Saturday, February 11, 2006

Into Each Drunken Escapade, A Little Trad Must Fall

Well, last night is a night I won't soon forget. Mostly, it's because I have to tell myself what a bad idea it is to go to bars and sit and drink. However, there were plenty of perks to last night, too, and one really uncanny moment.

I met my friends Gayle and Allan at Flannery's to do a little work for Earth Day Coalition and also catch a show later that evening by locally-based singer-songwriter friend, Joe Rohan. As the music started, Gayle and I somehow attracted the attention of an attractive but entirely too-drunk, self-pitying, desperate-for-sex man. We managed to enjoy Joe's performance while coping with this situation; having just been discussing the shortage of decent, available, attractive men, and my having just suggested that what we both need is someone older who can keep up, well, you can imagine our disappointment.

A word about Joe. He has a flair for writing love songs, can turn quite a few heads with his guitar playing, and possesses a powerful, honest, resonant voice that is a bit on the high side of the range. In addition to being one of my favorite people, he's certainly one of my favorite performers. Whether it's a Johnny Cash tune or something he penned, it's impossible not to be rivited when Joe sings it.

Between desperate glances shared with Gayle, I turned my attention back to the performance area. Gayle and I recognized the young woman who had taken the guitar in hand was the hostess who showed us in. Suddenly, the lyric, "She walks these hills in a long, black veil" waft over the sound system and I realize this young woman is singing the Johnny Cash tune featured on Tim O'Brien's grammy-winning "Fiddler's Green". He is joined on the album by the incredible Darrell Scott, a frequent songwriting collaborator. To suddenly hear this young woman singing this song was at once incredibly odd and unexpected, and entirely appropriate. And it gave me a good reason to get the hell off my stool and away from Mr. "You're-beautiful-and-I-only live-around-the-corner-why-don't-we...."

Somehow, I made it home to my own bed and my fluffy pillow last night. My head still hurts from the smoke and presumably the wine, but I've got my coffee and Joe's new album to keep me company. And I've got the memory of the face of a young Cleveland State music student suddenly out of nowhere singing a song I last heard recorded by my favorite musician of all time.

Better rest up and recover. Today its shopping with one of my best pals, Lynne, and a visit to the Kent Stage for more live local music. Maybe if I play my cards right and drink water or tea, I'll mee a nice double-bass player.

Long Black Veil

Ten years ago, on a cold dark night
Someone was killed, 'neath the town hall light
There were few at the scene, but they all agreed
That the man who ran, looked a lot like me
The judge said son, what is your alibi
If you were somewhere else, then you won't have to die
I spoke not a word, thou it meant my life
For I'd been in the arms of my best friend's wife

She walks these hills in a long black veil
She visits my grave when the night winds wail
Nobody knows, nobody sees
Nobody knows but me

Oh, the scaffold is high and eternity's near
She stood in the crowd and shed not a tear
But late at night, when the north wind blows
In a long black veil, she cries ov're my bones

She walks these hills in a long black veil
She visits my grave when the night winds wail
Nobody knows, nobody sees
Nobody knows but me


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