Monday, March 03, 2008

Two Miracle Lion-Tamers

Two uncertain and foolhardy young warriors stood before the Grand Army of Doubt. Of course, this being merely a skirmish, it had not been necessary to muster the entire battalion. Nevertheless, the task seemed a daunting one for our outmatched heroes. But they remembered the magic that the music had wrought upon their own minds, building them to heights and singing a valiant sword-song that was older even than the oldest rivers. They looked at one another in silent understanding, and they began to play...

The bleak rain lashed at our windshield as we crested the topsails of the Cumberland Plateau near Jellico. February was going to have its final say. We plowed through the haunting soundtrack to Into the Wild composed by Eddie Vedder, the tongue-in-cheek honesty of Has Been by William Shatner and Ben Folds, and the fitting rainy synth-driven lullabies of Hats by The Blue Nile. The musical fuel for our journey drove us like Ethan's road-weary Isuzu Rodeo that was our noble steed for the day. Better that than driving Ichabod, who spends much of his time and senility in the driveway.

Ethan and I were glad to walk through the back door and into the smell of a privately-owned local coffeeshop, completely immersed in being a vessel of its own community. Randy and Leann's operation came into full fruition when Brandy fixed us a couple of drinks and we sat down to plan the evening. I would have been a little discouraged at the size of the crowd at 8 o'clock (Ethan and I agreed to actually starting on time - a noble endeavor in this line of work), but they were attentive and appreciative and most gracious to enter into the experience of art with us. After the show though, about fifteen people suddenly showed up and asked us to play a couple songs since they had missed the show. So we got up and played a couple, and then a couple more, and some more after that. All told, we ended up playing two entire shows from 8 until 11 with only about twenty minutes between. I was pleased to find that I wasn't too tired afterward. The second crowd was spearheaded by some college students, a few of whom were from Russia. They asked us if we had any foreign songs, and hilarity ensued, but I'll give you the list, and you can figure it out for yourself.

Some highlights from the show(s):

-Covering "Sullivan Street" by the Counting Crows
-"Dusty and Lefty" jokes
-Playing a second show
-Ethan singing Bob Marley songs with a Russian accent
-Irish Creme macchiato
-All the sound systems working right
-My voice working right
-Finishing with "Pilgrims" as the going-home song

Thanks to everyone who came out to the show at Ground Effects, especially the flabbergastingly enthusiastic party of Russian students. I was struck the other day about how much of a miracle it is when two different people play something together and music happens. Something more than harmony and the tension-and-release of chord resolution is present when music comes together. Something outlandish comes into play. When you get that instrument in your hands or you take a breath to sing, especially with someone else, you are that circus-man in the cage with the tigers. You say they are your friends, and indeed you're right, but you'll always be caught up in love and inches from death.

We'll see you at the April 4th show. To hear 30 seconds of a miracle which I just found online and remembered that I did, you can go here to Greg Adkins' website and click on the big "Listen to Thirty-Three" button down at the bottom. You'll have to skip ahead to hear yours truly, but the whole album is worth a listen (I haven't tired yet of the Monster Burger Blues song), and a purchase.


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