Sunday, September 19, 2010

RIP Gram Parsons, 19th September 1973..

Gram Parsons grave marker in New Orleans. Birth date is out by two days but it's better than the tiny circular marker that was there 16 years ago. I like to think Keith & the Stones paid for this, out of what they owe him for "Wild Horses". He had a famous and illegal private cremation at Joshua Tree so there are not much of his true remains here. Rest in the wind you loved and loved to sing about Gram.

Dan O’Connell Hotel : Lauren Lee Williams : Saturday 18th September 2010.

Lyndon Walker is rumoured to write of himself in the third person. And also to break rules of grammar. And went to the Dan O'Connell Hotel yesterday to back up his old friend Lauren Williams (or Lauren Lee Williams as she now might have to be to differentiate herself in the world of fame, writing and music) by playing a little blues harp (soft country backing style – unusual for a large ego attached to a small harp in the key of A) Bushfire Blues. Lauren's whole set was music and the first half was entirely poems set to music; the most moving of which I found to be Kerry Scuffins sad and reflective simple piece in memory of the too early death of her daughter. Tissues and a heart were required.

Lyndon repeated his Santucci's performance of the Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee classic Bring It On Home To Me with a great deal of audience participation – a surprising amount of blues fans with knowledge and a voice out there Melbourne. Thank you.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Over Yonder

Over Yonder : Tony Backhouse Gospel Workshop : Warrnamboolm Vic Australia 11th - 12th September 2010.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Soulsong at Santucci’s Open Mic Thursday 16th September 2010...

Congratulations to the small troupe of Soulsingers who turned up at Santucci's cafe in Carnegie (Capital of The World) to perform last night. Gaylene, Nerida, Stella and Lyndon performed Hashivenu as a group. WARNING: Richard: I think the LBD (Little Black Dress) is becoming the dress de rigueur of the female members of the group – and pretty stunning they did look to. Lyndon & Gaylene did a mystical performance of Carmelita with Gaylene channelling Linda Ronstadt and Lyndon channelling Warren Zevon (who wrote the song), then Lyndon went on to blues it up a la Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee with a rendition of Bring It On Home To Me. Nerida did solo's on 500 Miles and a moving rendition of Janis Ian's Lying Song. I think Nerida also discovered that we all get nervous when the spotlight is only on us and that only repeat performance can give us the ability to relax into the song, which Richard teaches us, and which is one of the best aspects of a performance at somewhere like Amberly, which I don't think has been stressed enough in selling it to people, but, ironically, if you want them to learn not to be stressed about it perhaps it's best not to stress it. But importantly and essentially this was an incredibly brave and accomplished performance from Nerida.

There were very accomplished performances by others, the ukulele man for instance (more of that later) but most noticeable for me was his incredibly insightful choice of songs and lyrics (including a stunning Beyonce number – which I'm sure Beyonce could not have managed). But the highlight of the night for me was the incredibly beautiful, two performances, by opera singer Catherine Northey, down with us for the night, sitting in the audience for the whole night in her "civies" and then delivering her stunning performance (no mic necessary thank you) as she roamed through the audience caressing various members and the purest loveliest most natural sound and manner you could imagine. Remember, there is no cover charge for these events. Though, of course, we can never guarantee that any will be repeated. But this was something. I hope this isn't being disloyal to Santucci's (and I will definitely be advising when the next open Mic is on) but you can catch Cathy with the other members of her quartet at Il Locale (582 St Kilda Road, Windsor?). Such a night.

Lyndon also jammed with a guitarist who said he didn't know any actual songs but wanted to play with the blues harp, during which Lyndon gave the world premiere performance of the new country and western classic I believed her when she said I'll be back, my jeans are in your dryer. (Thank you appreciative audience, thank you Ballarat Women's Ukulele Choir).

This brings me back to last Saturday night when I jammed with the Ballarat Women's Ukulele Choir at the Fig Tree Village in Warrnambool, while I was attending the Tony Backhouse Gospel Workshop in Warrnambool. We did an extraordinary repertoire including Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, (and yes Carmen, the Monkees I'm A Believer) and of course the new country and western classic I believed her when she said I'll be back, my jeans are in your dryer.

By this stage it would take me too long to describe all the elements of the Tony Backhouse Workshop beyond recommending that everyone should do one at least once for the experience. I am not particularly religious and certainly not evangelical (about anything but singing) and yes, some of the lyrics give me pause to think more about personal responsibility than about happily (and perhaps mindlessly) handing it all over to the higher power. But hey, this is not philosophy 101 (Sydney University 1975) and yes, some of the evangelicals in the Warrnambool group added a slight cringe factor for me, but also hey, what do I know, the sound certainly was a bit heavenly. But I think that might also have something to do with Tony having the remarkable capacity to carry all the parts of a song in his head, and be able to sing them in demonstrator mode for each section, and be able to carry the solo part while we were all learning. As I say, I recommend that if Tony comes to town – give this experience a try. I have passed on to Richard and a few others a sound bite of one song – Over Yonder (if you miss me at singing...) and if he and you guys like it perhaps we'll learn it at Soulsong.

Had other adventures. Cleared a tree across the great ocean road. Got sick, got well. But love you all. See you at singing. Love. Lyndon.


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Gram & EmmyLou from NASHVILLE OR BUST by Nathan Rabin

The angelic purity of her voice perfectly complemented Parsons' ragged edges and squirmy vulnerability. It's hard not to wax hyperbolic about Parsons and Harris' chemistry, for they really did seem like a once-in-a-lifetime pairing of musical soulmates. It is a goddammed crime that Harris and Parsons aren't still singing together, aging gracefully, gazing adoringly at each other as they harmonize in perfect sync, and touring the world making people happy with their music.

Monday, September 06, 2010


..this colt lights up what's left of the man's mind. That part that still lies vulnerable to brilliance and courage. It lifts him up like a love affair or the great ball of sun just now cracking over the backstretch. - Sam Shepard - DAY OUT OF DAYS

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Bendigo Blues Jam : No. 4.

Thank you to all the wonderful musos who contributed to The Bendigo Blues Jam No. 4. What a hoot it was guys. And the incredibly appreciative audience; those guys were tops. I've had some lovely musical feedback recently many thanks humans and universe...