Take Me Out of the City

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Dawes Plays the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara

Having been lucky enough to see Dawes a handful of times in 2016, I was delighted to catch them early on in 2017 at the beautiful Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara, CA on January 14. Oh yes, Dawes you have reached the status of being worth a two hour drive to attend one of your concerts. I also wanted to give a shout out to the restaurant my friend and I went to for dinner. It was within walking distance of the theater, was warm and cozy on a cool night, had delicious food and pretty darn good service for a busy Saturday night. Well done, Pascucci!

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Dawes at Lobero Theatre: Trevor Menear on guitar, Taylor Goldsmith on guitar, Wylie Gelber on bass

As I’ve written about Dawes a few times previously for this blog, I’m just going to stick with sharing the set list, a few comments, and some photos from the show. Dawes recently released some live recordings from the first few concerts in their recent “An Evening with Dawes” tour. Where possible, I’ve linked to those live versions.

  1. One of Us” the lead song from their latest album, We’re All Gonna Die
  2. “If I Wanted Someone” from Nothing is Wrong
  3. Right On Time” from All Your Favorite Bands, kicked off with some lovely playing on the piano by Lee Pardini, which you can hear at the link

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    Lee Pardini on Piano

  4.  “Picture of a Man” from We’re All Gonna Die, cool percussion prevalent on the live performance of this
  5. Now That It’s Too Late, Maria” from All Your Favorite Bands
  6. From a Window Seat” from Stories Don’t End, Taylor Goldsmith noted that the band played at the Lobero Theatre in 2013 and it was about half full. He thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool to sell this place out?” That’s exactly what they did in 2017.
  7.  “When the Tequila Runs Out” from We’re All Gonna Die
  8.  “Somewhere Along the Way” from All Your Favorite Bands, this song got the crowd on their feet afterward
  9.  “A Little Bit of Everything” from Nothing is Wrong
  10. When My Time Comes” from North Hills, this song got the party started with the audience standing and singing and some people dancing.
  11.  “Less Than Five Miles Away” from We’re All Gonna Die, after this song the band took an intermission. Taylor came out first after the break and was soon joined by Griffin Goldsmith.

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    Griffin Goldsmith, Taylor Goldsmith, and Lee Pardini of Dawes

  12.  “Something in Common” from Stories Don’t End, this was the beginning of a short acoustic session at the front of the stage
  13.  “How Far We’ve Come” from Nothing is Wrong, Lee joins Taylor and Griffin at the front of the stage.
  14. Take Me Out of the City” from North Hills, sung beautifully by Taylor and Griffin; I was feeling this one too, so I’m borrowing this song title for the name of the post.
  15.  “Quitter” from We’re All Gonna Die, introduced with the remark, “There’s a lot of things you can quit.” Back to full band on this song.
  16.  “Things Happen” from All Your Favorite Bands, played with a different lead in than what was on the album.
  17. Bear Witness” from Stories Don’t End
  18. Time Spent in Los Angeles” from Nothing is Wrong, just a chorus and a verse for this one and they played straight into the next song.
  19.  “Most People” from Stories Don’t End
  20.  “Roll With the Punches” from We’re All Gonna Die
  21.  “From the Right Angle” from Stories Don’t End
  22.  “We’re All Gonna Die” from We’re All Gonna Die, prefaced with lines such as, “You can quit smokin’, and you’re still gonna die… get real healthy and you’re still gonna die…” before they broke into the song. They recorded the intro and it is available on the live release as “Still Gonna Die.”
  23. ENCORE “Fire Away” from Nothing is Wrong
  24. All Your Favorite Bands” from All Your Favorite Bands
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Fantastic Songwriter, Singer, and Guitarist: Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes

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Share It With the Rest of Us

dsc08978Grant-Lee Phillips and Sara Watkins played a show at Largo at the Coronet on January 12, 2017. Grant-Lee has one of the best voices out there and it is always a privilege to hear him sing live. This was a full night of music, including a show in the Little Room after the musicians finished on the main stage. I’m not going to go into too much detail as I am reporting on this concert so belatedly, since I can’t seem to avoid every cold that’s passing through this winter.

