Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Barn Door Slammers, The Black Crabs and Rosie and The Ramblers at Slim's Last Chance 3-24-12

It is amazing what music can do for you. I had a super-busy week, meetings all day, design in the evening. By Friday I was beat and even a party at work with booze and a 2 piece band couldn't bring me out of the funk.

I also was going to have to resume work on the Community Board on Saturday. This was one of those open ended projects. I didn't quite know how long it was going to take as it was not fully designed. It was also fairly detailed, so as I headed out Friday night work was still on my mind.

I made the mistake of going out to see a punk show when I should have gone to see Lawrence Welk. I never warmed up to any of the music and left so underwhelmed that I didn't blog about it. Mother Ghia always told me that if I can't say something nice say nothing at all. These were good musicians for sure; others around me were digging. I do love punk, just not tonight.

 It took about 4 hours to finish up, I was happy with the work and I left knowing I could relax. This is what I did on Saturday:

It didn't take me long to start feeling it; antici-----pation. I had been looking forward to this evening for months, it was the return of the Barn Door Slammers from Portland. A group of insanely talented musicians channeling western swing out of the 40's. I had seen them on their first appearance at Darrell's in January. See my post here:

 I loved them that time, I knew that I was going to love again.

Just the thought of seeing these guys made me feel better, by the time they came on stage I was jello.

I love to see music at Slim's. If Jim is at the sound board we can be guaranteed for crystal-clear music and the artists will be happy in their work. This small intimate club has everything a man needs to have fun and see good music; great taps, strong drinks, lots of seating and a well lit stage. Slim's is also located in a small neighborhood and the parking is great. They always have a strong bill. Tonight was no exception.

Jonathon from The Black Crabs had told me they were going to play this show with the Slammers way back when. He is constantly putting together talented musicians. He loves to sandwich bands on either side of his. The Rugcutter's Bash at Darrell's is always great. Johnny has some wonderful recipes for fun. One time it was the 1Uppers, The Crabs and The Blacktop Denizens. Upcoming in April is Lucky Lawrence and The Souvenirs, Louis Ledford and of course The Crabs. I can't wait!

Tonight he took advantage of the fact that The Slammers were in town to record at Ray Kay's studio. At least that is what I think happened. I talked with Kevin the fiddle player after the show, super talented and a really nice guy. They are slowly getting a cd together with Roy's help. I am waiting as patiently as I can.

These guys play a great genre of Western Swing, think Bob Wills without the hooting and vocals. I am totally smitten. If the band is reading this; you will remember me as the big guy with the shit-eating grin that stood so close to Todd he could smell my foul breath. Sorry if I invaded your personal space. But damn I love your music.

The lead guitar is stellar, he plays with a love that comes through loud and clear. He can pick with the best of them. Classic looks and better than classic style. The fiddle is so great to watch and hear, his sound is classic but he adds the personal touch that makes this band so special. I found that his solos were mesmerizing. The stand-up bass player looked like he just escaped from Sunday School; rumpled white shirt and a tie way too short. His long red hair and marvelous sound reveal the real bad boy. The drummer is steady and lays down some nice classic beats for the boys. He is the spokesman and and the only one with a mic even close to him.

I am pleased that Tommy chimed in and let me know who played what. The complete list is Tommy on percussion, Dan on Guitar, Dave on Bass, Todd on Steel and Kevin playing fiddle.

See them here:

Todd plays the steel. My regular readers will know this is my instrument du-jour, love the sound. This guy makes the Rolls-Royce of Steel guitars. He plays them as well as they look; stunning. The instrument he was playing last night was amazing. A true work of art. As I said earlier I stood right next to him as he played all three of the necks on this beautiful guitar. You can see his work here:

 I could listen to these guys all night. they did play a super long set but all good things must come to an end. The good news? The Black Crabs were on next. I love the Crabs; three very talented and fun loving musicians. They have a great time and as I have said before in earlier posts they look as though the were born on stage.

They played all my favorites and some new stuff as well. They did confirm a suspicion that I had from an earlier show; Tom writes the words to some songs on the head of his snare. Very creative. This is happy music; original, rocking and if you aren't up and moving when they are playing, you aren't alive.

I love Jonathon and his distinct voice; he belts out the lead vocals while playing fantastic guitar. He has classic rockabilly looks and a mile-wide smile. He is also a real nice guy.

