Amos Lee – Feels Just Like a Shakedown

CINCINNATI – Let me preface this piece by saying that I love Amos Lee’s music. My wife, who discovered him for our household, more than loves him. Our children – a boy and two girls – 17, 15, 11 – love his music. He is an extraordinary songwriter. If labeled modern folk – a bio says that it was a John Prine album that inspired him to begin writing and playing – it certainly is gritty, urban folk that crosses into Rhythm and Blues, Soul, and Country.

In September of last year, my wife and I traveled nearly five hours to Asheville, N.C. to our first Amos Lee concert. It was held indoors at the quaint Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. He blew us away. His sultry voice recreated his studio sound, and his band’s instrumentals were brilliant. Even his slight changing of songs seemed acceptable and his humor and occasional storytelling made us love him even more. The show, over two hours of pure energy – 23 songs on the set list – was so great that my wife immediately began looking for future dates in which we could attend.

Fast forward to Tuesday, July 25, at Cincinnati’s PNC Pavilion at Riverbend Music Center. It had been a good long while since we’d made that three hour trek for a Jimmy Buffett concert. Those Parrothead events are hazy, but I do recall that Buffett shows – and I’ve seen him near twenty times from San Diego to North Carolina – always began in the daylight and ended in the dark. What I didn’t know at the time, and I believe is one of the most ridiculous mandates in modern history, is there is a noise ordinance which states that concerts at this multi-venue center near nothing visible, must cease at 11 p.m. or pay a $1,000 fine for each minute after the hour.

This is no secret to the local consumers, and perhaps that is why the place was half empty. BUT IT IS ALSO A MANAGEABLE PROBLEM FOR AN ARTIST WHO WANTS TO SATISFY HIS FANS. It certainly wasn’t available when we made the decision to take the whole family – five tickets at $57 per – but there was a 12-song set list on the web the day before the show. 12 songs!!

How could Amos Lee have fixed the problem? Obviously, started the show earlier. It began at 8 p.m., and, Lake Street Dive – which I’d seen before at Mountain Stage in Charleston W.Va., and was wonderfully entertaining – was allowed to play for an hour and fifteen minutes, longer than I’ve ever seen an opening act play. Another 35 to 40 minutes to change the stage, and Amos began. JUST BEFORE 10 P.M.

And though my wife mentioned immediately that this had a different vibe from Asheville, he was fantastic! But given the secret time restraints, I would have much rather heard more songs than five-minute instrumentals; more songs than lengthy stories; any of the gut-wrenching songs – Chill In The Air, Johnson Blvd., Dresser Drawer – from Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song, than Hall and Oates’ Sara Smile. Why take three minutes to point out a fans’ sign for a song request, and tell a heart-felt story about an aunt, who is the subject of the requested May I Remind You – which you said you could not remember how to play (Bullshit!) – leading in to the beautifully-executed Arms of a Woman? Time management, man! When you played Sweet Pea, she knew it was over. No encore – bow with the band and bolt. Lights come up, roadies throw down.

Give me Violin – from where my title was pulled. I know, I’m bitching. It wasn’t like we paid for floor seats at Madison Square Garden. But 285 for tickets, 60 for two T-shirts, 25 for an album, 30 for beverages, 200 for a hotel room, another 250 for restaurant meals, 40 for gas, incidentals, that’s 900-plus bucks, Amos. You could have made it worth it, but you chose not to.

 

© 2017

 

 

 

 

     

Racial Harmony Steps To The Plate

Author’s note: Finally, the new novel. Thanks for all the support and for reading the short offerings put forth. A.S. 

Lantern Thumb

Lost soul John Gates returns to Myrtle Beach, SC, after six years and rejoins his three lifelong friends, all of whom worked the Murrells Inlet restaurants in the summers of their college years before moving on to other professions. Gates plans to put his past life of decadence and womanizing, for which he has a guilty secret, behind him. He seeks out William McMillian, a black friend and former co-worker and learns William hopes to follow his dream of purchasing his own restaurant. Gates vows to help William in any way he can. Their racist former boss, Danny Rivers, and his brothers have another idea – to extort William’s life savings to expand their own empire. What unfolds is an epic, two-generational saga that breaks down barriers and stereotypes as family greed and inhumanity clash with friendship, love, and the indomitable human spirit in the late 1980s.

Paperback, ebook, KDP Select, all available on Amazon.com at:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=la_B01EYPU3RQ_B01EYPU3RQ_sr/136-4816967-5824122?rh=i%3Abooks&field-author=Andrew+Spradling&sort=relevance&ie=UTF8&qid=1501272838

 

 

 

Downpour

 

One crack of thunder, and it began to come down,

At the time of morning, when I start to make plans.

To visit my garden, combat the weeds,

Tie up some ‘maters, check the growth of green p’s.

To consider a ride versus family and needs,

Girls getting haircuts, there’s four boys to feed.

There’s anticipation, of a book to let go,

After numerous years of arranging just so.

There’s an Amos review, I’m fixin’ to write,

From a whirlwind trip, we took Tuesday night.

A reunion upcoming of classmates and peers,

It’s been in the making, for thirty-five years.

As quick as it started, the rain is now gone, but

after more than two weeks of travel, it’s good to be home.

 

© 2017

Loner

From Hudson's cpd.jpg

Dusk came as he worked his boat,

too focused to notice his surroundings.

Toiling for that which he loves, that which pays his bills.

Solitary in effort.

Daily grind or sprucing for a guest?

One that might make him forget being alone

for long, long hours.

For charter, or for pleasure?

The waves that rock him daily

are as comforting as his mother’s arms,

which he can only remember

in his dreams.

Yet he avoids sleep,

and the journeys that come

with slumber.