Desert rocks

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

sylvie_simmons_jpgTucson, Arizona legend Howe Gelb celebrated his 60th birthday on 22nd October with a giant hometown concert, four hours long, featuring special guest musicians from across his 50-album career.

First up was Sylvie, who sang “Midnight Cowboy” with a cast of luminaries as her backing band, including Howe on guitar and Maggie Bjorklund on pedal steel. The lineup included Thoger Lund (bass), Brian Lopez (guitar), Gabriel Sullivan (guitar), Tommy Larkins (drums), Neil Harry (pedal steel), Winston Watson (drums), Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth), Tom Walbank (harmonica), John Convertino (Calexico, drums), Lana Kelly (vocals), John Diaz (trumpet), Annie “Sister Town” Dolan (guitar), Scott Garber (bass) and  Patsy Gelb (vocals), plus two members of the Sno’ Angel gospel choir, UK-via-Portland singer Scout Niblett,  and John Doe and Exene Cervenka from X.

Here’s a report from Tucson Weekly.

http://www.tucsonweekly.com/TheRange/archives/2016/10/25/in-the-flesh-howe-gelbs-60th-b-day-bash-at-the-rialto-theater

Spring forward – look back

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Last night the clocks went forward, but me and my blog still seem to be in retrograde. Every adventure I’ve had these past week (tons) I’ve meant to hit the keyboard and blog about it. But instead I’d hit the hay, then head off the next day for another escapade. Hard to imagine sometimes that less than a year ago I was stuck at my desk, staring at 600 sheets of paper, the manuscript of my Leonard Cohen book. Now I’m running about all over, book under one arm, uke under the other.

I’m just looking at my tour page to remind myself of what I’ve been up to these past weeks and grinning broadly. Like getting up onstage with a San Francisco Prog Rock band, Hot Lunch, or playing in my singer-songwriter friend Lucas Ohio’s band. Or being invited by another friend, Victoria Zackheim, to join her and a bill of great women writers, including Zoe Fitzgerald Carter, Barbara Graham, Mara Purl, at a weekend of ‘Women’s Voices’. Or being part of the brilliant ‘Word Performances, with Doug Cordell, Tim Toaster Henderson, Crystal Reiss, Cybele Zufolo Siegel, Sarah Griff, Phil Lumsden and more.
Here’s a link to Part 1 of my reading: http://youtu.be/vu98fNzr-LY And here’s Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JxulAHopd8 – –with this solo uke spot in the middle http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFVSM0wI16w&feature=endscreen&NR=1

One of the craziest nights was a Litquake/Noisepop event called ‘Way Behind The Music’, in which a bunch of musicians and writers (including my pals Eric Shea from Hot Lunch and John Doe) were handed passages to read onstage from celebrity autobiographies. I got Rod Stewart – whose book I’d read, so I had an idea what to expect – and David Cassidy, which I hadn’t. So I found myself standing under the spotlight, narrating an unexpected, over-the-top tale of Cassidy, a groupie and a cholestroload of butter. I cracked up a few times, but with the help of a margerita managed to make it to the end!

The past week I’ve been back on the Leonard Cohen trail. With Leonard coming to the Bay Area for a concert at the Paramount Theatre, I did a free show called ‘The Night Before Leonard’ in the cocktail lounge of a theatre called the Marsh. I had two great accompanists – Matthew Szemela on violin and Colleen Browne, formerly of Pale Saints and the Wronglers, on bass. The following morning I was on a plane to Portland and a theatre full of people (450- my Woodstock!) for Live Wire! radio.

So now I’m home, busy writing an article for MOJO – Stephen Stills, who I interviewed the other day, and who told me this great story about Neil Young and his mum…. oh, I’ll tell you that later. As the late, great Douglas Adams once said, “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” A bit like everything else right now. Take care, and I’ll check back in soon. xx