Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Guest From The West, Performing Music Without Being Asked, and a Charming Story From the Annals of C&W

The other day I was seated on our virtual veranda (The Aqmatsi Virtuanda from Dorn Furnishings in San Arbetos) and there were some bees and I was reading a book of showbiz tales and I came across a story about how one cold, cold night in east West Texas a man wandered into a watering hole when his tour bus broke down because he was thirsty and hoped for a jukebox. Upon the stage that night was a young girl strumming a 1956 Falcohoner "steel" string box and out of her mouth came the prettiest sounds you ever heard not from a bird. It was open mic night at the Los L'Argonnes in Pente, TX and though they didn't know it then, this chance meeting would lead to decades of beautiful music made by these two lost souls and millions of records sold. The girl on the stage? Prenty Fulliweather. The guy whose tour bus broke down? Gus Bernzt.

Anecdotes like this enrich the millienial narrative of our musical culture, but they also remind us that some nights it's worthwhile to wander into an open mic. Which is what some members of National Eye did the other night because Douglas Kirby's in town and we needed something fun to do.

First Gretchen played some songs (in a dazzling sneak preview of her own group YELLOW HUMPHREY's debut performance this Friday at Blinkin' Lincoln), assisted by Steve Quaranta from Paper Masques:

Followed by Doug who sang some beautiful songs including his own "Milky Mile" and his radical re-imagining of basement tune "Lo & Behold" and he also wore this hat:

And then (I) Rick (me) sang some songs dressed like Dr. Who!

As you can see (if you're a slyboots-observant-type) these moments happened at the famous Philadelphia place The Fire. Open mics are fascinating for a million reasons and I always learn a lot when I go to them. The music, of course, ranges from the bad to terrible to good to mental hospital, but I've never walked away without some new piece of information to put in the great book o' life.

Incidentally, all these photos were taken by main man R. Connell who didn't sign up to play any music. Neither did Will Baggott (who was there) but that's because his banjo fell out of an airplane. But worry not: it should hit the ground in time for Friday's show! (Will plays banjo and bass in Yellow Humphrey.

More soon news. I mean, soon new mores. More news soon more news. Including a review of how Doug's week in Philadelphia went and if he managed to record anything for the upcoming new album!!!