Sunday, February 15, 2004
Valentine's Day Concert - The Michael Bowers Band with Siobhan Quinn at Moore Music in the House, Rockville Md on February 14, 2004
In an interview in the Gazette a few days ago, Michael Bowers promises a Valentine's Day surprise at this Moore Music in the House concert. He says there will be "romance in the air" and a place for romantic couples to hold hands. Host Scott got an unprecedented numbers of calls about the concert from the article. Was this band hype or what?
As promised, the music is definitely about love and relationships. But there are also contests. Michael invites the audience to nominate:
Worst Love Lyrics written
Best Pick Up Lines
Worse Pick Up Lines
The audience votes and winners win a valentine's day cookie
Then Michael shares a pick-up line of his own, and it is quite a story. At NERFA (Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference), Michael shared a room with Jerry Bresee. NERFA provides live music from 7 pm to 11 AM for several days and music lovers are in major sleep deprivation. Siobhan Quinn was scheduled to meet with Jerry Bresee about an act they were doing, but Jerry was late showing up. Michael found a very tired Siobhan sleeping on the hallway rug near the door to their room (but actually in front of the wrong door). Michael directed to the right door, opened the door, invited her in, and said "have I got a pillow for you"....
Who knows if I got the story quite right. Since this is a serious matter, ask Michael for a perfect version of the story, but I am sure the pickup line he shared with us is "have I got a pillow for you." Paula (the house concert hostess) implies we've only heard Michael's version, saying she won't tell us what Siobhan told her in the kitchen before this show.
And the surprise!
Then in front of all of us, Michael gives Siobhan a ring. He explains that he gave it to her recently. She took it off so he could present it again here. The big surprise is they will be married later this year! (Well, a surprise to me. My husband tells me he is not so surprised - he's been seeing Michael and Siobhan's intense gazing in each other's eyes throughout the concert. My chair was at a slightly different angle and I couldn't see their faces as well.)
In the second half the contests and stage give-aways get racier.
Who has been together the longest Michael asks. The winners, together 34 years, get a bottle of wine and a can of extra creamy ready whip. Michael says the wine is pretty good wine, I recommend you don't mix the two.
Then, who is the newest couple? Oh there's a couple on their first date in the house. The performers did not anticipate a new couple would be quite so new.. The gift they have is another can of whipped cream. Siobhan muses this may not be the right gift. But at least it isn't the extra creamy. Michael quips, well it's OK but they'll have to sign the President's abstinence pledge.
Yes there is also music. The rest of the band includes Focus Inn President Jerry Bresee on guitar and vocals, bass player Maria "Pete" Durgan, Kirby Yarbrough on percussion and vocals, and Wyn Walke on Hawaiian slide guitar (also called a weisenborn). They make a great a wonderful sound, but as usual for me it is the lyrics that go right to my heart.
Some of the songs Michael sings are:
Reluctant Believer - title song of his new CD. Written at a songwriting week at a ranch in Colorado.
This Feeling - from Michael's first CD, written in New Orleans.
Point of No Return
Jackson Marvin Beauregard - and his third reinvention
The music is as promised about love and relationship and being human and about transformation.
Songs to hear again and again.
After an audience poll of the best dump lines or best revenge on being dumped lines, Michael leads us into a song about the other side of love. This is a road song, inspired by a trip in Alaska where there is only one road between towns; Michael was going from one town to another and they are are 40 miles apart as the crow flies but 130 miles apart by road, and there is only one road. Sometimes in relationships it is worse - You Can't Get There from Here.
Selma - Michael heard Jessie Jackson say to take that shame and guilt as a white child growing up in Selma, and do something good with it. In Selma in 1963 there was a population of 29,000 of whom 15,000 were black and fewer than 100 registered black voters. When Michael was 12 they were talking about voting rights. And whites were focused not on what was right, but on their own fears. This is a powerful song.
On My Way - "it's love that holds eternity"
Jerry Bresee sings Riversong, the first song from Jerry's first CD - a powerful song evoking nostalgia for a place where people and jobs "flowed away" and "what this river takes away is never comin back".
Siobhan Quinn shares a song she wrote following the end of a 10 year relationship. The relationship ended 1 ½ years ago, and she finished this song exactly one year ago at Wintersongs in Ashokan, where she coaches other musicians.
This Kind of Love - is about a kind of love you don't give up on. Michael says at one point "she sings and I surrender.." I empathize with this. Gorgeous heartfelt singing and what a beautifully crafted song (and you can hear an MP3 clip of it on her website).
Scott tells us his monthly concert series has been going since 1997 and he's done 65 shows. Jerry Bresee has been here often, and this is Michael Bowers second time. Scott's son made the new stage "backdrop", a wall covering of squares with pink hearts - a great design. Lot's of design efforts in the family - Scott is revamping the Moore Music in the House web site.
Scott is also involved with presenting the Takoma Park Folk Festival (7 stages of great music, free to all, on September 12, 2004). And he's on the board of Focus Inn which has a concert coming up Friday 2/20/04 - Tinsmith and Kim Buchanan, 8pm at Joe's Movement Emporium
3802 34th Street, Mount Rainier, Maryland 20712. And Andrew McKnight and Julie Clark on 3/14/04 at 7 pm in Alexandria. (See www.focusmusic.org). Great shows coming up!