Monday, April 22, 2013

Rain: As The Rain

Jeb Loy Nichols: As The Rain

My last post discussed a memorable concert that I attended with my whole family in 2004, memorable not only because of the great music, but which has stuck in my mind for a silly reason---some guy yelling out at a random moment in a song. Today’s post is about a concert that I attended with my wife, a few years earlier, that is memorable not only because of the music, but because of another, not at all silly reason.

Jeb Loy Nichols is another one of those guys who I tend to write about—people who seemed close to a commercial breakthrough, but never quite got there. “As The Rain” was probably the first song of his that I was familiar with, from his debut album, “Lover’s Knot.” His sound was an interesting mix of rock, folk, jazz, R&B, and whatever, and his voice was unusual, in a good way. His next album, “Just What Time It Is,” released at the end of 2000 was the one that seemed poised to do something—it had at least three great songs on it. After that, though, I kind of lost track of him, although I have recently discovered some more good music from him. He was one of the performers at the concert at issue.

Lucy Kaplansky was the other. Although a Chicagoan by birth, she became closely identified with New York, both because of her participation in the local folk music scene and because she went to college and practiced psychology here before she fully committed to her music. Her literate songs and exquisite covers, combined with her beautiful voice, has made her a family favorite for years. Here is a link to a bonus track from Kaplansky: Manhattan Moon [purchase] which not only references her adopted city, but also our theme, rain.

One of the great things about living near New York is that there are many opportunities to see outdoor concerts, many of them free, and the kind of musicians that I like often participate in these free shows. The Nichols/Kaplansky show, which was a fine, free concert, sponsored by the wonderful WFUV, part of a series of folk/rock shows on the plaza of the World Trade Center, was held on a beautiful July evening.

Less than two months later, coincidentally on the same day that Kaplansky released her album “Every Single Day,” the plaza ceased to exist.

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