Sunday, January 23, 2011

Eric Lindell at Ruby's Roadhouse - Jan 21, 2011

Last Year I bought Eric Lindell's limited edition silk screened covered  LP  titled "Between Motion and Rest"  after his gig at The Rock N Bowl. It was an impulse buy. I am glad I bought it. A CD was tucked inside the custom cover. I had just seen his show and really enjoyed the  live performance. I played it for a while quite a bit and then decided that I really loved to hear him sing live rather than on CD. He has a certain voice quality and voice inflection that I don't feel gets across on recordings. I feel this way about Willie Nelson, too. I don't care much for  Willie's recordings, but I love to hear him sing live. My husband Dan says I am too picky about voices. He rarely learns lyrics, never figures out what a song is about, and goes by what he calls, "how a song feels."  I take in the little things, the nuance of the voice and instrumentation, the lyrics and meaning, and of course, then I take in the overall "feel."

Eric's voice is sugar laden and filled with emotion and passion. It has that quality that melts a woman's heart, yet has that "bite" of authentic quality Blues. The lyrics are sweet, love stories, phrased with whit. They reflect a lot of feeling and well thought out ideas about love situations, a recurring theme in his lyrics.

I have a very casual acquaintance with Saxophonist Derek Huston. I send him photos and he sends me one or two sentence  responses. I have noticed over the years that he shows up on stage in so many surprising places. Derek fascinates me because he is one of the rare people to play a Baritone saxophone. I have seen him perform with so may people, in so many genres, that it is mind boggling. When he showed  up with Lil' band of Gold last year, I realized what others thought of him. It was a nice affirmation to see him on stage with LBG. It meant that my take on his prowess as a performer was right on target. Derek is a very successful free lancer.

Derek asked me to come see the show at Ruby's roadhouse in Mandeville, Louisiana, and made it possible for me to do so. I was both honored and excited. Ruby's is one of my favorite Juke Joints. It is built out of  Cypress wood  and it has incredible acoustics. Owner Fred Holland makes sure his sound system is in tip top shape and has a qualified sound man. There is a well worn  wooden dance floor.  There is a patio out back for smokers, but most people keep smoking inside for some asinine reason.

We got there just as Derek came in and we visited for a bit.  Derek went about setting up while I had Eric Lindell autograph the  "Between Motion and Rest" LP. Dan and I kicked back on the pool table to watch the set up. Derek came over to show off his newest Saxophone to me. It was a new for him circa 1961 MK VI  Selmer Baritone saxophone. He showed me that it had a special extra low note that other saxophone do not have. I marveled over its' intricate etched designs.  He told us a charming story about how he had acquired it. I wanted to know all about the weight of it and how  he felt physically after the shows. It weighed about 25 pounds! He talked about  the ins and out of gigging with a 25 pound instrument. He mentioned  shoulder pain and  some of the problems he encounters trying to keep his breath in smoke filled venues.
Derek Huston By Patty McGehee

Derek went off to finish setting up and we waited making small talk with people nearby. The show started and I left Dan at the pool table seat to go take the show in from right in front of Derek. Eric was facing that way also, so it was easier to catch a photo from the right of the stage.

Eric plays a sold groove on his guitar using mostly  rhythm style licks interspersed with a few leads to emphasize his groove. I found it hard to discern if he was playing rhythm, lead, or a combination. I decided on the latter. His rhythm is all his own, phrased in a way to compliment his sexy vocals. The groove is infectious, solid, and addicting. Derek's saxophone subs in to fill any void that any overt lead guitar would fill.

I found myself trying to figure out what genre he belonged in. It is definitely Rhythm and blues, with a hell bent hard core Blues edge to it. As the show went on, it seemed that Eric went out on a limb and started adding more and more  lead guitar in there as if he started out afraid to show that he CAN play some solid licks of lead guitar. His voice mesmerizes me. I love the  emotional inflections of his voice. He pulled out a harmonica and wowed me with that. Backing him up was a sold drummer, Will McMains, upright double bass player Myles Weeks, and of course the wonderful saxophone playing of Derek Huston.
The crowd was all wound up dancing and hooting and hollering. They enjoyed the band very much.

Eric Lindell by Patty McGehee

As the night went on, Dan and I were dancing a bit.
Eric moved from one song to the next without a lull for the introduction of the songs, not leaving time for the crowd to show their appreciation.I found this a bit awkward. At one point Eric was having trouble with his amp but he did not let it un-nerve him. The band kept up the groove until it was fixed, minus his wah wah pedal.

Eric Lindell By Patty McGehee

 Eric Lindell taken by Patty McGehee

Eric Lindell picks up band members at whim, so he may show up for a show with completely different musicians on board than the last show you may have seen him with, but he has a knack of selecting professional seasoned musicians that know the New Orleans groove very well. I have seen him with completely different bands every time I have seen him. It was a fine night and we enjoyed talking to Fred Holland, owner of Ruby's Roadhouse after the show as well as Derek.

Myles Weeks by Patty McGehee

Derek Huston and Patty McGehee

Patty McGehee and Eric Lindell
Will McMains on drums & Derek Huston by Patty McGehee

Patty hugs Fred Holland, Owner of Ruby's Roadhouse

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