Darkness And Light
Dave Moore delves into the recesses of the soul; Bob Paisley performs bright bluegrass.
Thursday, March 9, 2000
What''s Up, Chuck?
The highlights of this week''s music scene are almost at opposite ends of the spectrum. While singer/ songwriter Dave Moore seems to be at work exposing (and exorcising) his demons, bluegrass guitarist/singer Bob Paisley is carrying on a sprightly tradition that''s almost as old as the hills.
Dave Moore''s voice is a cross between Tom Waits and Bob Dylan, all emotive rasp and whisper. The lyrics remind you of Greg Brown as interpreted by playwright/actor Sam Shepard. And his guitar work hangs somewhere between that of Mark Knopfler and Robbie Robertson. In fact, if you''re not sick of comparisons yet, Moore''s ''99 album, Breaking Down to 3, is somehow reminiscent of Robertson''s Storyville album, not so much for its content as for its dark, brooding atmosphere.
Over the years, Moore has worked as a guitarist backing Greg Brown, and he was the leader for Garrison Keillor''s house band on "Prairie Home Companion" tours. He cut his first album (Jukejoints and Cantinas) in ''84 and his second (Over My Shoulder) in 1990. He was recording a third when he and his wife lost an infant daughter, and he quit playing for a while. Breaking marks his return.
It''s as if the album was created from the deep, ragged breath drawn by a bloodied boxer just before the bell rings for the next round. The opening song, "Mr. Music," speaks to the loss of a muse ("... hey Mr. Music, my mother music... come back to me/It''s been a long, long time, and I been doing it alone... ") and that''s followed by "Sharks Don''t Sleep" ("The water''s warm, the water''s side/Everybody swimming to the other side/Down to the bottom they''re moving around/Trying to find a way to bring a good man down/Bring a good man down, where the sharks don''t sleep.") And maybe most telling of all is "All the Time in the World," which certainly has to be heard as a lullaby to his lost daughter: "Your mother''s love remains, in fact it grows/She misses you in ways I''ll never know/And me I''m trying to be true/Because I learned from you/There ain''t all the time in the world."
It''s good stuff. Genuinely emotional without being sentimental, cute or cloying.
Dave Moore, Sunday, 8pm. Morgan''s Coffee and Tea, $9, 642-4949.
The title to his 1998 release says most of what needs to be said about Bob Paisley: Steeped in Tradition. The album is a combination of traditional songs and original arrangements performed in a very traditional way. This is front-porch, mountain music at its best, with mandolin, fiddle, bass and guitar trading licks while father Bob and son Dan Paisley intertwine their voices in rich, compelling harmony.
As with any sort of traditional offering, there aren''t a lot of surprises in the music. Even so, there''s so much strength in Paisley''s outfit, the music comes out sounding fresh and vital. It may be an old style of music, but it''s not served as a warmed-up leftover; it''s turkey with stuffing and mashed potatoes and the family''s all gathered together--it''s comfortable, rich and satisfying.
Bob Paisley and Southern Grass, Wednesday, 7:30pm. Christian Church of Pacific Grove, Central and Carmel avenues. $16.50/advance; $20/day of show. 372-5641.
If, however, tradition isn''t your thing, you might want to consider Govinda. Songwriter/artist Shane O''Madden takes more-or-less traditional Middle Eastern, Indian, Celtic and Gypsy music and blends it with "a more danceable kind of trip-hoppy, funky psychedelic sound." It''s a kind of tribal trance/dance layered with acoustics, and there''s supposed to be a helluva visual show that goes along with the concert.
Govinda, Tuesday, 9pm. The Long Bar, free. 372-2244.