October 6, 2009

And be my everlovin’ baby (Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2009)

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One of the highlights of my fabulously sunny, Indian-summer October weekend in California was seeing the legendary Gillian Welch with David Rawlings at the free Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival Saturday at Golden Gate Park. I’d never gotten to see her sublime and lovely music live, and it positively sprouted wings under the San Francisco eucalyptus trees. The Emmylou Harris made a surprise appearance with her and David to clutch a lyrics sheet and sing a wide-smiled version of “Didn’t Leave Nobody But The Baby” (from the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack).

Didn’t Leave Nobody But The Baby – Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch & Alison Krauss
(some video I found from Saturday)

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Gillian’s longtime musical partner, David Rawlings has a new album out November 17th, which will include a version of the song “To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High)” he penned with Ryan Adams, and guest appearances by Gillian Welch, Benmont Tench from the Heartbreakers, Nathaniel Wilcott of Bright Eyes, and members of Old Crow Medicine Show.

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Okkervil River also absolutely completely blew me away. I reacted like a good Generation X-er and texted every music lover I know with (hardly strictly Moose-Drool-influenced) words of fawning and amazement. This Austin, Texas band puts on one of the very best live shows I’ve seen all year. Their songs grow and shimmer (and yes, kick) live, and the early afternoon audience scaled trees to get a better view, hooting and hollering. As we walked to their set, I tried to define their sound for my companion who hadn’t seen them before, and found that I couldn’t, and once they started in on their first song I conceded to her simply: “Man, I need to dive so much deeper with these guys.”

Effing watch this amazing set closer; my insides wanted to leap out of my chest:

Unless It’s Kicks – Okkervil River
Unless It’s Kicks (demo version) – Okkervil River


What gives this mess some grace unless it’s fictions
Unless it’s licks, man
Unless it’s lies or it’s love?

What breaks this heart the most is the ghost of some rock and roll fan
Exploding up from the stands
With her heart opened up
And I want to tell her, “your love isn’t lost”
Say, “my heart is still crossed”
Scream, “you’re so wonderful”
What a dream in the dark
About working so hard
About glowing so stoned
Trying not to turn off
Trying not to believe in that lie all on your own

[read the rest]



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16 Comments »

  • OMG I will be so excited to hear this version of “To Be Young……” Thanks for the tip.

    Marcia Barnes — October 6, 2009 @ 2:44 pm

  • Love the pics. It looks like it was a really

    spookycat — October 6, 2009 @ 3:44 pm

  • good time :-)

    spookycat — October 6, 2009 @ 3:44 pm

  • Okkervil River leaves it all on stage every time. I believe they are done touring for the year but i can’t wait for the next time i see them. So much emotion.

    Owen — October 6, 2009 @ 4:23 pm

  • I wish I could have a lovely Moose Drool right now. Damn, I love that beer.

    Steve — October 6, 2009 @ 4:24 pm

  • yes owen, they did say that this would be their last show of 2009, I believe….but i am all over 2010 when it starts.

    browneheather — October 6, 2009 @ 4:43 pm

  • Can’t wait for the DRM album! Finally! I’ve seen Gillian and Dave quite a few times, and there never disappoint. One of the best live shows I’ve seen. Great pics!

    Travis — October 6, 2009 @ 5:05 pm

  • Gillian Welch, David Rawlings and Emmy Lou – Hell yeah

    Mike — October 6, 2009 @ 6:54 pm

  • If I work hard, love my mother, and pay my debts, when I die, I’l hear Gillian Welch singing.

    Todd Roeth — October 7, 2009 @ 1:16 pm

  • Gillian was easily the best part of the weekend. I really thought that set – in the very damn cold San Francisco wind – was perfectly sublime. The music really did float right above a pretty amazing crowd! Great post and thanks for it. Wish I’d have known you were there, I’d have traded you some wine for a Moose Drool!

    Mike Walters — October 7, 2009 @ 1:38 pm

  • Ah, but when will Welch put a new album out? That is the question. “Soul Journey” was six years ago, already.

    Andy Grabia — October 8, 2009 @ 2:41 pm

  • Caught Okkervil River at the Scala here in London back on 14th September. This was my second time out to catch them live and again they did not disappoint. Like Owen said – they leave it all on stage, well apart from what was washing over me in a bloody marvellous feel good kind of way!

    Paul — October 9, 2009 @ 1:34 pm

  • at one point i was very curious about okkervil river, but then more i listened more i realized how awful the singing was. Even my daughter is like, “ugh, is this that band where the guy cant sing?”

    with that said, once i get passed the voice, there are some amazing amazing songs that they have written. A girl in port is one of my faves!!! the songwriting and delivery is brilliant in some of their songs, i just wish his voice wasnt like fingers on a black board.

    jeff Topping — October 13, 2009 @ 10:54 am

  • Oh my, oh my–that WAS a great festival! And FREE (I mean, besides the airfare from NJ). I especially loved everyone hopping up on stage with everyone else. Besides Emmylou with Gillian and Dave, there was John Prine with Lyle Lovett, Jon Langford with Old 97s and on and on. Yes–we will be back next year!

    Nosila — January 14, 2010 @ 11:28 am

  • [...] coming anytime soon… but a David Rawlings Machine album is! Heather at Fuel/Friends reported that Dave’s album, A Friend of A Friend, is due November 17th and will apparently feature his [...]

    This Mornin'… » Blog Archive » Links & (new album) News for October… — March 4, 2010 @ 10:02 pm

  • ik von het geweldig bluegrass is rustgeving voor mij

    danny — October 13, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

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