Music to Your Ears
I managed to catch a bit of the second night of the Fourth Annual Gathering of the Sick last Saturday night. I showed up fairly early, at a point in the evening where calling it Gathering of the Six would have been more appropriate. But things did pick up modestly as the evening progressed. Perhaps I wasn't really in the mood for death metal on that particular night, or maybe I just didn't stay long enough. But only one band I saw (and I only saw three, to be fair) that impressed the Hell out of me was Gored, a guitar-and-drums duo that was electrifying given the stripped-down nature of the group. Vocals were strong, guitar figures intricate and drums adequately thunderous. Nice job, guys! ... Aspiring hermit and local punk rock legend (fuck you, Corky) Gordy Anderson reports that his band, Black Maria, had a successful gig and recording incident in Austin two weeks ago. The band laid down six songs at Republic Studio for an upcoming debut release that's slated to include a handful of live tracks recorded at a recent RockSquak.com benefit and a small festival in Window Rock, Ariz. ... Need something calming and nurturing on Sunday, Aug. 29, the evening after Fall Crawl? Mustafa Stefan Dill (formerly Stefan Dill) will perform on guitar, sarod and oud with percussionist Shawn Woodyard at Maison & Thé (821 Canyon Road, Santa Fe, 505-992-0972) at 5 p.m. Donations accepted.
One of the first LPs I ever actually owned was Ramsey Lewis' The In Crowd, bestowed upon me when I was 6 or 7 years old by my grandmother after it caught my eye while she rummaged around her “junk room” looking for something to entertain me with. Something about its cover—the shiny, expensive looking car, the throng of well-dressed concertgoers—made me want to hold that record. I didn't actually listen to it until more than a decade later, of course, when my musical interests were just beginning to cope with jazz.
Saturday, Aug. 28; AMP House Concert (all ages, 7:30 p.m.): “In a sense, when you've been the weird person in your childhood—and you didn't even necessarily know you were different—you were maybe the last one picked [in] gym ... or the last one asked to prom because you had a big nose or you were too skinny. I always tried to turn that around for myself. I figured out the way I was going to be happy was by cultivating all that oddness ...”
Willie Nelson The Troublemaker (Columbia Legacy)
I'm not prepared to say for sure whether or not Willie and Family blazed through a shopping bag full of high-grade during the recording of Nelson's first all-gospel album in 1973, but the record sounds so positively upbeat and freewheeling that it's difficult to imagine there was a strict air of sobriety in the studio. Reefer or not, The Troublemaker is one of Nelson's most overlooked treasures. In his hands, this batch of country-gospel songs doesn't sound at all preachy or top-heavy on the message end of things. Nelson's panache could convince Jesus Himself to two-step.
Nas • hip-hop • Mary J. Blige • R&B, soul
On Tuesday, Aug. 20, catch a concert by hip-hop nation gods Mary J. Blige and Nas. The two ’90s rap and soul superstars—famous for hits like Blige's inimitable “Be Without You” or Nas' hip-hop anthem, “It Ain't Hard to Tell,” gig at Isleta Amphitheater at 8pm in a concert guaranteed to move your body, whether or not you have access to the fabled hot sauce recipe reportedly kept in the safe of mystery rapper Nathanial Hörnblowér. The funk cometh, so boogie on down; lawn tickets start at $31 and VIP packages begin at $250.