Posted tagged ‘Dave Alvin’

Memorable Concerts 2018

February 8, 2019

Here’s the recap of  my favorite  concerts of 2018. Yeah, I’m late in posting it. But 13 years into writing this annual piece for Isthmus online. I can say my passion hasn’t cooled for live music.

Take a bow Charlie Hunter, Rodney Crowell, UW Opera, Laurie Anderson, Chicago Symphony, Joe Lovano, Vijay Iyer, Dara Tucker, Emanuel Ax, Dave Alvin, Jon Langford, Jimmie Dale Gimore, Gil Shaham, Tracy Nelson, Ben Sidran, Boz Scaggs and, yes, other great artists.

I write:

In the course of 85 or so shows I saw in 2018, I found lots of momentsof transcendence, revelation, pure joy, mindless boogie and dark insights into the crooked timber of human nature.

That’s to say, the music I like is more than notes. It’s more than entertainment. It’s also about casting a spell. Where time seems to be suspended. Where the faithful gather around the campfire to hear stories of danger and epic romance. Where the magic falls gently over us like a mist. I had those moments in 2018.

None more so than hearing John Luther Adams’ minimalist masterpiece Become Ocean performed on April 7 by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in the Basilica of St. Josaphat in Milwaukee. There was no more perfect match of music and setting than hearing the shimmering tidal-like movements in the glorious domed basilica. The music floated up and around and washed over the audience like the waves of an ocean before slowly receding. Lost in the experience? That was me.

Adams (no relation to minimalist icon John Adams) deservedly won the Pulitzer Prize for Become Ocean in 2014. The Alaska-based composer is mightily influenced by the experience of raw, overpowering nature. This is compelling yet humbling music that left me in a state of awe.

It was my favorite concert of the year.

To read more, please go here.

As you’ll see, all of the concerts s are within driving distance of Madison. That excluded a quick trip to Austin where I managed to squeeze in shows by R&B stalwart Lou Ann Barton, the magnificent Shelby Lynne and Mike Flanigin’s greasy organ trio featuring Jimmie Vaughan. Marvelous one and all.

A Fan’s Notes: 10 Years of Great Concerts

January 19, 2017

I started logging notes on concerts when I was hanging out with Clark Anderson.   He was a childcare worker, union organizer and a dear friend from the old days in Kenosha. Talking music was easy because I was a fan and Clark was a  gifted slide guitarist. I started taking notes.

Clark died in 2010. You can read about him and (hear his music) here. This ten-year retrospective of favorite concerts, written for my old paper Isthmus,  is dedicated to Clark.

The story begins:

Yeah, I got a music jones. About 500 concerts and shows’ worth over 10 years.

I love being caught up in the moment of live music. Swept away and transported. Lost in the shared sway of the cosmic boogie. In jaw-dropping awe of masters like Yo-Yo Ma and Leonard Cohen. Melting before Cassandra Wilson. Transfixed by Shelby Lynne. Glimpsing the abyss with the fearless Jon Dee Graham. Zoning out with Philip Glass. Stunned by Greg Allman’s howl of pain. Brought to tears by Beethoven’s 9th and Gorecki’s 3rd.

I’m there. I’m all in. It might be jazz. it might be country. It might be opera or classical. Or even freaky-deaky electronica. For 10 years I’ve written a year-end summary of my favorite shows for Isthmus. A critic I’m not: These year-end perambulations are a fan’s notes.

So here are my favorite shows and artists in Madison from 2006 to 2015; at the end, I toss in a few more from Milwaukee and Chicago. They are in roughly descending order of my liking. My original comments (lightly edited) are followed by italicized afterthoughts and music links.

I will ’fess up that I seem to be drawn — how to delicately put this? — to guy music, alt-country division. Am I telling a secret here? That all guys know deep down that temptation, chaos, despair and ruin are always lurking around the corner. Yep, even if we live the most proper lives imaginable, those bad-boy songs resonate with us. Like the compelling and scary songs of Jon Dee Graham.

To read about Jon Dee Graham and lots more great musicians, please go here.

My Year in Live Music: 2012 favorites

December 26, 2012

Boy, I like music.

All kinds.

From opera to jazz to alt country to classical.

Put another way: Philip Glass meets Nicholas Payton meets Jon Dee Graham meets Porgy and Bess meets Ben Sidran meets Mary Chapin Carpenter.

As I wrote in this year-end wrap-up of 2012 for TheDailyPage.com:

I saw more than 60 shows this year, at venues in San Francisco, New York and many places in between. But this reprise — my eighth seventh annual for TheDailyPage.com — focuses on shows within a car drive of Madison. My tastes are catholic and open-minded, but caveat emptor: I’m a music enthusiast and not a critic. Full confession: I lack even an elementary understanding of music, can’t play an instrument and couldn’t carry a tune in a suitcase. But I love live music.

I loved how, on a hot night in Milwaukee (July 16, Riverside Theater), a superb Diana Krall encored with an impossibly fast version of Irving Berlin’s “Cheek to Cheek” that somehow segued into Lennon and McCartney’s “Come Together.” After ripping up the High Noon Saloon (May 21), Alejandro Escovedo’s encore was equally improbable: Mott the Hoople’s 40-year-old hit (penned by David Bowie) “All The Young Dudes,” followed by encore after encore until Escovedo led the band off the stage to the middle of the club to sing one last acoustic number surrounded by the audience. This was darn near a religious moment.

To read more about my 2012 favorite shows, please go here.

To read my previous year-enders, follow these links:

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

To read more, please go here.


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