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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 10, 2013 10:29 AM. The previous post in this blog was Portland "planning" at its finest. The next post in this blog is Not the way we do things in Portland. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

The road goes on forever

We spent some quality time with an old friend last evening. Texas songster Joe Ely was in Portland, with an accompanist in tow for a sit-down acoustic set at Mississippi Studios. Ely wove his way through his extensive catalog of country, folk, and honky tonk songs, pausing in between to tell some funny stories and reflect on more than 40 years on the road singing for his supper.

The crowd was mostly silver-haired -- Ely is now at Social Security age -- and appreciative as Ely expertly played and sang such numbers as "Treat Me Like Saturday Night," "Silver City," "Hard Livin'," "You Can Bet I'm Gone," "Tonight I Think I'm Gonna Go Downtown," and finally "Dallas." He told a few yarns about his days with Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock in what was then the world's least renowned supergroup, the Flatlanders -- a group that's now got a Carnegie Hall date coming up. Ely was in complete command of the proceedings, and you could see in his eyes that he was enjoying the intimate setting as he went through his paces, as he's done so many thousands of times before.

He had with him a superb picker named Jeff Plankenhorn, whose steel guitar, mandolin, and guitar really brought the headliner's unique stew of country rock to life. Opening the show was a solo act named Joe Pug -- Ely referred to the bill as the "Los Dos Joes with Three-Letter Last Names Tour" -- who presented some of his original songs. Pug reminded us a little of tapes we've seen of early Bruce Springsteen, or of the John Hiatt solo acoustic shows we've attended. He's endearing.

Tonight it's on to Seattle for the three of them. As one of Ely's most famous songs proclaims, "the party never ends."

Comments (5)

The Road Goes On Forever…And The Party Never Ends has a deep Portland Metro connection: It was written by Beaverton High School's own Todd Snider, who makes regular visits to the Aladdin Theater these days from his home in Nashville.

The Road Goes On Forever was also recorded by the Country supergroup The Highwaymen.

I've created a compilation CD of Todd's work that I regularly hand out to anyone seeking new acts to support. He's a great story teller!

I'm sorry I didn't know that was going on last night or I would have been there.

Just yesterday I was groovin' on a spirited live version of Boxcars here:

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=R-tnJNcFF8k&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DR-tnJNcFF8k

I forgot to mention that any fan of The Flatlanders or country & western music should pick up The Flatlanders' Odessa Tapes. Recorded about 1971 and released 40 years later, it is quite possibly a perfect country album.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0085Z3BGM

Joe did "Boxcars" last night. And unlike in one previous performance, there was no actual train wreck outside the bar destroying his rental car.

Although Todd Snider is great in his own right, "The Road Goes On Forever" was written by Robert Earl Keen, not Todd.


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