I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
January 18, 2016 - 11:32 a.m.
So far so good, I've read a lot of the Times and I'm starting to write at 9:38. I'm still going to forego doing my photo editing so no pictures today. Seems a shame as I got a few good one even though I was at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 1. That's my clever foreshadowing.
I was talking about my musical choices last night and forgot the one I actually had on my calendar, Marcia Ball and Buckwheat Zydeco, I haven't seen either in ages, I feel bad missing them. It was pricy. I also could have seen Cliff Eberhardt, Louise Mosrie, and Diana Jones at Kathryn's House Concerts. Then I could have seen Darlingside at Rockwood 2. There was a show that Jake highly recommended. But went to a free show with musicians I loved at Rockwood 1 and was rewarded with a great evening of music.
I also had time to make dinner at home, hot dogs and gnocchi. I can never remember the name gnocchi, every time I write about it I google "potato pasta." It's sad. For sauce I just put half & half, butter, and garlic salt in my sealable plastic container, nuke it, then add the gnocchi and shake it up. It works very well. It's basically what I add to mashed potatoes. Damn I'm hungry just thinking about it. Tonight's dinner might be a rerun.
Now off to the magic evening of music. First up was EVA, that’s Kath Buckell's latest collaboration. I met Kath at my first NERFA and she became a friend then a favorite musician. I saw her all the time but now I haven't seen her perform in well over a year, might it be two? I have heard of EVA but this was their first time playing in New York. Her bandmates are, Liz Simmons and Nicole Zuraitis. They are tri-national, Kath's from Australia, Liz from Ireland and Nicole from exotic America. I think she lives in Brooklyn. You know someone with those foreign New York values. I just got a correction, Liz is from the distant land of America too. But we'll still make some excuse to keep tri-national because i like it. I got there early and got a seat.
The Kath Buckell Band played folk-rock, more than anyone else they invoked Fairport Convention with a strong Australian flavor. EVA is different, they are harmony trio though Kath's songs still reflect her Aussie heritage. This was their first time playing New York so they were as new to most people as they were to me. They captured the crowed the first times their voices came together. When you think female harmony trio the word that might come to mind is "sweet." They are not sweet, they are powerful. They take turns singing lead and mix things up, sometimes it's three together, sometimes one is lead and the other two do harmonies. They keep switching things up and keeping it fresh. They don't fall for the trap of "We sound beautiful so that's all we have to do." I keep forgetting that there's a man in the band, he plays drums but was off otf to the side and off the stage, as often happens on Stage 1 so I didn't see him most of the time. Actually I didn't see Nicole most or the time, she was at the piano which at Rockwood mean's she's in the corner and from where I was sitting directly behind Liz. Kath and Liz play guitar. There was one instrumental bridge with Nicole playing fortissimo on the piano (intentional oxymoron) and Liz and Kath playing a driving rhythm on the guitars what was reminiscent of Emerson Lake and Palmer. I did not expect that. I love listening into to what the people around me say about my bands, and these are my band even on the first hearing as Kath's a friend. A little later in the evening they were debating leaving and one of them said, "Let's go, nothing we hear can beat that first band." They are a winner and you'll be hearing a song off their EP on tomorrow when I join Brian Norton on his radio show, It's All About the Music on WFDU. I'm on at 10 and you can listen online. It's my best of 2015 show along with a few brand new 2016 releases. EVA makes the cut even though I have not heard the album yet. I have heard the songs. Hold on I should play it now. I'll be right back. I'm an idiot. I went to the bathroom and forgot to get the CD. Hold on ten more seconds. Listening now. Is it wrong that I think they should cover The Locomotion? I love what a small world it is., The first song Running out of Time has a fiddle on it. I wanted to see who played it and checked on the album, it's Duncan Wickel. I had never heard that name till Friday when Lily Henly mentioned that the device she used to hold her violin to her so she could sing and not tuck it under her chin, is the Wickel Buckle, the eponymous invention of yes, Duncan Wickel. Oh and Kath's last name Buckell is pronounced Buckle so this really all comes together The world will get even smaller later.
Next up was Free Dirt Record Presents: Dori Freeman, Anna & Elizabeth, Kristin Andreassen, Teddy Thompson. Kristin had told me about it. I thought it was an in the round kind of thing but it was four half hour sets in the order listed. This was an APAP showcase. If you remember from my last entry APAP stands for Association of Presenters and Pachyderms or if you want to go by a less reliable source, their website, Association of Performing Arts Presenters. Come on, mine is so much more credible. The ones that drew me were Kristin and Anna & Elizabeth. Kristin as see as much as anyone but she has new material and OK have never reached my saturation point for her, but Anna & Elizabeth I only saw once and love them. Teddy Thompson is Richard's son and someone I've seen on his own. Dori was new to me.
Even before Kath's set Kristin came in and left some stuff with me while they went on "a mission." I never found out what it was. Message me Kristin. Did you just take out ISIS? How about Donald Trump? I was also Kristin's merch guy and contact info rep. Too bad she forgot to tell any of the presenters I was there. Hey she's got the making music thing down pat.
