Saturday, March 21, 2009

729th Post - Tunes for Troubled Times

I have been hinting at the concert Patricia and I attended on Thursday night, March 19th. Now, I'll tell you a bit about it.

We first learned of this concert a couple of weeks ago when were handed a flyer at the Vinyl Cafe show. "Tunes for Troubled Times: Music of the Depression Era". There were several musical artists performing whom we liked very much, such as David Myles, and Linda Carvery. Others, we had heard of, but not heard their music. Morgan Davis frequently plays at Bearly's House of Blues in downtown Halifax; we eat there just as frequently but have never heard him play. Thom Swift is someone else I had heard of.


We had to go. I ordered the tickets online and they arrived in the mail on March 13th. Oh, frabjous joy!

On March 19th, the concert finally arrived. I worked all day, hard, because we're getting busy at work. I was more than a little bleary-eyed over dinner at the Pogue Fado. We drove to the Dalhousie Arts Centre, on the Dalhousie University Campus. Patricia saw the parking space before I did. I admired how I parallel parked. You really must go for a drive with me sometime, so that you, too, can admire my parallel parking.

We walked in to the Rebecca Cohn. There are signs up asking you not to record the show, or use a camera. As we entered the theater, the woman who took our ticket reminded us not to use a camera. Finally, a second person, who would have directed us to our seat had we been unable to find it, reminded us yet again about the camera prohibition. We get it! We get it.

We found our seats. The show began. Heidi Petracek of the CBC came out and introduced the evening to us. She did not admonish us another time not to record the show, thank goodness. She did introduce Erin Costelo, who performed, "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?", a classic Depression-Era tune. It was written by a fellow who lost his job on Wall Street because of the '29 Market Crash. A friend of his, a songwriter, told his friend to buy a rhyming dictionary and become one himself. This man used his life experience and that dictionary to write this song, which was a hit for many people including Bing Crosby.

David Myles came out. He said he would be hosting the evening as well as performing. He did "Big Rock Candy Mountain", the original version, not the one that was sanitized and became a song for children. It was the version written from the perspective of a hobo fantasizing about how grand life would be on that mountain, where the police had wooden legs, chickens lay soft-boiled eggs, and where they don't have to work all day. Marvelous.

Linda Carvery came out. She did two songs: A tune about her man who had gone away to fight in a war and was now unemployed (forget the name off the top of my head), and "Ain't Misbehavin'".

I am forgetting who did what, when. There was not one dull moment. We loved it all. Roxeen and Ryan Roberts did a couple of great songs together. David Myles came back out and performed "Dancing Cheek to Cheek", dancing around on the stage, by himself. His month of filling in for Stan Carew on CBC radio a couple of months ago has greatly improved his confidence level!

Thom Swift came out and did a song. I had heard of him but not heard him sing. I am a fan now. Where are his albums?

Susan Crowe came out. Not Cheryl Crowe, dummy. Susan Crowe.

Pastor Wallace Smith came out and blew the doors off the place. Why were my church ministers so dull?

After the intermission, there was a lot more of the same, only even better. Morgan Davis performed. All the people I just mentioned. One great tune, right after another.

The final song was "Good Night, Irene" performed by... everybody! They all came out for that one.

We hooted. We hollered. We clapped. We had a grand time. And both tickets cost me less than one Vinyl Cafe ticket cost Patricia.

Are you sorry you missed the show? You should be. But fear not: It will be broadcast on CBC radio in the coming months. I'll try to find out for you so that you can tune in.

I have been to many concerts in my life. I cannot think of a better one, or even one that was as good, as "Tunes for Troubled Times".

What a great evening! Can't wait to get out to something like that again.


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