Tuesday, October 16, 2007

How the Blues Heals my Blues

Music heals the soul and my soul is in dire need of healing. So, I have been submerging myself in music as if it were a body of water. I have been diving into the sounds, swimming through the chords, floating on the rhythms, surfing the ripples and waves.
I am truly blessed to be surrounded by friends (guitarist Jim McCarty - above; Johnny "Bee" on drums) who also happen to be extraordinary musicians. And I was fortunate, this past weekend, to witness
a rare event . . . to immerse my soul into Blues, Jazz and Rock and Roll . . . to hear four of the most talented musicians in the country who for two nights called themselves The James Montgomery Band. They played Sunday night (Oct 14) at Dylan's Raw Bar and Grille (previously Tom's Oyster Bar) on Mack in Grosse Pointe. The owner, John, is also James' brother (below)
James Montgomery - blues legend, harmonica and lead vocals - grew up in the Detroit area (he now lives in Boston) and learned first-hand from James Cotton, John Lee Hooker and Jr. Wells. He has recorded with Gregg Allman, Kid Rock; he has toured with Aerosmith, Springsteen, Steve Miller, Allman Brothers, Bonnie Raitt; and has jammed on stage with B.B King, Patti LaBelle, Charlie Daniels, Mick Jagger, and many other music legends.

David Hull - (above - on tour with Aerosmith) bass guitarist - resides in Boston and has played with the Buddy Miles Express, Joe Perry Project (he wrote many of their songs) and most recently toured with Aerosmith - filling in for bassist Tom Hamilton while he was recovering from throat cancer - during the first part of the 2006 Tour. (He played for a time in Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsies and is rumored to have played at Hendrix's funeral.)

Johnny "Bee" Badanjek
- Detroit's greatest rock drummer extraordinaire - originally from the band Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels - who were known for their hits; CC Rider, Devil in the Blue Dress, Sock it to me, Jenny Take a Ride . . . played and recorded with Alice Cooper (Welcome to my Nightmare); Edgar Winter (Free Ride); Dr John, Bob Segar, Bruce Springsteen, Ronnie Montrose . . . Co-founded the Rockets and wrote almost all of their material.
(Left: Johnny "Bee," Ryder and McCarty during the Wheels days)

And then we come to my friend and one of the top ten guitarists in the country (the world): The legendary guitarist Jim McCarty. Jim played guitar with Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels;

Cactus (left- also called The American Led Zepplin;
of Long Tall Sally fame); the Rockets (Oh Well); Buddy Miles Express; Mystery Train (his current band); he also played and recorded with countless legendary musicians like our own Bob Segar and he played one-on-one with the one and only Jimi Hendrix. Jim has been an inspiration to many rock guitarists who looked up to him and learned from him - like Eddie Van Halen, Ted Nugent. In fact, Ted was quoted in a 2006 VH1 interview as saying: "I'm the only guy in Rock'n'Roll that plays that hollow body jazz guitar and it's because in 1960 I saw Jimmy McCarty creating those big fat full chords like I do on "Stranglehold"; I learned that from Jimmy McCarty. Remember the name Jimmy McCarty. He is as important as Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry and Les Paul ...A god on guitar."
"Oh Well" I recorded this on my camera - it is dark and not the best sound since I was right by the speaker - but Jim's solo is amazing!

Well, need I say how phenomenally well these guys played together and how amazing the music sounded and how fantastic of a time I had? Words can't express it anyway. I will never forget it - that is for sure. And to add more fun into the mix, my dear friend Monica Reed had an afterglow party at her lake view home in Grosse Pointe Park. She is such an amazing woman - with so much energy, charisma, beauty and talent. I will write more about her
- an admirable woman of integrity - in the near future on my Sacred Footing blog.
Jim McCarty continues to entertain his fans (blow us away with his incredible talent, skill and passion) around town at places like
the Blue Goose Inn in Saint Clair Shores and Memphis Smoke in Royal Oak. He is even better these days, if that is possible, according to one of his close friends; well-known guitarist and studio musician: Vince Knight.
Jim and Vince will be playing together Wednesday, October 17 at the Blue Goose Inn at 28911 Jefferson Avenue, St. Clair Shores. Michigan. For information call 586-296-0950.
If you live in Michigan, especially the Detroit metropolitan area; or you will be traveling through - do not miss the opportunity to see and hear one of the greatest guitarists of all time, Jim McCarty.

