Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Rosie Flores at Rodeo Bar, NYC 6/19/08

What a fun night. Flores hadn’t played the Rodeo in three years, she told the crowd, and it was good to have her back. As she put it, her thing is American roots music, pretty much everything that falls under that wide umbrella: country, rockabilly, western swing, blues and rock, with a psychedelic, 60s edge. Backed by a solid three-piece band with rhythm section and pedal steel, she didn’t have her signature turquoise guitar: instead, she showed off her new, all-white Gretsch Penguin, which she said she “hadn’t gotten to third base with yet. It’s kind of shy, we’re just getting to know each other.” Aside from few tuning problems, they seemed to get along just fine. Flores has a somewhat sweet, unaffected voice with just the hint of a Tejas twang and masterful command of whatever style she wants to purloin, but ultimately what she gets over on is her guitar playing. Tonight was a clinic in good taste and pure, unadulterated fun: at one point, Flores plopped down on a chair onstage and kicked up her heels while the steel player took a solo. An early number in the set, Rockabye Boogie was basically a throwaway, but when she pulled out of the second chorus, she left the trail and threw off enough sparks to start a forest fire. Her style isn’t sensationally fast: instead, she chooses her spots, making every note count for something, whether for a chill or a laugh.

 

She and the band tackled the Yardbirds classic I Ain’t Talking, backing off a little bit and giving it some swing, which could have been a disaster: the original is raw, undiluted adrenaline. But when Flores got to the solo, she played the intro to Over Under Sideways Down before taking off with some equally amusing early Jimmy Page-style hammer-ons, screaming bent notes and just raw noise before turning it over to the steel player. Obviously, he didn’t know it, so he just let the steel scream, which worked perfectly. Otherwise, they did an authentically dark, ominous version of the old 60s hit Tunnel of Love (written by Charlie McCoy, Flores revealed), along with a long, 6/8 blues number that gave her the chance to stretch out and explore more than her generally fast, upbeat numbers give her the chance to do. For someone who pretty much lives on the road, it’s impressive how she manages to make the songs sound completely fresh night after night, but she does

June 20, 2008 - Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City, Reviews

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