Sunday, January 18, 2009

Helping Music Millennium, Neil Young Death Band, X Goes Country, Bye Liz

While listening to the the Staple Singers song Long Walk To DC, waiting for Tuesday morning when the President-elect finally becomes President Obama and how amazingly apropos it is this week. Listen:

Was a wonderful show at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday. OK, in the spirit of the day, I won't say anything bad about U2 or the others I didn't like. My favorite moment was when ole Pete Seeger with his ole banjo led the ole song, This Land Is Your Land. Some of you may not know that Pete was blacklisted during the McCarthy era (look it up). If seeing him up there singing didn't warm your heart, you should just stop reading this right now.

Did you see Bettye LaVette sing Sam Cooke's A Change Is Gonna Come? Quite a moment for her, I'm sure. I wish they would have had her sing it alone. Jon Bon Jovi junked up what could have been unforgettable. She was that good.

Made me think about when I had her on as a guest on my KMHD show last March, before her performance at the Schnitz. If you have the time, here it is:

Not happy news from Music Millennium. Bad fall and worse holiday season due to the snow as well as the economy. Some friends of Terry Currier and the store have organized a "Buy-In Day" for February 2.

Singer Lisa Mann posted this Facebook:
Heather, the Sound Goddess from Ash Street Saloon, passed along a message letting people know that Music Millennium is struggling to stay afloat in this tough economy. They already had to shut down the NW store, it would be a crime if they shut the store down over on East Burnside and 32nd Ave.

So, my friend Rich suggested a BUY-IN DAY at MM... I chose February 2nd, GROUNDHOG DAY to find as many people as possible willing to commit to spending $5 or more on that day (or the days before and after, that's ok)

Why GROUNDHOG DAY? Well, because I'm hoping, like the Bill Murray movie, that day will be repeated again and again by shoppers in the future and we'll keep our beloved music store alive!! MM has supported local musicians for so many years, I especially urge musician types to participate.

I was a "mentor" (that means judge) at a Portland Songwriters Association competition last week at Artichoke Music. They're in the process of moving from Mizz Pizz. My favorite was Marianne Flemming, who was heads above the others. She lives in the Couve and has three albums out. She describes herself:
Marianne Flemming performs hippie chick music, exasperated mom blues, whatever happend to our planet laments, and music that honors the spirits that have paved the way before…In short,an all-around gal-guitar slinger/singer who loves to wail, weep and transcend.

Not only is there a Neil Young tribute band, but even one who pays tribute to his songs about death. Really. On Friday, January 30, at Dantes there will be the, Neil Young Doom Trilogy Tribute. featuring the Minus 5,, Lewi Longmire Band and the Don of Division Street Band. They will "pay tribute to Neil Young's mid-70's, dark masterpieces of rock and roll. Time Fades Away, On the Beach, Tonight's the Night, collectively known to Young fans as the Doom or Ditch trilogy, were released in the wake of the deaths of two close friends and detail the madness and darkness of this time in his creative life."

Perfect time of year for it…dark, wet, depressing…probably a good idea to check your suicidal impulses at the door.

In case you're wondering what Neil is up to these days, here's a new music video of his song Fork in the Road. Among other things, he says:

"There's a bail-out coming but it's not for me
it's for all those creeps watching tickers on TV..."
"There's a bail-out coming but it's not for you
it's for all those creeps hiding what they do"

Neil Young - Fork In The Road

Don't wave buh-bye yet but former and PDX Magazine editor Liz Hummer is moving to New York in the spring (maybe sooner if she can figure out what to do with her aged/beloved cat). She writes about it on her blog.

I had coffee today with an old acquaintance (I wish there was a warmer word for someone you know, have never really hung out with, but would like to be friends with). I met him probably over three years ago, back when Kristen and I first thought of PONY. He was always a fan of the idea, even marveled at the fact that I hadn't already ridden my PONY off to New York already (to paraphrase) when he first emailed me again several months ago. So seeing him today was fitting.

Why? Well, because five years after I first fell in love with the city, I'm finally doing it. Call me crazy, but in the bleakest economic climate in my lifetime (and my parents'), when the future of print publishing is in question, I'm moving to New York. I suppose getting laid off and being single for the longest period since college (which means more than a measly two months) will make you do slightly crazy things. If I don't do it now, with this complete freedom, I never will.

So what better time to start blogging again? Over the next three months, I'll be trying to build a bridge between PO and NY, living that PONY concept more empirically than ever. I have no idea what will happen, but that's the adventure. And in honor of the seeking, fearless spirit that I'm trying to nurture, let's take a look at some fellow Portlanders who are headed East:

The last time I saw Mel Kubick, she was helping Margaret Slovak pack to leave town, but you can see her in a more glamorous setting on Friday, January 23 when her Shanghai Woolies (hers and Gavin Bondy's) play Tony Starlight's. Tony is celebrating his second anniversary in what he was warned was a location that has never and would never work as a club. They were wrong.

The Woolies recently sold out Jimmy Mak's. About the last time the Woolies played at his place, Tony writes,

The place was packed. Twenties and thirties hot jazz filled the air. Mel Kubik sang like an angel. Gavin Bondy played trumpet and led an eight-piece band through tight arrangements of Ellington, Armstrong and the like. You wished it would last forever. You did not want to leave, but we kicked you out. Now you can come back and do it all over again.

Remember X? You may or may not know that John Doe, Exene Cervenka, guitarist Dave Alvin, bassist Jonny Ray Bartel, and drummer D.J. Bonebrake have a band called the Knitters, a rockablilly band. I'm not sure if I think that's clever or pathetic. Probably clever…and just at the perfectly wrong time. Find out for yourself on Wednesday, January 21 at Dante's.

Oracle, the brother/sister vocal guitar duo who has been working with Keith Schreiner, is at Someday the same night.

Listen to my KMHD show on Saturday nights 10pm-2am. Jazz till 12 and then The Bar opens at Midnight!

You can hear my political talk show, "D'Antoni & Levine" with DC-based reporter Art Levine live on Thursdays at 2:30pm PT and then archived thereafter. Listen here.

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