4.28-4.29.2010, ftw/oak cliff
stopped for dinner at pappa chang's, which i've been wanting to check out because it's a fave of teague's (prolly because they'll make anything on the menu veggie). was amused at the waitress telling a phone order customer "sorry, i'm busy, i can't help you anymore" in a near-empty place after apparently trying for ten minutes to get them to read her the expiration number on their credit card so she could run it. it wasn't hard to understand her, so it must have been either a stolen card number or an incredibly dense person. we weren't knocked out by the food, although they do have gigantic (for an asian place) bowls of soup.
stayed up way too late, got up with my sweetie to transcribe the t. tex edwards interview tape (four hours to do a one-hour convo, my feedback-scorched ears struggling to pick words out of a cloud of static). now just waiting for a burn of the nervebreakers' new recordings so i can finish the piece. napped the afternoon away, then headed out to oak cliff with my sweetie to see mark growden at the kessler theater.
ate dinner at norma's cafe there; just as good as i remembered from 30 years ago, when i lived in that 'hood (a block from the kess, in fact). her breakfast steak was cooked medium rare, our waitress brought condiments and drinks without being prompted, the rolls were like heaven, my club sammie was huge and delish, and it was actually a plus to be able to hear how hard the crew was workin' for us ("I NEED ROLLS, PLEASE!").
on the way in, ran into the gonzalez brothers, aaron and stefan, enroute from their parents' house to their own cribs and other shows. michael henry tillman was holding forth in the li'l room when we got there, playing soulful classical-spanish-jazz-inflected toonage on a nylon-string guitar. t. horn had been hangin' there with a coupla coworkers from the charter school where he teaches. the rest of the ftw contingent -- carl and tina pack, billy wilson, the magical ash adams -- showed up awhile later. carl and tina were heading over to tradewinds social club later, where his ex-gideons guitarist chuck rose was playing with his new band, grass valley (who'll be at the kess on thursday, 5.27).
michael opened the evening in the big room, singing as well as playing in a percussive style that put me in mind of bluesman corey harris' charlie patton-inspahrd guitar-spanking antics. mr. tillman won the ftw mob over with his take on buena vista social club's signature song "chan chan." made me wish jesse the painter coulda been there. later on, i found out that carlos salas, who owns the cliff notes bookstore that just moved into the same building as the kess, is a northside ftw expat who knows william bryan massey III and came up with jesse. uncle walt was right.
mark growden played an incandescent show to an audience that's grown since he played the kessler opening night, five weeks earlier. he's been a busy boy since then, touring and recording his next album with his "banjo band" in tucson. later this year, he'll cut a third album for porto franco records with his l.a. band, which includes himself on accordion and sax, two other sax players, two upright bassists, and a female drummer. (he says they "have less to prove" than male drummers, and claims he likes "the center of gravity lower" for his tub thumper.)
mark played a generous portion of his new saint judas album, including the gorgeous "if the stars could sing," as well as a couple of songs that'll be on the aforementioned upcoming release tucson. he'd spent the afternoon in ovilla with banjo maker chuck lee and waxed enthusiastic about the instrument-builder's creations. he played the receptive audience as adeptly as he did his axes (this time including sruti box as well as banjo and accordion), and closed with a cover of leonard cohen's "i'm your man" that was clearly as anticipated as it was well received. mark managed to hustle a gig in denton at the harvest house that you should catch if you're in "little d" tonight. he'll be back at the kessler in september; so will we.
had to cut out before jazz guitarist bill longhorse's trio took the stage, but from the vid liles posted, it looks like we should take the oppo to check him out another time. tonight's the first night of "other texas music" at the fort worth community arts center. i'll be closing the market tonight, but i'll be playing the second night with HIO tomorrow. hooray!