Did I mention in any of my previous blogs that I love this little town? I really do, nnot only for the great water views or the cool ships passing by our porch, but for its location and proximity to so many cool places and things to do. It would literally take me days to list and tell you about all of them, but today I'm going to talk about "Music Venues"- not just the local clubs that have great bands that you've never heard of, but some of the bigger venues and the incredible ease of visiting them. There is the "Rams Head Tavern" in Annapolis, just an hour away. My wife and I saw the fantastic "John Hiatt" there last year. Very intimate setting only about 300 seats, the seats are reserved, no rushing to get there early to get a seat, no standing, your own comfortable seat to not only watch and listen to the great band but also to dine on the wonderful meals they serve there. There are many places in Baltimore (again only an hour away) and there is the "Queen", a new music venue in Wilmington.
Hands down, our favorite venue is "World Cafe Live" in Philadelphia. WXPN (University of Pennsylvania radio station, one of the best in the country) runs both this establishment and the new "Queen" theater in Wilmington, Delaware. Easy to get to, it's right between the campuses of Penn and Drexel University, both alma maters of two of our daughters. The "WCL" has an upstairs (actually ground level) where you can dine and see great local and not so local bands that usually haven't yet made the big time, but always unique and talented performers. You can also dine on this level. Tickets are very reasonable usually not much more than $15.
Then there is down stairs - a larger venue with a big, almost acoustically perfect (both performers and patrons agree) stage with a lower level on the same level as the band, and a balcony. My guess is around 250 seats and not a single one is a bad one. Carol and I have been to about a half a dozen shows here and one of the best performances we have ever seen - "Sonny Landreth" the incredible blues, cajun master slide guitarist that can literally make his guitar sing, cry or explode and also great shows by "Crash Test Dummies" and "North Mississippi All stars". Then just last week we went to another great show.
For Carol's birth day we saw "Garland Jeffery's" on this same stage. Garland is a singer in a rock and roll band, I am embarrassed to say that I've only know about him for the past 6 months or so. He is nearly 70 years old, I laugh when I say that because his energy and dynamic voice on stage is that of a much younger man. He started putting out albums in the late 1960's and just this past August put out his most recent one "The King of In Between". He is from Brooklyn, N.Y. a streetwise poet, roommate and friend of "Lou Reed" at Syracuse University. He has also worked with Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling stones quite a bit. Many of the bands songs have a distinct "Stones" sound to them. His voice much more mellow than on some earlier albums, his songs are magic, many are based on three cord blues progressions but are so much more. His songs flow like almost no others I have listened to in recent years, melodic and soulful, some funky with a New York 60's Motown influence in them, but always a well defined rock and roll base to all of them. We have only his most recent CD but at the show we picked up an earlier one (recommended by his wife of 30+ years a youthful looking "Claire" who we met, she was proudly sitting behind a table selling his CD's and T shirts. He also has a 15 year old daughter "Savannah" who also sings and plays the guitar ( not with his band). Garland's show was great from start to finish and his band was great too, made up of a very talented line up of Mark his long time lead guitar player who sounds a lot like Keith Richards and actually looks like Mick Jagger, a long time excellent bassist, great drummer and a youngster who plays rhythm guitar keyboards and sings. A great night, we sat in the front row at a table, had a nice dinner, met some lovely folks from Victoria BC in town for a medical conference. After the show we got to say hello and thanks to Garland and got him to sign the newly purchased CD.
So if you've never heard of this artist like me 6 months ago just ask me to put it on in the dinning room the next time you visit, and remember any of you musicians that come for a relaxing stay I have 6 bass guitars, a lap steel slide guitar, mandolin and a uke and all kinds of percussion stuff. We're always up for a jam. Take care hope to see you soon. - Bob