I must say that I was excited by the launch of the Sidewalk Talk Show, my new project which debuted last night. It was very gracious of Jeff Lewis to agree to participate considering that he and I barely had met before, although I've often enjoyed his work. I'm anticipating that the talk show will be a semi-regular feature that allows me to have conversations with some of the intriguing folks on the scene. I'm very interested in the history of the whole Sidewalk community over the years, so I was glad to be able to start with Jeff, who first started attending the open mic in 1996. He talked a little about what the scene was like in those days and also about what it's like to make his living as a performer, among other topics. I really enjoyed the conversation, but given the time restraints in a situation like this the challenge will be finding a balance between talking about one thing in some depth versus my tendency to want to cover a lot of topics. If there was any problem last night it was that I had so much I wanted to ask that I kind of threw a lot of questions at Jeff at once and basically asked him to sort it out. I'm sure things will get refined as we move along, and I'm looking forward to working at it. It looks as if the next guests will be Schwervon on January 26 and then Ching Chong Song on February 2. Somehow, with the help of Isaac Gillespie, we managed to get a video crew together and taped the show. Thanks, Isaac to you and your video dudes.
Coo was the first performer and sang a song about getting the "fudge" kissed out of her. At some point she said something like "who's gonna get the fudge kissed out of them tonight? --that's a new goal for 2009."
I was running around a bit at the beginning of the evening so didn't get to see everyone who played, but I did notice that Casey, Dan Fishback, M. Lamar, and Phoebe (she played Horrible Mood) were among those who had slots. It's nice to see Dan Asselin back on the scene after a long while. He covered a Fiona Apple tune (and also played one of his own). Waylon did a cool thing where he played against a backing track he brought in. Roland Beto (sp?), John Murdoch, and Becca Hasselbrook were among the performers on the early side of the night.
A guy named Roland Ramos, who was very proud of his Hoboken heritage, did a kind of Reggae styled rap. I thought it was quite good. It seemed as if he was improvising much of it and I got the impression he was performing with a guitarist he'd just met that night (not entirely sure about that). But I like Roland's energy.
Nick Mace. The song might have been called "When Time Stands Still."
The Telethons. John played Bird Watching and "I've Had Too Much to Drink" at the piano. No Mark on the scene, and in fact John had Waylon playing drums with him on a song.
Debe Dalton played an instrumental tune with a fiddle player name Emily, and they did a lovely job. Then Debe did Normal.
Then Jordan Levinson played a tune with Isaac Gillespie and with fiddler Emily. Jordan has a real nice voice and made me think of this singer Iris Dement. I came across Iris Dement because I really loved this song of hers, "Our Town" that was used in the final episode of Northern Exposure. I'm not really a big follower of country singers, but she has a kind of traditional style and sings beautifully.
That's the report as I have it for January 12. Back for more next week.