Saturday, July 12, 2003
We're About Nine was introduced at Baldwin's Station on Wednesday, July 9, 2003, as a local group (every group is local somewhere!) which was showing promise a few years ago and is getting better all the time. I'll say amen to that.
I saw them razzed mightily by Vance Gilbert (was it 3 years ago) at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival . Vance had a workshop in which he offered to critique new and upcoming acts. Brian Gundersdorf raised his hand and Vance "picked" him to be first (and kept "picking"). Brian walked on stage with Pat Klink and Katie Graybeal. Vance's started with "Oh no a group!" and continued non-stop. Walk on again. Do it this way. STOP. What are you doing here? I wish a had a recording of this unforgettable and very very funny session. Brian, Pat and Katie survived Vance's Falcon Ridge boot camp. From novices subjecting themselves to Vance's razor-sharp tutoring in a side tent, to a polished and professional act in front of 1000's on the Falcon Ridge Main Stage in so short a time. Guys you are such quick studies!
However Brian, even though you said on July 9 you want to be Vance Gilbert, this isn't the case. There is only one Vance, and though you are tall, as Katie pointed out, your fair skin will prevent people from mistaking you for him.
Baldwin's Station was sold out for this show and the audience was a wide mix - from family to loyal fans to neophytes who were hearing them for the first time.
Was it the spring before the Falcon Ridge Vance workshop, that I saw Brian putting up flyers on upcoming concerts in Ellicott City Maryland. And now they will be performing on August 2 , 2003 at Merriweather Post Pavilion with headliners Eddie from Ohio and Dar Williams. These tickets are expensive though.
Falcon Ridge is sooner (7/24 to 7/27) but hours north in the Berkshires in NY. However, local venues provide great free outdoor entertainment. We can all see We're About Nine for free Sat, 7/19/03 in Catonville, Md at the outdoor Lurman Woodlawn Theatre , 6 to 8:15 pm and later at the Columbia Lakefront Aug 20 at 8 pm. And they'll be at local upcoming festivals - (Country Roads, 8/30/03 and the Takoma Park Folk Festival, 9/7/03).
Set List (I'm guessing at some titles)
Perfect Damn Day - what a surrealistic trip this song is
For One More - a new song, from their new album soon to be released and available for pre-release purchase, titled, I think, "Engine"
How will I know what I'm looking at - are these words from the song or just the theme? - a new song from the upcoming album
Slow Sliding Funk
Move Like Light
Morning - the lyrics and melody swim in my head as I wake this morning - this song truly haunts me. My husband calls this song "a county song" but I love it anyway, so, if like a country song, it must be "intelligent country"
Born Again - yes a peppier but zany song - narrated from the point of view of a $5 an hour parking spot on main street
Are you out there, Forest - yes we made a sound
I mean to write you love songs
Suburbia - inspired by a play and movie of the same name written by Eric Bogosian
Hello Maria, Have you seen William
I am a book from the 20th Century
The Columbia Flyer's article or 7-3-03 (also in related Patuxent Publishing Company local newpapers) on We're About Nine is all the talk at Baldwins. ( If you can't find it via the link go to the main page (http://news.mywebpal.com/index.cfm?pnpid=658&om=0) and on the list on the left choose Archives and type in: We're About Nine.) It is great to see this group getting good publicity and as the article says, they were named the Best Contemporary Folk Group by the Washington Area Music Association in 2002 and "Most Wanted Emerging Artists" at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. And this music is about personal connections between artists and the audience.
My own comment is that the group's great close tight harmonies (a la The Nields and Cry Cry Cry) is obviously a very big attraction right now to "folk" crowds. And they have extremely personable presentation and high energy. And great looks - from Brian's out there smile, zany haircut and "bowling shoe" type shoes, to Katie's glamorous sparkling black sheer top with pink and purple flowers, and Pat's incredible charm and quiet smile. But peppy upbeat lyrics? NO, not much - melodies yes, but not lyrics.
Brian was joking about the dissonance between the Flyer review and their actual lyrics in the first set. And this was the main topic of groups I talked to during the break. To me the lyrics are so serious, ironic. I think even or the word "surreal".
They attract young people to concerts. I try to think what does the world look like to a 20's something person. It is not the hippy "love is all there is" "la la la" world of the 60's. The world of these songs questions what price "worldly success", and looks slantways at love. All artists write, sing, paint about love that doesn't work out - this seems to be the major impetus for art of all time and centuries. But these young folks bring a fresh perspective on what this means. Brian is "writing again", Pat is like a prodigal coming home as he sings "another love song, one that won't make you cry", while Katie is getting down in Crush. And Brian, my question is, is For One More an anti-love song?
And in Writing Again you use the word "concatenate". Who else would use that word? Who else would explore being a parking spot, or the book of life (I am a book from the 20th Century), or what it means to be seen (in Spirit). And many of the songs are about a world whose values may be stranger than the lyrics - a world where the lyrics in Albany, and William, and Suburbia make sense.
We're About Nine are fun and upbeat, attractive people who obvious enjoy each other, making great harmonious music and the crowds. And the world they write about is human, and strange and some of the characters they describe (like some people I know) are quite disturbed and alienated. As the Flyer article states, there is a wonderful sense of commonality between artists and audience in this world called "folk music" - what a tired old term. Really a world of incredibly unique singer-songwriters and their audiences. A world I love.
P.S. See a wonderful interview with Pat and Katie at this URL.