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
-Bertrand Russell

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

September 13, 2012 - 11:41 a.m.

Cleaving To the Past

I'm only starting this an hour and forty-five minutes later than I'd like. That's actually good for me the way I've been going.

I updated late yesterday but I still have things to write about that happened since then. I'm on one of my busy streaks. I seem to be going out every night. I'm not complaining. Well not about that. I'm going to have a major complaint later.

I'm kicking it old school. Last night I saw Slaid Cleaves.. Broke Down was released in 2000 so that's how long I've been a fan. The first time I saw him was at a Required Listening Show at the Bottom Line. That was a series hosted by Rita Houston where she'd introduce four lesser known acts to a wider audience. It was in many ways a forerunner to John Platt's On Your Radar. As long as the series continued it was where I discovered the most musicians. Eddie from Ohio did one of the first two. The Kennedys played the first season. Moxy Frvous did one and somehow I missed it. All I knew of Slaid was one song, Broke Down that got lots of airplay on WFUV. I loved it but one song does not make a favorite musician. When I saw him do his set he blew me away and left me a believer. I went over to Rita and said, "He's the real deal." He still thanks Rita and WFUV at every show he plays in the area.

I remember my first conversation with him. I went over to get my album signed and he was mentioned that he ate at Katz's Deli. You know that got me excited. I knew immediately he was a kindred spirit. We bonded over pastrami.

Starting on 9/11/00 I kept track of every concert I saw for a few years. After one year I posted here the musicians I had seen the most often. Slaid led the field. Here's the list.

Slaid Cleaves 6
Dan Bern 5
Great Big Sea 5
Dar Williams 4
Willie Nile 4
Rod Picott 3
Black 47 3
Eddie From Ohio 3
Christine Lavin 3
Ruth Gerson 3

I don't think any of them would make my list now which is sad as I'm still just a big a fan of all of them except for EFO. That waned a bit.

The problem with Slaid is that he doesn't play in the area as often and I no longer have a car. All his shows the last few years were at places I couldn't get to. Actually I think there was one I could and somehow didn't know about. Whatever the reasons It's been far too long. To make last night even more exciting he played at one of my favorite restaurants, Hill Country Barbecue. I was looking forward to an evening of great music and great food. And yes. Austin where he lives is in Hill Country. He said he was all confused. He knew he was in New York but when he looked around he felt like he was in Texas.

I got there much later than I wanted to, 9:20 for a 9:30 show. There weren't that many seats available but one was at the table front row center! I asked if I could sit there and the people at the table said yes. Then the guy in the front seat asked if I wanted to switch with him. I jumped at the chance. I like having an unblocked view. He knew from talking to me that I was a big fan. During the set Slaid stopped at one point, looked in my direction, squinted because of the spotlights, and said; "Is that Gordon I see?" So the guy knew I wasn't lying about following Slaid for ages.

I asked the people at the table how the food worked. I had never been downstairs at the bar before. Upstairs at the main restaurant you get your own food at "the market." I was told that the waitress comes around and brings it to you. I asked for a menu. As always I labored over what to order. Everything there is so good. I kept changing my mind but figured I'd make the final choice when my order was taken. One problem. My order was never taken. A waitress never came to my table. I wonder if I was misinformed how it worked. Needless to say I was starving by the time the show was over.

Slaid had a new sideman, Scrappy Jud Newcomb; don't you just love the name? Slaid always has the best musicians accompany him, whether it's a full band or just a sideman. They always perfectly complement him, neither hogging the spotlight or being invisible. My favorite of course is Oliver Steck. Read his bio, it's mainly quoting me and Carey on FHDC. Actually I'm not sure if there is any of me. It might be all Carey.

Slaid has done something unusual as long as I've known him. He plays his big hit songs early, getting them out of the way instead of saving them for the end. I like that. I like even more than he is going to be recording a new album and previewed many of the songs from it. They are great. I wish I could actually remember enough to write about them. The first one I particularly liked has totally disappeared from my brain and I think it was my favorite. The one I remember best is Texas Love Song, a rarity from Slaid as he doesn't do love songs and he rarely does funny. This is both. It's about telling the love of his life that he loves her even more than he loves Texas. He wants it to become a tradition that it is played in all weddings in Texas so he can become rich and retire. If you are planning a wedding there you need to have it played.

Slaid's shows feel different from most concerts I go to but it's hard to put the difference in words. They somehow have an old time feel to them. Being a touring musician is not what Slaid does it is who he is. It makes me think of the end of the Jerry Lee Lewis BioPic Great Balls of Fire where the words come on the screen before the closing credits, "Somewhere right now Jerry Lee is playing his heart out." I can safely say that about Slaid. He gives it his all and you'll always get your money's worth. I wish I had known about this show further in advance. I'd have tried to get people to go with me. I haven't introduced anyone to Slaid since I raved about him to all the Frheads and got Carey and Shelly to go see him with me.

After the show I went to talk to his wife Karen who was doing merch. We always bond of merching duties. Part of the pleasure of seeing Slaid is talking to Karen. Then I got to talk to Slaid for a bit but not as much as I would have liked. I didn't want to hog his time as so many other people wanted to talk to him and I couldn't wait till they were done as I was starving. I thought I could go upstairs and get some barbecue but the main restaurant was closed by the time the show was over!

I was resigned to eating at home but then saw the lights were on at Shake Shack. The show ended at 11:09 and it must have been close to 11:30 by the time I got there so I wasn't expecting that. And I was right to not expect to be able to eat there. They were cleaning up for the night and the last people to order were finishing their food at the tables.

When I got home it was after midnight. I didn't want to really start cooking but I had such high expectations earlier for a great meal I didn't want to just have peanut butter or cereal. So I fried up some bacon and made a peanut butter and bacon sandwich. That helped fill the culinary void in my heart.

This afternoon I have an appointment with my therapist and this evening I'm kicking old school again by seeing The Kennedys at a Music on 4 house concert. Sometime earlier I have to find my voting information. There are primaries today. This will be my first time voting here.

I signed the Pro-Truth Pledge:
please hold me accountable.

Memories: Not that Horrid Song - May 29, 2018
Wise Madness is Now In Session - May 28, 2018
The NFL and the First Amendment - May 27, 2018
On The Road Again - May 26, 2018
Oliver the Three-Eyed Crow - May 25, 2018

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Horvendile September 13, 2012
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