Wednesday, November 10, 2004 ... 1:34 PM

First Times

Australian country music blogger Amanda at Flop Eared Mule writes of her first live Gil & Dave encounter:

I had built the concert up tremendously in my mind, counting down the days and immersing myself in the music although I worried a bit I was being set up for disappointment.

I wasn't.

Ah, does that ever sound familiar. What I love about the Gil & Dave show is that anyone who has heard about it, or who has been before, is surprised at how their high expectations were just kicked out of the way once the music started. I was lucky (or dumb) enough my first time to have relatively low expectations. I first saw them in April 2002 at the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville, soon after Time (The Revelator) hit the racks. I had been listening to Revival for awhile, and had recently picked up both Hell Among the Yearlings and Revelator, and was pretty fucking enamored of all three records -- had even, before getting Revelator, heard the duo on Prairie Home Companion croon a heart-breaking "Dear Someone" (listen) -- but somehow was not convinced that seeing them live could reveal much that T-Bone Burnett or RCA Studio B had not. The vocal arrangements were so specific, the instrumentation so sparse, the songs so simple -- how far off their own narrow path could two people with one guitar apiece really veer?

They opened that night with "One More Dollar," and that glorious weary rusted-out majestic broke-down sound slapped the skeptic right the fuck out of my head. I can get cynical about a lot of things if I let myself (try watching half your nation vote itself to ruin and see what that does for your love of God country fellowman), but it's impossible to feel cynical watching these two people play their lonesome songs in front of a sold-out house. I learned a lesson that night about what can be done on stage that can not be done on a record -- something I knew, but had never felt so dramatically or indelibly -- and I have learned my lesson several times since then, and can relive it by watching people see the Gil & Dave show the first time themselves, and hear the inevitable, irrepressible afterglow sigh about how all their expectations got blown by the wayside.

So if you're one of the 5 people who didn't get here from there in the first place -- read the rest of Amanda's Gil & Dave review here:



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Making Notes: Music of the Carolinas
(Novello Festival Press, April 2008)
includes my essay, "Link Wray"


Flop Eared Mule
The Celestial Monochord
Dig and Be Dug in Return
Modern Acoustic Magazine / Blog
The Old, Weird America
Honey, Where You Been So Long?

The Greensboro Review
Mixed Animal
Night Train
Fried Chicken and Coffee
Mungo (This was the blog of my friend, the late Cami Park. Miss you, Cami.)
Staccato Fiction
PANK Magazine

Cat and Girl
Film Freak Central