What a treat for a huge crowd of Parsons and country-rock fans at Conor Byrne on Friday night, Parsons' 64th birthday. For a guy that died at 27 in 1973, he sure wrote and played a lot of great music. Along with Buck Owens, Ricky Nelson, Dylan, Buffalo Springfield and Poco, he was one of the founders of the "country rock" sound.
The tribute was organized by multi-instrumentalist and singer, Country Dave Harmonson, who has and does play in several bands, including Stampede Pass of yore and with Zoe Muth now. He coordinated more than a dozen top notch area country, Americana and rock musicians, including Gaye Winsor, formerly of the Sky Boys, and Melissa Nyfeller singing Emmylou's parts. In various configuarations, Harmonson's New Angels Of Sin played 40 Gram songs and Gram-inspired songs like Wild Horses. Kirk Reese and John Brodin of Dysfunctin Junction covered 4 or 5 more at intermission, including the beautiful Brass Buttons. I think all of Parsons' eras were included: The Intl Submarine Band, solo, The Byrds and the Flying Burrito Bros. Set List:
I was partial to the more rocking songs with Harmonson's rapid picking on his G&L and three different steel guitar players conjuring up the sounds of the late Sneaky Pete Klienow of the FBBros. Songs like opener Cash On The Barrelhead, Christine's Tune, Ooh Las Vegas, Luxury Liner and My Uncle had the dancers bouncing around. Other highlights were duets like We'll Sweep Out The Ashes, Angels Rejoiced and Wheels. Sadly, I couldn't stay for the finale of In My Hour Of Darkness with "All" in "F". How was it? Big thanks to Country Dave. How about a Neil Young or Buffalo Springfield or Poco night? As Friday night attests, there sure is plenty of talent around to cover artists like that, that I rarely hear played in the bars. And to think we considered Norm MacDonald at the Paramount and the Emmitt-Nershi concert at the Tractor for Friday out instead of the Gram celebration. Would have been a big mistake.
The opening lineup L to R - Chris Middaugh, Greg Nies drums, DaveHarmonson, Jesse Harmonson bass, Gaye Winsor, Bill 'Jed' Jedrzejewski: