I should have known that the odds were not good for this week’s edition of the Hayride, when I hit multiple traffic jams heading to the studio. And sure as shootin’, it became a train wreck, pretty much from the get-go. Hence there is no recorded evidence (that I produced) of the program, but I will post the playlist. Musically it was a pretty good set, if I do say so, but production wise, it was a hot mess! The program is on hiatus next week and returns on the 26th.
Not the one that Rod Serling referenced in the Twilight Zone either, this is the dimension of radio, specifically a radio program we call the Adirondack Hayride. And we are once again privileged to have a couple hours each week this summer on WSPN to inflict our musical idiosyncrasies on all who care to listen. It all begins tomorrow evening at 6pm, and continues most Wednesdays through the summer months. Streaming may be available via TuneIn, and we hope to podcast programs as well. Playlists will post here. You’ve been warned!
Despite Mother Nature’s best efforts to prevent us from attending Paul Kelly‘s debut in the Capital Region (my second brush with violent weather in a couple of weeks you may recall), we arrived and joined a rather modest crowd in the Linda Auditorium. Undaunted, his nephew Dan Kelly, who would later accompany Paul, began the evenings proceedings. His set was made up of charming, slightly goofy, but smart songs, full of custom sound effects and requests for audience participation. My partner in crime, JR, proclaimed it a success and although I could have done with a bit less cheese, I didn’t argue his point. After a brief intermission, Paul Kelly took the stage, along with Dan on second guitar. He announced that he would play his latest record “Spring and Fall” from start to finish, and then play selections from his back catalog. A brave move for a debut performance, but perhaps knowing the weather outside would likely deter folks from leaving, a smart one. Nevertheless he dove into the song cycle which comprises the record and for the most part it held us captive. Not having listened to the record prior to the performance; worked to my advantage, giving these songs an added freshness, despite some similarity to the arrangements. This was offset by some tremendous accompaniment from Dan Kelly on both acoustic and especially electric guitar. And 11 songs and some 40 minutes later, it was over. And then as our reward for playing his “game”, we got to hear some gems from Paul’s extensive catalog, reaching as far back as to his days with the Messengers. Highlights included “St. Kilda to Kings Cross”, “Midnight Rain”, “Deeper Water”, “Forty Miles to Saturday Night” and “How to Make Gravy”. Despite some mild attempts to hijack the setlist by the audience, Paul kept command and we reaped the benefits. In spades in fact, since he played close to two hours, before heading to the merch table for some commerce and banter. It’s been a great first half of the year for shows at the Linda, let’s hope that trend only continues. The one where I go out to see music during severe thunderstorms, complete with tornado warnings? Not so much….
Upon first getting to the Ale House last evening, with the bar partially filled and the back room only slightly more so, I wasn’t certain what sort of crowd Ray Wylie Hubbard would be performing to in a couple hours. But before too much later, it became clear that although his catalog may be somewhat under appreciated (primarily by this writer at his own peril), that was not a commonly held sentiment by the crowd that eventually filled the backroom, hootin’ and hollerin’ and defying the fact that it was sweaty, pungent AND a “school night”! Ray seemed to quickly surmise that he was amongst friends and fellow travelers and settled in to a nice groove, which combined great songwriting, picking, and anecdotal humor. The setlist included selections from many of Ray’s albums, including his latest Grifter’s Hymnal from which he featured, “Count My Blessings” and “Mother Blues”. He name-checked numerous fellow Lone Star troubadours, including Hayes Carll, playing “Drunken Poet’s Dream” which they’ve both recorded. Sadly I had to exit prior to the conclusion of Ray’s set, so I’m sure I missed a few other gems. I did want to mention that the opening act was a wispy lad, with a smoky baritone by the name of Dustin Welch. None other than the son of Kevin Welch, Dustin played both banjo and guitar and featured several tunes from his two releases, Whiskey Priest and Tijuana Bible, many of which were full of promise. The ride home was a riot of lightning, thunder and fat drops of rain, a bit like a trip over the Purgatory Road.
If one were attempting to link two disparate artists together, it would be tough to top Cheetah Chrome (of the Dead Boys) and Eddy Arnold. But that is exactly what intrepid listeners can look forward to next week, when Cheetah’s new label Plowboy Records releases “You Don’t Know Me : Rediscovering Eddy Arnold”. Contributors include Chaff faves, Jason Isbell and Frank Black. Billboard has the deets.