God Bless Americana
So a man walks into a bar. The man is like that old song: he doesn’t get around much anymore. His original plan was to stay home and re-watch Il Deserto Roso but that could be like watching paint peel on a Thursday night. (That’s an inside joke for the Antonioni cognoscenti out there.)
He’s there at his friend’s behest: “Come listen to live music at the Cinema Bar.” Sounds too perfect. Now, what to wear to this bacchanal? Ah yes, comfortable shoes.
It turns out the Cinema Bar is the “world’s smallest honky-tonk” with a long history of being a watering hole and showcase for LA’s Americana roots music scene. There was no cover and there were three bands on the bill.
SOUNDS THAT I LOVE
FIRST UP IS JOHN SURGE AND THE HAYMAKERS
This Long Beach-based band is perfect for The Cinema Bar stage: John Surge has some strong songs of heartbreak to put a tear in your beer, and his Haymakers pack a wallop. Lead guitarist Randy Volin is one rockin’ cat with some of the cleanest guitar lines this side of James Burton. They are always playing around town. Definitely worth a gander and a listen.
THE SOUNDS OF GHOSTS
Who would have ever thought that a trumpet would be providing the high lonesome sound for an American roots band? Well that’s The Sound of Ghosts. This wild bunch gives a nice aural twist to your expectations.
They’re young, they’re pretty, they’re a righteous dose of musical talent. There’s a first album in the works, but meanwhile here’s your homework assignment: Listen to The Sounds of Ghosts.
Last, but certainly not least, was Echo Sparks. Man came, saw, and was conquered by this trio. If you buy any music this year, buy “Torch Song” from their Ghost Town Girl album. It has a classic line that will send a shiver down the spine, it’s so good: “I’ll burn your house down if that woman is inside.”
They also paid homage to The Cinema Bar with a wicked cover of “Can’t Let Go”, the Lucinda Williams song penned by Randy Weeks, who used to play there quite a bit back in the day. And their version of Little Richard’s “Slippin’ and a Slidin'’” was Americana roots music at its essence.
So, anyway, a man walks into a bar, hits his knee, and says ouch. The pain comes from living. Moral of the story: it’s good to step out of the comfort zone, do some living and take in some good old glorious music.
Hugo is a contributing writer to the ConceptuaLine blog and an accomplished copywriter in both English and Spanish. Catch him on Friday nights supporting Lancer football.