When it comes to music I need advance notice. I need a schedule. I need a plan. I think that’s why last month’s trek to Worcester was so weird. It’s really rare when I catch a performance on a whim, when I don’t know the whole game plan. It’s like a perfect storm – everything needs to be aligned – conditions exact.
Why am I saying this? Where am I going with this? Sean Rowe. I caught his live radio show completely by accident. Here’s what happened:
Today was a farm day. Depressing. Everything is started to die. Damp, sour, rot. There is decay in the fields. Tomatoes and tomatillos lie dirt bound, their green leaves history. A quietness in the raspberry bushes. They no longer buzz with the frenzy of bees and butterflies. It’s getting too cold. I didn’t stay long. I stocked up on carrots, purple onions, bok choy, spinach, arugula, and kale. Carefully cut bouquets of basil, oregano, flat leaf parsley, thyme and rosemary… then sadly turned away.
At home the sadness hung off my shoulders, made me heavy and tired. Determined to get lost in sunny California I read The Nowhere City by Alison Lurie until sleep dropped my book and closed my eyes. When I woke I checked email and found Surprise and sheer luck. Sean was live in the 97.7 wnex studio and shock of all shocks, I hadn’t miss it. I had 2 minutes to spare, even. Shocker. I connected without confusion. Here’s the setlist:
- Jonathan ~ did NOT expect to hear this one. It’s one of my favorites.
- Wrong side of the bed
It was nice to hear Sean talk about the music. Don’t get me wrong, I like hearing him sing. But, But! There is something to what he says when he sings. There is something to where he is going with his songs. I like hearing about that, too. It makes the music move in different ways, if that makes sense.
So, thank you wnex, thank you Sean for the nice surprise. Can’t wait for the new album! It will be ‘Magic’ (pun completely intended)!
I never remember to write a setlist while Rebecca is singing. I never try to write a review while in the midst of her music. It is hard enough to acknowledge the friends and family around me let alone pay attention to pen and paper.
Yet. And yet trying to review after the fact is always a daunting task. The mind is a funny thing. I might remember something out of order. I may remember something that may or may not have ever happened. Who really knows?
But, here is how I think it went:
- Tell Kyle
- Miss You
- Nashville (? new song)
- Hold Me
- Raining in Georgia**
* Encore encouraged by Vance Gilbert
** Performed with Vance Gilbert
After a small confusion with the tickets we all finally got seated and situated in a darker than dark corner. We sat at a high, wobbly table on stools too high for me. I remained half standing, turned away from my party in order to enjoy the show.
Rebecca looked great. Summer has agreed with her (love the haircut – somehow it looks different from the last time we saw her). She opened at the keyboard with Breathe, the song she wrote when she was just 16 years old. I always picture something different every time I hear this song. She didn’t go back to the keyboard again, but played guitar for the rest of the set. I’m not sure of the order of the rest of the show except the last two songs.
I’m sure Nashville isn’t the name of the new song but Rebecca told a funny story about how when she moved there she missed Massachusetts…but as soon as she came home she wrote a song about coming home…to Nashville. I know exactly how she feels. I have that same pull to Colorado.
Hold Me is always going to devastate me. I can remember the day after I finished running 13.1 miles for LLS I found out someone I had been running in honor of had since passed, my friend’s cancer was back with a vengeance and Rebecca’s mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. It made me feel like everything I had been fighting for failed in some twisted, horrific way. Rebecca’s mom was at the show and I’m sure she had tears of pride in her eyes as she heard Hold Me.
I am greatful to Vance for getting Rebecca back on the stage to sing Home, the Cowboy Christmas song. It’s definitely one of my favorites from the Turks album (it ends the album). I love the fiestiness of it.
As a special treat Vance Gilbert asked Rebecca to join him for a song. No other headliner does that (least not while I’m there). They sang Raining in Georgia together. At first it was simply amazing. Then it turned funny as they tried to outdo each other (last time they did this Rebecca ended up doing a handstand on stage because she couldn’t compete with Vance’s scat abilities). Rebecca’s voice has a richness to it. It takes you places. As Vance said, Rebecca has the voice of a broken angel. So, so true.
Thanks for the tears, girl. They needed to be shed.
Notes to myself.
You must remember the coffee is terrible. You must remember the chairs are dreadful. You must remember to buy merchandise directly through the performer’s website and not at the venue. These are things you should already know about the Iron Horse. Here are some new ones: You also must remember not to order the fries. They do not resemble potatoes in the slightest; the waitstaff definitely will not remember to bring you vinegar and above all else, you will let these so-called potato things grow cold while Rebecca sings.
Here are other things you could do well to remember: For starters, do not be afraid to get up and move around in order to take better pictures of Rebecca’s performance. You really should know by now that any more than ten feet away is going to render your little elf useless.
