Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Like Famly

I often jokingly tell artists with whom I work at the Cedar that the first time they play here, we treat them like honored guests. The second and subsequent times they play here, they will be treated like family, for all the good and bad things that might mean to you.

You know, I'm only half kidding though. After a decade and more of house managing plus years of volunteer shifts prior to that, I've seem 'em come and I've seen 'em go. You learn to tell who just wants to be left alone, and who will come out and sign autographs and give out hugs for an hour. You know who lives on coffee and cigarettes, and who want to sneak a little red wine onstage in a coffee cup. You learn who always forgets some article of clothing in the Green Room and who always stacks up their supper dishes neatly and returns them to the kitchen.

My mind was turning to such thoughts as I wondered how many times Karan Casey has come 'round to the Cedar over the years. I'd have to guess her first shows with Solas had to be around 1995? Remember the blistering jigs and reels the original lineup could pull off, still fresh with the sizzle of their genesis? The air above the stage would be smoking, then Karan would wander back up and knock off an a cappella Billie Holiday song or tragic ballad in Irish that would break your heart and bring tears to your eyes. I think everybody in the crowd would just fall a little bit in love with her on those nights.

Who are those youngsters?!

She's been coming around with her trio, now quartet, these last several years, and I for one, am enjoying an artist aging gracefully, choosing to balance home and touring. The first time they came with a baby, she and her husband got to town a night early and strollered over in the rain to check out Lunasa. I remember standing behind them as she exclaimed "They're brilliant!" A few years later I remember comparing reading lists with Karan and joking about parenting ; now she's got two kids and I'm expecting to see them both running around the Cedar Sunday night. That first time with the baby, she announced from the stage "When I used to see a baby, I would turn around and walk the other way. Then we had one." Girl, I so got yer back on that one! And yes, I plan to bring my son along for the show Sunday night.

Karan's latest lineup consists of piano, cello and guitar, a combo which sets off her voice so nicely, and can drive those lefty power anthems as well as lull with the sweet stuff.

Karan enjoying the Solas 10 year reunion concert. (swiped from their web page. Thanks!)

Welcome back to the Cedar, Karan. I hope you know you are part of the family here.

No comments: