Monday, December 7, 2009

KGSR 19TH ANNIVERSAY CONCERT at Texas Union Ballroom 12-5-09

This wing ding is a very cool affair. Every year KGSR does this. It's a free concert with free food catered by Salt Lick BBQ, along with a cash bar. The doors open at 6:30pm, general admission seating and the concert starts at 7:30 so you have about an hour to get your food. Then you settle in for a 4 hour concert that is broadcast live. There are special surprise musical guests so it's always fun to try and guess who they might be. The announced guests were The Gourds, Rosanne Cash and Bob Schneider.
You have to win tickets to get in. They have call-ins, tweet-ins, online chances and for the week before the show they have remote location events. You go, put your name in the hat and pray they pull it. We went to the first remote and I was the first name pulled. Praise Jah!
The special guests turned out to be Charlie Mars and Ian McLagan.
Charlie Mars opened the show, did 3 songs including his big hit "Listen to the Darkside." He was solo, acoustic and very much held the crowd. I liked him.
Next came Ian McLagan and he brought Scrappy Jud Newcomb (killer guitar player here in town) with him. They did 3 songs, 2 off his latest, including the title track "Never Say Never" and "Spiritual Boy." Then he brought out Jody Denberg. Jody is the heart and soul of KGSR but this was his last official act, broadcasting the concert. There isn't a musical person in this town who won't miss listening to him. He and Ian go way back. Back to the days when Ronnie Lane was living in Austin. Those 2 names should make you think of the band Small Faces as they were both in it. So...Ian brought Jody out to sing along to the Ronnie Lane song "Kuschty Rye." If you're not familiar, go listen to it. A rollicking rocker! Anyway, it was a great moment for everybody there.
Next came The Gourds and they were so much fun. They play that TexMex, bluegrass, swampy, country rock and roll. We got a 45 minute set with fun stuff like "Tex-Mex Mile" and "Country Love." The Gourds are good and they are fun. Kevin Russell is a great front man.
Then came Rosanne Cash along with John Leventhal on guitar and harmony vocals. They did a beautiful acoustic set. It was heavy on songs from her latest record, "The List." I'm sure you know the story behind it. When she was 18 her dad gave her a list of the top 100 country songs he felt she should be familiar with. All these years later she decided to make an album with some of those songs. On this night we heard: "Motherless Children," "Sea of Heartbreak," "Take These Chains from My Heart," "I'm Movin' On," "Heartaches by the Number," and "Long Black Veil." Again, she played "What We Truly Want" for Jody and "Seven Year Ache." But she also played a heckuva surprise. She said if her dad had made the list 101 songs instead of 100 she thinks the following might be the 101st. Rosanne then proceeded to sing "Ode to Billie Joe." I am telling you what, oh my God, stunning! The arrangement, John Leventhal's beautiful guitar work and Rosanne singing it like well, like she lived it. And it can't get more real than that, you know? You could have heard a pin drop in that place. It was completely goose bumps, hair standing up on the back of your neck for the entire song. Really, I can't begin to tell you about it and do it justice. Suffice to say, I sure hope she records it in the future. Man!
Ending the show was Bob Schneider. He had his full band. Started out with several on the piano, working up a head of steam slow but sure. Then moved to the guitar and started rocking pretty well. His accordion/trumpet playing sideman went nuts and put on a helluva show, jumping around the stage like he was on some serious drugs. It was great fun to watch! The rest of the band was oblivious and played like he wasn't there. It was hilarious. Bob closed the show with 3 blow the roof off, dancing numbers including "Bombanaza" and "Tarantula." Everybody was up, dancing and singing.
There was not one dull moment the entire evening. A great night. A great send-off for Jody.
Got a nice video or Rosanne Cash doing "Sea of Heartbreak." Go here:

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