Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ain't Nothin' Like The Real Thing, Baby

Claire Lynch. She's sweet. She's sassy. She's always on pitch.
When it comes to music, there’s nothing like the real thing, live musicians, on a stage, performing live music. That’s what we saw last Friday night when we went to see the Claire Lynch Band in concert in Bradenton.
Bluegrass fans are a genial sort. That's my man in the blue jacket waiting on line.
    Although Claire Lynch falls in the category of Bluegrass Music, her repertoire ranges far beyond the standard bluegrass stuff. And her players, tap-dancing bass man Mark Schatz, sizzling fiddler Jason Thomas, and young and thoroughly modern guitarist, Matt Wingate, all award-winning bluegrass and acoustic stars in their own right, turn Claire’s bright light up to dazzling brilliance. My old friend and boss Richard Heyman, former Key West mayor, once told me that one of his keys for success was to hire good people. Since then, America has grown lean and mean and competitive. I’ve noticed that bosses are not always interested in hiring stars who might distract from their greatness. But Claire Lynch is apparently beyond all that pettiness, and she is all the better for it, a wise woman indeed. 
These oranges had a cold weekend! Come on Florida Sun!
    Bluegrass fans are a friendly bunch. They smile a lot and behave while waiting on line or arranging themselves in seats.  It was a cool night in Bradenton and we were bundled in jackets, coats and even blankets. There were heaters, those great tall units that emit fabulous and far-reaching warmth. I was hoping there would be funnel cakes or deep-fried potatoes, like you find at big bluegrass festivals. I once waited on a long line at a Nova Scotia bluegrass festival for the most popular treat of the weekend: an Idaho potato, peeled with a machine into a long, curled ribbon, then deep fried in oil. Delicious! But no such treat at this concert. Only coffee, sandwiches and popcorn. Nothing really insane or even deep fried.
    Our nearby hotel, in Ellenton, a town we’d never heard of, was right on the Manatee River. Our room overlooked the river. Just outside our window a mighty oak tree, festooned in Spanish moss, swayed in the wind. Next to the hotel was a tiny trailer park, with funky, happy looking trailers. Then, a riverside bar and restaurant called Woody’s, where we ate great fish and chips. After the concert, we went back to Woody’s to find a live rock ‘n roll band with a lead singer every bit as old and wizened as Keith Richards. Surely he’d been at it since the '60s. He wore a big cowboy hat and during breaks sat on a huge speaker and smoked cigarettes, while a DJ played dance standards and urged us all out of seats and onto the floor.  It was never empty!
    On the way home we listened to Claire Lynch’s greatest hits album, which sounded even better after seeing the band perform live. Even the old guy in the cowboy hat singing "Honky Tonk Woman" was pretty cool. There’s nothing like the real thing.
The great Claire Lynch and the guys who make her even greater.
    I’ve come a long way since the day, many years ago, when I met my husband and he told me he was a fan of country music. My heart sank ‘cause I knew for sure there was no way we two could be a match. But we were. We are. I’m even looking forward to our next bluegrass concert.

1 comment:

  1. You just get cuter and cuter, darling ! Fan Gil xoxoxoxox