Category - music

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David Crosby

…at City Winery, Nashville – May 16, 2019

David Crosby has always been one of my favorites from the Classic Rock Era (aka “my youth”).  Maybe cause our voices are in a similar high-tenor range, and I have learned to play several of his songs over the years. Or maybe because the Jefferson Airplane version of “Wooden Ships” – which Crosby co-wrote with Stephen Stills and the Airplane’s Paul Kantner – lives prominently on my “All Time Top 5” songs playlist.

Apart from the fact that it’s amazing he’s still alive (he has too much in common with Keith Richard), he continues to be a stellar writer and performer.  At age 77 (!) David Crosby’s voice is every bit as clear, bright, and crystalline now as it was 50 years ago.

He has been touring of late in support of his 2017 album “Sky Trails.”  Last night was the second time I’ve seen him on this tour.  The first time was in December 2017 at the CMA Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame (my new favorite venue in Nashville). 

Last night he returned to City Winery to play to a very enthusiastic (admittedly, mostly Boomer) crowd.  He does an outstanding job of mixing his back catalog with the more recent material, making “nostalgia” seem “current” in the mix.  I was particularly pleased to hear him perform “The Lee Shore,” which has only ever been released on the CSN&Y concert double LP, “Four Way Street.”  That song was a favorite back in my own sailing days, when I lived in Hawaii in the 1980s.  

After the encore (“…everybody sing: ‘Four dead in O-hi-o…’”)  I thought about the extraordinary legacy that David Crosby has created since The Byrds released “Mr. Tambourine Man” in 1965.  Besides The Byrds, he played with Buffalo Springfield in their waning days; Crosby Stills and Nash (with or without Young) was a staple of the era; and I’ve always considered his first solo release, “If I Could Only Remember My Name” one of the most sonically layered and textured vocal works of that or any era.  I’ll put a link to that release on my website.

As we were leaving, I turned to my date and said “ya know, I never did get to see Paul McCartney, but this is pretty close….” In his own way, David Crosby has been every bit as lasting and influential as any Beatle. 

©2019 paul@cohesionarts.com

Caution

Nerves of Steel At Work

After the GuitarMash at City Winery, we were treated to an after party at Gruhn Guitars, one or the premier vintage guitar dealers in the whole world. Most of the festivities were held in the main showroom of Gruhn’s three-story location on 8th Avenue, on the outskirts of downtown Nashville, but the real treat was getting a chance to go up to the second and third floors.

On the second floor – that’s where the really expensive stuff is on display. From the $5-10,000 guitars on the ground floor, now we’re looking at $25,000 and higher instruments. I’ll post a photo later of me playing a $55,000 1940s D28.

The real treat was getting a tour of the workshop on the third floor, led by Greg Voros,. the Repair Department Manager. Here, Greg is explaining how the neck of a vintage Martin – in this case a 1940 D-45 worth something in the neighborhood of half a million dollars – is “re-set.” After nearly 80 years, the neck has to be removed through a very delicate process. One false move, Greg explains, and the value of the instrument can plunge by as much as $150,000.

Clearly not a job for the faint of heart.

Tim Buckley: Morning Glory

For your Sunday listening pleasure:

I started thinking of this song yesterday after Stacy Widelitz posted a link to the first Blood Sweat & Tears album, “Child is Father to the Man” as his first entry in that “10 most influential albums” thing that seems to be making the rounds lately…
 
I thought of this song because that album was one of the few (only?) albums that delivered a cover of a Tim Buckley song, “Morning Glory.” I think the only other time Tim Buckley made it into “pop” culture was when the song “Once I Was” played near the end for the Vietnam War film “Coming Home” with Bruce Dern, John Voight and Jane Fonda.  I’ll share that clip at the end for this post. 
I started thinking about “Morning Glory” because there is something about it’s soothing, plaintive tone that just seems like a necessary antidote to the tone of these tumultuous times (personally and generally).
So this morning as I was driving into work I asked Siri to “Play ‘Morning Glory’ by Tim Buckley.’
I was a little miffed at first when Apple Music pulled up this live version of the song, its algorithms apparently confusing it with the studio recording from Buckley’s breakthrough 1967 album “Goodbye and Hello.” But as I listened to it, I was grateful for the cross reference.
For starters, this live performance demonstrates the pure, brilliant clarity in Tim Buckley’s vocals even more than the studio version.  I like the instrumentation too: the elaborate piano, strings and vocal chorus of the studio version on “Goodbye and Hello” is replaced here by Buckley’s Guild 12-string, and the simple bass,  vibes and electric guitar that Buckley drew on for what I consider his best record, 1968’s “Happy Sad.”
So there ya go.  I gotta get this posted and get to the store…
 
And here is “Once I Was” from “Coming Home,” released in 1978 – 4 years after Tim Buckley’s untimely demise, from an overdose at the tender age of 28 in 1974 (yes, the same age that his son, Jeff Buckley, died at in 1997). 

