Playing ‘She’s About A Mover’ With Shawn Sahm

Here is the Shinyribs band playing the Sir Douglas Quintet’s She’s About A Mover with Doug Sahm’s son Shawn Sahm.  Cheryl Sahm posted this on Facebook earlier today and it was actually the first time I have seen the footage.  It was a great night of fun.  Just thought I’d share it with all of you.

Miley Cyrus Sings Paul Westerberg

It’s a strange world.  Miley Cyrus is singing a Replacements song.  She is singing it with Laura Jane Grace and Joan Jett.  Joan Jett has sang with Paul Westerberg several times, so it’s not as surprising that she is involved.

They are performing this to draw attention to Cyrus’s new charity The Happy Hippie Foundation that will help homeless youth, LBGT youth, and other vulnerable populations.

Androgynous is a song I have been listening to since I was a kid.  It’s a favorite of mine.  I’m glad to hear it in any form.  Despite this version being somewhat generic musically, there is love and joy here that I can’t deny.

I’m also glad about anything that helps people that are on the margins.  Anything that brings more love into the world is fine by me.

Original Replacements Version:

Growing Up Live: Great and Ridiculous

Never have I laughed as much, while also genuinely enjoying something, that wasn’t a comedy, as while watching Peter Gabriel’s Growing Up Live DVD.  One of my first summers in Austin, my brother, a friend, and I, watched this DVD almost every night while maybe, or maybe not, being on various substances.  It’s fucking ridiculous.  He is dressed in an all black ninja outfit, while bald and looking like your uncle.  He, at various times, performs in a giant ball, while walking upside down, riding a bike, and while wearing a suit of lights, among other things.  (The suit of light is featured above in Sledgehammer.)  He gives serious sounding speeches about things like playing music with apes.  (Lead in to Animal Nation.)  Although he clearly understands the absurdity up to a point, you are never sure that he completely gets it.  (Band members are crying while playing Animal Nation, yes the very same song about playing music with apes.)

That all being said, the music is fantastic.  Gabriel is a great songwriter with an incredible band.  The arrangements are exciting and inventive.  The playing is top-notch.  The range of emotions expressed runs the gamut.  I am a genuine fan of his and I keep waiting for him to put out a new album of original music.

If you are looking to watch a concert that is genuinely entertaining, this is one I can’t help but recommend.  In fact it is probably one of the most entertaining I have ever seen.  It’s absurd, ridiculous, artistic, comical, and beautiful all at the same time.

Shinyribs Live Tonight Free in ATX

If you happen to live in Austin, or be in town for SXSW, I will be performing tonight with Shinyribs at 9:30pm during a free show.  It’s called Rock the Lot and it is held in the Austin American Statesman parking lot.  We will be putting on a  90 minute show.  If you are interested get there on time, because there is a strict 11pm curfew since we are playing live outside in the middle of the city.

In the future when all’s well…

Jeff

The Badass Drumming of Tony Allen

Brian Eno said that Tony Allen was, “perhaps the greatest drummer that ever lived.”  As a rhythm section guy (bass) that has been lucky enough to have learned a lot about drumming from two of Austin’s best drummers (Keith Langford and Alex Moralez), I have been marveling at the drum work of Tony Allen lately.  He is most famous for his work with Fela Kuti where he helped create Afrobeat.  I learned about him, like many my age in the West, first through his work with Damon Albarn.  He has been a part of a ridiculous amount of great records.  Above I picked a live version of the single from his newest solo album Film of Life.  This is a song he wrote with Albarn.  You really need to check out more than his work with Albarn, because again there is so much fantastic stuff to discover, especially if you appreciate great musicianship.  Although I love Albarn and I think his work with him is excellent, it is really only a sliver of what makes him so great.  I simply picked this because it was new and I know that there are some people who would find a pop song the easiest place to start.

