86 responses Add your response
Great news Slaw! I saw Tift at The Troubadour---she was great. Saw Lucinda Williams there too, as well as Iris Dement. The Troub was the first stage I performed on after moving to L.A. in '79. Great room! Elton John made his first U.S. performance there, and The Eagles, Jackson Browne, and Warren Zevon drank at the bar regularly in the early 70's. I hope Tift tours in support of the album---I'd love to see her again.
bdp24 I have missed the boat several times with Lucinda Williams - she has come through a dozen times and I was too lazy to go see her!
Funny story, about 25 years ago my Company had a program that sponsored emerging artists and 2 of them were Joe Ely and Lucinda. They came through on a small bar tour together and I was there representing our company - we had an open bar and a roped off VIP area. Lucinda came in drinking a Bud and smoking a cig in a t-shirt, nicotine stained front teeth and sat with us and I was like….whoa and who are you!!! Joe played first and he was great, Lucinda did not go on until midnight and I missed it - had to go. She is now one of my very favorite artist! Wish I didn't have my head buried in my arse that night, would have liked to have more conversation!
I met Lucinda at a Long Ryders show at Club Lingerie in the mid-80’s. I was there because I liked them, she was there because she was married to LR drummer Greg Sowders (she’s been married to quite a few musician’s!). I was on the floor talking to the LR manager, and Lucinda walked up to say hey. He introduced us, telling me she was a songwriter and singer. I didn’t know it at the time, but she had two albums out on Folkways Records. I had never heard of her, not being a particular fan of acoustic Folk Blues. She looked down at the floor, with a kind of embarrassed/sheepish look on her face. I was impressed---humility in L.A.!
Then her Rough Trade album came out, and I love, love, loved it! My girlfriend and I started going to see her wherever she appeared around town, one time at a pizza parlour. There were about a half dozen people in the room, including staff! The first time we saw her my girl said "Hey, she works at Moby Disc". MD was a small record store in Sherman Oaks, in the valley on the other side of the Hollywood Hills. Lucinda could often be found standing behind the cash register, gazing off into space. Perhaps composing lyrics?
Then she got her Warner Brothers deal, and started work on what would become Car Wheels On A Gravel Road. She recorded the entire album three times, until she got what she was after. In that process, her lead guitarist/bandleader/producer Gurf Morlix (great guitarist name, ay?!) couldn’t take any more, quit the band, and moved to Austin, where he remains. The success of that album changed her life. For once, artistic excellence and commercial success! I couldn’t be happier for her, and for us.
My "missed boat" story is of the time I went to see John Hiatt at The Roxy on Sunset Blvd. There was an opening act, some girl I had never heard. I don’t care to sit listening to music I don’t find interesting, having to pay ten bucks for a drink. So we arrived just as the opener was playing her last song, and damnit it, it was killer. The song was "Run Baby Run", and the girl was Sheryl Crow! The song was great, her voice was great, and she had a great band. Her first album was not out yet, and she was an unknown to me. Oops.
IIRC, Sheryl Crow opened for John Hiatt on the Pefectly Good Guitar tour. I saw the show at Irving Plaza in NYC. I, too, hadn’t heard of Crow and, when she took the stage, I laughed at this little lady who was barely visible behind a big dreadnought guitar. I wasn’t laughing after the first notes, tho - she was great. I was instantly a fan.
BTW, Hiatt tore the roof off the place that night. He’s always had great bands, but that one was almost a punk feeling group. I think the lead player was called Matt Ward and he was almost 180 degrees from Sonny Landreth (Hiatt’s awesomely talented sometimes lead guitar player). It was all sharp, angular barks vs Sonny’s slithery, winding honk.
That was one of the better rock n roll shows that I ever recall seeing.
Right Marty, Hiatt's Perfectly Good Guitar album tour. That album was a radical change from the previous two, Bring The Family and Slow Turning, both of which I loved (still do, of course!). I had mixed feelings about PGG upon it's release, but heard live I better understood what John was trying with it. Matt Ward's Gibson 335 was cranked way up, with lots of sustain and distortion, not my favorite electric guitar tone. But it worked with the material. And you're again right, the band rocked real hard, very exciting. I still prefer the material and musician's on BTF and ST (how ya gonna top Ry Cooder, Nick Lowe, Jim Keltner, and Sonny Landreth?!), but John couldn't keep making the same album over and over. John Hiatt, one of our best living songwriters and singers!
