Ry Cooder, "Sonny's playing around here, tomorrow? Where? Man, I'd love to see him, it's been a while. Cincinnati, huh? Boy. I'd really love to make it down there! If I don't make it, please be sure and tell him I said hello, and that I send my best regards."
Sonny Landreth, "You saw Ry last night? Where? I tell ya, he is The Master. It's been quite a while since I've seen him! Man, I sure wish he could have come down. Anyway, that's some good mojo!"
Author/columnist Joe Klein, "This is not business as usual, and I'd love to hear more about the last mayor of Dayton"
A friend sent me a message that I instantly read as cryptic. So cryptic, I couldn't understand it:
"Dude. Ry Cooder. Secret show. Trolley stop. Tonight. 9pm."
I called my friend, local guitar wizard repair man and player extraordinaire Christopher Wright, and asked what he meant in this missive. Hell, I'm no cryptographer, I sometimes miss the very writing upon the wall. Turns out that as usual, I had it a bit askew. He meant just what he said. It turns out that Ry is just on the road hanging out with his friend Joe. The author is conducting a road trip across America. In the words of Time Magazine:
"Following previous years’ journeys from New York to Los Angeles and from Texas to Iowa, Joe Klein has once again hit the road to find out what people are thinking outside the Beltway. This time he’s traveling up the East Coast from North Carolina, across the Rust Belt and winding up in Minnesota—though, in true road trip fashion, the route could always change.
Along the way he’s meeting with politicians and community leaders, as well as readers who have invited him into their homes and businesses to talk about how they’re faring in these difficult times. And a few special guests are joining Joe as he meanders through the Heartland."
As I stated earlier, I'm occasionally a little slow on the uptake. It had not yet been explained to me that this was The Joe Klein, a guy who has sold more than enough books to fill a library. He had written a novel so dangerous as to deny being its author for quite some time (1996's Primary Colors; A Novel of Politics, based on the 1992 Democratic presidential primary - estimated sales 3 million), a fellow who had been regularly employed by the world's largest publishers, starting with Rolling Stone Magazine as a contributing editor in 1974. In fact, it was his tour on that had placed Cooder in our musical laps for the evening. And here I thought that Ry's friend was just a very bright perceptive fella named Joe.
Here's what Joe had to say about the evening in his blog for Time Magazine's 2012 Swampland coverage of the presidential election:
"Well the big event yesterday was watching the great Ry Cooder jamming with one of his discoveries, a retired meter reader named Dan Gellert - a brilliant country fiddler and banjo player - at the Trolley Stop in Dayton, Ohio"
Last month, I stated here that Sonny Landreth's new album Elemental Journey was the veteran guitarists' best album ever, and maybe the best instrumental guitar album of 2012. I had a chance to see Landreth live last night at Cincinnati's 20th Century Theater and the show shone as brightly as the new record.
Accompanied by bassist Dave Ranson, and drummer Brian Brignac, Landreth wooed the capacity crowd with another master class on slide guitar. Combining an intoxicating stew of Cajun/Zydeco, rock and roll, blues and a sensational sense of harmonic sophistication, Landreth held the crowd in a hand for the almost two hours, and the crowd adored him.
Classifying Landreth's heady mix has never been easy, and with his latest album he has upped the ante by going all instrumental and incorporating strings, steel drums and guest cameos by heavy hitters Joe Satriani and Eric Johnson. The cool thing about this is that it is one fabulous ride, even if you can't quite give it a name. Landreth and band absolutely smoked on the tunes from the new record, even without the strings, Steve Conn's great keyboard work, and the superstar sidemen. His rhythm section was on fire - Brignac is a whirling dervish of a drum, with rock horsepower and brilliant versatility; Dave Ranson has been sharing stages with Landreth for over twenty years, and he is both solid and adventurous. One of the joys of listening to Landreth's phenomenal guitar histrionics is in hearing how fast he can change directions, and going along for the ride as he howls one moment, whispers the next, and then seems to inexplicably do both simultaneously.
Thanks to Sonny Landreth and his band, Ry Cooder, Joe Klein, Christopher Wright, Jay Madewell, and the good folks at Conqueroo PR (Cory Baker and Julie Arkenstone).