Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Angels Don't Work For Nothin'

Unfortunately musicians sometimes do.

Which is precisely why I must take this opportunity to evangelize about my current obsession, Will Hoge. I first learned about Will Hoge last September when I was getting ready for the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Each day for about two weeks I would work on my ACL strategy, reviewing the band schedules and stage locations. I would highlight my open timeslots and engage in expansive research to determine which band would make the cut for one of my precious openings. That’s how I found Will Hoge. I downloaded some of his early songs from Bird On A Wire and listened to them everyday. In my car, on the treadmill. I was totally hooked. By the time the festival arrived, Will Hoge was no longer a placeholder. He was highlighted on my personal ACL schedule as a MUST SEE.

Unfortunately there was a fire at ACL that day and it took several hours to get inside. I missed him.

I’ve tried to stalk him on his tour for the past few months but my real life persona as a homeroom mom and marketing consultant has utterly squelched my time on the road as a band groupie. So you can imagine my delight when I saw the listing: Will Hoge / Austin Texas / at Antone’s / Saturday January 19th.

I’ve had my eye on that show for weeks.

Somehow I thought I could squeeze in a little fishing adventure before the show. I woke up Saturday about 5 am, pulled my gear together and drove an hour south of Austin to fish on the Guadalupe. Amazing day. Great day. Cold cold cold day. I was chilled and completely wiped out by the time I got home. And in no mood to venture out for some live music. No possible way. I was in for the night, bundled-up under a comforter on the couch.

But something called to me. Some sadistic rock-n-roll angel spoke to me and said, “Go to Antone’s. Go see Will Hoge.” Oh no no no. Who was this annoying voice from beyond? Are you kidding me? I’m soooo cozy, and it’s soooo cold outside.

The voice prevailed and I pulled myself together. I knew I had about five nanoseconds to get the hell out of my house before I changed my mind. No time for a shower. Don’t tell, but I wore the same turtleneck and sweater I’d worn fishing all day. I know, I know, so gross. But I balanced it out with some smokin’ hot jeans & boots and gobs of lip gloss. Good Lord I was headed to Antone’s after all. I’m too old for this.

I navigated parking downtown. Found an ATM. And waited in line. Waited and waited and waited in line. I started reading flyers on the wall next to me. Hmmm, what was this picture of Janis Joplin? Whoa! A flyer that said “HAPPY 65th BIRTHDAY JANIS!! BORN JAN 19th 1943.”

Holy shit it was Janis Joplin’s Birthday.

What a cool Austin moment. Standing outside of Antone’s, on Janis’ birthday. Clearly she was the angel that kicked my ass into gear. And thank heavens she did…

Will Hoge far exceeded my bizarrely high expectations. He literally exploded onto the stage, putting a whole new spin on southern rock. The melodies were crisp. The lyrics haunting and poetic.

On the wild songs he would devour that guitar to the point of sublime. Like Otis Redding all jacked-up, he was kicking, sweating, spitting, and spewing out the passion. At times he seemed possessed. I couldn’t tell if I was at a concert or a revival. He was mule-kicking and knocking the mic stand like…like…well frankly, like Janis. Ultimately the crescendo of these big numbers would come to an end. The sounds of the guitar and drums melting away. I was left beaming, and exhausted just from watching. It was hard to imagine he had an ounce of voice left in him. And just at the point I was convinced he must be completely hoarse, just at that very moment he would open his mouth and these beautiful slow songs would just float out effortlessly. Like butterflies. Like syrup. Flowing right along with a soft fiddle and a lovely harmony.


It was magic. I was in love.

I mean the guy has an anchor tattoo on his arm. An anchor! How classic is that.

Needless to say I am so glad I went. Thank you Janis. But heavens, what if I hadn’t gone? What if I’d been too tired and too cold? What if I missed hearing him sing 'Silver Or Gold':

angels don't work for nothin'
i ain't askin' for silver or gold
one day you'll wake up to find that i've left you behind
and it'll just be 'cause you were so cold


Obviously this is a love song. A love lost song. But I can’t shake the notion…what happens to a band like this if the fans grow cold? What if we are just too tired to show up for the show. These bands aren’t asking for silver or gold. Or platinum. They’re looking for gigs. And fans. But what if we don’t show up and one day we wake up to find our favorite band is just gone. We’ll be left with nothing but big labels and mega pop stars.

So do me a favor and check out Will Hoge. If you like what you hear, spread the Word. Then step out and see some of your own local live music. Support the musicians that are slugging it out on neighborhood stages night after night after night. Sing along…shake your tail feathers…

Oh, and don’t forget to tip your waitress.

28 comments:

Rachel said...

Thanks for the heads up honey! I miss living in Austin and experiencing the Live Music, I also miss being in NB right next to Gruene. :-(

I will definitely check this guy out!
Fabulously written post!!!

piper of love said...

Great post, great review! I'm checking him out tomorrow!

