- H. L. Mencken
February 04, 2013 - 11:57 a.m.
So you know how I said that I was going to stay home and watch the Superbowl? I was wrong. I forgot I had plans for last night? Do you know why? You should. I say it often enough. I'm an idiot. Even I knew it and I'm an idiot.
I'm an evolved person that does not take joy in pointing out when I'm right and someone else is wrong. Well at least I know enough to pretend that's true. I actually do the "I'm right and you're wrong happy dance" but only internally. It is invisible to the world. So OK I get joy from it but I don't rub it in. I never tell somebody "I was right and you were wrong nyah nyah, nyah nyah, nyah nyah." I would certainly never say it publically, like here, for the entire world to see. — Until now. I started planning this entry as a letter to, well I guess I have to now complete his shame by saying his name, Ethan Scott Baird. Those Bay Staters have been trying to flaunt their superiority over New Yorkers going back to John Adams leading the cause of independency in the Continental Congress while New York abstained — courteously. And so I here is what is now an open letter to Ethan in the style I imagine Thomas Jefferson used when writing John Adams in their long correspondence after they both had retired from public life.
My Dear Ethan,Notice that I use "Namaste" acknowledging the divine in Ethan even though neither of us believe in a divinity. I know he'll take it metaphorically. I also hope he can take a joke. If not it's been nice blogging for you.
I hope that all is well with you and your lovely bride in fair Massachusetts. It was a pleasure to see you and your colleagues in Pesky J. Nixon on your recent visit to Long Island. Send my regards to them.
I am now going to return to a discussion we had at NERFA. You said how grateful you were that Boston has such a vibrant folk scene where the artists all support each other. I was in total sympathy with this position. You then followed up by saying that New York artists lacked this support. I pointed out that you spoke in ignorance born of your distance from out great metropolis. New York in fact has many interlocking groups that nurture our folk musicians; for instance, Tribes Hill, the Songwriter's Exchange, and the Chicks with Dip. Brooklyn a hot bed of folk music is filled with communities promoting the careers of other musicians, often centered around venues such as Barbés, The Brooklyn Rod and Gun Club, and the Jalopy Theater.
Last night I went to a show at Jalopy that puts the lie to your thesis; Jocie Adams & Arc Iris at the all-new Kristin' the Night Away (Jalopy Edition!)
This amazing show put together by the even more amazing Kristin Andreassen was a showcase for local artists. Like all Gaul it was divided into three parts:
8pm - Kristin & Friends share new songs.
9pm - Jocie Adams & Arc Iris
10pm - More Friends & more new songs.
The announced lineup in addition to Kristin and Jocie were Dawn Landes, Michaela Anne, Caitlin Canty, Emily Mure, Stephanie Jenkins, David Moore, Ian Stearns, Steph Coleman, Craig Judelman & more. With Caitlin Gray & Aaron Shafer-Haiss on bass & drums. Caitlin Canty couldn't make it and Ed and Greta who were not listed did perform
Before you question my manhood for missing the Superbowl I would like to point out that I reasoned that the audience for a show during the Superbowl would be disproportionally women. I liked my odds. You looked at bruising linemen while gazed on the beautiful Kristin, Jocie, Michaela Anne, Emily, Stephanie and company.
Kristin a great singer/songwriter produced this show to showcase the others. It was more akin to a kitchen party than a concert. Everyone sat in with everyone else. When Kristin called for a banjo player the response was "Which one? there are many banjo players here." Ed and Greta were in the audience, not there to perform but Kristin who knows Greta from their shared dance world, asked them to perform.
I loved the music and I loved the spirit of the evening. It ran long and I stayed till 11:35 even though it was a 40 minute ride home. I'd have stayed later but because of the train schedule it would have meant getting home far later.
I had seen Michaela Anne before and had her down as someone I needed to see more of and I was glad I did. I didn't know that she performed and cowrote with Kristin. The folk world is so incestuous.
I saw Stephanie Jenkins with the Calamity Janes when they opened for Crooked 'Still. I told her I'd be seeing plenty more of her since I loved the band. The fates have prevented that and I have not seen them since. I just checked and it looks like Stephanie is no longer with the band. Now I'll have to make sure to see them and see he solo.
Jocie Adams and Arc Iris was the only band with an extended set, a full hour to themselves. The first one Jocie reminded me of was Laura Dunn. It was only on a surface level. If you weren't paying attention and they were both played you might think they were the same band. Their voices are similar and on the first song so was the bands' sound. On closer inspection you'd hear how different the lyrics were. I would still call it creepy folk. The other songs ranged in style. Despite the fact that they lacked the hallmark instrumentation, kazoo, melodica, tuba, and their like, it was neuromusic. Carey does the blue trombone count as a neuro-instrument? What is neuro-music? It's a lot like porn, I can't define it but I know it when I hear it. It uses unusual chords, progressions, and melodies and creates its own aesthetic. I know I need to see her again. And that' the point. You go to a show like this to see one artist and discover more. I've been hearing more and more of the Jalopy scene and I clearly need to learn more. It is all about musicians giving support for each other.
So yes I didn't forget my point Ethan. Her in one night is a refutation of your slander against the great city of New York. I wrote this for your edification not your humiliation. I know you will be happier knowing that New York musicians can get the same support that you have. There is just one more point I need to make.
I was right and you were wrong nyah nyah, nyah nyah, nyah nyah!