|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