Must tell you how much I admire you for pulling yourself together, and going alone even!

You are an inspiration on all counts ~xo

BuzzeeDad said...

That was the "bad post" you were talking about? Jeesh, I'd die if you were my boss. Talk about words floating out effortlessly. You have a gift. Hey, the songs rock. I love "no BS" guitar rock. He's playing on Saturday in my neck of the woods, but I'm stuck on babysitting duty. I'd bring Fury along, but his fake ID isn't up to snuff.

mikster said...

Fishing and good music on the same day. It doesn't get much better than that. ;)

Kimmylyn said...

This was everything wrapped in one..a great post with a glowing review that how could someone NOT go check him out now?

I will be sure to check him out!!!

Judith Shakespeare said...

You have seriously just become one of my favorite people in all of the world... I try to make the Austin City Limits at least every couple of years (and even when I can't, I'll sign up for those daily text message updates and sigh wistfully each time my phone beeps).

Now, I'm off to download some music that this great girl I know recommended...

Angie said...

Live music - yummy. In life B.C (before cancer) Brian and I could be seen every weekend chilling out in some local hangout enjoying the local music flavor. We LOVE it. Brian is a music junkie. Even if our favorite big name bands would come to town, we much preferred to see them at the quainter local venues rather than large stadiums. Now that we are sitcoms (single income two children obscene mortgage) we don't get out much for music unless it is a Pixar opening tune.

I can't let my hubby read this post - if he saw a cool chick who liked to fish and check out the local club for a hot new band -IN THE SAME DAY YET, he would surely leave me for you.

KEEP BELIEVING

Momo Fali said...

I am SO glad you got your arse off the couch and out the door! You'd totally be kicking yourself now if you hadn't.

Karen MEG said...

Wow, great post and GREAT ARTIST!

I love hearing about new music, I can't imagine (well, almost, since you described it so beautifully) how fantastic he was live.

And fishing just before. That's energy, with some left to spare!

Smokin' hot jeans, boots, gloss...never too old, baby, never too old :)

PG said...

I would so love to hit the ACL festival sometime. In the short time I have been blogging It has really been hammered home how cool a town Austin is. Thanks for the heads up on Will.

Oh, and You've Been Tagged

abrightfuture said...

am going right now to check him out! thanks for the great music tip (and the great single-mom day-care advice, too!)!!!

~liz

Darrin said...

Hey Girlie! Are you gonna go blog hopping this weekend? That's what I'll be doing tomorrow night. I'll swing by your site or "Buzz" to say "hey".
Cheers!

LunaNik said...

Wow. I'm so going to download Will Hoge from limewire now. I'm a big music fanatic myself and am always looking for something new to listen to.

Found your blog thru the weekend blog hoppers, btw.

LunaNik said...

Oh, forgot to say BRAVO on going to the show by yourself. I used to do that ALL THE TIME before I met my hubby and man...did I have some WILD TIMES ;)

Sarabeth said...

Nice post. I'll have to check out Will Hoge.

Blog hopping--HP

Jeff said...

Good for you. It definitely would have been easier to stay home, but you did the noble thing and followed your instincts. Beautiful review...

amanda said...

I am definitely checking out Will Hoge. I love finding new stuff!

-Blog Hoppin'

Pinky said...

Dang, this is the second post of yours I've read about local live music, and I'm so needin' it!! It's been so long. We live over an hour from Dallas, but luckily we're moving to a very musical town with TONS of talented musicians. I can't wait!!!
Proud of you for going, and who are you kidding? You're never too old to rock and roll! (I sounded like my mom just now.)

Johnny On The Spot said...

Making my rounds and wanted to say have a Great Weekend !!!!

Mr Lady said...

I tried really hard to read that post, but I couldn't stop looking at that delicious slice of yumminess. Could you repost it without the picture? ;)

Hip to the hop & you don't stop.....

Maria said...

He's amazing - it's nice to see another fan!!

Maria, Maria - Blog Hopper.

Darrin said...

Jus' blog hoppin and I dropped by to say hey, so "hey"

"Makeshift Sinatra"
from the weekend bloghoppers

Sandy C. said...

What a wonderful post and review :) Very well written....I am running to go check him out a.s.a.p!

OHmommy said...

Wow, now I have to go check him out! Thanks. Nicely written!

JO-N said...

You love music, Christine. After the kids come into this world, I only listen to children's songs.

come and join me and the others in the big bang world record.

http://love4kids.blogspot.com/2008/01/big-bang-world-record.html

Donna said...

Hey, that guy has a folksy, Bob Dylan sort of sound. I like him! I came here from Perfect Post awards.

A Whole Lot of Nothing said...

After reading this and knowing how much you like Will Hoge, I'm afraid my husband might leave me for you. He's all about the little-known like Iron & Wine, Rufus Wainwright, and Will Hoge.

dlyn said...

Thanks for talking about him - I will buy his music!