Hard to believe as it is, Johnny Cash bid us farewell eleven years ago on the crest of a late fame surge courtesy of ‘The American Recordings’. He sang homage to America in ”Ragged Old Flag’ and backed the downtrodden American Indians via ‘Ira Hayes’. So how can a man from Leverkusen ever dare to think he can step onto the Harmonie stage and play music so quintessentially from another continent with conviction? Texas Heat is the name of his band and they’re hot.
I met Layla Zoe for the first time in April 2011. It wasn’t until later that year that I first heard her incredible voice singing live, but I got to witness first hand just how important music was to the girl labelled affectionately ‘Canadas Darling of the Blues’. She had come down to Koblenz for a concert by Ana Popovic and her journey down had been a bad one for reasons I won’t go into, but what I will always remember from that day is Layla suggesting that maybe she could sing a song that evening – as a way to get the bad experience out of her system.
For Layla Zoe music was, and as you will find in my interview still is, the best medicine. Her last release ‘The Lily’ was one of my favourite discs of last year, so when I heard that Layla would be supporting Henrik Freischlader for his show at the Harmonie Bonn on March 19 I took the chance to try and find out why making music is so important to her.
‘Woargh!’ and ‘Kerrang!’ It’s been a long time since I had hair long enough to shake it. Luckily though I still have my ‘Air Guitar’, because Tuesday night was Metal Night at the Harmonie as Swedens finest Bonafide made a welcome return courtesy of Mr Music.
Can you improve on 12 legendary concerts? Julian Sas made it 13 on Saturday, and it was another memorable evening for the Harmonie record books.
“When we were selling 50,000 records a week,” remembers Chris Barron, “I’d walk into a mall to buy underwear and 300 kids would surround me!” A Harp playing blues girl and a powerpop band that a few years ago was all the rage with commercial tunes and witty lyrics. Stacie Collins was blowing harp and Chris Barrons band The Spin Doctors were prescribing a good time for all. The only losers were those who stayed at home.
The publicity for his present solo concerts is based on recollections of a rocking night at the Grughalle Essen in 1980, my own decision to visit the Harmonie on Monday was the memory of some great albums made by the man in the late 1970’s, and most of the audience were of an age that suggested this probably wasn’t their first Graham Parker concert, but also that the last was a long time ago. Carrying the past on your back is a heavy burden, Chobhams biggest music hero seemed unconcerned about the load.
“Three or four years ago I just started listening to the music again. All the old albums I’d played on… and thought: ‘This is great!'”
– Gerry McAvoy
It’s a funny thing. One man’s favourite musician is another man’s signal to head for the bar. One man’s great guitar solo is another man’s ‘too many notes too loud’ and one man’s hero is another man’s villain. With one notable exception: Rory Gallagher. I’ve yet to find anyone with a bad word to say about the Irish Bluesrock icon. So why, when longtime Gallagher bassist Gerry McAvoy came to write about his life on the great man’s road, did Gallagher’s brother try to stop publication? In an exclusive interview, 3Songsbonn asked McAvoy, former Gallagher drummer Ted McKenna and the man they both believe is the closest thing to Rory Gallaghers sound this side of the celestial Blues Chorus – Marcel Scherpenzeel for their views on the man and his magic.
“Motörhead meets Muddy Waters” is how Ted Horowitz aka Popa Chubby describes his own musical style. With a love for the Blues and musical roots buried deep in the Punk scene of his native New York City, Chubby concluded that if Blues is the root of contemporary music then it should be at least as ‘dangerous’ as the Rock and Punk it spawned. At least that’s how I explain the steely edged Stratocaster shrieks, and the volume that occasionally threatens to reach mark 9 on a scale of ten, but for the most part remains at it’s 10 max. Even the bodies packed tightly into every available orifice of the Harmonie couldn’t absorb so much sound. There’s a sticker on Chubby’s guitar saying ‘Support your local Hells Angels Geneva’ Maybe it should say instead – ‘This guitar can seriously damage your health’. Certainly the skulls emblazoned on it’s strap are a warning.