A long time ago, in a land far away, in a previous life, I considered myself a musician.
Well, sort of. I was not ever particularly counter-culture and there was no grunge/punk garage band for me. More officially, I was a band geek. And, not just a band geek, but one of the band geeks of my high school class. Jazz band during the 7am ‘zero period’? Check. Drum major of the marching band? Check. ‘When I was at band camp stories’? Check, check and check (I went three times). Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you were/are my neighbors when I get that urge), I have not picked up my instruments in almost a decade. However, more than 10 years of musical training has left with me with a few talents – a pretty mean sense of rhythm, the uncanny ability to remember most every song I have sung along with on the radio and an appreciation for most types of music out there. Combine that with feeling more than a little homesick in the dead of winter, et voilà, I have been craving country music.
Wait! Wait! Before I lose all three of my readers – there is a lot to like about Country. I’m serious. Not the cliché ‘my car broke down, my dog left me and I’m watching my wife run away’ songs, but more folk with a kick, and (most importantly) a heavy serving of the blues. I’ve been trying to satisfy my cravings with the little of this music I have on my ipod. Mostly some limited Emmylou Harris, Alison Kraus, Eddie from Ohio, Sugarland (yes, it is pop country and I love it) and Lyle Lovett.
After giving a small presentation last Thursday, friends casually mentioned that they had to get going – it was about 6:45pm – and they were due to see Lyle at 7:30 across town. I gaped and got myself invited along. Given 5 minutes, I threw everything in my bag and left work early, heading off through the bitter cold to scratch that musical itch.
The venue was perfect. Small, yet spacious with clear acoustics, there could not have been more than 200 people in the club watching Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt trade witty remarks, vignettes that inspired the songs and amazing music. They played well-known numbers, new tunes (both have albums recently released or will soon) and some duets. Even though we arrived a few minutes late, I was still able to get a ticket and we found space to stand with a clear view (and photo opportunity) of the stage. With just acoustic guitars as accompaniment, the clarity of their voices, emotion of the words and beauty of the music shined through. Even though I would never have classified myself as a big country music fan, it rang true with me that night. For a few hours, I felt like home.
However, when I get around to compiling the soundtrack of my life, Lyle Lovett singing ‘She’s No Lady (She’s My Wife)’ will always, ironically, remind me of Paris.
(Thanks, Nick, for the photos – your camera is so much better than mine!)