Three Girls and Their Buddy
Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin and Buddy Miller
Friday, January 18, 2008
I have to go on record as saying this was one of my favorite shows, ever. As much as I love seeing music in my usual haunts, it was fun to have a grown-up experience. Real seats, people listening and a gorgeous venue. I’d written two preview pieces for NUVO, one on Buddy Miller and the other on Emmylou Harris’s influence on local musicians. I was prepared for the concert – and nervous as hell. Earlier that day, I found out that I would have a photographers press pass. I’d signed an agreement that I would only take photographs during the first three songs and not use my flash. I was convinced that I’d throw-up on Buddy Miller’s boots.
When I checked in at the box office they told me the photo release was faxed in too late. No pass. It was almost a relief. I’d already checked my camera a dozen times to make sure the flash was turned off and my hands were shaking. So it was probably just as well --especially when I saw the photographer from the Indianapolis Star and his giant camera and lenses. I did saunter in with my camera and was dying to take a picture from my seat, but I was on my best behavior. I was seated next to David Lindquist, the music writer from the Star. I joked that I was going to copy off of him, and then I felt guilty all night. I did learn a new trick from him-- your cell phone produces enough light to read by.
I’d been to last January’s songwriters show at Clowes featuring John Hiatt, Joe Ely, Guy Clark and Lyle Lovett. This show improved on that model, made all the better by the interaction between the musicians. Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin and Buddy Miller all have a long musical history together. Buddy tapped the young Shawn Colvin in 1980 to be part of his NYC band. He was Emmylou’s band leader in Spyboy and produced her live album by that name. Buddy toured with Patty and Emmylou as part of the Sweet Harmony Traveling Revue. The four of them joked about everything from rescuing cats to astrology.
The concert started promptly at 8:00, all of the musicians sitting in a row. Emmylou kicked off the show, “because I’m the oldest,” and they all took turns. No matter who was playing, at least one other musician was singing harmony or playing guitar.
I was the most surprised by Patty, and I knew the least about her. Her voice is strong, clear and beautiful. My favorite parts of the evening where when she was singing and everyone else joined in on harmony. They all sounded fabulous together. Patty said “this is just about the best tour I’ve ever done. It is fun each night and we never know what the others will do. Even the sound check is fun.”
Emmylou told us that she was worried about the people sitting in the middle, that they would have a hard time getting to the restroom. She suggested a group break, during one of Buddy’s songs. That brought one of the many rounds of laughter. The special effects were a hit also. Emmylou handled the light show and Shawn the flying monkey. They looked at the empty theatre during sound check and were convinced they couldn’t fill it. They marveled at the near sell-out 2100 strong crowd.
I was also surprised by how grown-up Shawn Colvin is. I don’t know why I pictured her as an old hippy. She told great stories about life as a folk musician – bars with the stage on the path to the restroom and falling asleep at her own gigs. “Look at us now.” Shawn said that “the sadder her songs are the better off I am.” She said her songs are heavy on the “theme of death and regret.” Emmylou chimed in and said she prefers “death and hope.”
Buddy Miller was amazing. He surrounded himself with six guitars and a guitar tech kept bringing him new ones. He played an electric guitar at times and it sounded beautiful. It’s hard to do in an acoustic setting and not sound obnoxious. Emmylou called Buddy “one of the best guitar players of all time.” He’s such a great player that I was convinced that I could walk up on the stage; pick up one of his guitars and play. You know, like when you’re watching Olympic ice skating and think you could lace on your skates and do a triple sau cow when in reality you can’t even do a somersault. Buddy’s voice is deep and gritty and a perfect compliment to the three women.
All and all it was a terrific evening, from the pre-concert lecture by David Lindquist to the post concert chatter with my dear cousin and aunt. This was a great start to the musical adventures of 2008. I can’t wait to see what the year brings.
Punk Rock Night 10 year anniversary party
The Melody Inn
Saturday, February 25, 2007
Technically it was Sunday (2:45 am) when I arrived at the historic Melody Inn. Punk Rock Night guru Greg Brenner called earlier in the evening asking about Second Helpings rescuing food after the party. I told him I’d swing by after my Red Key shift. I got there just in time to hear the last song of the evening. I’m sorry I didn’t catch their name, I enjoyed what I heard.
I got there just in time grab a last-call whiskey and catch up with some friends. Second Helpings got some much needed huge cans of tomato products (middle of the night food rescues are not the norm) and I got to hang with the cool kids for fifteen minutes. Here’s to another ten years of Punk Rock Nights.
“Fast” John Scarborough benefit
Circle City Blues Band, 19Clark25 and other guests
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Birdy’s Bar and Grill
7:30, donation, 21+
Blues guitar player "Fast" John Scarborough (Circle City Blues Band) recently had reconstructive heart surgery and is currently in heart rehab. His band mates and friends are playing a benefit to help with his expenses while he's convalescing.
February 2, 2008
D’Vine Wine Bar
5252 E 82nd Street
I have not been to D’Vine Wine Bar’s new location, but they’ve continued their commitment to live music. This will be the first time the acoustic duo Tennessee Walker (Krayg Bartley and Scott Manning) have played the wine bar. Band mate Krayg promises “an excellent time. We have been playing together in different bands for nearly six years but have been gigging as Tennessee Walker for just over a year. We play acoustic/rock music. Nothing fancy, just two guys bringing some thunder.” Sounds like the perfect thing to accompany the great food and wine.
Music Mill is now ages 18+ venue
The Music Mill announced that the concert venue is now open to ages 18 and over for all concerts. They built two eight-foot structures that surround the bars in the music hall to accommodate the change. All concert goers will be asked to present identification upon arrival. “This change allows concert goers ages 18 and up the ability to enjoy all of the shows that we present and experience our state-of-the-art facility despite not being 21 years old,” said Managing Partner, Nick Davidson. “This change also positions Music Mill as a more attractive option for touring artists seeking to reach college age concertgoers and the 18 to 21 age demographic.”
I think this is big news. As you all know many people are music fans before they turn 21. I’ve been encouraged by the excitement of the parents of teenagers about this news. Several called their kids after I told them the news.
Second Friday’s at the Upper Room
The Upper Room (above the Broad Ripple Steak House) is starting a songwriter’s series on the second Friday of each month. I’ll let you know when I know the line up.
Russel Settle’s 90th birthday, February 14
Russel will be celebrating his birthday at the Red Key on Valentine’s Day. You can catch him between 5:00 and 7:00.