The couple that left saying nothing could beat EVA left right before Anna & Elizabeth and I almost said, "Unless you're over 100 you haven't seen anything like them." Part of their act is a cranky. No they don't act like an overtired child. It's a 19th century form of entertainment. Illustrations are draw on a large sheet, not sure if it's paper or cloth, and backlit. It's stretched between two rollers. It's back lit and tells a story as the roller is cranked and the illustrations move across it. Their songs are not neo-trad, not trad, but hyper-trad. They are right in my wheelhouse but I thought perhaps not for the popular taste. I'm wrong. They were number 9 in the Folk Alley Listener's Poll. I never hear about them in New York so I'm making sure you hear about them from me. They play guitar (from 1937) and banjo and I think fiddle though they didn't use that last night. They sing like voices from the past. They are the antithesis of a slick pop act. They are wonderful. The place was packed like a sardine can. I so wanted to get their CD and play it on Brian's show but I couldn't move to reach them. Next time I see them. They better be back here soon. Last time was in August. That was also with Kristin, it was her farewell to New York show. She and Critter moved to Nashville. I think that's hardly slowed down how often I see her, I just don't run into her now.
I was thinking about Kristin the other day, her album Gondolier was tied for my top album of the year and I'm playing something from it tomorrow. Knowing her I thought her next album would be a departure. She did new songs last night. Guess what; they are a departure. Gondolier had a unity of sound, the new things don't share that. Her singing style is different. Her writing style is different. Different but just as good. When I listen to her songs I pay attention to every word because eery word matters; there's no filler. She doesn't put something in just because it rhymes. She won't just keep repeating a phrase. The songs are always about something even if like the Jabberwock you aren't quite sure what it is. As well as anyone she knows that the difference between the right word and almost the right word is the different between lightning and a lightning bug.
She was joined by two of my favorite musicians Stephanie Coleman on fiddle, vocals, and patty cake, and Jefferson Hamer on guitar and vocals. If you know Kristin's songs you know patty cake means she did Crayola. The woman whose eyes inspired the song and who co-wrote it was there. You don't really expect me to remember her name do you?
I heard someone behind me say "Lily" I thought it might be the aforementioned Lily Henly. I turned around and didn't see her. I saw someone that looked like Jean Rohe but decided it wasn't. It's very dark in Rockwood. A few minutes later someone taps on my shoulder. It was Lily standing right next to me but on the other side than I looked earlier. She was probably directly behind me before where I couldn't see. Oh and you know that woman that wasn't Jean, it was Jean. And the guy that wasn't Liam was Liam. Nah, I didn't see him till the Kristin's set was over and knew it was him. Who else was there? I bet I'm forgetting someone.
I wanted to stay for Teddy Thompson but it was so crowded I was tempted to leave. But I had Kristin's stuff so that tipped the scale to staying. I couldn't find her at first and tested her. As soon as I did I saw her standing against the wall with Critter. It's dark in Rockwood and I'm blind but there are some people I can recognize from a distance because they have distinctive silhouettes; Kristin and Jefferson I can spot across the room.
I haven't seen Teddy solo in ages. I never know what to make of him. His songwriting is not exceptional and he didn't inherit his father's guitar chops. But he can sing like the dickens. I don't mean he has a beautiful voice, there's so much more to singing than that. The voice is an instrument and he plays it so well. I love when he joins his father. Their duet on Wall of Death is right up there with Richard and Linda's. I was glad I stayed. I also got some great pictures. You usually can't stand 10 feet away from him when he plays.
When his set was done I gave Kristin her stuff back and talked a bit with her and Critter. When I got outside I couldn’t leave the block because I was talking to Steph and Jefferson. Funny I'll call Stephanie Steph but never call Jefferson Jeff. Then I headed to the subway. Wow I've written a lot and I still have more to tell.
I took the one stop uptown to switch to the . One problem, the wasn't running this weekend. Shortly after I saw that I saw a couple looking at one of the signs, and trying to figure out what was going on. This was difficult as they were in the middle of the signs that were not in English. I noticed that the man had a washboard. Then I saw it was sitting on top of a black case that would fit a cajon. First I told them that the wasn't running. Then I asked if that was a cajon. I could see he was surprised I knew it. The woman had a instrument but all I could see was the circular end of the case. I figured if it was a banjo I'd see the back end so I asked if it were a mandolin, it was. It turns out he was busking and plays all three instruments. We ended up talking for some time and took the to Brooklyn together. He plays bluegrass among other things and invited me to a jam he does every Sunday in the East Village. I asked but he doesn't know any of the people I asked about. I guarantee we have friends in common. Musicians have a way of finding me. His name is Titus; any of you know him?
Wow I wrote 2194 words on what happened in four hours. Now it's time to eat. Should I keep it simple? Yes, poached eggs. Do people make bets on what I eat for breakfast?
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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