Dee Lannon – Shibuya Crocodile (Tokyo, Japan)
Dee Lannon is a rockin’country singer-songwriter who lives in Los Angeles, California. Although she sings some covers of Merle Haggard, Rose Maddox and Buddy Holly, she is not merely a revivalist or traditionalist. She’s also a great singer who writes good songs of her own that put her in a league with the likes of Rosie Flores, Carlene Carter and Kimmie Rhodes.
Since 1991, Lannon has released two 7″ EPs, a 10″ EP and a full-length cassette (the latter produced by Flores). On these recordings, she was accompanied by has played several well-known musicians including Nick Kane of the Mavericks, James Intveld of the Blasters, D.J. Bonebrake of X and Dave Provost of Dream Syndicate.
Lannon came to Japan in December and played with some Japanese bands for Japanese rockin’ country fans. This is not her first tour in Japan; she also visited here in 1993. At Shibuya Crocodile, the nicest little live music club in Tokyo, she had many fans — some in cowboy hats and boots, others in black leather jackets. Only my friend and I were dressed like typical rock fans, i.e., blue jeans and dirty overcoats. We felt a little uncomfortable.
After two Japanese bands played, Lannon appeared with the Hot Shots, a Japanese country band led by a young woman vocalist named Chie. Lannon also played acoustic guitar, playing the basic role of professional musician, but once she began to sing, it became clear she is a great performing artist. She made me think, for the first time in a long time, about the power of the human voice.
Lannon and the band played 14 songs in a set that lasted about 80 minutes. Some were covers (Drifters, Buddy Holly, etc.), but mostly she delivered original songs from the 10″ EP and her upcoming CD Town Casino (which was produced by Nick Kane and features Gregory Boaz and Rick Solem from Dave Alvin’s as well as Don Heffington and Phil Parlapiano). Later in the evening, Lannon returned to join the Rollin’Rocks, a Japanese Western swing band, for five songs.