Sunday, August 20, 2006

Jon Dee Graham at 14 Below in Santa Monica

It was a last minute thing, but Maria was on a mission. She had once admonished Jon for smoking on stage (she has asthma) and being the good person that he is, he put out his cigarette. So, we left my parents party early with a no smoking themed t-shirt in hand (and a book for his son) and headed out to 14 Below, a little club in Santa Monica. After we parked our car, we ran into Jon. He didn’t remember us from that San Diego night, but he sure remembered the smoking incident when Maria reminded him. We had a great talk; chatted about why he was playing this place (Alejandro Escovedo will be there next month so it must be okay), ACL (they are doing an anti-ACL concert which Deb and I are going to) and his son (more operations but they finally took their first family vacation this year) who suffers from Legg-Perthes Syndrome, a degenerative bone disease. He loved the book and laughed a lot at the shirt.

14 Below is an interesting place. You walk into a bar and that appears to be all there is there. But, a back room sports a small club with limited seating along the walls and a very deep stage. The sound seemed good, although with only an acoustic guitar and vocals it is hard to tell for sure. Jon played for close to an hour, sticking mainly to his new CD, “Full”. At the end of his show, he said goodnight and started to pack up his guitar when someone from the audience of about 15 yelled, you need to do an encore. A quick discussion with the sound guy turned into two more songs, including a beautiful Spanish song, “Volver”. Jon Dee Graham is one of those songwriters out there that just hasn’t gotten past the Austin crowd and that is just so sad. He is very talented writing both sad distraught songs and beautiful love songs. And his gravelly voice makes you feel all the pain and joy. If you don’t own a Jon Dee CD, you really should pick one up.

1 comment:

david c welker said...

saw jon dee graham play at the continental club in austin during a visit (i'm from cleveland). he was awesome, since then i've purchased a couple of cds. we used to have a thriving blues scene in cleveland, early nineties... since then it's pretty much died. i guess that's what thriving does, takes the blues away. anyway, next time i'm in austin i would make a point to hear him again.

Music Hall Link - Alejandro Escovedo listen