Monday, April 02, 2007

Stars, Bars, and Guitars

We just had guitar weekend, getting to see an amazing bunch of players, including Eric Johnson. Twice! My favorite guitar player in the world. Pardon the quality of the pic, but I had the flash off which means it's mostly likely going to be blurry. I wanted to do him the courtesy of not using flash at such a close range. This was Malford Milligan's birthday party at the Saxon Pub. The Saxon is a little dive known for having fairly big-name artists just "drop by". Actually, you can say the same thing about a dozen or more clubs in town. Eric's appearance there was a poorly-kept secret, as the radio hinted of a surprise guitar god showing up, and the Saxon website promising someone with the initials "E.J.". Late in the game it was posted on his web forum, but I was already there by then.

Who are these people?
Here goes my name-dropping description of the folks we saw. Malford is a soulful singer is most well known for being part of a band called Storyville, but he has a lengthy resume and very well-loved in this town. First there was Phil Brown, who replaced Lowell George in Little Feat (and is not the same guy who played Uncle Owen in Star Wars. that one is deceased). Drumming was Pat Mastelotto, who used to be with King Crimson among others. Tommy Shannon was on bass, he is most famous for being Stevie Ray Vaughan's bass player, but before that he was with Johnny Winter during his heyday in the 60s. He is also locally famous for being with Double Trouble, Storyville, and the Arc Angels. Add the aforementioned Eric Johnson along with David Grissom to the stage and you've got the makings of a great little guitar jam. David Grissom is locally regarded probably as highly as Eric Johnson. He was part of Storyville, plays with Joe Ely and The Dixie Chicks. In fact, he is their musical director. And he is an awesome guitarist. After that powerhouse jam, Storyville themselves took the stage (minus Chris Layton), meaning the exit of everyone but Malford, Grissom and Shannon, and the adding of David Holt on guitar.

Sunday night (a perfect weather night that followed a perfect day) there was an outdoor benefit concert at Threadgill's to help out the employees of Mother's Cafe. Mother's is a fine vegetarian restaurant that was accidentally burned down by a homeless person, and although the place has fire insurance, they will not be able to pay any employees until probably August... so those people are just out of work... but hopefully not completely out of luck. Eric Johnson was the headliner, and Redd Volkaert opened. Redd has beaten Eric the last 2 years in the Austin Music Awards for "Best Electric Guitar". His other name-dropping claim to fame is that he used to play with Merle Haggard. Yup. He is a great guitar player with a strong old-time country flavor (in spite of that Stairway to Heaven riff that ended up in the middle of that one song)(and that beautiful rendition of Sleepwalk) and is was absolutely great to see Redd and Eric together on stage. Eric put on a stellar show with Roscoe Beck and Tommy Taylor. We had front row center seats, acquired by early arrival, and life was good. Very good.

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Undeniable Liberal said...

You realize, din't you, that you are spoiled. I envy you, it sounds like fun there.

pissed off patricia said...

I'm here to repeat what the liberal said in his comment. If you could see me now you would know that I am green with envy. God, I wish there were places around here like that and the artists too.

Blueberry said...

My husband told me I was rubbing it in. Maybe a little bit, but I can't help it once in a while.
I am never leaving this place.

Mando Mama said...

You're not rubbing it in, you're SHARING. I love reading about how much great music Austin folks have access to, and I look forward to sampling someday!

ERic Johnson really does kick.