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Late Doors

Sturgill Simpson, Brudenell Social Club

Jesus i couldn't stand country music when i was young. Must have been a combination of a jazz blues infused childhood with a northern white boy's young eager heart searching for relevant thrills. The country music i heard must have been the insipid thrice rinsed faux cowboy gunk pouring out of Hollywood. I paid it no heed. That is until i heard Johnny Cash.

Of course now i see it and more importantly hear and feel its human resonance. Yes, it still makes more sense in America but its universal themes now ring home to that aging northern white boys heart.

I suppose it helps with the current vogue for it finding and pushing out people like Sturgill Simpson and his eye wateringly good band.

From Turtles

I've seen Jesus play with flames in a lake of fire that I was standing in
Met the devil in Seattle and spent 9 months inside the lions den
Met Buddha yet another time and he showed me a glowing light within
But I swear that God is there every time I glare in the eyes of my best friend
Says my son it's all been done and someday yer gonna wake up old and gray
So go and try to have some fun showing warmth to everyone
You meet and greet and cheat along the way

Lots of love already for him in the Brude currently undergoing a refurb. Brother Butts had reserved a position for me right at the front underneath the lead guitarist, a Russian, no sorry Estonian and next to the only Texan hat in Leeds to my right. His tattered telecaster looking like a veteran of ten thousand gigs plugged into an effects board at his feet i could touch.

The drummer's kit was decked in glitzy Italian flag colours whilst Sturgill himself controlled center stage the whole band and indeed the whole room. It was all there, the shtick, the humour, the inter band interplay and most importantly the massive inner swirl of emotion that country music whips up especially with precision, energy, commitment and truly brilliant musicianship. A drum/base combo micro perfect, not flamboyant but laser sharp and very powerful. The guitarists' country chops as exciting as I've ever heard and of course Sturgills steely vocals that are tender, intense and when required, immense.

Slow laments, ridiculously fast two steps, blue grass zip everything in fact from the country vaults projected into the now (thank you Butts) with contemporary panache attitude and relevance complete with some pretty cosmic wig outs. Brilliant, They are on at Green Man as well.

Can't top that - he/ they were quite brilliant, and it was the extended grooves that had me reaching for the inner adjectives. That rhythm section was as heavy as concrete and as light as meringue, as it suited (there you go!).

Despite the spiritual/ new age lyricism and the hallucinogenic imagery he's absolutely rooted in the country of Nelson and Jennings, with a band that lifts it all even higher. I never quite got a good look at the guitarist we were so close but he seemed to be playing with three hands. Maybe,jusy maybe the gig of the year. If Leeds had held on, no question about it.
Late Doors

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