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.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Unfortunately musicians sometimes do.
Posted by Chick at 8:53 PM