One More Time by Jimmy Cliff

Jimmy Cliff is one of those artists that can lift the heart out of despair.  Sometime ago I posted the other performance from Jimmy Cliff’s appearance on Jools Holland.  Both performances are simply outstanding.  This song is from his front to back killer Rebirth.  This is a modern record that can stand with the all-time greats in this or any genre.  If you don’t have it, get it.

No More Buffalo by James McMurtry

I’m still finding my way through James McMurtry’s excellent new album Complicated Game.  There is no doubt it features first rate writing and arranging.  However, the songs themselves are almost like short stories, which work on different levels.  If I’m going to write about it I want to make sure that I get it right.  In the meantime I found this live performance of an older McMurtry song that I like.  McMurtry is always well regarded as an excellent writer, but he is also one of the most unique guitar players that I’ve ever seen.  Usually when I watch people play guitar, even if I am not able to play what they can play, I usually have some general understanding of what they are doing.  I have no idea what McMurtry is up to.  He has a fluid rhythmic style that, whether he is playing electric or acoustic, always perfectly compliments his songs.

All ATX – The British Invasion and Weekend Tour Dates

All ATX – The British Invasion

Tonight at 9pm Central the PBS station in Austin will be showing the All ATX – British Invasion tribute show.  I participated in this event with Shinyribs and Shawn Sahm.  I also somehow got to sneak out on stage for the final number and sing backup vocals with Eric Burdon and The Animals.  (Try getting the words right, even to a song you know very well, when Eric Burdon is a few feet from you!  It was surreal.)  A multi-hour show was cut down to 56 minutes, so I have no idea what footage will even make the final cut.  I also volunteered to make some political phone calls today, so I don’t have time to research how and if this footage will be available to those of you not in the Austin area.  However, I thought I would at least mention that it is on tonight, because there were some really great performances at this event.

I’ll also be on the road with Shinyribs this weekend.  You can view the dates here:

Shinyribs Shows Page

In the future when all’s well…

Jeff

The O’Jays Cover Bob Dylan

I was listening to the O’Jays today.  Aside from Levi Stubbs, they might be my favorite soul singers of all time.  Some point soon I want to write a post about the O’Jays and their classic Philly Soul albums.  It’s getting late though, so I will leave this weekend with this song.  The first time I heard the O’Jays was when I heard them cover the Bob Dylan song Emotionally Yours on this tribute to Dylan.  It has always stuck with me.  Enjoy!

More Scenes From Touring

If you want a good many laughs, and a view into temporary insanity, I can’t recommend Henry Rollins Get in the Van enough.  Although the early 80’s hardcore scene is far crazier than anything I have ever witnessed, there is something in the dark fatalistic humor of the book that captures touring better than anything I have ever seen or read.  I know I have mentioned it before, but I am thinking about it on my way to Oklahoma city. 

When you tour it is like living in dog years.  Time slows to a crawl.  I am not trying to romanticize touring, quite the opposite.   There may be some that love every moment of it, but to me my passion for music makes it something that I tolerate.  I am not saying that there aren’t great moments, nor am I complaining.  It simply is a mountain that needs to be climbed to reach the golden city of music.  It is mostly my ability to disconnect,  to float away into books and records, that allows me to keep climbing. 

I am an introvert by nature.  Being in a crowd, even if I am having a great time, diminishes my energy instead of restoring it.  I purposely need to retreat into an autistic cave of solitude at times to make it through the day.  (Hat pulled down over eyes and headphones on.)

But lord I love being creative, playing with great musicians, and diving into the world of music.  I can never hear enough of the stuff.  I live with headphones on.  I could play a two hour set and the first thing I want to do after is listen to a record.  I love the world of recorded sound.  I have ever since I was a kid.  While some friends obsessed over sports stats, I was up in my room reading music magazines and listening to albums. 

When some people tell me that I am bold to follow my dreams, I thank them, but I know the truth:  My passion for music borders on obsession, and I have no other choice.  It isn’t much different than an alcoholic slithering over to a bar as soon as it is open.  Reason and courage play no part.  I give into my addiction and follow it down the rabbit hole.