Mojo and I had a wonderful evening down at Portland's Aladdin Theatre with the vocal stylings of Suzanne Vega.
My bride went out and got the tickets for me because she knows I've always had a weakness for the diva of music-geekdom. Smart, sly, a touch romantic, her clever lyricism and hooky songwriting more than cover for her singing voice which is frankly thin and a touch breathy. It works for her, but she's no Streisand.And in more than just volume. She has a sort of chagrined self-awareness that keeps her from the ranks of the typical pop-music chanteuse. You get the sense that while she enjoys her trade, she sees through the hype and the idol-singer bling. Forget it, Jake, you can hear her say, it's just Chinatown.
Her sidemen were bassist Mike Visceglia and lead guitar Gerry Leonard, who produced sounds I've never heard from an electric guitar, and kept the gig driving. But the real revelation was hearing them kick out Vega's old standards "Luka" and "Tom's Diner". Too many times I've heard performers treat their "popular" tunes with something like contempt, tired of hearing requests for the same song. But she and the guys really tore into the two favorites, giving me the pleasure of hearing something I had thought of as old and done to death made new and bright, full of the original life and spirit that made them so well loved.
Thanks Suzanne. Thanks, guys. You gave us a wonderful and memorable evening, and passed the fire of your creation to us. And that's about as great a gift as an artist can give, or an audience can receive."...if you carve my name in marble
you must cut it deep
there'll be no dancing on the gravestone
you must let me sleep..."