Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Good Week for Live Music...

It's been a good week for live music. I have already written about seeing Shinyribs at Under the Volcano. There were a couple of other shows we saw, both in Lufkin to round out our days off. If you thought I was going to write about music I had played you were wrong. I feel a little bad because I bailed on the Strat Kat Band (heck, they did not need me) for the LSSLC dance that we play each month. Usually I do a couple of rehearsals each week in addition to playing at church (we did play that this weekend) and sometimes another gig of some sort but I just took the week off and watched music instead of playing. Kind of rejuvenating things I guess.   

Monday night we saw the Harlem Gospel Choir at the old Pines Theater. First time I have attended an event here and they have taken the old movie house built downtown in 1925 and made a very nice venue. I noted the event on facebook that afternoon and managed to grab a couple of the last remaining seats which happened to be the last row of the balcony. I think the last time I was in the Pines was early 70s. A ticket might have been 50 cents if you were over 12 years old. These tickets were a bit more than that and I had never sat in the balcony either but the seats were good. Here's a phone photo of what it looked like. 
Last night was a blues/folk singer Charlie Parr at the Standpipe Coffee House. Great show. The Standpipe is pulling in some good stuff. Charlie, in addition to folk type originals did quite a bit of the old slide guitar gospel blues in the vein of Blind Willie Johnson. He had what looked to be a fretless banjo. Got to respect a man playing something like that. He also played a 12 string guitar and accompanied himself on a "porch board." It's kind of an electric box you stomp in time to the music you play kind of like the electric hand drums you have seen me make and play. 

Charlie told a story about learning 5 string banjo of how he took 7 strings off a 12 string guitar and when an accomplished banjo picker saw him doing that he just said "you are doing nothing right." After the show I chatted a bit with Charlie and told him how his story reminded me of how I had attempted to learn mandolin. First I tried traditional blue grass style and then the jug band style and with big clumsy fingers failing both of those I tuned it open and played it with a slide like I do everything. I was ashamed and hid this until I saw a video of Ry Cooder the great slide player in the Jazz Fest Gospel Tent playing what else but slide mando. I decided I would never be ashamed of my mando playing again. Charlie Parr said, "Do what works." 

Here's a trailer from a documentary made about Charlie. 

So all this live music and it's not even the weekend. I got to work but I bet you can find something to see in this hopping little town of ours. If nothing else mark your calendars because the band Loves It, friends of Katie and Peter's who we saw play in Chicago play the Standpipe May 1st. See you there.  

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