Friday, July 29, 2011

Outlaw Songwriter

We were honored to have one of the Texas country outlaws perform at the Narrows, Ray Wylie Hubbard. It was his second appearance over our 10 year history.

He, of course, enlivened Friday night with his songs, such as "Drunken Poet Dream" which he co-wrote with Narrows fave Hayes Carll. And "Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother," made famous by Jerry Jeff "Mr. Bojangles" Walker.

But his between-song patter was entertaining as well, telling stories of how he admired his grandfather's guitar (on the stand in the photo above), though grandpa wouldn't let him play it--and sold it to Ray on his deathbed ("I wrote him a hot check"). And being whacked by his grandmother at something like eleven years old for smoking a corncob pipe behind the smokehouse. Even then he understood the irony of the situation, he said.

Hope Ray will come back and visit soon.

Monday, July 18, 2011


Marc Cohn showed how a singer-songwriter can be entertaining as well as thought-provoking during his Narrows' performance Monday night. Tunes to contemplate, yes; but he didn't forget to rock either, with the help of extraordinary guitarist Shane Fontayne.

Marc's highly entertaining last CD was called Listening Booth: 1970, covering "The Letter" and other songs from that year. It was released in 2010, and chart-wise has been his most successful.

Did a little write up on it here.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hoppin' Thursday Night

A beautiful Thursday night in July turned hoppin' as rockabilly's Kim Lenz and the Jaguars made their Narrows debut before the local sock hoppers.

Is it retro? Is it nostalgia? (Hey, she writes a lot of her tunes, so they're not really oldies.)

No matter. Whether it's Big Sandy, Deke Dickerson (coming in September) or Kim Lenz, the bottom line is "fun."

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Serious Fun

He's a serious artist who doesn't take himself too seriously.

For decades the ukelele was defined for many as a novelty instrument. Tiny Tim, a beloved act in the 1960s (and no stranger to Fall River, btw, playing this area frequently until his passing), had a ukelele hit with the campy "Tiptoe Thru the Tulips," warbling the tune in falsetto.

Now Hawaii's Jake Shimabukuro is defining the instrument worldwide, and others, like Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, who recently released a ukelele recording, are in his shadow. And he showed why Saturday night at the Narrows.

Aside from his instrumental prowess--which is in the same league as another Narrows fave, the California Guitar Trio--he's an entertainer, mixing artistry with amusing stories about growing up and going to high school.

A fabulous night and a sold out show (featuring two openers Tripping Lily and Jimmy Buffet discovery Ilo Ferreira) streamed live on Should be in their archives soon.

I leave you with a must-see: Jake and his version of George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." Nearly 1.4 million views on YouTube.

Thursday, July 07, 2011


It could have been WZLX at the Narrows Thursday night.

And why not?

Hall of Famer Dave Mason was on the bandstand!

Traffic, the Stones, George Harrison, even Fleetwood Mac--he jammed with 'em all.

He wrote "Feelin' Alright," a monster for Joe Cocker, and a rock 'n' roll staple. "We Just Disagree" was a hit for him solo.


Friday, July 01, 2011

New York Across the Water

Dancing Backwards in High Heels--New York Dolls--Narrows alum David Johansen, along with the other original Doll, Sylvain Sylvain, and other players gathered recorded this in Newcastle, England and mixed it there and in California.

But from note one it sounds New York, circa 1966, in the lyrics, in the noisy reverb-soaked production, and as they show their devotion to girl groups like the Shangri-Las, particularly in their backing vocals. Check out the video for "Fool for You Baby (Dom Dom Dippy). "

At this writing they're touring with hair metallers Motley Crue and Poison, two groups who borrows their looks if not their sound from the Dolls. A quick comparison: the Dolls in 1973. Fast-forward a decade and a half for Poison.

A clangy, goofy recording (lyrics like "Mello like a cello like Pablo Casals" and "I'm so fabulous, you're Las Vegius") that, in parts, sounds straight from a soundtrack of a "hip" 1960s movie. Garage rock, replete with a farfisa organ. Nobody makes records like this.