Jeff Gray on sax and Joe Jackson, trombone, were at work last night on the new Chaise Lounge Christmas Album. It is tentatively called “Out Under the Sky”, which comes from the lyrics to the Appalachian ballad, “I Wonder as I Wander.” It is a song that will be on the album.
There is a club in the tiny, tiny town of Aberdeen, North Carolina, called The Rooster’s Wife. Playing there recently was one of the most satisfying concert experiences of our collective lives. The funky venue is beautiful, the audience is a sophisticated, musically educated crowd, and the performers are treated like royalty. Janet Kenworthy has created a nearly magical experience that that appears, like Brigadoon, each Sunday night at 6:46 PM. If you are within 250 miles…GO.
FAME is actually the acronym for the “Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange” on acousticmusic.com. We’re delighted with critic Mark S. Tucker’s FAME review of Dot Dot Dot…especially as it regards Marilyn’s dramatic effect on the fictional Father Flaherty:
Don’t let the Dot Dot Dot CD title or the non-descript moderne cover artwork fool you. Chaise Lounge doesn’t engage in Kraftwerky bleep blopp music nor synth-drenched electronica, nor even minimalist glitch, but instead a return to the groovy elder cool of the 50s and before. Not the zany looniness of Spike Jones but the cut-up hipsterism of Louis Prima and ilk, much more mannered and urbane than Jones but just as enjoyable in its own way. There’s plenty of swing, era jazz, jivin’ jump, and that sort of thing, all of it led by a cat named, now get this, Charlie Barnett. Yep, just one little ‘t’ away from the great Charlie Barnet of bygone fame.
The song “Dot Dot Dot” isn’t about any dot.com, it’s not an ellipsis, nor even a sing-song redundancy but a reference to Morse code, an element of the S.O.S. distress signal, here applied to a metaphorical ship sinking in the sea of love, a way hip cut with Marilyn Older singing in her perennially slinky, sultry, sexy near-babydoll voice beside five highly talented and letter perfect instrumentalists (clarinet, trombone, drums, guitar, bass). Older’s sensuality would make a bishop sweat bullets, grow red in the face, and kick out a stained-glass window, but Barnett (guitar, piano, accordion, tenor banjo) and the boys ice the situation back down, putting the hold-on to the go-on as Father Flaherty hip-sways a little jig back to the sacristy to doff the vestments and deck out in reet pleat and pompadour.
Apparently the concert audience favorite is “The Coolest Car,” an infectious tune, but I’m going for “I Just Want All of my Stuff,” just as humorous but of the sort that drives home what happens when two lovers meet, love, lose, split, part, and get down to brass tacks:
I just want all my stuff
My TV and my Xbox and the records I love
You can keep your dreams
And your precious self esteem
I just want all of my stuff
…and, man o man, I think Barnett was listening in on a couple of my own romantic flame-outs. Everything’s not all grins ‘n’ giggles, though, as “Split in Two (Wreckage)” is a dead-set serious ballad of a marriage gone terribly wrong, sung in a light wistful tone but weighted down with confusion and memories, the good against the bad, wondering what the heck happened. This is the penultimate number, a superb and thoughtful but heart-panged track, just before a speedy instrumental version of “Old Man River” closes everything out.
“What type of music do you play?” Having been with Chaise Lounge since nineteen ninety-something, I hear that question a lot. So far, all the great and near-great minds in and around the band have yet to come up with a clear answer.
OK! Cut to a car dealership in September 2012. My rep, Hugh, who also happens to be a roots-rock bass player and long-time Lounge fan, made a comment about our latest CD, Dot Dot Dot: “You don’t take your fans too far in any one direction.” While not finding that elusive genre I’ve sought for so long, his off-hand remark make me feel a little closer to a possible answer. But my quest continues. If you have an answer to the question “What kind of music does Chaise Lounge play,” let us know in the comments below!
Our show at the Kennedy Center might be the only chance anyone ever gets to hear
Chaise Lounge do a version of Louie Louie. Not sure who will be more proud… us or The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts?