Saturday, February 20, 2010

Billy Falcon's Sowing Circle

When I first got to Nashville, I came under the pretense of having a new booking agent who had steady work lined up for me that was to start the weekend I moved here. Then it turned out he was a fraud, and I had no work, no money, and no time. In the intervening 6 months before I was finally able to leave again on tour, I did two things - wash dishes in a kitchen, and go to Billy Falcon's Sowing Circle. I stumbled upon it as a total accident, but it was a great accident. After that, Thursday nights offered the only moments of salvation I would have for quite some time.

Billy, who writes songs with Bon Jovi from time to time - and has had his songs covered by Stevie Nicks and Joe Cocker among others - has a humble Thursday night residency at the Blue Bar here in Nashville, during which he plays with a very big and very loud band, and has all sorts of guests come up on a weekly basis to sit in, perform on their own, or do whatever. He's got to like you, but if he does, it's great! He sounds big Jersey cityscape, which is where he's from. So I also know he knows the difference between real pizza and pizza here in the south. Part of the ensemble is his immensely talented daughter, Rose. So far, I've had the privilege of writing with Rose twice, and tomorrow we are actually getting together at Billy's home studio to demo one of our songs because we both like it so much. Then Billy's making us pasta! Anyway, the song's called, "Always Coming Home To You" or "Always Coming Home", or something like that.

Since I've been in town for a week, I got to go to Sowing Circle not once, but twice. They're starting a new Friday night residency at a 12 week old club called Center Stage. This place has a big stage with some ramps, and what is surely the coolest backdrop in all of Tennessee - a wide, bright orange photograph mural of west Texas oil fields! Some of you know I've driven out to west Texas a lot over the last few years of touring, and find it to be one of the most barren, unforgiving, and beautiful landscapes this country has to offer. I age every time I go out there, yet am better for it. Kind of like when you sift through trash for money. Or like Joe Ely says, "Lubbock is a romantic place...if you've just gotten out of the pen."

You can't really tell in the picture how dominating this visage is to the theatrical centerpiece of the club, but you can see Billy and the band standing around between two songs.

What I usually do at Sowing Circle is sing one or two of my songs solo, or with Kenny Wenner (the excellent saxophonist) accompanying me. Then the full band comes out - drums, bass, 2 electric guitars, sax, fiddle, percussion, and tons of people banging on pickle buckets (how rock and roll started)- and we do Bruce Springsteen's "She's The One". It is so much fun. A wise man once offered me the advice that if I ever do cover anything (which I don't that often), covering Bruce in general isn't really a smooth move for me, as I already kind of have a Bruce bone in my identity. In this situation though, I really can't help myself - I'm like a kid in a candy store - sugar, more sugar!

I wish I had footage to show you of me doing with with the SC crowd, but all I can really leave you with is......Bruce doing it in 1978! One of the most awesome live performance clips you ever will see (bootleg video quality aside, that is). Enjoy!!

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