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November 26, 2005

Mick Overman at Tradewinds 8/2/05

Mike Emerson having posted that he was involved with "Rainmaker" I went to Jasper's Wednesday night August 2, 2005, to check Rainmaker out, only to find no band and an empty dark house. That immediately brought up my plan B to see Mick Overman at Tradewinds. I've calendared Mick's gigs over a period of time and several musicians had spoken highly of him. I was unsure of what music he did.

There in an almost empty Tradewinds was Mick with a large PA rig (he does both solo and trio gigs) and three acoustic guitars, one of them a National tri-cone steel guitar. Hmm, this is interesting.

Mick's had an audience of three: Mike Emerson, another guy I see around the scene whose name I don't recall (sorry), and me. Mick looked unhappy that he had few to play to, but he started and played the house he had, rather than the house he should have had.

Very soon Mick and the three of us were talking to each other between the songs. Mick gave introductions and explanations of songs in a way that wouldn't have been possible in a crowded house. He told stories. The songs were hard hitting and deep. He's not one who writes jingles, his songs happened to someone. Mick is hard-wired to life and sometimes the sparks come out as songs. His intensity isn't threatening; he's very straightforward. Dedicated to a life of song because that's who he is.

"I woke up this morning with you on my mind
Like I do most every day
Sometimes I wish it wasn't like this
Have another hand to play
Even if I could turn back the pages
Rewind the clock again
I can't promise I would do anything different
Than what I stood for then.

Maybe it's convenient to stay all strung out on you
Makes it easier not to do what I need to do
Maybe I could live though all this stuff I put me through
Maybe I'm addicted to the blues."
(© 2002 Mick Overman, OhCorina Music)

See, Mick ain't cute and he really writes. He's not the 'Second Coming' of the feel-good folksinger and he doesn't wear fringed jackets. He writes songs, good songs. It's interesting that a lot of his fans are pro musicians who know real material when they hear it.

Mick has three or four CDs for sale, available on his website. I bought one and wish I'd bought another. He works the bars of Sonoma and Marin Counties on an almost monthly basis out of his South Bay home. Go see him, he's an original.

Posted by Rolfyboy6 at 02:24 PM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2005

Michael Barclay Blues Band CD Relase Party 11/19/05

Michael Barclay Blues Band CD Release Party at Tradewinds 11/19/05

Arriving early to grab my favorite location, the table was already taken and lots of folks were already in place. Michael was methodically testing all the equipment and microphones and the two drummers were consulting about the drum setup. Jane Fossgreen was getting ready to add her tenor saxophone to the lineup

Some of the people I think of as regulars were there, but many were missing. The couple occupying my favorite table suddenly moved, and I grabbed the table. Over the night it would hold a variety of "friends and relations." Blues regulars share tables and chairs.

The stage arrangement process sorted itself out as Michael began to play softly into the instrumental strains of a slow blues and then "Dark Night." This tune used to be a jazzy centerpiece of the Barclay show, now it's evolved into something 'harder' sounding and is used by the band as an opener. Kent on bass watched Michael quietly soloing and gave himself a shake and suddenly the bass was there and the band snapped into place.

After the slow openers the band went into familiar territory with the fast dance numbers "Red Headed Woman" and "I Refuse!" from their CD "Soul Patch". Warm now, the band moved to the new tunes from the new CD "Blue Eyed Blues". "Desperate Man", "Drown In My Own Tears", and "Give It To Me Straight" had a very tough autobiographical feel.

Somewhere in here I began to lose continuity and the order of songs. The band piled on a bunch of new tunes during the second half of the first set and especially during the long second set. The house and dance floor was so jammed that I gave up dancing quickly and just enjoyed the band. Banana's organ was much more in front than it is some nights, and Joel Rudinow had one hot night ripping the piano for riffs and solos. Roger Volz had one of his hot nights, with some way out there alto solos. He and Jane Fossgreen on tenor had fun being a horn section. I like Roger's "You're a high maintenance woman, and I'm your maintenance man!"

Michael pulled out his slide guitar and laid into the new one "Mama's Cadillac." This mock-innocent little tune sure does allow for some long burning tones. The slide riffs were really hot and Michael's slide playing has joined his well-known lead work in quality. Several times during the night his lead work hit went out into the stratosphere with Michael's advanced harmonic ideas really paying off. His new ES-175 jazz guitar really has that low tone Gibson lead voice that compliments Mike's stratocaster prowess.

A lot of people went home at midnight, only to miss a third set of dance tunes that were really fine. Michael began the set with solo improv chord substitutions that contained the merest hint of the tune to come. Gradually the rhythm and chord progression came out and I was pulled out on the floor by "(Really Have To Use My) Imagination." One of their older tunes, it remains a harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic tour-de-force for a band that knows more than three chord songs.

With enough room out on the floor it was mostly familiar regulars dancing. As Donna had observed early, "I thought it would be full of the old faces." There were a lot of folks new to me, but some familiar dancers and fans came in around 10:30. Kent Fossgreen's bass was really going and Kent was moving and pacing as he played. Kendrick Freeman on drums really was working and the rhythm section did themselves proud. Rick Cutler on drums or percussion on certain songs added a whole different feel. An old friend of Michael's whose name I missed joined on organ for one song. Michael pointed out Bassist Evan Palmerston watching from the back and said they'd played together 28 years earlier. Michael mentioned Levi Lloyd (absent on a prior booking) several times as a vocalist on the CD on "Desperate Man" (a great vocal). A lot of work and sweat and support went into the new CD and the band was clearly happy.

Somewhere during the very last set I began to fade and it was time to go. Michael's lead guitar sounded good out in the parking lot heading for the car. The new CD in my pocket bumped my leg with every stride. I've been listening to it today writing this. I dig it.

Note to a lot of Blues Scene Regulars: you really missed it. Get the CD Here at Michael Barclay Blues Band website

Posted by Rolfyboy6 at 06:11 PM | Comments (0)