Angela and I drove up to Alexandria to check out Dave playing with Jessi Alexander, who was opening for Vonda Shepard.
So Dave calls me Monday morning to tell me that he is in West Virginia and on his way up to Alexandria to play a gig with Jessi Alexander that evening. He wanted to know if Angela and I could make it up to the show. Well, of course we get cut off before he tells me where (there are a few hills in West Virginia and only one cell tower). I call Angela, and she’s all for it. Finally we get back in touch and he tells me it’s at the Birchmere and that Jessi is opening for Vonda Shepard. Even better.
Now, it’s a hundred miles one way from Richmond to Alexandria, but well worth the trip to see Dave, Jessi Alexander, and Vonda Shepard. We got there in time to see the second half of Jessi’s set, which was really great. It just made me wish we could have made it to see the whole thing. Jessi is a great songwriter and performer, and I can see why Dave enjoys getting to tour around with her. Further, after meeting her in person, she’s a real class-act. She was fun to talk to about music, travel, and whatever else the four of us all talked about. I have to admit that since I absolutely never listen to commercial radio or watch music videos, I’d never heard her music until Monday. I bought her album and I’m glad I did. I’d recommend it to anyone as what really good country music can be when someone writes songs and not “hits.”
The Birchmere is more like dinner theater than your typical honky-tonk. I know Dave and Jessi noticed the crowd was a little subdued. I think Dave took it as lack of interest or even disapproval. I think these people are way too used to watching music on A&E, and don’t know to clap, whistle, and yell after guitar solos, piano rolls, and wailing vocals. There was no shortage of any of that between these two ladies, and the crowd had the pulse-rate of a narcoleptic golf caddy on the seniors tour. As far as Vonda Shepard goes, she’s probably not used to crowd’s not responding. She is a great entertainer, singer and songwriter. I hate people who do this, which is weird because I do it more than anyone, but here goes: she’s like a cross between Ben Folds and Carly Simon. I didn’t really expect to enjoy her set half as much as I did, and now I’m telling Angela to go download some songs from iTunes Music Store. Next thing, you know, I’ll be sitting in my PJ’s watching the DVD sets of Ally McBeal. Okay, that’s not very likely.
Towards the end of Vonda’s set, Dave, Angela and I went back to the dressing rooms to hang out. Dave showed off his high-end tambourine and his flashy new laptop. He let us listen to a couple of songs off of the forthcoming Coal Men EP. Damn, it sounds terrific. I was kicking myself for not bringing my USB flash drive to grab some copies. I was also just proud that Dave was letting his inner geek shine for a while. Rock on, man. \w/
Anyway, Angela and I really enjoyed the whole evening. Getting to hang out some with Dave alone would have been worth the trip, but two really great performers really made it a great trip. I hope Dave and Jessi enjoy their time up in Philly and Detroit, and I really look forward to seeing Jessi perform again.
In other music/geek news: Green Rode Shotgun’s web site is back! Jason’s been a busy man, and the site looks great. He’s indeed a man of many talent’s, including occasionally threatening to post comments on this site. Glad to see you back on the web, my friend.