Now, getting back to how music heals my soul: it's funny how sad music, like the blues and songs written to invoke the pain hidden inside, can actually heal one's heart and soul in a gentle and loving way. One of my girl-friends and I had a code saying;
"It's a Sarah kind of day," when things in life were less than good . . . when things in life had us depressed . . . referring to Sarah McLachlan, the melancholy goddess of gloom and contemplation.

Bernie Taupin said it best when he wrote the lyrics for the Elton John song: Sad Songs

Guess there are times when we all need to share a little pain
And ironing out the rough spots
Is the hardest part when memories remain
And it's times like these when we all need to hear the radio
`Cause from the lips of some old singer
We can share the troubles we already know

Turn them on, turn them on
Turn on those sad songs
When all hope is gone
Why don't you tune in and turn them on

They reach into your room
Just feel their gentle touch
When all hope is gone
Sad songs say so much

If someone else is suffering enough to write it down
When every single word makes sense
Then it's easier to have those songs around
The kick inside is in the line that finally gets to you
and it feels so good to hurt so bad
And suffer just enough to sing the blues

Sad songs, they say
Sad songs, they say
Sad songs, they say
Sad songs, they say so much

And that's how the blue's heals my blues.


Stewart Sternberg said...

I have worried of late that the guitar has gone unappreciated. New music has been nothing but bass lines and annoying lyrics that are nothing but awkward and hormonal expressions of teen angst. Ah the sweet irritation of urban anger and phallic insecurity. But I'll put aside any discussion of Mr. Half Dollar.

It's good to have some true guitarists and guitar fans around. See you Thursday.

eric1313 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eric1313 said...

I love the Blue Goose. I used to go play at the open jams there quite a bit.

I'll have to drive up to the city sometime soon, bring my Stratocaster and play there. I miss it intensely. I've been practicing again, almost every night since moving. It and my writing are on all new levels.

The blues will heal you, that is for sure.

And thanks for your comment on my blog, Lindy. Funny thing was I was listening to Hendrix's Voodoo Soup, and the song Belly Button Window started playing right when I was answering your comment.

Pschic or chance, it's all good when coincidences like that happen.

I appreciate your comments greatly. Say anything any time.

Take care
and peace out...

Erik Donald France said...

Wow, fascinatng! I'll keep an ear out for these dudes (and right on re: the Blues and music in general).

I've been to the Blue Goose and Memphis Smoke, but not Dylan's (I saw Bob Dylan, but you know what I mean ;)

Michelle's Spell said...

Hey Lindy,
LOVE the blues! Would choose it over almost any other music. When I get depressed, I'm all about listening to Robert Johnson, Howlin Wolf, and John Lee Hooker. I love the code -- it's a Sarah kind of day! The music all my friends used for break-ups was Erikah Badu. My friend Hank used to fear her powers! Of course, he was also a blues musician. Strange how it all fits together.

Pythia3 said...

Stewart, the studio musician is almost extinct these days, from what I've heard from my musician friends. I hope REAL instruments never lose their appeal and charm.

Eric1313 -I'd love to hear you play sometime. Let me know when you'll be around town with your Stratocaster - and keep picking away and penning away. You are so talented.

Erik, yes, definitely keep your ears and eyes open - I'll drop you a line when a spectacular event like last Sunday is going to happen again.

Hey Michelle, I put some Erikah Badu on this morning in honor of you :) And men should all fear the powers of strong, amazing women!

3:27 PM

the walking man said...

I started listening to the blues when I was very young, now I can see the influence it has had on all other forms of music that came after it.

But for my blues Lindy, nothing but me can get me out of them and sometimes I just let my mind stay in that space because it is just as viable as being happy eh?



Pythia3 said...

But Mark, once you know you're in them (the state of the blues) the zen is gone. Then you are walking around knowing you are in the blues which is longer a true state.
What can I do to help?