Shot Of Rhythm

[ Friday, January 30, 2004 ]


Let's put on a show

I spent some time the last few days getting ready for my first big professional gig in many months (maybe even a couple years). Even though I've played a number of different kinds of music and gigs over the years, this show is not the kind of thing I'm used to. Several reasons for this: 1)I'm backing up (on guitar and background vocals) a tribute to the Dixie Chicks, performed by three African-American women, none of whom - even though they possess the skills to do this kind of show, have prepared for it, and have appeared on stage before - have done a full set. 2)This gig is at Luther's Blues, maybe the biggest and most prominent club in Madison and 3)I feel the pressure for the show's success or failure riding most heavily on my shoulders. There's a second guitarist, a very talented friend of ours, but he's mainly gonna be doing lead stuff (including a little slide playing), and very rarely will be locked into the foundational rhythm or arrangement of the song, thus allowing him a certain degree of flexibility. The women are good at what they do, and should be able to pull off the songs very well, but - if there should be a slip-up or unexpected change during a song - it will be my responsibility to adapt to their vocals(as it should be). Thus, if I blow it, it'll really be blown. (And anyone who knows me understands my propensity to blow it, even though I do consider myself a competent player and performer.)

So, in any case, it'll be fun and it'll be great, and y'all should come down. We're on at 8 PM. Here's the info.

On the box right now: Southern Culture On The Skids, MOJO BOX


Dove With Claws [10:14 PM]

[ Monday, January 26, 2004 ]


My Beautiful Reward

First thing's first. New comments...ones that work. Get back to talkin' again, would y'all? I know you've been anxiously awaiting your opportunity to.

Second thing's second. I've added a link on the left, to a blog called Palmermix, run by a friend from a music-discussion e-mail group. (Actually, it might be the music-discussion e-mail group, if y'all feel me.) Check him out; it's definitely worth it.

Third thing's third. As you can see from above, I'm now gonna title these entries. Don't really know why, I guess I just felt the spirit.

Fourth thing's fourth. I love Bruce Springsteen enough to go through periods of different favorite Springsteen songs, and the king of the hill right now is "My Beautiful Reward," from 1993's underappreciated LUCKY TOWN record. I don't know what it is about this wonderfully sweet and yearning gospel ballad that has captured my attention so strongly of late, but it's the one song that I turn to (both the recording and on my guitar) when I need to feel the wellsprings of the human spirit again. I know that sounds both pretentious and somewhat irrational, but I've found that such things don't lend themselves to rational analysis. I really knew I was in deep when I felt the urge to play "My Beautiful Reward" after my latest viewing of BLOODY SUNDAY (the great Irish film discussed in a previous post); the one has nothing to do with the other, except that the song's thematic content - of finding peace and solace in the turmoil of the world's darkness - jibed perfectly with the deep ache that any viewer of that film must feel, as British soldiers mow down unarmed civil-rights marchers.

I also thought of the song during a recent discussion I had about veteran's benefits. The Vietnam generation is getting to the age of medical care becoming increasingly necessary, and the pile-up of maimed and injured from this new war grows daily, and Bush's slashing of health and pension funds for retired military personnel is one of the more odious elements of his truly odious presidency. Springsteen himself has long been a vocal and articulate supporter of vet rights, and - even though "My Beautiful Reward" itself has nothing directly to do with the issue - it's hard for the song's picture of search and struggle not to pop into my head. So go and listen to it. It'll be good for you.

New Hampshire primary is tomorrow. Believe it or not, and I wouldn't have believed it even two weeks ago, Howard Dean is probably gonna lose big to John Kerry. If this happens, Dean is done. Wesley Clark'll probably finish third, and - if that happens - he's on life support. Edwards seems to be putting in appearances, with his real goal being the South and Midwest, and his finish will probably reflect that attitude. Primary season's always fun, and tomorrow should be an interesting next chapter in the horse race.

On the box right now: Rufus Wainwright, WANT ONE


Dove With Claws [8:00 PM]