Actually,. I agree with you across the board - Bring the Family, Stolen Moments, and Slow Turning was an astounding triple header from Hiatt. PPG wasn't quite in the same league. However....
That PPG tour was just a startling live show. Still my favorite concert from Hiatt and, before that tour....
I'd already seen Hiatt many, many times. During his earliest performing years, Hiatt used to play at The Bottom Line in NYC when I lived three blocks from the place. I never missed a show. These went all the way back to the Observatory and Slug Line years, when a John Hiatt show was often just JH and an acoustic guitar.
The Sonny Landreth bands may have been more skilled (and probably were more nuanced, as well), but that PPG band rocked like mad. Relative quality of the material notwithstanding, that was my favorite John Hiatt concert.
Wow Marty, you were into John early! I didn’t catch on to him until Bring The Family, his breakout album. Three blocks from The Bottom Line! You musta seen a lotta great shows. I had only to make the 15 minute drive from Burbank to Hollywood to get to The Roxy Theater, The Whiskey a Go-Go, The Troubadour, The Starwood, and The House Of Blues, not much of a deterrent! I saw SO many great shows in the 80’s, 90’s, and 00’s. That was after living in San Jose in the 60’s and 70’s, only a 45 minute drive from San Francisco. A lotta great shows there too of course---not only The Fillmore Auditorium, Carousel Ballroom, and Winterland, but all the clubs. Luckily, Portland Oregon is part of the concert circuit for most currently touring artists, so great live music is still available to me. And Portland also has a thriving local music scene---lots of Blues, Singer/Songwriter, and Alternative. Can’t complain!
I lived on 8th St between Broadway and Mercer. The Bottom Line was at 4th and Mercer. They usually has two shows a night, the latter was doors open at ten, music at +/-10:30. I was single and working in investment banking at the time and my work day frequently ended just in time for a 10:00 dinner. Five or six times a month, I’d just wander in to TBL to grab a burger and see whoever they trotted out that night.
I saw some amazing acts that I’d never heard of before seeing them live - first among them was John Hiatt.
BTW, I sold my place there in 2001 and TBL closed up shop within a couple of years. Coincidence?
@ebm. Brilliant!!! Sounds like something from Greek philosophy classes: all is Fire - no, it is earth - No, everything is crap!
More often than not I, too, have to force myself to enjoy the music instead of listening to the awesomeness of my latest upgrade.
If I live that long, I will be interested in what you have to say in December 2017 ;-)
Just listened to the new Beth Hart. I knew I would not be disappointed. SQ is very, very good. I have several BH lps, I prefer "Better Than Home", if I had to make a definitive choice. The vocals on that lp are OUTSTANDING!!!
If you have a great lp based system..get "Better Than Home"!
Going to put on "Prisoner" later.
Yeah jafant, it’s nice. If you don’t have Rodneys Houston Kid album, it’s absolutely stellar, the equal of John Hiatts Bring The Family, which for me is about as good as it gets. Rodney wrote a book related to the subject matter of the album (autobiographical), entitled Chinaberry Sidewalks. I love it too.
MoD on SACD! Gotta get me one. It was Jim KELTNER who was in Little Village of course, not Jim GORDON. They were good friends and L.A. studio drummers, Ry Cooder arranging his recordings around Keltners availability, he's that good. They were both in Joe Cockers Mad Dogs & Englishmen band, then Gordon joined Delaney & Bonnies road band, where he met Eric Clapton, who also played in that band after breaking up Cream (prompted by hearing The Bands Music From Big Pink album). Eric and Gordon were in Derek & The Dominoes together (Gordon composed and played the beautiful piano part in the middle "breakdown" section of "Layla"), then Gordon joined Traffic for a while. That's Jim Gordon playing on Dave Masons Alone Together album, really fine drumming. They met when Dave was very briefly a member of D & TD.
Jim Gordon was a master drummer, really, really, really good, but had mental problems which were exacerbated by the drug use rampant in the 1970's. He started hearing voices (as has Brian Wilson), and one day the voices told him to kill his mother, which he did, with a butcher knife. Yow! He's in Camarillo State Hospital for the criminally insane now, and I have one of his Camco drumsets, left in a storage space when they sent him away. It's not for sale!