I finally righted a wrong and saw the Drive by Truckers live. Two night run at the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, NC on March 17th and 18th. It was just as I had hoped and quite the rock show both nights. Crowd was lighter than expected on Thursday for St. Patrick’s Day and Franklin Street was a ghost town after the show as well. Held during spring break was probably a major root cause for the lack of rowdy afterwards in town.
Both nights were 3 hour shows and the encores did not start until after midnite. Cooley was killing it on his guitar solos and was playing better than I have heard him before. For my first DBT show I was not disappointed at all and high expectations. Will definitely make a point to see them many times again.
My new challenge is to spread the news of Caleb Caudle. His latest album Carolina Ghost is flat out amazing. He has been receiving tons of positive reviews, but is still playing tiny joints and dives. We saw him at Slim’s Downtown in Raleigh which is the diviest of dives in Raleigh. Barely enough room for a stage, but a full house for his album release party. If you have an interest in honest story telling and old style country music, do yourself a favor and get a copy.
We just recently caught the Black Lillies again at the Back Room of the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro and I even got a chance to chat with Cruz Contreras and their manager Chyna. Cruz was visibly exhausted from their show the night before in DC, but all that evaporated the second they hit the stage. Played a couple deep tracks and the only song I missed they did not play was 40 days from the new album. Great set and I really liked the jazz guitar and pedal steel back and forths. Looks like they are going to be back in the area several times before the year is out, so hoping we see them again including the free show at American Tobacco Campus in Durham.
Jacquie and I attended Cayamo the first week of February and are still trying to recover. I estimated that over 6 days we saw 19 full sets and no idea how many partial sets we sat in on. Highlights were John Prine and Jason Isbell, but so many other acts that really impressed. Prine and band were in as good of form as I have seen them and the energy level was superb. Great to see John healthy and kicking it live again. We saw all 4 sets by Jason and the 400 Unit with one set on the pool deck and 3 in the Stardust Theatre. I caught two sets of Amanda with Jason supporting in the much smaller Spinnaker and Jacquie caught the third show of their duo while listened to others on the pool deck that were on my must hear list. The last set of A&J included a brief sit in by Buddy Miller.
We are now huge fans of the Black Lillies who we caught a couple of pool deck shows from. What killer sound and energy they have. John Hiatt was up to his normal high level of performance and nailed a high energy set. Sam Lewis was a wonderful discovery for me. Big fan of his music now and look forward to him putting out more albums. Somehow we missed full or even partial sets by Steve Earle. Watkins Family Hour is superb and Slaid Cleaves was even more fun live than I had expected.
JohnnySwim was probably the most fun we had with a new discovery. Such great charisma between the two of them and it pours out on stage. We had a chance to chat with Amanda before dinner one night and she could not have possibly been kinder or more personable.
Cayamo I have found is very difficult to explain to people. While obviously loaded with top notch musical talent, the surprise to myself and Jacquie was just how approachable and fun the musicians would be on the boat. We had genuine conversations with John Hiatt, Jim Lauderdale, Amanda Sudano, etc. Conversations with Sadler Vaden and a few minutes later with Jason/Amanda Isbell in the surf off Jost Van Dyke while we enjoyed an excursion. I tried to keep a journal daily of the interactions and high points, but was overwhelmed after a couple days.