I will have to edit my remarks about Kirsten. I don't want to piss the lovely Mrs. Ghia off and I don't want to be slapped with a non-contact order from Kirsten. Let us be precise and succinct; great stand-up bass player, wonderfully sarcastic vocals, and wow-wow wah-wah...oops. Um, OK I'm done.

Here is another band I could listen to all evening. The left me with a smile and the knowledge that we would be seeing another quality band next. Thank you Tom, Jonathon and Kirsten for a wonderful set. See them here:

I had never heard of Rosie and the Ramblers. They must have been coming through town and Jonathon grabbed them for the show. A super good way to end the evening. They played classic country-western, Texas style music that I loved from the first lick.

Rosie had a huge wonderful voice that filled the room. She was a very slight girl that made a big splash. Standing behind the mic, her small mouth seemed to disappear.

This reminded me of another great entertainer I had seen. Sue Tissue of Suburban Lawn (an influential LA punk group) was tiny. As the band was going nuts belting out hard-ass punk, guys flying off stage into a packed mosh pit Sue was barely moving, her mouth screaming out vocals but so small you couldn't see as the mic was larger.

Rosie wasn't that small, she had a great presence playing a beautiful guitar with a toe moving back and forth. She did have an exceptional voice. Big bold and beautiful she sang a mix of covers and originals. Her song writing was humorous at times tear-jerking in others. They did their best when they rocked but when she sang Tennessee Waltz I was convinced. There is no hiding when you are singing that tune; it was beautiful.

The stand up bass added vocals and played a great style, he was stroking, banging and plucking his big doghouse. The lead guitar was killer, is solos were technically astounding as he was filling in for others. Apparently this band usually has 2 leads. He played stellar licks, his mouth moving and twisting displaying the passion for his art. I hope a reader will help me identify these two wonderful musicians.

Rosie was great, I bought her cd. Always buy direct from the artist if you can, support your local musician. She is on her way to Portland and then Salt Lake City. I hope she has a successful tour, she deserves it.

See here and the boys here:

Another great bill; one of my favorite locations and the crowd was good. I am so lucky to be a participant in this cool scene.

I loved seeing Roy Kay stretched out on 2 chairs, taking it easy and he enjoyed Rosie at the end of the evening. I saw a lot of musicians from other bands; the bass guitarist from Redneck Girlfriend, Kevtone the drummer from Bill Dwayne's Creepers (super nice guy, saw him at the Friday show too) as well as others. The Slammers hung around all night too so I got to kibitz with some of them.

Great show, thanks to Jonathon and Slim's for putting it together.

I had a birthday this week; old. A good old thank goodness, but old nonetheless.

I received the best gift a man could get. After a nice dinner the lovely Mrs. Ghia invited me back to the music room. I say music room because it has a piano in it. To my knowledge it hasn't been touched in 25+ years.

I had the piano brought over from Spokane, it is her childhood keyboard. I had it placed in a sweet spot at the french doors next to the pond, had it tuned and there it sat. When she was a kid her parents used to make her play for guests and she developed an aversion to playing in front of people. I never heard her play it once in all those years.

I am not saying she didn't play keyboards, she was Rock Star! She sang vocals and played keyboards in an all Respiratory Therapist band called Ben Wah and the Fabulous Phlegm Pets. A collection of tech's, sales folks and future R.N.s, they started out playing private parties, graduated to clubs and ended up playing for 5,000 folks at a convention in Las Vegas. I was her groupie.

She sat down at her beloved piano and smiled coyly as she moved the keyboard cover back on it's hinges so she could access the keys. She told me that she had learned a George Winston tune for my birthday. As her lovey long fingers started playing my tears started flowing. If you are a regular reader of this blather you know I am totally moved by music and art in general. I was floored here; I couldn't get myself together as she played Thanksgiving, sometimes in a halting uncertain manner but always beautiful and touching.  I am so lucky to have a woman who is this caring and thoughtful. It was a wonderful moment, one that I will never forget.

1 comment:

  1. Hey! Thanks for the kind words about the Barn Door Slammers. We're really excited to play in Seattle. The band is as follows:
    Dan Lowinger on guitar.
    Dave Bamberger on bass.
    Kevin Healy on fiddle.
    Of course, Todd Clinesmith on steel.
    And me, Tommy on drums.

    Thanks again. I'd like to meet you next time we're up in Seattle! Stop me and say hello!


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