Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"One thing about music is when it hits you, you feel no pain." - Bob Marley

click here to buy a Purdy t-shirt like mine

Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale

delicious raspberry beer

brace yourself, folks. this is gonna be a long one.

i've been a Joe Purdy fan for about 6 years now. i have every single one of his cd's and can listen to his songs repeatedly without ever getting sick of them. i first discovered his music during a sad time in my life, and every single time i heard his voice and his music, i felt less alone. (before Joe made it "big" he was a highschool guidance counselor and worked on the loading docks. i suspect his background in counseling might have something to do with his therapeutic touch through the stories he tells, even if it's unintentional.) you know it's good-for-you music when your heart actually feels like it's being nourished and fed. when someone else is able to express for you your secret story in words and in sounds that were buried deep within your being all along. when your whole soul screams "hallelujah! yes! that's it! that's exactly how it feels!!!" so when i saw that he was coming to philly to play at World Cafe Live, i couldn't buy my ticket fast enough.

the night was better than anything i could have ever dreamed up. the show started at 8 with Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan of  The Milk Carton Kids opening with songs from their cd "Retrospect" (you can download the cd for free here.) my favorite songs of their set were 'Queen Jane,' 'Charlie,' 'Girls Gather Round' and 'Like a Cloak.' then Joe came on to play songs  from his newest cd "4th of July." Joe's use of the piano, fiddle, acoustic guitar, mandolin and harmonica were soulful and somber, at times filled with aching angst and at times playful and full of his unique, folksy Arkansas twang. i was happy. i was mesmerized, riveted, stirred, fascinated, and calmed. or as the famous 1980's semi-ironic saying goes (actually come to think of it, wasn't the entire decade of the 80's semi-ironic?) - "i laughed, i cried, it was better than Cats."

 Kenneth and Joey came back on stage to sing back up with Joe as well as play bass/guitar (by Joey or "JR" as Joe calls him) and mandolin, piano, banjo, pedal steel guitar, acoustics and something that looked like a tiny piano and sounded like an organ (by Kenneth.) throughout the night i sipped on Lambio Framboise (a belgian raspberry beer) and cinnamon orange spice tea. i also had about 3 cups of water. over the course of a 4 hour show i only went to the bathroom ONCE which is a holy miracle if you know me. my bladder is this big --> ()  actually, it's more of a testament to how thoroughly enchanted i was by these three men. even though my bladder did feel like it was going to burst, i did not want to miss a single note of any of the songs they performed. after a bravo performance where Joe played a few songs by request (sadly, he did not play my 'Canyon Joe' and 'Mary May & Bobby' requests) but he still blew me away with 'Sinking Low' and - for a smashing finale - 'Ode to Sad Clown.'  i should mention here that i considered quitting my job and becoming his full-time groupie/band-aid atleast fifteen times. i don't mean "groupie/band-aid" in the sense you might be thinking. i mean, i could maybe be a back-up dancer in a flowy skirt?  but in all seriousness, i could spend every single day for the rest of my life sitting on a dusty backstage floor if it meant i could hear this man sing and play his music. am i being dramatic? yes, admittedly, i am.

after the show while waiting around for people to pitter out so i could meet Joe while buying my t-shirt, i got to talk to JR and Kenneth. i told them they needed to come to play at the Milkboy Cafe in Ardmore and they informed me that they would actually be returning to philly to play at the Tin Angel sometime this fall. i then snuck back into the auditorium and got to talk to Joe himself!!!!!! i told him how much his music has meant to me over the years and he was truly the most gracious man i've ever met. we talked for a good twenty to thirty minutes about documentaries we've both seen (he told me that "Be Here to Love Me" made him cry his eyes out... yes. this man admitted to crying his eyes out. to a stranger. do you see why i love him?), his music inspiration (Townes Van Zandt, Daniel Johnston), how he recently performed with Joseph Arthur and where he should play next time he is in philly. overall the night was surreal - i got to spend a glorious 4 hours listening to the kind of music that heals my soul, and i got  to meet and talk to my favorite musician. did i also mention that i went to this show all by myself? even though i was alone, i did not feel insecure or lonely because all that mattered to me was hearing Joe Purdy's music live. it's amazing what unexpected wonders await us when we follow our heart and are open to experiencing new things. life can be delightful.  im still swooning and swirling with starstruck-sickness (and also running on 3 hours of sleep.) but it was worth it.

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