Thursday, June 29, 2006

Musical Shows This Summer

Music is my art of choice. I'm not a musician, not for many years anyway. But music is to me what visual art is to some, or performance art is to others. It's that sensory stimulus that keeps me grounded, that invokes strong emotions, and in general makes life enjoyable.

This summer has been a banner year for musical acts in our remote area, carved out of cornfields in the US heartland. So far this summer I have seen 3 acts that rank in my top 10. A few weeks ago it was Junior Brown. Very twangy country, but this boy could cook on the guitar. He had a custom double-necked guitar he dubbed "Big Red". One neck for regular playing, the other for slide. He was an incredible axe-man.

Next was Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Such talented musicians, probably the best in the world at their respective instruments. The music is pretty much indescribable, it doesn't fit in any genre. Bluegrass to jazz to classical. Just make it a point to see them if they hit your area.

Tonight it was Dave Alvin. Another musician most have never heard of, but probably America's greatest songwriter, and a very fine musician. He came out of Southern California in the late seventies / early eighties in a band called The Blasters. This band fueled the rock-a-billy craze of the eighties. Then to a punk band called "X". One of the first true punk bands in the states. Since then he has written songs that have been recorded by many HUGE stars. He is a true professional, and put on a show that cooked. The wife and I danced and had a great time. It's a shame that someone of this musical stature and talent is playing dive bars like he played tonight. But the crowd was large, and they gave him a hell of a reception. His band played their hearts out. In the midst of crap like REO Speedwagon and BTO reunion tours, to find an act of this quality for $15 a ticket is like finding treasure.