To get my playing fix, I started playing as a duo with Steve Konapka, aka Fuzzy, at Coralee Townie's Monday night open mic at Willie's Locally Known. They have a great house PA and a soundman working the board - what a luxury to not have to worry about levels.
Steve is an incredibly versatile harp player. He's been coming over most weeks for a 2 hour session where we work up songs. It is so interesting to see how he will try 2 or 3 different harps to figure out which one sounds best. He also plays a chromatic harp ala Stevie Wonder. We've got around 30 songs worked up and add another 5-10 every time we get together. It's been a lot of fun, and we will probably audition for a paying gig at Azur, and maybe other places.
Meanwhile, the Jam has restarted at Life BrewPub off of Richmond Rd. They also have a board out front. I've only been once, sang some killer harmony with Brent Carter and Matt Noelle on "Thunderbird".
Prior to that, I talked to Willie about having the jam at his place. A little receptive, but not too much. They have live music 7 days a week, and he seemed discouraged at the level of local support they are getting. I think we have a problem with not enough music buzz around Lexington. The Herald-Leader music critic Walter Tunis has been here forever - he started in 1980, we moved to Lexington in 1981. He does a great job, but I think we need like 4 of him. I may have some ideas on that.
I have a new source of music in - Steve has been loaning me some CDs. Just what I needed.
- Jeff Beck, "Loud Hailer". The world's greatest living rock guitarist teamed up with a new female songwriter and vocalist for this effort. The songs don't do much for me. 3 stars.
- Antonio Carlos Jobim, "Jobim", 1973. I ripped this from vinyl after talking with fabulous young guitarist Jeff Adams about how the 1st track "Águas de Março" was basically a list of nouns, and the last track "Waters of March" is the same song in English rather than Portuguese. Many years ago my daughters listened to both several times and decided they liked the Portuguese better. This is probably my favorite Jobim song. 4 stars for those 2 tracks, 3 for the rest.
- Thank You Scientist, "Stranger Heads Prevail". Not sure where this came from. Prog rock performed with great virtuosity, a little Zappaesque. A little more energetic than I really like at this point, but still, 4 stars. Here's a live version of "Caverns".
- Poco, eponymous, 1970. Continuing with our Poco theme, I think this album came out right after "Picking Up The Pieces", blogged last time. Here's a fast and a slow, both of which I remembered well.
- Of Montreal, "Innocence Reaches". The disco / glam just keeps on keeping on. Maybe not as good as some earlier work, but still very good. 4 stars. Here's a very instructive video of "it's different for girls".
- The Byrds, "(untitled)", 1970. Ripped from vinyl. The 1st Byrds album of the Clarence White era. It was 1 live disc and 1 studio disc. The live disc is a reminder of how bad live albums used to be engineering-wise. I saw this lineup in Boston in maybe late 1972 or early 1973. Clarence White was a really interesting player. I did not know until nosing around while ripping this album that he died in July, 1973, age 29, struck by a drunk driver while loading equipment into a car. Most of the live songs suffer from the engineering, and the only real notable of the studio songs is "Chestnut Mare", still fun to listen to. 4 stars for it, 3 for the rest.
- The Head and the Heart, "Signs of Light". Very pleasant vocals, very listenable, but no real standout songs. 3 stars.
- Various, "All My Friends: Celebrating the Songs & Voice of Gregg Allman", 2014. Lent to me by Fuzzy. A great lineup of artists doing Allman Brothers songs. 26 total tracks, and not a bad one. 4 stars.
- Bon Iver, "22, A Million". A very experimental sounding album, very interesting. Reminds me of some of the work of the world's greatest living composer, Björk Guðmundsdóttir. The songs have lots of weird typographics in their titles. 4 stars. Here's "10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄".
- Regina Spektor, "Remember Us To Life". I like Ms. Spektor's work, but I find some of her vocal stylings annoying. 3 stars.
- Van Morrison, "Keep Me Singing". Wow, Van the Man keeps on putting out great albums. Very nice tunes. 4 stars. Here's "Every Time I See A River".