Tuesday, November 10, 2009

20 Days in November - Day 5: A Double Feature

Tonight we had three choices really good choices - particularly for a Monday night: the talented Sophie Milman at Blues Alley, outlaw country artist Jason Boland & The Stragglers at IOTA Club, or JV's Restaurant's 62nd Anniversary Celebration. I chose the latter two. JV's has been a Falls Church institution for - obviously - six decades. Their slogan is "AGELESS CHARM WITHOUT YUPPIE BASTARDIZATION", which translates into - come inside, share a PBR with a blue collar worker or biker and listen to great rockabilly. Not only is the restaurant a haven for Washington D.C. based artists, but national acts constantly route themselves to JC's door. My favorite time to go is now during football season. On Sundays they provide free music from 5:00-8:00; a perfect complement to the afternoon games. Ms. Dross decided to break their anniversary celebration into two parts. The first tonight, with longtime performers including Patty Reese and Billy Hancock as well as a party this Saturday the 15th. Here's the word: "starting at 430 p.m.. . . . . Jvs tribute to Bluegrass Music and Mr. Arlie Walton who started it all at JVS back in the early 60's. A lot of pickers from the past and present will be performing. Bob Cook, The Kirk Brothers, Wayne Fairfax, John Paganoni , Kevin Church, Pete Milano, Dave Goldman and many more. . . So come enjoy the show and specials. At 9 p.m. The party will continue with The Tommy Lepson Band. Tommy has won numerous awards and plays at JVS on a regular basis. . . . . . . No cover!"

After a couple beers, I headed to Iota to listen to Jason Boland & The Stragglers. He doesn't find himself in this area that often, so I felt compelled to see this performance. So did about 75 other fans. A strong turnout for a Monday night - the Oklahoma contingent on Capital Hill must have come out in force. Boland is a continuation of the outlaw country tradition started by Billy Joe Shaver, Waylon Jennings, and Merle Haggard. And Boland has lived a similar "outlaw" life associated with these individuals. In fact its come full circle, from the hard living destructive lifestyle to current sobriety. His change in lifestyle hasn't occurred with an elevated sense of moral superiority. No preaching here - particular when the band brings in their own cooler of beer and go through a six pack each during the show. But his experiences make him authenticate. One of the worse aspects of the pop-Nashville crowd is listening to a 20 something pretty boy crying about the difficulties of life. Yea right - get back to me in ten years after you have a family and are struggling to pay your mortgage. Boland is your anti-Nashville establishment alt-country singer.

But Boland does explore the dangers of going to extremes and his own personal transformation in his latest CD, Comal County Blue. Start with "Bottle By Me Bed" and the lyrics “Now I’m going back home / It’s down this path I’m led / And I’m no longer empty like the bottle by my bed”. A great song. The title track is another good song, as is Noah Jeffries and his fiddle in "Blowing Through the Hills". And this segues into the band - Boland has surrounded himself with professional musicians that can play. The rhythm section is bassists Grant Tracy and drummer Brad Rice. Jeffries contributes the mandolin in addition to the aforementioned fiddle; and Roger Ray rounds out the cast. ow, most of the evening I cast my eye his way because this guy can play. He started with the peddle steel, then move to the electric guitar and dobro. The peddle steel gave the band the traditional twangy country sound - but when Ray move to the electric guitar - watch out - the the Stragglers transformed into a Southern Rock band. I really enjoyed listening to the transition within songs when ray would take lead and then slowly ease up and pass the baton to Jeffries. Real smooth. During the remainder of the evening they played songs from previous CDs, Pearl Snaps (Somewhere Down in Texas and Drinkin' Song), and The Bourbon Legend. They even threw in Don Williams and "Tulsa Time". There was a lot of hooting and hollering on this Monday evening at Iota. The alt-country movement will continue to invade Northern Virginia as Reckless Kelly and the Randy Rogers band come into town later in the week. See you there.

No comments: