Sunday, November 11, 2012

Gram International 2012 : A Gram Parsons' Tribute

The place was packed tonight for a good reason, Country Dave was back doing his Gram Parsons' Tribute. It also helps to have it in a place that is familiar, welcoming and comfy.

Conor Byrne is one of the better venues to see live music in Seattle. I was there last week and here I was again, hanging out in front of the stage. They book some great country, rockabilly and western swing shows. Check them out here:

Dave Harmonson is the major driver behind this event. He surrounds himself with talented, like-minded musicians for a nod to a country-rock legend. My buddy Jon Hyde played steel for him last year. This year he had a killer band and some wonderful guests.

He referred to the band as the New Fallen Angels after Gram's band, The Fallen Angels.

Country Dave plays lead guitar and adds vocals. His son Jesse plays bass and has a great voice, singing lead and harmony. Bob Knetzger plays pedal steel. Bill 'Jed' Jedrzjewski plays acoustic guitar and added another marvelous voice. Bob Kahr plays drums and Gaye Winsor performed the part of Emmy Lou perfectly. She had a beautiful voice.

I didn't get the best of pictures tonight, the place was crowded and it made it hard to get around, much less close enough to take a decent shot. I missed a pic of one of my favorite guests tonight. Kim Field sang a killer version of Hot Burrito Number 1.

Kim is a major force in the country community, he is one of the drivers behind The Titans of Twang.

The dance floor was packed all night, traditional two-step was the convention. A huge round of applause after every tune greeted Dave and his guests.

On the menu tonight were tunes that Gram Parsons ever wrote, sang, touched and/or conceived. He was a legend in the country scene of the 60's and 70's. Parsons, a long-haired pot smoking hippie who wore fancy Porter Wagoner suits shook up the country establishment. He loved country music but hated the business. He wrote many marvelous tune before his early death. Here is a link to his site:

I was fortunate enough to see him with The Flying Burrito Brothers in 1969. Gram performed with some of the greats of the period, a tribute to his stature and fame. These were the days of free-love and rock festivals; The Seattle Pops Festival was one of the best festivals in the country. He performed on the same stage as The Byrds, Led Zeppelin, Santana and The Doors just to name a few. Those were the good old days. There is amazingly little information about this remarkable event.

Here is a pic of the handbill for the event, just look at the opening night. A freaking jaw dropper!

Dave and the crew did a marvelous job of recreating the feel and sound of Gram's Music. Gaye's harmony was just perfect, the vocals as a whole were spot on. I Love The Christian Life was fun and sweet. I especially liked their version of Wild Horses.

They added some more guests, Tom Bennett and Brigitt Rains from The Rolling Blackouts performed a couple great tunes.

Billed as the Real Sweetheart of the Rodeo, Brigitt was joined by Tom as they did a great version of Devil in Disguise. Dave and Bob slayed their guitars on this tune; the pedal steel soaring and crying, the 6 string screaming and pleading.

Fredd Luongo joined the band for a couple of tunes. He had a great voice and was obliviously having a good time. Everybody on stage was happy to be there. It made for a wonderful experience. Fredd sings lead vocals and plays guitar with The Swearengens. See them here:

Fredd sang Dark End of the Street, really nice.

They constantly referred to the crowd as a bunch of pot smokers, I guess Gram's music brings out the herb. Washington State did just legalize the recreational use of Marijuana for adults. The bars are still smoke free and open use is not legal, but you will start to see it used more openly soon.

Dave put together a marvelous show tonight. A local legend honors a hero of his. I love that he gets all his buddies together and does what he does best. See Dave here:

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