Today in Music History:
In 1997, US songwriter Ben Raleigh died after setting fire to his bath robe while cooking. Co-wrote 'Scooby Doo Where Are You.'
Last Tuesday night our little piece of the island was awash in talent. Appearing at our new arena was John Mellencamp with Tom Cochrane and Red Ryder as the opening act. Holy schnitzel's batman, Tom is a major headliner in his own right, let alone opening for Mellencamp. We wanted to go but we already had tickets for a better show on the same night in a cozy thousand seat venue. I speak of Corb Lund and the Hurtin' Albertans with the opening act being Hayes Carll, on the first night of their cross country Canadian tour. We had bought tickets the minute they went on sale and snagged us front row and center seats. Sweeeet! The last time I was in the front row was way back in 1980 at a Molly Hatchet concert. Too bad my camera took so many pictures that sucked.
Well folks I gotta tell you this was one flipping amazing show. Living in Canada us folks were unfamiliar with one Hayes Carll and his gulf coast orchestra all the way from Texas. We really didn't know what to expect from Mr. Carll. Hayes shambled onstage about eightish looking like a guy who’s just woke up from a restless sleep with a horrible hangover, he reached down for his acoustic guitar and I'm thinking this guy looks a mess. Then he introduced himself and his three bandmates and from the first note he struck proceeded to blow me away. This guy was good, damn good. After each song I thought well that was probably his best and the next song would be even better. Throughout his set he would banter with the crowd and he was really cracking us up. Mostly I could not believe how good this guy was and why was it that I had not heard of him. When his set was over we went to the lobby to see about purchasing his CD's. Unfortunately we had not brought any cash, so we ended up borrowing some cash from the wifes boss (2nd row , behind us) so I could get me hands on his CD, Little Rock, which is phenomenal. The crowd was lining up to buy his CD's and everyone I talked to was very impressed with what they had just witnessed. I couldn't believe how many CD's he was selling. Simply awesome.
Now it was time for Corb Lund and the crowd was fired up. I don't mind telling y'all this was one rowdy crowd and they were ready. In an age in which most pop, country, hip hop and rock artists are doing somersaults trying to ape or anticipate the latest trend, alt-country hero Lund cuts his own path with a devil-may-care attitude. Good ol' Corb sauntered on stage wearing a Civil War uniform, which tied in perfectly with his latest album Horse Soldier! Horse Soldier! His first song was the march-like I Want to be in the Cavalry. Bigger and tougher guys than me were yelling "I love you Corb Lund!" In fact, people yelled almost continually, prompting Lund (who later changed into a cowboy hat and jeans) to ask, "Are you people drunk, or are you high?" And, almost unheard of for this venue, people even gathered in the orchestra pit to dance, well let's be fair it actually turned into a mosh pit if you can believe that shit. The ushers kept trying to clear them out but they weren't having any of that. His tales of ranches, horses, rodeos and hurtin' Albertans with too much oil money really had this crowd hopping. In fact the last time I was with a crowd this rowdy was when we saw Nazareth and the Headpins. Towards the end it was almost chaos as more and more people tried to get in the pit. What a night, twangin' and wailin' guitars, cry-in-yer-beer harmonies and lively two-step rhythms. As Corb finished his 5 song encore, before he left the stage he doused the folks in the pit with a beer, much to the delight to those who happened to get Corb's beer on them.
Hayes Carll and Corb Lund are in the midst of touring Canada right now and I'm not exaggerating when I say that you probably won't see a better concert this year than this one. We paid 30 bucks apiece for our tickets and for a show such as this, that's a bargain basement deal. One thing is for sure, Hayes Carll is going to sell a lot of CD's here in the great white north. Hayes has a new album coming out in April and I've already pre-ordered it and can't wait till it comes out. As for Corb, I've already got all his discs. Today, sample a couple of tracks from the best concert you'll see this year.
Little Rock by Hayes Carll
Hair in my Eyes Like a Highland Steer by Corb Lund