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Tuesday
Nov192013

KS # 38: Billy Wallace, The Prairie Fire

I never made it to this show.  I didn’t know The Kitchen Sessions existed until the next one, KS #39, when I was invited to the house by my guitarist who I didn’t know very well at the time, who in turn was invited by friends of his who I knew even less and had to call buddy before getting their names mixed up.  
 
That being said I am lucky to now know the men who opened at this show, Jay Weatherman & The Prairie Fire.  Jay has been to just about every show at the house, he played thirty two sessions ago with Billy Wallace.  I met Jay at the before mentioned session and, in the way that people do when they’re drinking  on a porch with someone they just met, we both totally planned to play a show together, totally.
  
And then we did.  And it was good. 
 
 
It was one of the last shows put on at The Rosebud Diner, one of the few times I've seen the place completely full.  I think there was a bar-crawl happening at the same time, I remember alot of people wearing horrible winter sweaters.  I think that was the theme.  I miss the Rosebud, it was hard to find and had maybe four total beers but they always brought hoola-hoops to their Karaoke nights.   
 
It just so happens that my guitarist friends made up the other two thirds of Jay Weatherman & The Prairie Fire (bonus points if you know what this is referring to…The Prairie Fire…Jay WEATHERMAN and THE PRAIRIE FIRE.  I’ll give you a moment to think about it before you click this link). I didn’t realize Emerson or Nate were in the band until after my porch conversation with Jay.  Emerson plays the pedal steel guitar, which is something I had only just seen for the first time a few weeks before when Little Hurricane opened for Electric Six at The Middle East Downstairs and it blew my mind.  I thought I was seeing something completly never done before ever but apparently the pedal steel has been around for a while.  I don’t know where I’ve been.   Probably looking at memes on Reddit.
 
That’s a lie, I’ve only ever used Reddit once or twice.  I Google my memes.  
 
I’m getting off topic so here’s another video.
 
 
This is Billy Wallace.  I wish I was at this show because Billy Wallace is the kind of performer who in a perfect world I would be able to instantly summon to my house whenever I want to listen to music.  
 
Let me explain
 
In a perfect world (or at least a perfect world imagined by me) you can call upon singer/songwriters to play in your home whenever you need a tune to lift your spirits or to provide entertainment for you and an intimate few or for any occasion in which music is appropriate, which is all occasions really.  Imagine how much better it would be to listen to Iron & Wine or Randy Newman or acoustic Lady Gaga in your kitchen while you eat your porterhouse steak or take out chinese or vegan meal susbstitute or whatever.  I don’t think I’d ever use this power to get some big time band to play just randomly in my house though because sometimes the more noise you use the more pyrotechnics you need, and I don’t want to burn down my house.  
 
What I’m saying is Billy Wallace would be on my shuffle.  He performs with the sincerity necessary to play in the comfort of another person’s house pressed in by people he may or may not know.  A singer as well as a storyteller, a troubadour like Willy Nelson, Bob Dylan, Jenny Owens Young or Langhorn Slim; guitar in hand, harmonica in mouth, making as much noise as one can make without the help of electronic amplification.   You can watch him fumbling in his song Teach You the Blues right here, which only makes the song better when Billy laughs it off with a self-depreciating modesty.   That can be the best kind of music for an anytime kind of mood. music that allows the kind of reaction that almost spoils but instead enhances, like turning sour milk into buttermilk pancakes.   That sounds a lot less attractive of a simile than my deeper metaphor is but I listen to a lot of music for my moods, from soul to ska to doom country to, well, acoustic Lady Gaga.
 

(KS38 BillyWallace 05TeachYouTheBlues from Kitchen Sessions on Vimeo.  You can watch the rest of set here)

 
I want to mention that in my perfect world these performers who are magically brought to my house are always impressively compensated and given whatever snacks and beverages they want while getting a million likes on facebook or twitter or whatever, so they aren’t entirely inconvenienced by being whisked away, possible in the middle of doing something really fun.  I guess they should be able to opt out not to be brought somewhere against their will while whatever cosmic Ipod shuffles to a suitable replacement of similar genre and disposition too.  Also in my perfect world all dogs speak with a Scottish accent.
 
I’m getting off topic again.
     Because I wasn’t at the session I can only speak to what I feel when I watch these videos.  The lyrics are smart, his strumming is impressive and I’m filled with a longing to travel Americana and find my inner-man with or without the help of a whisky bottle and a lucky rabbits foot and a picture of a girl I used to know.  Its also always cool to hear someone go from one man orchestra to a ten piece orchestra like the one you hear on Billy Wallace & The Virginia Blues’ record Tucumcari, New Mexico and other songs.
 
      Billy Wallace was kind enough to come over to our humble little city of Cambridge from Cincinnati, OH.  Their record is out at Mind Over Matter Records, but you’d know that if you’ve been clicking on these links.  I promise they don’t go to any porn.  
-ER

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