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Further Musical Discoveries in Paris

November 30, 2010

I wanted to keep the names of the Tennessee Bar and the Galway Pub out of the headline this time, since my weekly haunts while in Paris might cease to look very attractive as a read. But they continue to be attractive as places of musical discovery.

Last night I showed up at the Tennessee Bar at 9:10 PM and I was far too late. I never would get a slot on stage. But I stayed long enough to hear some fabulous music before heading on to the Galway where I basically always get a slot on stage, thanks Stephen Prescott.

But the discoveries at the Tennessee were well worth the visit. The biggest discovery of the night, no doubt, was Benjamin Scheuer, who sang some songs of his own composition before picking up the lead guitar to help Les DeShane with “November Rain.” When you hear Benjamin singing his songs you think of the 1960s, and more the 1970s, and you think of the great singer songwriters of that era. You think of Simon & Garfunkel, without the harmonies. I’m sure some people could come up with some much better parallels, but this much is certain: Benjamin has a very cool voice in terms of expressiveness, natural timbre and emotion. And he writes some beautiful touching lyrics AND he places a wicked guitar. In fact, after hearing him play his songs with the acoustic I had no idea that the same guy could do that “November Rain” lead – which was very cool. Check out the videos, and his web site. The word “up-and-coming” cannot be better fitted than to this guy Benjamin.

Then there was this wild old French guy who took to the stage and was immediately joined by Les on the lead and another guy on the piano, and we had to have the oldest guy in the place provide us with the most rock ‘n roll stuff of the night. I recorded his “Route 66,” and it’s pretty cool.

Les himself, in fact, also played a song I had no yet heard him play, and I enjoyed it immensely, and this was a Robert Johnson song. I also had fun with the camera work, managing to get Les in the shot and to also simultaneously get Les in the shot on his own camera that was videoing the whole thing.

When I realized that I did not want to wait around any longer at the Tennessee and that if I did get up the audience would be reduced to 1 person by then, I decided to head over to the Galway. There I heard a cool guy named… Brad as I entered. And then a cool guy named Matt, who was from Montreal. And then I heard cool Stephen, who showed off his new toy, which is a box that can turn your voice into harmonies as you sing. Now, although I had seen Les with the same thing at the Mecano, I had never tried it. Stephen told me I could try it, and that was another very cool discovery. I want one. I used it to harmonize my voice on my song that I wrote when I was 16, and which still has no title. I put the harmonies on the chorus: “My love she’s gone away, she’s left me here to stay, all by myself, all by myself.”

This is me, Brad, at the Tennessee holding on to Ladie's Di's CD compilation

Ladie's Di lied, saying I looked 20 years younger in this photo. Shit, I look like a grandfather.

Oh, the other discovery was not on stage. I ran into Ladies Di, a friend and fellow open mic traveler from Chile, whom I have mentioned on this blog before. He presented me with the CD he had been working on for the last year or so, and it was finally finished, packed, ready for distribution around the world, and now entitled “Who else is gonna leave me?” (Could have put my song from when I was 16 on that.) Ladies Di had invited me to put something on the CD and I didn’t. Couldn’t get myself together enough to do anything, and hesitated to put my Ephemere Recordings on it. But the concept is this: The CD is a sampling of I think 12 musicians, each of whom contributed 2 songs (although one seems to have contributed 1 song). Each group or musician then gets a 100 or so copies of the CD and distributes and sells it at gigs around the world. Indeed, the artists come from all around the world: Chile, France, England, Sweden, Norway, Japan, etc. Very cool. And it ain’t half bad! I found a number of songs I liked. The CD project has its own myspace page, robotminimalista.

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