Saturday, May 16, 2015

Jorma Solo at the Bull Run

Jorma Kaukonen has recently issued what could be his best solo record, which is saying a lot since others he's done have been so excellent.  Ain't In No Hurry was produced by Larry Campbell and has Larry, Teresa, Jack, and Barry all over it ... the usual suspects.  His schedule is all over the place (including coming to the area with Jack, Larry, and Teresa in 6 weeks, which we're going to miss!), but he stopped by the Bull Run for a solo concert on Friday, May 15th.

We didn't get the dead-center front table but were two to the left of that, and got there early enough to grab the seats fronting the stage.  After we enjoyed another nice Bull Run dinner, Jorma came on with his off-yellow flannel shirt, his silver hair, his butcher's hands, and his library of excellent songs.  He's one of my favorite songwriters.

Jorma played one set and had the packed house just drooling, hanging on his every syllable.  You could have heard a pin drop at times and at other times people throughout the room screamed in delight.  He was as Southern-Ohio folksy as ever, engaging in a little conversation with the fans, playing Death Don't Have No Mercy for B.B. King (who had just passed away), and telling a funny story about Jack Casady at his estate on the Isle of Jersey.

We would have loved to have seen a band with Jorma, but we knew we were going to be in for an evening of concentrated excellence with him solo, and we sure were.  He took his time, he wasn't in no hurry, and he knocked every one of these songs out of the park with his beautiful voice (in better form than I'd ever heard it), and his awesome guitar.  I may be remembering the order wrong and/or missing a couple, but here's what he played:

True Religion
The Other Side Of the Mountain
Ain't In No Hurry
Death Don't Have No Mercy
Hesitation Blues
Barbecue King
In My Dreams
Come Back Baby
Where There's Two There's Trouble
I Am the Light Of This World
Good Shepherd
How Long Blues
Bar Room Crystal Ball
Water Song
Know You Rider
Never Happen No More

Jorma stayed on the same acoustic with nylon strings all night (with thumb-pick and fingers), but switched to a ringing one with steel strings and a wide fret board for Bar Room Crystal Ball (top of my desired list for the night) and Water Song (only one of the best songs ever).

He referred to playing at the Dear Jerry extravaganza in Maryland the night before (he did Sugaree on electric, we heard it on the web) and said that he'd wanted to play the next song, but was told that he couldn't.  Then he launched into Know You Rider and killed it of course.  Probably wouldn't have been fitting for him to do a song at a Jerry tribute that he always (debatably) played better than Garcia.

There were several outbursts and standing ovations throughout the night, including me after Death Don't Have No Mercy, which was just incredible.  We rang the place with some of the loudest applause I've ever heard there when he moved to finish, but after standing away from his chair for a bit, nodding and smiling, he came back and did Never Happen No More for us.  Some people still wouldn't quit, begging for a second encore, but Jorma had enjoyed himself and was now done.  He'd been in Maryland the night before and had to be in Manhattan the next night.  I hope to be as active in my 70s!

What top-notch music and what a great way to spend a mid-Spring Friday night.

Pictures here!

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