April 25, 2011

Concert #515 - Jackshit at McCabe's Guitar Shop (June 27, 2009)

For my 14th Jackshit concert, I once again managed to drag with me a fairly large group of friends, eighteen souls in all, most of them first-timers. Taking friends to concerts always puts some pressure on me, as I want everyone to have a great time. But you can't go wrong with Jackshit - as expected, the Boys From Cochtotan did not disappoint and in the end I went home with my musical credibility unscathed.

Shorty, Beau and Pete delivered their usual set, complete with "Bull Rider", "I'm Coming Home", "Big River" and the obligatory murder ballads, yet the highpoint of the show was their guest artist, cryptically introduced by Beau as "Calhoun Shit". It wasn't until after the show that I learned about Calhoun's true identity. Read on.

The mystery guest sang four songs. The vibe was casual - there was a lot of laughter on the stage and it was pretty clear that no rehearsals had taken place, not that it mattered. During the singing of their final song, "Ring Of Fire", Calhoun burst into laughter in response to Shorty's falsetto vocals, which prompted Shorty to explode in laughter as well.

After the show, I went to Lincoln Myerson, the concert director at McCabe's, and asked him about Calhoun's true identity. His answer: Carlene Carter.

Carlene Carter, performing as Calhoun, her real nickname
Lincoln's answer stunned me. I had seen Carlene twice before, first in 1994, then again in 1996, but I would not have recognized her for the life of me. When I got home, I got to read on the Internet about her personal tragedies, which, in addition to the passage of time, had certainly contributed to Carlene's physical transformation. I'm talking about the loss, in quick succession, of her mother (June Carter Cash), step-father (Johnny Cash), lover (Howie Epstein of the Heartbreakers) and her younger sister, Rosey.

Carlene's appearance at McCabe's inspired me to look into her newer recordings and that's how I discovered a rare gem, her 2008 album titled "Stronger" - all great tracks, no filler material at all - everyone should own a copy of this truly great recording.

Before the show: Yours Truly and My Better Half
Val McCallum, a.k.a. Beau, signing autographs after the show
Rock & Roll Hall-of-Famer Pete Thomas after the show
Davey Faragher, a.k.a Shorty, with Yours Truly, after the show
Carlene Carter chatting with fans after the show

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