September 29, 2008

Review: My Morning Jacket @ Edgefield

I appreciate live music for many, many reasons, not the least of which is the uniqueness of the performance. Not that the artist has not performed the material a million times in front of audiences more or less identical to each other. But on any given night, something can occur that hasn’t ever been seen before. The band could pull out a cherished song they usually don’t play live. There may be a cover tune or holiday treat that may not be appropriate elsewhere or at another time. Admit it, the first time you heard Springsteen and The E Streeters giggle their way through Santa Claus is Coming To Town, you wished you had been there that December night in Syracuse.

The audience at Edgefield Manor on Saturday night was treated to just such an event. The surprise this night was the opening act and its interaction with the headliner. John Callahan and his trio, aptly named Callahan began the show shortly after six on a simply perfect early autumn night. John Callahan is well known around Portland and the world as the irreverent underground cartoonist, whose weekly single panel strip often deals with the less than perfect side of life. A quadriplegic since a 1972 accident, the author of such black humored titles as He Won’t Get Far On Foot and Will The Real John Callahan Please Stand Up? is also a singer songwriter with one release to his credit, 2006’s The Liberator.

Callahan’s songs tend toward the darks side, much like his cartoons. Suicide and tears and memories of his Portland girl filled lyrics behind well crafted, almost bluegrass melodies. Jim James came onstage and joined in for a few songs on acoustic guitar and background vocals (the aforementioned uniqueness factor) and the pair harmonized like they were brothers. Callahan commented that one song in particular felt like having feeling in his legs. Live music magic, right there, my friends.

READ ON for A.J.’s thoughts on My Morning Jacket’s set…

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Gaby scrapped together the following clip exclusively for the Hidden Track:


Gaby sounds off below on her impressive Guatemalan roots, unique musical style, and what we can expect from her next…

Jack Spilberg: I found it interesting that you learned to speak English by listening to soul and blues musicians like BB King, Robert Johnson and Nina Simone. Do you still listen to these kinds of musicians?

Gaby Moreno: Oh absolutely, I’m stuck in those old soul jazz and blues records. Every time I listen to them I find something new that inspires me. My favorite Nina Simone record is her very first one, titled “Little Girl Blue”. It’s hard to believe how young she was when she recorded it. What a voice!

READ ON for more of Jack’s exclusive interview with Gaby Moreno…

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