Well, The Boys are Back in Town! (I amuse myself sometimes... I actually remember that song circa 1976 by another Irish group, Thin Lizzy.) You all know about my quasi-obsession with The Guggenheim Grotto, so no one should be surprised to read that I went to their encore show at Night Cat this week. It would have taken some catastrophe for them to disappointment me, but with the show they played, it wasn't even an option.
Kevin and Mick were every bit as affable and engaging as ever. I think for Countrymouse, this is why he likes them. He likes their music fine, but what he really likes is them. They are the kind of guys you want to have a beer with. (Although we spoke to them briefly before the show and they were drinking Coors Light. (Ack!) I almost said something disparaging to them and thought better of it.)
They opened their set with Philosophia, which I thought was apropos since this is the first cut on their first *official* CD. Their set included a nice mix of their two albums, Waltzing Alone and Happy the Man. I had secretly hoped they would play Rosanna, but they didn't. *sigh* When I mentioned that to Mick later, he said, "That's what everyone says!". (Just like a man to not take a not so subtle hint!)
I could list the songs they played and comment on each, but the truth is, if you've heard them you know what the songs sound like already. You don't need me to tell you about how *awesome* they are. (If you haven't, you really need to listen to them!) But, what I found especially cool is that for their live show they changed things up a bit. This is what fans live for. We get used to hearing songs sung the same way (on the CD) and part of the joy of seeing an artist live is the gift of spontaneity. (I am not so naive to think that shows are truly spontaneous, at least short of Phish or some other jam band.) Countrymouse is very content to hear things the *way they're supposed to sound*, but I am always looking for the twist. We saw REM in 1985 in Cleveland in a very Avalon-esque old theater. I thought the show was fantastic. Countrymouse hated it because a) Michael Stipe sang with his back to the audience all night and b) their songs didn't sound like they did on the albums (because they really were vinyl back then). But I digress.
The Guggenheim Grotto work so well together that sharing songs is probably not a problem. They sang together on songs that are recorded with one singer and even totally switched things up on others. Their final encore was Cold Truth from Waltzing Alone. This is one of my favorites, in part because it is a Mick Lynch song and in part because I find the lyrics moving. Thursday night, Kevin May sang the song. It was excellent. This speaks to the level of musicians these guys are.
Seeing them perform again brought home the talent these guys have. Mick Lynch whipped out a violin to play one song and also played the ukulele on a couple others. Kevin May, a lefty, adeptly took over Mick's (right-handed stringed) guitar and played several songs. These guys rock. They told me they are headed back to Ireland in a couple weeks but will be back in the States for the summer (not a bad move, considering what summers in Ireland are like). The closest they will be to me is Baltimore, playing a free (yay!) show on July 2nd in Baltimore. Countrymouse's birthday is July 3rd, so I can see this being an event.
I don't have a crystal ball that predicts what will happen in the music world, but I will humbly say that I am oftentimes ahead of the curve. I fell in love with REM in 1983 and Coldplay in 2000, both long before anyone even knew their names. (Not to sound too cocky, there are plenty of bands that I adore and I remain a fan of one.) I always feel this twinge when a band I've *discovered* goes mainstream, but what can I really say? Isn't that the end goal? I think that Guggenheim Grotto is poised to *make it big*. I'm just happy to be along for the ride.
Opening for Guggenheim Grotto was Jason Myles Goss. I have to admit that I am such a GG fan that I was disappointed that anyone was opening for them. (Sorry Jason.) I have to concede that I enjoyed Jason's set. He really is a good guy with a good voice. The wonderful benefit of seeing someone at a small venue like Night Cat is you may actually get to to talk to the artist. (How awesome is that!?) I liked Jason's music but I especially liked him.
Jason hails from Boston (maybe Cambridge, if I remember what he told me). He currently makes his home in Brooklyn. This intrigues me because Boston is a real music destination in it's own right.
Jason Myles Goss has two distinct sounds. The vibe I got hearing him sing is that he prefers his *softer* (for lack of a better term) sound. These songs are pretty... much like John Mayers in his Room for Squares days. I loved Jason's more rocking tunes. He sings a song about coffee and wine. I felt like we were friends in another life.
Com'on, any song that epitomizes my two great loves is gonna rock it for me. (Unfortunately, this is only a partial video. I can't find a full length video of this song, but it was my favorite, so I am leaving it here.) Jason is an excellent guitar player. He's the kind of guy you can be hanging out with drinking the day away and he picks up his guitar and starts singing. (I wonder if he's spending any time on the Eastern Shore this summer. All we have is a pull-out couch but he'll never want for coffee or wine.)
Jason's newest release is A Plea for Dreamland. It will be available early summer. I think Mr. Goss is one of those sleeper artists. He's good at what he does but what he does is under the radar. It will take a huge exposure to make him big or a lot of touring. I think he has what it takes, it's just a question of finding the fan base that will embrace that.
I am not the mastermind behind the Easton music scene, but I would totally invite Jason back for a second or third show. His music is what makes us all feel good. It is filled with rich vocals and harmonious chords. You leave his set feeling good about life... and that's not a bad thing.
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