Jackshit CD after the show… I know he did not play on it… but it’s fricking Jackson Browne and he is standing right there… He signed it and then looked at me and said “You should keep the cap on this”… referring to the Sharpie… Huh? Um, okay…
These guys take their music deadly serious… but as I said, they are also funny as hell. Watching a band on stage enjoying themselves so much is infectious… The album and the evening’s opener “Hi How Are You” is a great case in point… The Indian chanting chorus is hilarious. It’s listed as Traditional… What??? I assume that is a joke… “2 x 4” comes from Pat MacDonald. Fantastic song! He also wrote the zany “Drinkin’ or Drivin'” that they covered last night. Pat is probably best known for his band Timbuk3 and their hit “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades” and is clearly an immensely respected singer/songwriter!
Then they’ll do a song like “Long Black Veil” which is both stunning in itself and filled with a genuine passion the way they do it… You sing it, Davey!!! And Val’s solos… Wow!
Get on their mailing list… see them the next time they are in town… and we will ALL meet up for their holiday show next year! You will walk away with a shit eating grin!
Oh yeah… I forgot to mention the brilliant actor and comedian Mr. Paul Reiser was in the audience… He was waiting for the sink in the men’s room and asked if I was a surgeon the way I was washing my hands… I thanked him and told him sadly, no… I added that my parents would have been very happy to hear that.