Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tom Russell and Gretchen Peters " rock the house"

After a recent disaster where our basement got flooded with a foot of water and raw sewage, it was wonderful to get out of town and head down to Nashville to see two of my favorite musicians at 3rd & Lindsley. Gretchen Peters opened the show with Barry Walsh playing 8 of her own songs, including "If Heaven", which was recorded by Andy Griggs and 2 songs recorded by Martina McBride "The Secret of Life" and "Independence Day". Tom Russell followed with Thad Beckman and played 7 songs from his newest album "Blood and Candle Smoke. Tom also played fan favorites "Stealing Electricity" and "Whose Gonna Build the Walls" to a very receptive audience. The highlight of the night though was when Gretchen & Barry joined Tom & Thad for renditions of "Ash Wednesday" & "Guadalupe" and then legendary singer song-writer Nanci Griffith jumped on stage as well. I couldn't help but think of my friend Ken Bruen as he's described both "Ash Wednesday" & "Guadalupe" as his lifes story. It was a truly special evening and all the artist hung around after the show to visit with those in attendance. I got a chance to talk with Tom after the show and was pleased to hear that he's still writing and working on his first mystery novel, slowly but surely. Nashville was the last stop on a 14 city tour and Tom was soon to be headed back to Switzerland for a little down time, where he would have some time to write. That's always good to hear as Tom's one of the best song writers alive today & I know his mystery novel won't be anything less. I'm still holding out hope that some day we'll see a Tom Russell tune honoring JPS Brown, a friend to us both. Be on the lookout for Monte Hellman's new film with a soundtrack by Tom Russell. That's 2 giants in their respective fields collaborating there. Can't wait till 2011 and Tom's next tour. However, for now I'm simply thrilled that my Mother got to meet Gretchen & Tom on a night she'll long remember.

Winters Bone, A Don't Miss !!

Winters Bone finally made it's way to St. Louis over the weekend and played to sold out shows at the Plaza Fronteac. I got a chance to catch up with it on Sunday evening and I wasn't disappointed in the least bit. The movie was true to the book as far as staying with the story but was obviously missing Woodrell's haunting prose. The location shoot was fantastic and gave the movie a gritty feel that it needed. The actors turned in strong performances, especially John Hawkes and 19 yr. old Jennifer Lawrence, (who I told you would soon be a star back in March) who plays Ree Dolly and is the film's main character. Also giving strong showings were Dale Dickey & Garret Dillahunt in limited screen time. Debra Granik did a tremendous job as the films director, and you also might want to seek out her earlier film "Down to the Bone" from 2004 staring Vera Farmiga. Down to the Bone garnered Granik several film festival awards. My hope here, is that the film will draw the praise it deserves, and in the process bring Daniel Woodrell (the author) an even wider audience. Daniel Woodrell, along with William Gay, may be the two most deserving overlooked authors alive today...I would be willing to make that argument. If you haven't read Winters Bone, read it. If you haven't seen it, seek it. You won't be disappointed.