Merle Travis vs. Miles Davis. Yes friends, Missouri meets Kentucky on Monday night at the Hideout, where the nine-pound hammer faces the nine-bar jammer; smoke smoke smoke takes on shoot shoot shoot; cool battles coal; So What locks "horns" with That's All; hard bop encounters dry bread; friendly goes against unfriendly. He was known as the prince of darkness -- but just how dark? As a dungeon?
It's Walkin' (The Strings!), it's Kind of Black (Lung!), it's -- in my case, here at home trying to force the fundamentals of the Travis-style into my unwilling left hand in 5 days -- Sketches of Sprain. If you have better, send them on.
Helping me work these miserable wordplays into an extendedly pleasant and even musical evening will be: Jake Crowe as Cannonball Adderley and electric Merle, Beau Sample as Paul Chambers and Cliffie Stone, Scott Stevenson as Bills Evans and Liebert, me as acoustic Merle and an imaginary country guitarist inexplicably sitting in with the quintet, Gerald Dowd as Philly Joe Jones and nobody, and, in a long overdue starring role, the distinguished Anna S. Jacobson as Miles Davis and Tex Atchison.
In preparation for (also to raise money for) our trip next month to the U.K., where Jon Langford and Sally Timms and I et al are playing a bunch of dates, we'll be appearing Sunday at 7 at (where else?) the Hideout. If you like the thought of my going far far away for weeks on end, please stop by and contribute.
We'll also be playing a few tunes on WBEZ this Friday morning. Turn it on early and just let it stay on.
It's been a while since I did a Monday with my dear friend Nora O'Connor, but here we come again.
Meanwhile I'll be at Fitzgeralds on Friday night presenting a slightly odd sextet -- Brian Wilkie, Don Stiernberg, Grant Tye, Gerald Dowd, and Chris Scruggs. Bloodshot is celebrating their somethingth anniversary there (20?) and so I thought I'd try a broadly retrospective approach, stylewise, hitting the pedal-steel honky-tonk of my early records, the grungier rockier stuff of the middle years, the non-electric sound I'm mining now, and various points in between.
And at the opera house in Stoughton, Wis. on Saturday, I'll be an acoustic quartet with Don and Chris and Robbie Gjersoe.
All that plus writing new songs and poring over Miles Davis charts in the off-hours; that's what I call a nutritious diet!
I'll be in St Louis Thursday, at Off Broadway along with Chatham County Line, and then near Effingham IL on Friday evening, at a krazy kountry festival (Moccasin Creek, it's called) curated by my friend Bill Poss. I'll be a trio on both dates, playing alongside Chris Scruggs and Robbie Gjersoe. (I don't know why the St Louis paper said I'd be solo and thus limited; if I were, which I'm not, I wouldn't be!)
No idea why the audience last Monday at the Hideout was so enthusiastic and kind, but gee, thanks! It was like an out-of-town audience in a good town -- so surprising to encounter right at home. My performance wasn't, in melancholy fact, commensurate with the sparkling treatment, but I promise to be working on that, each and every day.
It's a very Robbie + Robbie long weekend coming up, with Gjersoe and me working on an arty/groovy film soundtrack today (on which, more details as it approaches fruition), Prairie Home Companion Friday/Saturday, and finishing at the Hideout Monday. If any newbies who see us at Ravinia on Saturday are seized with the urge to hear more of this fabulous duo act, there'll be plenty more of it at 7PM Monday, in relaxed and informal (i.e., un-Ravinia-like) surroundings. Hope to see some fresh faces there.