Alibi V.28 No.30 • July 25-31, 2019 

Aural Fixation

Miracle and Wonder

Graceland in Albuquerque

Playing in the Band ...
Playing in the Band ...
Eric Williams Photography

Sometime late last week, while he was living the life potently and perfectly described in the opening track of the album Graceland by Paul Simon, freaky-deaky music critic August March got a call on the telephone. It wasn’t a long distance call, by the way; it was a communication from Cheese, one of the young masters behind the ultra-groovy Burqueño jam band Pherkad.

Cheese phoned up March to give him all the deets about his latest project. He is throwing a hootenany called Graceland Superjam, the drummer told March. The concert features 14 of his favorite musicians from Burque at Marble Brewery in Downtown on Sunday, July 28 beginning at 3pm.

The big show is centered around performances of songs from the Paul Simon album Graceland from start to finish. The show features performances by local notables like multi-instrumentalist Chris Patchett from Pherkad; Kelly Wilson, the bassist from Let It Grow; Dave Payne and Salt Cedar; Dirty Brown Jug Band; Dave and Laura Devlin from Higher Ground Bluegrass—as well as a number of musicians from other heady, Simon-influenced local and regional sound ensembles.

Cheese told August about the time slot, saying, “What’s nice about it is that it’s a family-friendly event. The venue allows children on the premises until 8pm.”

Pherkad’s drummer and singer says he thinks of Graceland as a “warm-weather magical album” that ultimately has a hopeful outlook. March would add that Simon is a complex songwriter whose work is—though sometimes difficult to play—compellingly sweet yet telling.

As many know and some don’t, Simon’s Graceland marked a sea change for rocanrol music makers in America and Europe. Like Peter Gabriel’s So, which dropped a few months prior in 1986, Graceland reflected a conscious effort by Western musicians to acknowledge their African and global music roots just as hip-hip nation was preparing a furious assault on the popular music palate.

With Run-DMC’s Raising Hell out that summer and Beastie Boys’ Licensed to Ill just around the corner, Graceland provided evidence that rocanrol had what it took to survive and to evolve.

So August and Cheese sat around Java Joe’s, talking about that spectacular upcoming concert. Cheese told our loathsomely elitist yet still danceable reporter about how the record had influenced him, saying, “ It’s such an eclectic album. I think that’s why it took me 14 musicians to put this together.”

March agreed that the whole schmear sounded like a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon; what could be finer than listening to the breakthrough songs of one of our country’s folk-rock heroes, as interpreted by local adepts and masters? Cheese reminded him that the last time he did this sort of thing, at Burque’s Launchpad, “the reception was fantastic and the musicians loved it as much as the audience.”

On that note, the two bumped fists and parted ways. They were both looking forward to the rock to come.

Graceland Superjam
Sunday, July 28 • 3pm-8pm
Marble Brewery • 111 Marble Ave. NW
Free • Children allowed with parents until 8pm