Ever notice how a song you never really pay attention to can sneak up on you if you are in a certain place or mood? I think it’s just a matter of paying attention. Songs are just a distraction or backdrop for so many people, but for most musicians and some listeners songs are like protein and carbohydrates. You can’t live without them for very long.
Last night we stopped by for some tacos and shrimp before a concert and were approached by Los Nuevos Jilgueros Del Norte (The New Northern Goldfinches) a Conjunto Norteño trio. 3 songs for $20.00. I negotiated them down to one song for $5.00 para mi corazón, Senora Sepulveda. They asked if we had any particular song in mind and I said just a love song, one you guys like to play.
They start the song with an accordian flourish and pretty soon are chugging away at a good pace. They’re good, relaxed but having fun on the turnarounds, their voices harmonizing sweetly on the chorus. I snap some pictures and notice they are smiling but looking a bit sheepish. I glance over at Mrs. Sepulveda who has been moved to tears by the beauty of their performance. While I have been taking pictures and watching them play she has “merely” been listening and paying attention. She’s a songbird.
Los Nuevos Jilgueros Del Norte, they’re not on Twitter and they don’t have a website yet, but you can drop by for some great Mexican food on a Friday or Saturday night or call them on their cell phone. Musica para toda ocasion! I think Golfinches must be songbirds too.
Now Chuck Prophet, he does have a website and he and his band the Mission Express, were the whole reason we’d left the dog home alone in the first place. Making a triumphant return to Fresno’s Tower District after a 21 year absence due to some kind of labor union… produce boycott or something.
They were in the middle of their soundcheck as we arrived, paying their respects to Whitney Houston by running through the chords of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.”
Chuck & Co. soon got down to business and they sounded great. Lots of new songs and new arrangements for some old songs, a new drummer… it doesn’t matter, they’re pros. Not to say that it’s just a job, far from it. I mean a stone cold pro would never think of morphing Dylan’s “One More Cup of Coffee” smack dab into the middle of “Look Both Ways” but a songbird would.