Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sorry, Hal!

My apologies to Hal Willner. If I'd been able to set up an interview, I would have devoted a couple of thousand words to your Neil Young Project, somewhere and somehow, to complement Alex Varty's deft overview of your work in The Straight. Granted, the piece might have had a thousand-or-two fewer readers than the Straight's article, but they'd have been pretty devoted Vancouver culture geeks (because who but the devoted picks up The Skinny or, hahahaha, finds this website?). They'd have been the sort of people who knew your work and maybe had a Weird Nightmare lying around. They likely already had tickets, anyhow, if they could afford'em.

Anyhow, rest assured that I did try to get in touch with you!

I'm still itching to see what your Neil Young Project will bring us, tho'. Since, on your past projects, you are not beneath bowing to utter necessity - like having Tom Waits do "Heigh Ho" or Nick Cave do Blind Willie Johnson's "John The Revelator," both of which are great choices precisely because they are absolutely obvious, Of-Course-It-Hadda-Be choices - I am assuming you will end the night with Lou Reed doing an electric, full band cover of "Cortez The Killer." I mean, I have no idea what to expect; I hope it's not rude to guess; and I'm sure you're not taking requests at this point - but that's what I imagine, in advance, the Maximum Attainable Musical Experience you might offer us might look like. It is very exciting indeed. (Do I gather Elvis Costello is now going to take the stage, too? What Neil Young song could he possibly cover?). The potential for this event (February 18th and 19th at the Q.E., by the by) is so high that I am scared to even let myself hope, lest I be disappointed...

Mind you, I know almost no one else that is going to perform during this project. I've heard a bit of Broken Social Scene and I kinda know a few of the names (Ron Sexsmith, Sun Kil Moon, etc) but I couldn't tell you what they sound like; I mean, I hardly follow pop music that's actually POPULAR these days. I do know the music of James Blood Ulmer; it seems to me that he is no longer mainly into harmolodics, a style of playing developed by Ornette Coleman (and check this clip of him with Don Cherry and Rashied Ali!), but has opted - presumably for career reasons - to tour and record in a more traditional blues style. I saw him do a set of his blues songs at the Yale a couple of years back. It was very easy to listen to - laid back, polished folk blues played effortlessly and engagingly - but was quite a bit less adventuresome than his earlier work with Ornette or his early solo albums, which had a much more challenging take on the form... The Yale audience ate it up, tho', and I was only a wee bit disappointed...

Now what Neil Young song could HE possibly cover? ("Revolution Blues?").

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