Friday, February 28, 2003

Last night was a concert we bought tickets too way before we started the latest housing adventure. The band was the Waybacks. They are doing a three night stand at their home venue, San Jose's Espresso Garden which they are taping for a live CD release. I've seen the Waybacks play a couple of times, the first being in San Francisco at the Plough and Stars. Seeing them was what inspired me to get back into playing guitar and to be serious enough about it that I took lessons and really spent some time on acoustic guitar. Coincidentally I ended up taking lessons from Bay Area bluegrass guru Jack Tuttle at the store where one of the Waybacks worked before they gave up their day jobs for touring.

As always, the show was excellent. They did 3 or 4 songs from their first album and 7 song from the second mixed in with some new pieces. Stevie Coyle (fingerpicked guitar) does an excellent job of MC'ing their shows with a wry, dry wit that makes even jokes repeated from show to show go over. Wayne "Chojo" Jacques (mandolin, fiddle, nose harp) and James Nash (flatpicked guitar, mandolin) hold down the lion's share of the soloing and are amazing to watch, particularly Nash. I've seen some of the best guitarists in this type of music and he stands out as being one of the tastiest players, while being one of the fastest at the same time! They've changed the rhythm section around over the years but I think the current one (Joe Kyle, Jr. on bass and Chuck Hamilton on drums) is their best. They've got a little more flair than some of the previous band members and work well with the other three.

As you might be able to tell from the line-up, this isn't a bluegrass band. They do some bluegrass like playing, but their music is a mixture of country, jazz, folk, bluegrass and celtic influences that they have pulled together very well.

I highly recommend seeing them if you have the chance. These days they are touring most of the time, so check out their website and see if they are coming to your town sometime soon.

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