The set list was:

  1. Walking in the Green Corn” from Grant-Lee’s album Walking in the Green Corn, played by Grant-Lee and Sara
  2. A Different Drum” — Grant-Lee introduced this cover of the song popularized by The Stone Poneys, though written by Michael “The Monkee” Nesmith, also commenting to Sara, “Look at you, you’re a straight-edge punk.” Sara was playing the ukulele, but it was having problems staying in tune. She commented, “We’re not in tune, Grant. It’s kind of Balinese. It’s like Christmas and you get ukuleles and they won’t stay in tune.” Grant left the stage at this point for Sara to play a mini set.
  3. One Last Time” a song co-written with Jon Foreman, from Sara’s album Young in All the Wrong Ways, with Sara plucking her fiddle.
  4. Like New Year’s Day” from Young in All the Wrong Ways. Sara introduced this one by reminiscing about camping trips and visiting the desert and the vulnerability one feels when out there.
  5. The Truth Won’t Set Us Free” from Young in All the Wrong Ways, written in the UK while on tour there for the Transatlantic Sessions. This tune was inspired by Roddy Crowell, as Sara left the tour “wanting to hear country shuffles.” She played this on an Epiphone guitar.
  6. You and Me” from Sun Midnight Sun. Before beginning this song Sara remarked, “I feel like it’s getting a little negative,” and that it was time for a course correction. “I’ll do a happy song.”
  7. Say So” from Young in All the Wrong Ways. Sara said she had been, “Thinking about words and how important they are to inspire actions.” She was caught by the idea that saying something makes it true. Played on acoustic guitar.
  8. Destination” from Nickel Creek’s album A Dotted Line, played on the ukulele.
  9. Tenderhearted” from Young in All the Wrong Ways. She spoke of this song being inspired by an older friend, Nell Turner, and truly appreciating those that have gone through hard times, but remain resilient and bright.
  10. Move Me” from Young in All the Wrong Ways. After this song Grant-Lee returned to the stage.
  11. All This Time” from Sara’s self-titled album
  12. Fools Gold” from Walking in the Green Corn, with Sara back on fiddle
  13. Mona Lisa” from Grant-Lee’s album Virginia Creeper. Grant-Lee introduced this one saying it was “a song for the romantics.”
  14. Lily-A-Passion” from Virginia Creeper.  Grant-Lee then introduced special guest Ben Lee.
  15. What’s Good is Good” from Ben Lee’s album Freedom, Love and the Recuperation of the Human Mind
  16. The Enemy Within” from Freedom, Love and the Recuperation of the Human Mind. Before starting the song he remarked, “The true enemy is us/them.” Just two songs from Ben Lee and then Grant-Lee returned to the stage, teasing us with an Elvis impersonation and a little bit of “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”
  17.  “Holy Irons” from Grant-Lee’s more recent album, The Narrows.
  18. Smoke and Sparks” from The Narrows
  19. Taking on Weight in Hot Springs” from The Narrows, inspired by an old picture on the wall from years ago, when “folks wanted to get off the grid” and they’d go to hot springs.
  20. Mighty Joe Moon” from the Grant-Lee Buffalo album with the same title
  21. Honey Don’t Think” from Mighty Joe Moon
  22. Josephine of the Swamps” from Virginia Creeper, with special guest Lili Haydn on fiddle. Grant-Lee called this one a “moist, swampy song.”
  23. Happiness” from Mighty Joe Moon, I’ve taken a line from this song for the title of this post.
  24. It Ain’t the Same Old Cold War, Harry” from Grant-Lee’s album Little Moon
  25. I’m Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes” cover of a Carter Family song.
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Main Stage Set Up

There followed a Little Room set led by Sean Watkins with other musicians rotating on and off the stage.

  1. The first song was an unnamed fiddle tune played by Sara Watkins with Sean on guitar and Tristan Clarridge, who was on stage at the Watkins Family Hour show the previous night, joining in on the cello.
  2.  “Suzie Lightning” cover of a Warren Zevon song
  3. I Wonder if I Care As Much” cover of an Everly Brothers song sung by Sean and Dominique Arciero.
  4. Why There’s a Tear in My Eye” a cover of a Carter Family song, Tom Brosseau joined the performers on stage
  5. My Texas Girl” a cover of a Carter Family song
  6. Bear Creek Blues” a cover of a Carter Family song
  7. Hickory Wind” a cover of a song written by Gram Parsons and Bob Buchanan, performed by Grant-Lee
  8. You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” a cover of a Bob Dylan song, dedicated to Barack Obama
  9. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” a cover of a Bob Dylan Song

One Chapter Opens as Another Ends

My first concert of the new year was at Largo at the Coronet in Los Angeles (surprise, surprise) where I traveled to see the Watkins Family Hour plus special guests on January 11, 2017.

dsc08975-001Sean Watkins took to the stage with his guitar and wished the audience a “Happy New Year,” while Sara picked up her ukulele and wondered how late into January it was appropriate to remark on the new year. The first song, played as a duo, was one written by Bobby Darin and Woody Harris, “Early in the Morning.” Upon finishing they introduced the talented Tristan Clarridge, who joined them on cello. Tristan has previously graced the Largo stage as a guest of the Watkins Family along with his band The Bee Eaters. This gentleman plays music like it is second nature and it was such a pleasure to see him add his expertise in accompaniment to the Watkins Family. Tristan and Sean kicked off a long intro that evolved into Sean’s tune “Don’t Say You Love Me” from his album All I Do is Lie. Following the song, Sean commented that that song refers the end of a relationship in which you get “dumped because they thought you were cheating on them, but you weren’t, but after they still want to be real good pals.”

