When is a recording session not a recording session? When it’s much, much more. You know what I mean. When it’s an actual, verifiable musical event taking place within the walls.
Earlier this month at Brunswick Recording in Troy, under the spectacular engineering leadership of Mike Hickey, it happened again. The gorgeous facility hosted the reunion/comeback sessions for the upcoming Urban Gumbo release, timed to be ready for (cross those fingers!) their big, splashy debut at Pauly’s Hotel in Albany on Friday, December 20.
Did I say splashy? Hey, you at the bar, could you be a little more careful, how about?
Is Lisa Gordon going to be Troy’s answer to Katy Perry? Well… what’s the question? Does she have the same fetching hairdo, the same bright, eager sparkle, the same vague sense of some kind of a Wonder Woman? I guess so… but these are skin deep.
What Lisa can do so much better is really sing, really howl with authority. Sometimes it’s a cheerful, happy howl, sometimes it’s anguishing. With her, you always feel like she’s taking you to the wild places, where strong emotions run riot. So far, the whole collaboration that’s going under the name Urban Gumbo makes a spectacular backdrop for her brilliant, biting songwriting and confessional caterwauls.
But I know your real question: will a damnably fickle public respond? See in her fireworks the credentials of a diva fit for pop royalty? How am I supposed to know??? I tell you what, though… I for one am going to stay tuned.
A funny thing happens to a band like Urban Gumbo, when they are determined to make the album that will be their breakthrough. Everyone starts focusing very specifically, pouring all the psychic energy they can muster into creating this amorphous, vaporous thing – this pounding, throbbing beat that fills the room. They are dedicated to the proposition that this beat has a limitless, uplifting, mesmerizing force – if they do it right, everyone within earshot will be stunned and transported into another realm for a few minutes.
It’s always struck me how incredibly delicate this is: the fine, fine touch it takes to see that it unfolds just right. All the players really need to think as one – which obviously is the result of talent, skills and practice, practice, practice… but it’s something more – something subliminal and magical that will always be mysterious.
Remember Urban Gumbo? Of course you do! At one time these Nippertown natives were the darlings of East Coast club-goers everywhere, with their tasty concoction of fuel-injected, nitro-burnin’ R&B.
Well… a new, enhanced line-up of this classic group has secretly re-formed and has taken up a residency at the River Street Pub in Troy on Tuesday nights to rehearse, jam out and fine-tune a batch of new material.
There are a pair of very notable Local 518 band reunions on tap for this weekend:
9pm tonight (Friday, October 19), $10
at Daisy Baker’s, Troy
Led by the mindboggling guitar work of Graham Tichy and the hot-wired antics of frontman Ian Carlton, one of Nippertown’s finest and most beloved rockabilly combos step back into the spotlight for their only show of 2012. NOTE: The theme for the Rocky Velvet reunion bash is Tiki so wear your best Hawaiian outfit. And be prepared to party and dance…
9pm on Saturday (October 20), $5
at Pauly’s Hotel, Albany Diva & the Dirty Boys are headlining the evening, but you’ll want to get there early to catch the openers, a very special reunion of Urban Gumbo. As drummer Bob Girouard (also a regular writer for Modern Drummer) notes, “The original five of us (Gary Butts, Joe Quandt, BJ French, Rob Piorkowski and myself) haven’t been on-stage together for about a decade. But even more so, the gig takes on a special meaning primarily because both BJ and I have undergone multiple brain surgeries, mine as recent as September.” It certainly will be great to see Girouard back in the saddle again… NOTE:Metroland founder Peter Iselin will be sitting in at the keyboards with Diva & the Dirty Boys. ALSO NOTE: The show wraps up a busy weekend for Dirty Boys’ bassist Nick Bisanz, who is also playing with the Last Conspirators tonight (October 18) at Valentine’s Music Hall, as well as with the classic British rock band Mods & Rockers at Pauly’s Hotel on Friday.
I was not always the brightest bulb in the tree. I was a hardworking guy, but in my opinion I was not one of the most talented people at Juilliard. I didn't have that brilliance that some people really have, but I had a tremendous appetite for the work.