Not even a week has passed and my daughter (older one this time) and I are back at Buffalo Records for another great concert, this time with Willy Tea Taylor. As we enter the shop we are greeted by a cheerful bearded man wearing overalls. “Hi, I’m Willy.” He asks me about the Chicago Farmer Concert last week and I tell him how good it was. Then we headed to the back of the shop to get a seat near the stage.
His opening act was a real surprise. J. Aubertin is probably not a name that will sound familiar to many. J. is from France and only has one song currently available on Bandcamp.com. But, judging from the way he plays it won’t be long before he’s recording an album. He plays beautifully and his lyrics are professional. Perched on his chair looking for all the world like a young French Townes Van Zandt, he spun stories in song that captivated the audience.
Then Willy took the stage with his sideman Jeff Mooneyham. This concert was a special one for Willy. His cousin, whom he had apparently never met, was here for the concert. Many of his songs were about their relatives and I could see she was very moved by it.
Willy opened the set with “Young When I Left Home” and then asked the audience to ask for any songs they wanted. Several gave their favorites and he played them throughout the evening. I suggested he just play them all. “You don’t want to hear them all,” he replied, “especially my children’s songs. They’ll drive you crazy!” Nevertheless, with several children in attendance, Willy later played a song about Larry the Bear who loved to eat berries. It was delightful and had us all laughing. I can see how a child playing it in repeat might lead to insanity so I’m definitely finding it when I eventually get some grandchildren. My revenge will be complete.
Willy is a storyteller’s storyteller and weaved a spell during the evening made of stories of his relatives including his hard-drinking grandma and her longtime lover Big Jim and his guitar, his new baby daughter Hattie Dazzle, and even his late border collie Clarabelle. But he really seemed to miss his new moped, christened Shadowfax, the most. “Man, it’s hard to be on the road when you have a new moped. And a new daughter. But man that moped is fun.”
Can I really be blamed for leaving the concert with a picture of my head of Gandalf riding a moped, waving his sword, beard in the wind?