December 3, 2006

The wonders of Live Music--and a thanks to Zalm

Tonight we enjoyed a great live show. Norman has a historic train station that they have turned into an art studio, music forum, and, oh yeah, still a train station.

Tonight was our first concert. We missed several opportunities last year, but decided to catch this one, and I thank Zalm for this one. This last June, during a particularly angry rant Zalm left a hopeful comment and then this:
If you're looking for something to check out on emusic, give Mark Erelli's "Hope & Other Casualties" a listen. The whole album's good, but the one you need to hear right now is "Seeds of Peace."

I downloaded that song and listened to it, but then it slipped out of my playlist. A few months later, I heard it again, and did a little research to find out what I was listening to (the hazzards of a large Itunes library), only to find out it was, again, Mark Erelli. I then went to his website and was shocked to see that one of his tour dates was in Norman, Oklahoma. I filed that away, but as often is the case, my intentions are overwhelmed by work and general fatigue.

But tonight was the night, and we braved the freezing weather to attend a really nice show.

He was unaccompanied, and brought only his 00 Martin, an accoustic mandolin, and a harmonica. But the man can just flat play. SOF and I commented that the singer songwriter playing alone is the hardest gig there is. No cover. If you aren't any good, everyone can tell. If all you have are a few chords, then you will be lonely up there. Erelli moves around the fretboard with ease, and really added a texture with the guitar, strum patterns, finger picking, and an occasional foot stomp.

He mixed in political songs like the aforementioned "Seeds of Peace":
"I will not be shamed into silence by partisan thunder
I won't fall in line and march to the drums on the wind
How many more daughters and sons will we see plowed under
How much longer must we wait 'til the harvest comes in'"
and a few new songs that sounded, well, Dylanesque.

After the break, he played a few songs of a new project album of lulabyes--one of his, and some covers. He performed one by Wilco and another by Townes Van Zandt--both were really breathtaking.

If you get a chance to hear him , it is worth it. You can buy Hope & Other Casualties at Amazon or Itunes.

Anyway, a good night. And a good reminder that live music is good for the soul.


zalm said...

Wow. You're certainly welcome.

Although now I'm kicking myself even harder for missing him back in the fall. Looks like I've got another chance coming Jan 9. Folkies like Berkeley. :)

I'm glad to hear that Mark kept showing up on your radar this past year. A number of his labelmates at Signature Sounds are also worth checking out. When it's not so late and life's not so crazy, I'll try to shoot you some more specific eMusic recommendations.

I need me some live music right about now. We're going to Death Cab and Feist on Thursday, which should be lots of fun, but not quite as good for the soul as an intimate singer-songwriter show.

Streak said...

And he was a really nice guy. I told him (meant to put this in the post) before the show that a friend had emailed me when I was distraught about politics to tell me to listen to Seeds of Peace.

When he played that song, btw, he introduced it saying that "some people think this is about the President, but he doesn't deserve an entire song. He only gets a verse." :)