Brief Musical Update

Had little time to blog recently, but noticed a few musical highlights in Nashville and (yes) Huntsville recently that I’d not recorded.

[Post Note – here’s a site with links to blues joints all over the place.]

Let’s start with fiddle-players in Nashville.

Mentioned the excellent fiddle-player we’d seen with Heath Haynes in Nashville we’d also seen at the International BBQ event in Lynchburg (Jack Daniels Distillery) – well he’s Josh Hedley (aka Johnny Lasso) – saw him again, twice with Heath Haynes: Rock’n’Roll style on the Saturday night (Layla’s Blue-Grass Inn) – a little the worse for drink on his birthday apparently, and trad country style on the Sunday afternoon (Roberts Western World) – a little the worse for a hangover we suspect.

Regular fiddler with Brazilbilly is the good ole (79 years) boy Gene “Pappy” Merritts, but with regular steel player Chris Casello absent we had a surprise addition to the band.

The exceptional Jimmy Clarke – doubling up on fiddle, as well as stand-in guitar and steel, including a weird electric four-string, but most amazingly on trumpet, stunning, and finaly vamping away on piano in the bar at the end. The boy can play.

OK, so another great Brazilbilly set, an entertaining Don Kelley set (another interesting guitarist there) and two Heath Haynes sets. The latter’s Saturday night set inlcuding – my particular faves “G.L.O.R.I.A” and “Baba O’Reilly” (better when Josh is not inebriated), but also “Lust for Life”, “Blitzkrieg Bop”, “Right to Party” and that infuriating “Blister in the Sun” again, on top of a long set of country mix with Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and the Stones thrown in. In the hands of musicians of this quality the common blues and folk roots of all these genres is clear to see (hear). Excellent.

Now to guitarists in Huntsville, the last two weeks.

Can’t believe I’ve not blogged about Dave Anderson before – easy to take for granted as part of the furniture here – but a huge repertoire of Prince to Pink Floyd, Seal, U2, Who (“Baba O’Reilly” again), Stevie Wonder, Cold Play, excellent originals, and no request too obscure to try, all performed solo, semi-electric with loops for rhythm and fill – K.T.Tunstall-style – not to mention a fine voice and mike technique. The Wall (full version) played solo – not a favourite of mine at any time, but quite remarkable. My regular Thursday late night in Klatschies.

Friday before last, as well as supporting the anniversary party at Crossroads, Dave performed as guitarist for Toy Shop (a local band he used to be with) with the Snake Doctors’ guys jamming in at various points before their own set. The place was bouncing. What’s more Dave is the current guitarist with “The Atlanta Rhythm Section” (now there’s a blast from the past) played a couple of times in Vegas recently and tonight is in Jackson, Tenessee … what’s the chance of being there ?

Anyway the point of this posting, is that Dave introduced us to two (three) other very young Huntsville guitarists recently – James Irvin and Rob Aldridge (the latter currently Birmingham-based) – both technically excellent but also remarkably accomplished performer / singers for such young guys each performing solo, with pollished original material too. I say three, to include Nathan, who seems to have the skills and technique, but not the stagecraft yet, getting up to jam with Marge (Loveday) on electric piano. One for the future.

Currently listening to (wearing out the CD track in the car) Tommy Womack’s “Alpha Male and the Canine Mystery Blood” after a layoff of several months. Good as ever.

(Must go back through that and acknowledge all links.)

(Post Note: Didn’t make Dave Anderson’s Jackson, TN, gig with TARS, but I did drop into Voodoo Lounge on Tuesday to see Dave’s set on a very stormy night here in Huntsville. We had a power outage for about an hour, during which all ten people in the place, cuddled-up to the candle-lit bar whilst Dave continued his set up-close-and-personal as well as unamplified. ie not just “unplugged”, as they say, but entirely unaided, and in the totally silent ambience that you only get when all powered appliances – coolers, pumps, TV’s, fluorescent lights – within a mile of the place, are dead. “That noise ain’t right.” – as Tommy Womack sings it. A special moment to remember.)

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