Sara told a story about Nickel Creek‘s first real concert that wasn’t at a pizza place or a bluegrass festival, but at the Wild Animal Park in Escondido, CA. This is where she heard the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band playing “Mr. Bojangles.” A quick search of the Internet reveals this concert took place on July 3, 1986. As a young girl, Sara said she felt compelled to read more about Mr. Bojangles and was fascinated by the song and wanted to learn it.  She then sang a faithful rendition of the song for the Largo audience with Sean and Tristan accompanying.

A regular guest at Largo, musician Tom Brosseau was then welcomed to the stage. He remarked that he “got a little nervous backstage,” before telling the story of unsuccessfully sharing Elvis Presley’s song “One Night With You” with a girl when he was a teenager.  Tom started playing solo on guitar, but the guitar was not in tune and instead of re-tuning, he borrowed a spare one.  He played a classic song originally performed by The Ink Spots, “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire,” which was beautifully suited to his voice and style. Sean then joined him on stage. They announced that they were collaborating on recording a selection of Carter Family songs and played one for us called, “My Texas Girl.” Tom exited the stage after this number and Sara and Tristan returned, joined by Benmont Tench on piano and Sebastian Steinberg on bass.

They immediately introduced Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket, who joined in with harmony on the Sam Phillips song, “Where is Love Now?” —  Nickel Creek recorded that one on their album A Dotted Line. I enjoyed watching Glen perform with Sean and Sara as Glen appeared so comfortable with them. He left the stage after the song finished but popped back on to tell a clean joke as everyone took a moment to tune, “Two muffins are in an oven. The first says, ‘Is it hot in here?’ The second responds, ‘Talking muffins!'” The band then played Sara’s song “One Last Time” from her album Young in All the Wrong Ways.

Sean thanked Tristan for coming and Tristan told a story about shoveling rocks off the road (due to the rainstorms we’ve been having) on his way down to Los Angeles from northern California. Sean introduced the next song as being about, “Coming out from any rocks we might be hiding under.” They played his song “Where You Were Living” from his album What to Fear.

The next guest of the evening was introduced as Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene made his appearance. He remarked, “Any romantic loves rain.” He performed his band’s song “Sweetest Kill” from Forgiveness Rock Record. He played on the Largo piano alongside Benmont Tench, who played some accompaniment on the upper keys, which Kevin was particularly happy about. One of my favorite things about these Watkins Family Hours is seeing different musicians get to perform together and how the band arranges a song, which might be quite different than the recorded version, as was the case on this one. After the song, Kevin expressed his appreciation to the audience and noted, “I’m glad you are here — a lot of people said they were going to move to Canada, but you’re still here. We need you.” He went on to play one of his songs he called “Announcement.” He shook hands with all the band members on the way out, comparing that action to a wedding receiving line.

The band followed with some instrumental tunes, a fiddle tune in G, “Stony Point,” and “Back Up and Push.” They spoke to how difficult it can be to find out or remember the names of some of the fiddles tunes. Sara added how it has gotten easier since discovering the Tunepal app, which shows the user a percentage of how close to which song you are from what you’ve played. Sean and Tristan then played a cover of one of Glen’s songs, “Back on My Feet,” which is Sean recorded for his album What to Fear.

Glen then returned to the stage along with Sara and Sebastian. Glen introduced his song “Baptistina” from his album Swallowed by the New by stating, “Times of great change can yield wonderful things.” I’ve borrowed part of a line from this song’s lyrics to use as the title of this post, “A change of plans, one chapter opens as another ends, so we begin.” Glen introduced his next song, “Grief and Praise” from the same album, by speaking about Martin Prechtel and how after he read the book The Smell of Rain on Dust: Grief and Praise it “made my mind vibrate for months on end.” It was interesting to hear the interpretation of this song from the group of musicians on stage, particularly Benmont’s piano flourishes.

Sean dedicated the final song of the evening, there was to be no encore, to “Barry O.” The Watkins Family performed Dylan’s “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go.”  A succinct evening of song, packed full of musical guests, we were released into the damp night feeling slightly elevated by the shared experience of music and brushed with bit of nostalgia.

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Stage Set Up for Watkins Family Hour