Another highlight from the Nashville Guitar Mash

April 7, 2018

This fellow’s name is Chuck Thompson; Chuck is an accomplished photographer in his own right who’s mission is “making musicians and business look good.” See his work at www.pickchuck.com

Like so many of us here in Music City, Chuck is also a musician. If you’re not familiar with that odd-looking instrument he’s playing, it’s called a “harp guitar” – an instrument from the turn of the 20th century that has found renewed popularity here in the 21st century. It combiners a conventional fretted guitar neck with several unfretted bass strings strung across an extension of the guitar body that play like the strings of a harp. .

But what is remarkable about this photo is that Chuck is not on the stage: he’s in the audience! He was right there in the front row, playing along with luminaries like Jerry Douglas, Keb Mo and John Oates at the Guitar Mash, an event that invites the audience to actively participate in the performance instead of just sitting there and flapping their hands together at the end of each song. For more on the event, read my commentary here.

“Guitar Mash” = “Music 3.0”

Remember when I was writing about “Music 3.0“?

Of course you don’t, that was almost 10 years ago, before I folded “celestialjukebox.org” into one of the archived elements of this CohesionArts website.

My idea of “Music 3.0” (there are others, but they’re not nearly as prescient or comprehensive… 😜) was the culmination of what I still occasional refer to as my “Grand Nebulous Theory of The Future of Music” – a concept both “grand” and “nebulous” because, while I think the historical trajectory offers some useful clues, I don’t really have a solid grasp of the ultimate destination.

Whatever the ultimate destination, I think I walked into a fresh landmark along the route this past Saturday when I spent the afternoon at the City Winery in Nashville for something called the “Guitar Mash.”

The concept is hard to describe, but is summed up in the project’s stated mission to “change the way you experience music.”  Follow this link to get a better idea of the concept (simplified version here).

As I wrote in a Facebook post the following day:

I got to be present for – and photograph – a rather extraordinary event yesterday at City Winery.

It’s called the “Guitar Mash.”

It starts with a “house band” of A-List musicians – like Jerry Douglas on dobro, Mark Stewart (musical director for Paul Simon, among other things), Victor Krauss on bass, Larry Atamanuik on drums and John Deaderick on keys.

As the afternoon unfolded, the band was joined on stage by featured players including the likes of Brent Mason, Keb Mo, and John Oates.

But the really unique feature is: the audience is encouraged to bring their own instruments and… ohmigod… play along with the stars! Chord-and-lyric charts are displayed on the video screens and “Chord Coaches” (from the W.O. Smith School) wander the audience helping the guests suss out what they’re trying to play.

There will be more to come after I’ve sorted through all the files, but this morning I want to share this one shot of MV Gauthier, as she performs Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” and looks out at a venue full of people playing and singing along with her. Her reaction here captures the entire essence of the event. Long story short, it was a blast for every one.

While technology continues to disrupt the “virtual” music business, I felt like this was an indication of what’s possible in the “real” world of music: empowering more people to make music themselves. I kinda think Mary is catching that spirit in this moment and realizing what a wonderful thing that could be.

It oddly frustrates me sometimes when I go to a concert or a club, and there is so little for the audience to do.  The performers put their best effort into a song, and the rest of us sit there and repetitiously flap our hands together in appreciation.  Rinse and repeat.  I don’t know that there is any viable alternative to that, but here’s a venue full of people doing something other than waiting for their chance to applaud:

Digital Caveats re: the above slideshow: I’m having some issues with ZenFolio – my web gallery/service provider – over their continued reliance on Adobe Flash for these slide shows.  10 years after Steve Jobs wrote the epitaph on Flash, ZenFolio only lets me create an “embeddable” slideshow if I use Adobe Flash.  HTML5 has been the de-facto standard for nearly a decade,  but when I try to embed the HTML5 version of this slideshow in my WordPress post, only half of the images appear in an otherwise half-black screen.  I love ZenFolio, but this one rates a big WTFF?  I don’t have Flash on my new MacBook Pro, so I have no idea if the embed above works or not.  If not, follow this link to see the entire gallery; there is a button to display the HTML5 slideshow in the upper right corner of the gallery page.

 

Returning once again to the archives…

In 2009, Pru Clearwater created a musical show unlike anything #Nashville has seen before or since. Inspired by an encounter with a sea turtle while diving in the Virgin Islands, the “Pru Clearwater and The Infinite Field” combined music, chanting, dance and recitation in an experience I called “Rock & Roll #Kirtan.” .

The “Infinite Field” derives from a concept in physics: within every atom, in the space between the nucleus and the electron orbits, as well as the vacuum between the stars, there is a field of energy, “the quantum sea.” But in all of the Universe, there is just ONE such field, not only infinite but effectively uniting every thing – animate or inanimate – in its continuity. .

With “The Infinite Field,” Pru expressed her belief in “the one-ness of everything,” and in the moment captured here, demonstrates the ecstasy I’m lookin for when I go out to shoot “The Joy of Making Music™.”

©2010 paul@cohesionarts.com