Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Nightlight, Chapel Hill
November, 18 2009
Last Wednesday in Chapel Hill Jay Cartwright, stalwart of the Durham underground rock scene and life-long accordion player, led song at Nightlight to a darkened room of adorers thoughtfully listening to the unique shades of color his solo accordion arrangement created.
As one of the few practicing accordion players in the folk arena these days, Jay takes the stage as the lone heir to a fortune of highly developed civilization and culture from an earlier time. Before Robert Moog changed the face of rock and roll with modular synthesizers in the sixties' the apparatus of choice for buzzy stretchy brown sound dynamics was an accordion strapped to your chest. Early pioneers of big band and swing filled the spaces of radio with it in the first half of the last century and maintained its relevance right to the edges of rock and roll before it was set down, walked away from, and forgotten about by popular music.
While the golden age of accordion music flickered to darkness more than a half of a century ago, the modern folk music movement and old fashioned folk aesthetic that it seeks beckons the lights back on. The Felice Brothers infuse their heart break narratives with the accordion and those lucky enough to have caught them at Local 506 their last time through may have been brought to tears by James Felice's earth moving accordion work on "Goddamn You, Jim". By The Rosebuds Kelly Crisp, Built to Spill, and others across the indy spectrum, the bygone vintage of the accordion is being coaxed back into relevancy.
With sixteen years pushing the reeds however, Jay isn't among those seeking the olden aesthetic that the accordion represents...his character and presence as a musician is entangled in it. An accomplished piano player as well, Jay brings keys to many of the bands he is a member of...yet when the call of the solo stage summons him forth it's the accordion keenly accompanying. Jay's set last Wednesday re-imagined classics such as Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" and The Supremes' "Come See About Me" with his accordion's harmonic textures of cream and wistfulness so unique that they were washed to a near original quality.
Jay doesn't have any more solo accordion shows on his calendar but you can see him perform as part of Felix Obelix, The Fictional Detectives, or in the participatory sea-chantey collective Oyster Destroyster. Jay Also presses the aerophone for Durham's very own Baroque Rock showmanship revivalist marching band The Scene of the Crime Rovers. --Carrboro Ninja
at 3:45 PM
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Today marks one year of anonymously patrolling the streets of Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro (ChCa ™) reporting indy, folk, and alt. rock activity to the ninja master. I started this blog because I wanted to keep the party going. I'd see rumbling moving and awakening performances from local bands and the extent of my ability to explain it the next day was a mere, "take my word for it, it was a sweet show last night." To expose the real story I needed pictures, metaphors, descriptions, records, links, art, narrations, music, rhymes and reasons to radiate the heat that this local scene is generating on and all around the stage. I didn't want to just talk about it I wanted to scream about it. When somehow, unbelievably, the blogspot handle "Secret Carrboro Ninja Patrol" had not already been taken, I knew it was fate, I would blog about it.
It has been exactly one earth-year since my first entry re; MAX Indian at Local 506 and I can happily recount a few things I've learned;
I've learned that if you use a beat-to-shit ten year old first generation digital camera on its lowest resolution settings, you get pretty decent grungy looking rock and roll pictures, and if you leave it lying on the bar by accident, it'll still be there when you come back twenty minutes later.
I've learned that there is a hack along with a how-to-guide for every possible html related thing that Google doesn't want you to do with their blogger product. Ironically, to find the hacks just Google it. e.g. "replace header with an image in blogspot" ...even more irony in that this hack was posted on a blogspot account.
Most of all, I have been able to place a quantity upon the seemingly unknown energy that sparks across this town. After a year of immersing myself in the local music culture by taking in as many shows as I could, listening to as many bands as I could, observing venues promote, bands create, and fans react...I have learned that it is inspiration that is creating, maintaining, and building the current. Inspiration is viral and the triangle music culture's art first, originality in excess, genius is teaming with it.
Moving into the next twelve months of ninja-reporting, I am planning a couple of enhancements to the mission of promoting local music and all who are part of its culture. Hand in hand with their music is the wonderful art that is created by the local musicians. As a first enhancement I intend to mold and shape the pages of this blog into some sort of musician's art mall. T-shirts, concert posters, and even original works non music related will have a picture and a way to transact for it. Don't worry about the details, they don't exist, I just know that I want to do this. My second goal will be to ratchet up the content from one post per week (give or take) to several and this means I need more ninjas. That said, if you are a ninja and want to do some ninjaing, find me. --Carrboro Ninja
at 3:47 PM
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Sequoya "Troika Evenings" at West End Wine Bar Saturday 11/7 7:00 PM
Jasmé Kelly "Troika Evenings" at West End Wine Bar Saturday 11/7 7:45 PM
Tender Fruit "Troika Evenings" at West End Wine Bar Saturday 11/7 8:30 PM
Veronique Diabolique The Pinhook Saturday 11/7 9:30 PM
Barely into day 3 my schedule fell on its head and I missed Veronique Diabolique's set. Luckily I caught up with Didier and Dominique Diabolique outside of The Pinhook for a few flashes.
Luego The Pinhook Saturday 11/7 10:30 PM
Mimi McLaughlin The Pneurotics Bass Player, Troika Volunteer and Organizer, and super sweetheart.
Mimi and Meredith laughing at a hysterical joke I had just told
Lonnie Walker Duke Coffeehouse Saturday 11/7 11:15 PM
The Love Language Broad Street Cafe Saturday midnight
Sequoya front girl Bonnie Pivacek's sweet Kangaroos
Left to right, bottom to top? Eileen Hannan, Corey Shake, Tender Fruit percussionist Staci Sawyer, Sarah Weissberg, LadyeJane Vickers, and Stacey.
Lonnie Walker bass player Josh Bridgers flashing signs
Full 143 Image Photo stream
Best Beards Day 3
The Blue ribbon is as of yet not awarded. Recognizing fierce competition, I have decided the proper method for choosing "best beard" must be by ballot of peers. I will be soliciting each of our nine beards for a vote on "best of class" and will publish the results shortly. Here are yesterday's beards;
Will Goodyear, Bright Young Things
Chaz Martenstein proprietor of Bull City Records
Greg Humphreys, Hobex (not performing this year but a beard as solid as his last solo album)
at 11:35 PM