About seven years ago perusing a magazine rack, I stumbled across the Oxford American's annual music edition. Focused on southern music with stories and an enclosed CD, it look liked something I needed to check out. About three songs into the CD, a chiming guitar, a loping beat, and a road-weary voice singing . . .
Mud colored dogs guarding shotgun shacks
A red door on a green Cadillac
Hot wind blowing smoke through graveyard streets . . .
The image sucked me right . . . and then the chorus began with Lucinda Williams singing harmony and then taking the second verse. Killer song. I had to know more. Who was this guy Kevin Gordon? Searched for his CD (Down To The Well) and wasn't disappointed. And then I couldn't stop telling people about this relatively unknown songwriter from in Nashville. Swampy, bluesy, rocking and tremendously literate writing.
Fast forward a couple of years to the Americana Music Association's conference in Nashville. Kevin was releasing a new CD (O Come Look At The Burning) and doing a showcase performance late one night with his band. Handful of people in the place, staff wanting to cut the show short (btw, Grant Alden wrote a great piece about this in No Depression), but I was there and thrilled to finally hear him live. We chatted a bit while the band was breaking down and I told him if he needed any help if he wanted with finding gigs in the NW sometime, I'd be willing to help. So we struck up an occasional correspondence - my end of it mostly consisted of "we gotta find a way to get you up here" . . . . his about how tough it was to put a tour together to the other side of the country. Ain't that a familiar tune (for a lot of you).
But Peter Dammann gave him a listen . . . and ending up on the radar of the talent coordinator for the Blues Festival was a good thing, because this year Peter figured he could make Kevin an offer to come out to play. With a couple of anchor dates on the west coast, a tour seemed possible. I provide a little inept assistance with info and contacts and presented Kevin as a possible act for a neighborhood park show. Somehow, Kevin pieced together a road tour that's now taken him through Texas, the southwest, California, and this weekend to Portland before heading back to Nashville.
So I've gotta tell you to come out and see Kevin . . . . whether it's at the festival on Saturday afternoon (4:50 pm - also on river cruise on Sunday afternoon), at the Laurelthirst on Sunday night (9:30), or at Sellwood Riverfront Park on Monday evening (6:30).
Let's give him a great welcome to the NW . . . . you will not be disappointed.
BTW . . . the amazing Chris Miller will be playing guitar with Kevin on his Portland gigs!