Friday, 21 June 2013

Lovesong: Brian Lopez: I Pray For Rain/KT Tunstall: Feel it All

I was at Aarhus in Denmark last summer, finally able to accept an invitation from the charming Folmer Jepsen to play in the opening show of the annual Arts Festival that he directs so creatively.
I was fortunate to get to play with the iconic Giant Giant Sand, Howe Gelb's backing band. They have a brilliant newish album out called 'Tuscon'.
OK, I did play only one song, but...
I sang for The Queen of Denmark.
We stole her oysters, drank her wine...
I liked her.
Firm handshake.
Firm eye contact and... she smokes filter tips.

The excellent Brian Lopez plays guitar with Giant Giant Sand.
Brian has a solo album 'Ultra' which is cracking.
You can buy it here.
Think Dylan meets Feliciano meets Ry Cooder... if you must, but Brian's voice is incomparable. He does this falsetto thing that is quite unique and spine tinglingly addictive. The ensemble playing on the album has a wide screen twang and drama that is compulsive; horns blare, strings quiver and set the hairs on your neck a dancing. The songs themselves are passionate parables of love lost and found.
I hope that Tarantino has his number.
Brian is now in Britain, staying with Di and I: he's here to play some gigs with KT Tunstall as her support and as a member of her band.
Excuse the gush but we had the privilege of a private performance in our lounge the other night.
Di was blubbing and blowing snot. Our neighbour Louise used the word 'exquisite' ten times before I stopped counting. Maybe it was the tequila that fueled her enthusiasm but she was right of course. Her husband Des was rendered speechless, unusual for him, reduced to chuckling, whooping and whistling so loud that, well, he'd have woken the neighbours if... they hadn't been the neighbours. Up close, inside the guard, you get to see the mechanics of a performance and there was definitely something special going on. Brian is both powerful and sensitive in the same sweet breath; dexterous and deftly adroit on his nylon stringed guitar. He had some choices to make because he can take a song anywhere he wants to and, although he'd drunk deep from the same bottle as the rest of us, he didn't misstep once.
Brian knows what he wants; he's grounded yet ascendant, seemingly heaven sent, surely glory bound.

We went to see the show last night at The Assembly Halls in Islington. 
It was a great gig; both KT and Brian played a blinder.
If you'd like to see the ridiculously talented Lopez up close there's always his gig at:
The 12 Bar ClubSoho's Denmark Street: July 2nd.
Meet me at the bar.
Buy me a drink.
Don't offer one to Lopez.
The man doesn't drink apparently.
Not a drop...

I've got to admit that, while I was interested enough to buy Tunstall's earlier albums, they didn't set me on fire. The new album however has a deep, smoldering intensity that is absolutely captivating.
For its recording KT went to Arizona in search of some arid authenticity. Giant Sand's Howe Gelb was Prospero there and spirited some fine, instinctive performances from the wee lassie. It's a quiet gem of an album, exquisitely gentle; gently sad, informed by the loss of her father and the break up of her marriage. The album, 'Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon' was released on June 10th.
You can buy it here...
First up I've posted 'I Pray For Rain' by Brian Lopez then have a look at KT and Brian performing an acoustic version of Tunstall's new single 'Feel it All' recorded at Tuscon's Wavelab recording studios.


  1. Speaking of smoking queens, I just finished watching a fantastic interview on CBC with the queen of folk music... Joni never grants interviews, but Gian Ghomeshi is kind of a TV wonder-boy here these days, and he managed to somehow persuade her. I won't even try to describe the thing, except to say that Joni is one eccentric old bird. And boy does she love her ciggies...
    I found the video on the CBC site. I think you'll get a kick out of it, if the link works across the pond? Scroll down to first video labelled "Joni Mitchell Interview." It's nearly 2 hours long, but utterly fascinating...

    1. Thanks Tim; I'll check it out.
      Currently reading a fine dismantling of 'Blue' by MIchelle Mercer 'Will You Take Me As I Am'.
      It's a peculiarly female take on a peculiarly feminine record but no less fascinating for it...

  2. Not a drop of tequila touched my lips, great night though! PS tell your mate that he has prayed for enough rain thank you!

    1. That's because it went straight down your throat neighbour!
      Message passed on and... the sun is shining.

    2. Love my ( thy) neighbours x x x

  3. Something of the faded widescreen splendour of The Triffids about Mr Lopez on this track. A very good thing, that. Just discovered he's been to Dublin in the last couple of days. Mmm. Ah well, I was at a festival watching your man John Lydon and the kids (although not in that order).

  4. Brian back (a little crumpled) from his Dublin visit. He and KT played The Pepper Cannister and were accorded a typically Irish welcome. The boy loved the place but not the prices...
    Btw Seamus, I know that you are a Bunnymen fan.
    Brian does a cracking version of 'The Killing Moon' on his album 'Ultra'.

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