Saturday, January 22, 2011

Caribbean Johnny Cash

We went to Bananakeet Cafe again last night, for dinner this time instead of drinks. Shockingly (or not) I yet again forgot to take my camera, so still have no pictures of the sunset to share. I do, however, have some information to impart regarding the quality of the live music offered on Friday nights.

Picture an older gentleman, not very large in stature, definitely from the Caribbean somewhere. From his look, and his flowered shirt, you expect a few island melodies, maybe some light reggae or a Jimmy Buffett tune or two. Instead, he begins his warm-up with a modified version of Norwegian Wood, before going on to pick a few other songs on his guitar. These warm-up pickings sound oddly familiar, and if you listen closely, you will likely recognize some other pop songs from the 60s and 70s, but they've been so altered and embellished as to render them almost unidentifiable.

Finally settling into his performance, the musician begins his set with somewhat obscure, 70s and 80s era country songs, Willie Nelson and Ray Charles' "Seven Spanish Angels" being one of the few HB or I recognized. The sound of the voice, matched with the look of the singer, creates a little bit of cognitive dissonance, as it seems impossible that such a rich, Johnny-Cash-sounding voice, could come out of that very Caribbean body.

As the night wears on, he moves into more familiar country fare, including "Ring of Fire" and "The Gambler", which he played as HB and I were leaving, having finished our dinner. As I commented to HB on the way out, the version of "The Gambler" performed at the Bananakeet Cafe gives Kenny Rogers' a run for its money.

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