Second of all, and this is something you definitely should know by now: remember to bring tissues. Face facts. Some of Rebecca’s music hits home and hurts to the bone. You are going to cry whether you want to or not. At some time or another it’s going to happen. It’s a sure thing if ‘Hold Me’ is on the imaginary set list so suck it up and bring tissues.
To be continued…
The slightly negative imagery is the only way for me to explain what has been happening. While this sounds bad it’s not. It’s a good thing. Honestly.
I’m getting tripped up in Sean Rowe’s music. Here’s that awful analogy – it’s like trying to escape from a sticky situation and finding yourself more and more entrapped & entangled. It’s starts off uncomplicated, of little consequence until it’s all consuming. I know I’m not making sense but I can’t explain it. For the longest time I was fixated on another kind of music. Some say obsessed. I’d say they weren’t that far off. It took getting over the addiction to open my ears to something else. And that something else led me to Sean Rowe. Here’s another analogy – being stuck in a room full of smokers, choking on fumes, unable to find the door. Fumbling, stumbling until I can open a window and breathe. The fresh air is the new music I am craving.
Everyone knows I am locked in by lyrics. Anything beyond Ooh Baby Baby, anything with an ounce of thought gets my attention. I can remember sitting with Melanie from the band sirsy and listening to her explain the research behind Mercury. Before even hearing it the song became a favorite. Why? Because there was some intelligence in the process. There was some thought to the theme.
Such is Sean’s music. The last time I saw him I called ‘Jonathan’ creepy. I was worried I would offend, but truly it was the only way to explain how the lyrics moved through me, pausing to strangle my heart and moving on to choke my emotions. It was creepy the power this song had (and still has) over me.
This last time to see Sean was something else. This was the first time hearing covers. This was the first time I had to shut out the obnoxious barflies who simply wouldn’t shut up. I shut my eyes and concentrated on the words. I had to shut down the urge to kill the useless conversations around me.
I still like ‘Wet’ best. It’s like a beauty born out of tragedy.
‘Trademark of Fools’ is still amazing as is ‘Alone.’
We thought that July 11th might make for an interesting trip, but I have carrots with my name on them. I think 8/1 is the next fix. I’ll wear my new shirt 😉
I wanted to wait a little while before writing about Sean’s gig because, well, because I needed to take it all in. It’s funny how music works that way on me. Sometimes it just reaches out and takes hold and won’t let go. Sometimes it thieves my heart away and other times it just leaves me silent.
In the past I wanted to drag as many people as possible to see shows. Promote, promote, promote! It got to the point where I had exhausted the friend list and got nothing in return. It got to that been-there, done-that, same ole-same ole routine. Some fans didn’t stick while others have stuck around to this day. It use to stress me out – that line of lovers and haters. These days I go where I want to go and don’t worry about the fan base, the fanfare. It’s gotten simpler. Much.
So, seeing Sean started out as something unexpected. Back when I first heard his music I froze in the middle of the floor. I must have looked ridiculous and I’m sure I got laughed at. I’m going to skip the oft-mentioned review of how his voice sounds and tell you what really grabbed me. I hear drums in this one-man, one-guitar show. I hear a beat so loud and solid I can do nothing more than stop and stare; barely breathe. Combine that with absolutely amazing lyrics and I have been hooked ever since.
So, the four of us made the tiny trek north. We wandered around town, peering into shop windows, our minds tasting the menus plastered there, lazily looking for the best place for a bite. We settled on a new place – first night open to the public. Good food, better atmosphere, great service. I made a mental note to come back. I know someone who would think it perfect.
Mocha Maya’s. Just in time for music. Sean Rowe (Speaking of perfect).
I have to admit I had to ask Sean for a set list because a) he has new music I haven’t heard before & new(er) ones I have yet to commit to memory. Here’s what he remembers:
Jonathan (the song I called ‘creepy’. I don’t expect anyone to understand that…It’s why I love Halloween).
Rock me baby
why i sing the blues
I also think In the Diamonds was in there somewhere, but I have no idea why. We did listen to Sean on the way up to the gig…
My new favorite song: Wet. Beyond beautiful. Sean doesn’t have it on his website as a free listen-to, but it will be on the new album due out Sept 4th, 2008 (hopefully)…
My next gig: July 4th!
It finally dawned on me that I should post a formal announcement that Rebecca’s show in Simsbury has been canceled. I had forgotten that I had promised free drinks to anyone who showed up. Sorry ’bout that. Next time she has a gig anywhere close to here I will renew the invitation. In the meantime, visit her myspace page for other gigs, new photos and music!
Of course I will have to write something a bit more about this (how could I not?), but for now here’s this:
- Autumn Lullabye
- Man in the Wilderness
- The Letter
- Sonnet #73
- Life is Sweet
- Verdi Cries
- Spring and Fall: To a young Child
- Henry Darger
- This House is on Fire
- The End
For now, I am stunned into silence. More later.