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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Four Horsemen

Tonight, my wife and I went to a great concert put on by some terrific Americana singer-songwriters: Guy Clark, Joe Ely, John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett. This was the first time we'd seen Clark and Hiatt, though we've been fans (particularly of Hiatt) for a long time. I bought "Bring the Family" back in 1987 and was quite pleased that "Memphis in the Meantime" was in the setlist (and "Have a Little Faith in Me"). He changed the country singer reference in the original lyric: "I dont think Ronnie Milsap's* gonna ever Record this song." Milsap was replaced with Kenny Chesney.

We previously saw Ely in Chicago at the Lounge Axe back in about 1989. That was a lone guy with a guitar show, and I remember being a little disappointed that he didn't have a loud band. Tonight, he played a terrific version of "Honky Tonk Masquerade," which is an old favorite, but he didn't play "My Baby Thinks She's French." I look forward to his promised song about Dick Cheney.

Lovett we've seen a couple of times previously, including in the same venue with his Large Band. It was great to see that he's a terrific entertainer even when stripped down to a simple guitar (with occasional assistance from the other Horsemen, including a fine set of guitar riffs from Hiatt). I think the highlight of Lovett's night was "L.A. County," though every song he played was very good. On a couple of songs about relationships with women, I kept thinking "this guy was once married to Julia Roberts."

I'm not sure that Clark played any tunes that were familiar to me, though I own a couple of his CDs. Unfortunately, he also forgot his lyrics a few times during the set (once because of a distracting noise from the audience). His lyrics tell memorable stories and the long-time fan Lovett covered what was ostensibly Clark's first song.

It was a great show. Check them out if they play near you.

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