this monday at the hideout

By Robbie on July 30, 2010

This will be the third time out for the Mystery Trio: K.C. (a.k.a. Casey) McDonough, Gerald Dowd, and me. A more burdensome but accurate name would be Imaginary Jukebox Trio, because we play the songs that we think an extra-hip musician might like to hear on a celestial pop jukebox, if a musician were tragically to die and if there were a heaven and...let's just stick with Mystery Trio. The idea was, since all of us sing well, play at least a couple different instruments, and have very wide tastes, if we were to choose material independently and in equal amounts, we would come up with a seriously unpredictable kind of program. This turned to be only sort-of true, because our song list strongly represents 3-minute pop-rock lyric songs from the 1960s and the lineal descendants of the era. This week I am bringing in a Stanley Brothers tune and two others of that ilk that could tilt the show a little more red-state, but the extremely fey selections of Gerald and K.C. look likely to tilt it right back.

There is an ideal in music that I don't always observe but am always in admiration of: communication of depth and sophistication without prodigious technical display. This can be an elusive goal in its realization, because it's easy to play minimally and crappily, and hard to rein in prodigy skills, which tend to be as satisfying for audiences to receive as they are for performers to vent. A natural-feeling, undogmatic kind of underplaying is what I am drawn to, and inspired by, in the approaches of K.C. and Gerald, and most of the songs we play answer to that kind of tactic. (On the Stanley Brothers though, I will try to play my cracker ass off.)

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