First of all apologies for the crappy cell phone pictures, there were people there with better camera equipment who took better pictures, so hunt them down.
The Bluefields have this released their first album, and they were booked to do an in-store performance at Grimey’s New & Preloved Music (one of the best record stores in the world – btw).
Warner E. Hodges, Joe Blanton & Dan Baird
Dan Baird played bass and sang
So I posted a brief commentary on Facebook on this show as soon as I got home.
Words can not express how awesome it was seeing The Bluefields this evening at Grimey’s New & Preloved Music.Warner E. Hodges Dan Baird and Joe Blanton brought the house down. – oh and I will try to find words to express how awesome it was tomorrow.
After I posted it, actually just before (as you will see from the last line), I thought, well I’m a writer and a music blogger so I best find some words to express how awesome it was. Well it took me a couple of extra days, but here goes nothing.
When I approached Grimey’s, I saw the band standing out front. I got there early, and I had some time to think about this event.
First of all, if you don’t know, I need to tell you about the Band:
The Bluefields are Warner E. Hodges (Jason & the Scorchers, Homemade Sin), Joe Blanton (The Enemy, Royal Court of China) and Dan Baird (Georgia Satellites, Homemade Sin)
Warner E. Hodges :
Memories: Seeing the Scorchers play Labor Day 1985 at Cat’s Records. Such an amazing experience. The Movement (Richie Owens band who played one of my favorite song’s Lost Horizon) and the later Tim Kreckel and the Sluggers opened the show and were both amazing, but the night belonged to the Scorchers. From the first explosive note, you could see where that the name was appropriate. The stage burned, and every moment was a joyous and infectious blur of twirling microphone and slinging guitar.
In the later part of the 80s, I got really into the local music scene in Nashville. Bands like The Questionnaires and Walk the West and others. I was still going to school in Cookeville, but whenever we could we would drive up to Nashville and catch a show (it was usually weekends at the Cannery) and at almost every show I attended, Warner Hodges joined the band for the encore and it was always the Rolling Stone’s Honky Tonk Women.
Flashforward: 2012 – I got to stand next to Warner’s mother, Blanche (a musician herself) and watch as Warner and the Bluefields tore it up. I got to tell her how much her son’s music had meant to me over the years, and she told me that he originally had not shown an interest in the guitar and that he had not begun playing guitar until he was ten. Warner plays with such intensity and yet such ease, and he flashes this genuine and warm smile periodically throughout the show.
Memories: Around the same time that I saw the Scorchers for the first time, I remember hearing this local band on WRVU (sadly off the dial now) – The Enemy had this one song, Jesus Rides a U.F.O. that I loved. I remember going to see R.E.M. at Vanderbilt in November of 1985, and a friend pointing out the members of The Enemy in attendance.
A few years later (very few) The Enemy broke up and out of the ashes came Royal Court of China. To me Royal Court of China always had a larger than life feel. They played blistering hard rock suffused with a Southern Gothic spirit. Joe Blanton’s voice I remember most and the perfect blend of the two styles of music. RCC got signed to a major label and made an amazing debut record. After that, the band split with a couple of members forming The Shakers who took the Southern Gothic mysticism to new heights while Joe and some others carried on as Royal Court of China and made a stunning hard rock album. I loved The Shakers and the hard rock RCC album, but I always missed that perfect fusion of the original lineup. Still Joe Blanton’s guitar and vocals were always amazing.
Flashforward 2012 – Joe Blanton still has an amazing rock and roll voice, and he can play guitar pretty well, too. Before the show, it was clear that he was the detail man of the band – setting up video cameras.
Memories: I don’t remember the year exactly – maybe 86? But, this “new” band started getting tons of airplay on WRVU. The Georgia Satellites. They reminded me of the Scorchers in a way, but it was different, too. Then, I heard The Song, and damn if it wasn’t stuck in my head all the damn time. RVU played it to death, but I never got sick of it. This had happened before with songs I heard on WRVU – Peter Case’s Walk in the Woods comes immediately to mind. But, then this funny thing happened. Suddenly, this song began to get airplay on commercial stations and on MTV (and yes kids, MTV used to play music videos). And wouldn’t you know it, this song made it to number one and Keep Your Hands to Yourself became and remains a iconic Rock n Roll song. The band ended up on Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin’ Eve.
Dan Baird has been making music, great music ever since. As a solo artist and with his band Homemade Sin (of which Warner is a member).
Flashforward 2012 – When these three guitarists formed a band, Dan Baird got volunteered to play bass. Dan Baird, who I think has one of the most distinctive voices in rock, joked repeated about his voice and his ability to play the bass. As I’ve before and I say again, I am a non-musician music lover, and so my take on music is always much more emotional than technical. So, I don’t know how Dan Baird’s bass playing would be considered by a bass player, but I can say that the whole band sounded great to me.
Overall, my overall impression was of these three world-weary musicians who have seen the highs and lows of a life in music and press on because it is who they are. What I heard in the songs of the Bluefields from their debut, Pure, was maybe not the pure youthful, reckless country soul of that early Scorchers show, but truthful, direct songs that told stories that we all know so well. What I saw, was these veteran musicians having fun doing what they love. And what I felt was truly blessed and fortunate to have the opportunity to witness it and to shake the hands of these men whose music made up such large part of my life.