Sunday, March 06, 2005

Buddy sans Julie

We saw Buddy Miller for the 4th time Friday night and we've been playing Buddy and Julie cds pretty much non-stop all weekend. This was the first time we'd seen him without Julie—she's finishing up her next album and possibly throwing out his optigan while he's out on the road—or Emmylou, so while I missed female voices somewhat and of course Julie's trashcan-pounding expertise, I did enjoy hearing Buddy introduce songs instead of always keeping his own counsel while Julie rattles on and on in her self-confessional manner.

He's very witty and self-effacing and I wish the show had been packed the way it's been the last two times we saw him at the Neighborhood. L.'s of the opinion that maybe attendance was down due to the edge of political commentary in Universal United House of Prayer (a now boarded-up storefront church between a muffler shop and a candy factory; Emmylou was instrumental in keeping the title and cover photograph from being changed by the record company), but Steve Earle's sell-out show a few weeks back belies that, I believe—it was nothing but. Possibly the title of the latest cd and the fact that it was up for a Grammy in the gospel category? Or, more than likely, simply the fact that people who may have come earlier based on Buddy and Julie's Americana award have been distracted and moved on to whoever else the media's touting these days.

Anyway, Buddy's voice wasn't in top form—he cracked a joke about whether it should be described as being "trashed" or "full of character"—and he bowed out on singing audience-requested "Rock Salt and Nails" as well as Dylan's ""With God on Our Side," which evidently has been a staple of concerts since the new album came out and one I'd have loved to hear live. He did sing many of my favorites, including "Does My Ring Burn Your Finger" and Julie's "All My Tears," and a wonderful albeit un-optiganed (the optigan doesn't travel well) version of "When It Comes To You" (he told a long story of how the original version came to be "un-polkaed," which is now my new favorite word). The encore was Hank Williams and Jerry Garcia.

Prior to the show I hadn't been aware that Buddy had a video out—I don't know that he's ever had one before. Fortunately "Worry Too Much" is available for viewing at BuddyandJulie so I didn't have to resort to watching CMT. It's a good one.

I'd love to make it up to MerleFest next month but I still don't know when A. is holding the bocce tournament, which I'm obliged to attend since I am defending champion. If we don't make it to Merle, our concert-attending days are pretty much over for the rest of the year, I suppose, unless Dwight deigns to come to our area.

Anyway, this is a book blog, right? I confess: I have read less than ten pages tops in the last three days. We may go hiking this afternoon and we still have "Closely Watched Trains" to watch, so who knows when I'll get back on topic here.

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