Friday, December 10, 2010


Adler & Hearne headline concert @ Art & Expresso with guests Nelson Privette, Gus Gustafson, Joe Dan Boyd, Susan Thames & Ramsey Sisters

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A Guest Gig With Adler & Hearne @ Art & Espresso on Market Street

It was a very good Friday, December 10, and more than Christmas was in the air along beautiful downtown Winnsboro's Market Street, perhaps better known, historically, as The Bowery, once home to a-baker's-dozen-or-so saloons.

In fact, Lynn Adler sang Adler & Hearne's original song, "The Bowery," inspired by the historical writings of Bill Jones, sang it two times actually on this evening, once for the early-birds and again for the late-comers to this concert scheduled for three hours: four pm to seven pm in the intimate venue of Art & Espresso, home of wonderful sandwiches, salads, beverages, ice cream and more.

It would be a good time, figured Lindy of Adler and Hearne, arguably the most famous musical duo in Greater Winnsboro, to try out some new songs and resurrect some oldies they haven't, for whatever reason, been doing regularly of late. Thus was the pace set for this eclectic, entertaining evening.

A few guests had also been invited to join Adler and Hearne during the three-hour gig, including two of Hearne's guitar students: Nelson Privette, a freshman in Winnsboro High School, and a promising prodigy on lead guitar, along with Susan Thames, whose ornately appointed guitar dazzled the audience as she accompanied herself on sad songs like "The Long Black Veil."

Other guests included Gus Gustafson, who arrived late, but in time for hot harmonica breaks toward the evening's end. The Ramsey Sisters were also late-comers, but are always welcome for their impeccable harmony and youthful enthusiasm.

Myself, Joe Dan Boyd, was the other invited guest performer, choosing to bring my recently amplified tenor ukulele, while singing four songs: "Paper Moon," "Darling Nellie Gray," "Redwing" and "The Glory Of Love." Two of those songs were learned long ago from my musical mentor, the late great Herb Cater.

But, of course, the evening belonged to Winnsboro's musical aristocracy, Adler and Hearne, who chose to sing "Salty Town" early in the concert, one of those songs filled with nostalgia for those of all ages, speaking to us of life before kids and grandkids, and of a simple life in general.

"River Of Wind" and "Second Nature" were also paired early in the evening, the latter song's lyrics describing how a sweet prairie can itself sing back to us with sissortails diving, for real or in memory.

"Addicted To You," a song that required 12 years for Hearne to complete a long-term journey of composition: "You needed space, so you took off to the moon," led somehow into Brer Rabbit's brier patch, causing the author to pine for a patch for the song's elusive lover.

Water was a popular motif in the lyrics of this unique concert, including songs like "River Wide, River Deep" and one of Adler & Hearne's signature tunes, "Goolsby's Pool," a favorite fishing haunt of my own childhood and now home to Adler & Hearne.

Among the hot riffs by the youthful and talented Nelson Privette were those associated with a tune called "Autumn Leaves," the bluesy "Soup's On" and a few instrumentals favored during the turbulent Sixties, and now recalled by a more settled Hearne.

"Cuddle With You" had to be one of the most charming of the night's song choices: "I'll be the onion, you be the stew, put me on the stove and call me done."

The Christmas Season was honored by one of Adler and Hearne's latest jewels, one written by Hearne and frequent co-composer Hal Greenwood, "If I Had Been In Bethlehem." So far, they have only recorded this amazing song as part of a multi-artist Christmas anthology, one that might be difficult to obtain at this point. The name of the anthology is "Hudson Harding Sampler, Vol. 5," in case you want to search for it online or in person. I bought the next-to-last copy in Lindy's bin.

"The Fly And The Spider" was another hit with this evening's audience, as was Susan Thames' version of "Your Cheatin' Heart."

One of my personal favorites from this dynamic duo is perhaps their best-known song, at least in this area, "My East Texas Piney Woods Home," which has become a kind of unofficial theme song for the Autumn Trails area and for Winnsboro in particular. It was also inspired by the historical writings of Bill Jones: "A long day for a dollar, and my soul is all I own.. in my East Texas Pineywoods home."

During the concert, Hearne, a master musician, switched easily from playing a Gibson mandolin, harmonica, a quirky green-colored Ibanez electric guitar and his two trusty vintage Gibson acoustic guitars, a 1959 model and likely his favorite, a 1948 Gibson that bears the same kind of troubadour scars as does the Martin named Trigger favored by Willie Nelson.

Nelson Privette, who Lindy says shows some of the same early promise as did his own daughter, Kate Hearne, played his Epiphone Les Paul electric, and stood out especially on such songs as "California Here I Come" and "California Dreamin'."

One of the most unique songs of the evening would be "The Ballad of Travis Arkie," which tells the story of the man known as Travis Arkie, who "had it made in that East Texas shade," and whose life seldom wandered from the path of what-the-hey. Of course, there was also that other song, "One Night In The Backyard," which detailed the ceremonial burials of childhood pets: a dog, a cat, a rat, a goldfish, a bunny, and..well, you get the picture.

"Pineywoods Breeze," a song that could carry the load of an album title, took us into the mystical world of firewood crackling, nightbirds singing and cabins looming in the deep woods. It's a never-to-be-forgotten tune.

When Gus Gustafson arrived, the concert began to wind down, with his harmonica echoing to tunes with names like "Ready To Die," "In The Skillet" and "Texas Will Have To Do."

Which seems a great way to end a concert of this calibre.

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