No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.
And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.
The Tequila Songbirds have become just as beloved as about any group around these parts. And how could they not?
Featuring a revolving cast of the Sooner State’s most badass female performers, it’s a power hour of some of the best songwriting coming out of central Oklahoma. Sure, they might not technically be family, but they are clearly a band of sisters all the same, bonded by the same brand of whiskey running through their veins.
"Overproduced" is a term thrown around all too indiscreetly nowadays, usually applied when the thing that sticks out about a song or album is how it sounds rather than how it is constructed. Yet some of the most compelling albums ever crafted embodied a certain aesthetic that was just as skillfully and meticulously put together as any Bob Dylan or Miles Davis record — which is to say production is as crucial to our enjoyment of music as much as anything else; it's also the most overlooked.
Indie rock has been in a good place as of late. Not caring about being cool is the new cool, and a couple of dudes on guitar, bass and drums can make catchy, earworm songs without being armed to the gills with computer software and vintage synthesizers.
Glen Hansard took the stage solo, accompanied only by his trademark acoustic guitar. He played two of his own songs, asking the audience to sing along with him. His Irish tenor was on full display, and the audience swooned. But the set really got going when he invited Jake Clemons onstage for a cover of a Bruce Springsteen's "Sad Eyes." (The cover was apt and meaningful because Clemons is the nephew of recently deceased, longtime E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons.) When Clemons had a chance to solo, he did so ferociously, riling the crowd up with his powerful runs and melodies. It was a hair-raising, moving experience.
Hansard added to the intensity by roaring his way through that and the next song, Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks." Hansard amped up the excitement even more for the latter tune by inviting several members of Lost in the Trees to guest on drums and bass. Even though they men hadn't practiced together, the newly-assembled band attacked the song, eliciting screams and cheers from the audience.
The two covers rocked on for so long that Hansard only had time to finish with an a capella tune of Irish descent. The tune, sung from the perspective of the corpse at a funeral, was a celebratory tune; Hansard taught the audience to sing along, and they did so with gusto. In contrast to Hansard's emotive side (which was on display in the first two tunes) and celebratory side (the next two), the final tune was tinged with a wistful respect; Hansard is a man who can thrive in any musical mood. He toasted to his father at the end of the song, and Clemons toasted with him; it was a fitting end to a magnificent, tremendous set.