Hey guys. Sorry for no post yesterday. I was planning on doing a Top 5 but an unexpected road trip kept me on the long black ribbon all day yesterday. Our guy, Adam Fenwick, checks back in on this here Thursday morning with a review of a cd that came out this month but was recorded back in 2001. Sound confusing? I’ll let Adam take it from here:
It’s always a special day when a concert that you’ve attended gets released on CD. I got to enjoy one of those special days recently when Warren Haynes presents The Benefit Concert Volume 3 was released to record stores across the nation.
For those not in the know, let me school you for a split second. Warren Haynes, the lead man of southern rock/jam band quartet Gov’t Mule, hosts the Warren Haynes Christmas Jam in Asheville, N.C., every year as a benefit to the local Habitat for Humanity organization.
The event, which will be in its 22nd year in 2010, started in a small bar in Asheville and has grown into a multi-night event at the Asheville Civic Center featuring some of the top musicians from all over the country.
Back on topic, this particular record chronicles the happenings of the 13th annual Warren Haynes Christmas Jam on Dec. 21, 2001, for which myself and several other members of my family were in attendance.
Admittedly I’d forgotten much of what I saw during this concert by the time I heard they were finally releasing it to the general public, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the record and refresh my ears.
Those appearing at the show in 2001 included the host Haynes and his band Gov’t Mule, Phil Lesh & Friends, Blues Traveler, Drivin’ ‘N’ Cryin, Alvin Youngblood Hart and a number of other special guests (including Robert Randolph, Edwin McCain, Jimmy Herring, Oteil Burbridge and Audley Freed, just to name a few).
The two-disc effort does a good job sampling songs from each set during the show, which started early and ended VERY late in the evening. The final song on the second disc (and of the evening) is a rocking version of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World” prefaced by a short “Masters of War” intro, performed by Gov’t Mule with the help of several other musicians.
My first exposure to Drivin’ N Cryin’ came via their national radio hit single and album of the same title, “Fly Me Courageous”. My friends and I probably listened to that album three times a day for an entire year. Matter of fact, when they came through town with Livin’ Color opening for them on the Fly Me Courageous tour, my little brother popped his parent-free concert cherry. However, by the time their 1993 followup “Smoke” came out four years later, there had been far too much time/life between the “Fly Me Courageous” high-schooler I had been and the then-twentysomething I had become, and Drivin’ N Cryin’ completely fell off my radar. That pretty much summed up my knowledge of D-n-C for the next 10+ years, up until I found alt-country and Kevn Kinney and realized he and D-n-C were tied at the hip. While I enjoyed Kevn’s solo material well enough, it never captured me the way that D-n-C album did and I just chalked that up to a period in time having passed. But then I received D-n-C’s 2009 effort, The Great American Bubble Factory, in the mail.
The Great American Bubble Factory is an unapologetic rock and roll record. No genre bending or boundary pushing, just straight blue collar rock and roll from Hot-lanta. There is a great quote from the press sheet that came with the cd that, I believe, does a fantastic job of framing this album both in sound and attitude that I feel inclined to share:
“I come from an industrial land of things that used to be: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Class of 79…a town, back then, that encouraged you to leave high school, get a job in a factory, get injured and then get workman’s compensation while picking up a side job at a liquor store or record store where you get paid under the table”
To further press the point, Kevn found the inspiration for the title track while buying bubbles for the neighborhood kids when he noticed that the label said they were “Made In Taiwan”. This led to Kevn wondering how America had reached the point where even our soapy water with a plastic wand was an import.
All of that said, this album isn’t a 12 track lament of the blue collar worker. No, quite the opposite, it’s an ode to the blue collar worker’s audacity to hope.