Julian Lage and his Guitar Never Cease to Amaze
Julian Lage may have started his career as a jazz guitarist and still performs jazz, but he is quickly gaining a foothold in the folk/Americana scene. Originally scheduled to perform with Chris ‘Critter’ Eldridge, who was forced to cancel performances due to surgery, Julian performed solo at those shows. I had never seen him solo and was interested to see what this show would be.
Regardless of the style he performs, Julian is an extremely accomplished guitarist. Playing his beloved 1939 Martin 000-18, Julian played songs mostly from his latest album but first solo guitar recording, World’s Fair. Julian did not sing at this show, and in fact rarely does from my experience with his shows. It does not matter; he engages the audience with his banter and his fabulous playing.
Julian told of being dared by Margaret Glaspy to write a fake jazz standard, so he rose to the challenge and did just that. Called “Fake Standard,” it sounded as if it could have been written in the 1940s.
During the middle of the set, he celebrated the lower register of the guitar and dropped one whole step (I am merely repeating what he told the audience) to perform several songs. The guitar sounded slightly richer to my ears during those songs.
Late in the set, he played two covers. The first was a highly improvisational version of “I’ll Be Seeing You” which I did recognize. The second was one he said we would know, but I am not sure what it was. I asked my tablemates and they did not know either. It might have been Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright.”
Julian appeared to go into an almost zen-like state when he performed; he is all about the music when he is on stage.
I will see him on stage regardless of the style of music he is playing or with whom he is performing. He is touring this fall with Nels Cline (of Wilco) and I intend to see one of his local shows.