Sunday, May 23, 2010

On Meeting Mose Allison

I've always been a little too star-struck for my own good. If I meet someone whom we call a "celebrity", I tend to freeze up or feel so awkward I act like the klutz at the party who hasn't a clue how to socialize. This is especially true if those people are musicians.
Even though I know those who gain celebrity are after all, just people, some are simply more cool to meet than others. Here in New Orleans there are any number of notables, just read the local press. From international movie stars like Brad and Angelina to rock stars like Lenny Kravitz. And though I may get that awkward feeling if I met them, I doubt I'd take the time to write it down.
But I'm compelled to write about meeting and having an ever so brief conversation with the legendary pianist/singer/songwriter Mose Allison. (If you haven't heard of him, you've probably heard his songs so go look him up!) I saw his show last week at Snug Harbor. The show was a little weird in that the bass player was a.w.o.l. leaving him to play with just the drummer. I don't remember the drummer's name but it was clear they'd never played together making for a stiff performance transcended only by how cool the songs were. (That said, the drummer was an absolute monster and did an amazing job of comping the herky-jerky piano style of Mr. Allison)

The moment that inspired this posting came after his show as I left the balcony section. Snug Harbor is a small club with seats that overlook the main floor and stage. Before leaving I noticed that he had walked up stairs and disappeared somewhere. Just as I began my descent on the old stairway -- there he was following behind. And out of nowhere I observed myself extending my hand to shake his and utter a few words of appreciation and some small talk about getting through the show with no one on bass. He was gracious and self-effacing with that knowing intelligence of someone who has seen it all. There was no time for awkwardness, just the feeling that I was meeting and talking to one of the great artists of American music. This was so was flat-out COOL!.................that's why I had to write a few words........

Next post will be a salutation to New Orleans........

Friday, May 14, 2010

From the land of the Second Line

Hey Everybody,
Made it out of Paradise somewhat intact. Key West was fun and I'd like to thank the folks at Willie T's: Maureen, Vlad, Sharkey, et. al., for making me feel welcome. It's a great place to play and watch the entire Duval Street scene unfold. You can't miss this open air bar and restaurant if you're strolling down Duval. It's the one with all the dollar bills stapled to every available space. I'm biased but I think it's one of the cooler places to hang on the strip. Thank you all!
I had the luxury of time to work on writing new songs. I came up with a disparate collection of styles and grooves that have me excited to get them finished. And that's the rub........gotta get them finished! I'll keep you posted.

But onward we go.........

Now it's the French Quarter outside my door every morning. I'll be here in New Orleans until the end of the month when a trip back home to Maine is in order. NOLA is the only place you can see a French accordion trio, a steel guitar and theramin duo, a swing band, and a blues-funk band just a few doors down from each other. That's on Frenchman St. in the Marigny part of the Quarter. I was overwhelmed with the breadth of music available in such a small area. And that's just one block in all of New Orleans! The accordion trio was playing at a sushi joint called Yuki. They've got a huge selection of Sake and show old Japanese films high above on the interior brick wall. La Vie En Rose and Tokyo Story (English subtitles) all at the same time!

The oil that still bleeds into the Gulf is on everyone's mind. I'm an outsider here but things seem to be "normal" as far as businesses/restaurants etc., but 'til when? Nobody knows.... The life and rhythm of New Orleans, as with the entire Gulf Coast is intertwined with the future of the wetlands. It's sad how people are once again looking over their shoulders at another imminent disaster. One without the fury of August 29th '05, but a possible aftermath of similar proportion. There will be a huge concert to benefit fishermen and wetlands restoration this Sunday May 16th. Lenny Kravitz, Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, and other notables will be playing at Mardi Gras World on the river right next to the New Orleans Convention Center. If you're in town, GO!

Sorry to end on a somber note. Time for oysters and beer..........

Thanks for reading........PB