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Walking Tall 

Bruuuuuuce! Local rocker Bruce Hazel played a CD release party last Wednesday, showcasing his rather raw, bluesy take on the country theme. The show began with a young lady bringing a huge mass of balloons to the stage, which Hazel then launched into the crowd while the Spanish-speaking lass launched into in an introduction cribbed from the Jane's Addiction album Ritual de lo Habitual. Hazel had a goodly portion of the crowd singing along by the third song or so, which is a pretty impressive feat considering the band was technically releasing the album the same night. Hitting the bar for a High Life, I bumped into a gentleman who asked about Creative Loafing and a particular review I did a while back (I still say being a male-female guitar/drums duo and playing blues-based music and being from the South is enough to say "coming off like a Southern version of the White Stripes," though the music is different). Frankly, I was impressed anyone remembered anything I had written, as I often forget what I wrote last week. The fellow (exceedingly nice, it must be added) also semi-took me to task for focusing too much on what a band looks like, as opposed to their music. To which I tried to explain that this column is as much about the scene -- the crowd and atmosphere -- of an event as the event itself. Of course, the guy did have a point on this given night. I had previously mixed up Hazel with another 6-foot-plus Bruce in my Music Menu review. This one stood about 5'10", I'd say, but he seemed pretty big when he leaned into the mic, and most of the folks in attendance seemed to agree.

-- Tim C. Davis

Bless His Heart Americana pioneer James Talley played the Neighborhood Theatre on Friday, to a small but enthusiastic crowd (mostly due to opening act David Childers' rowdy band of friends and relatives). Childers played an acoustic set with guitarist Eric Lovell showcasing songs from his new album, Blessed In An Unusual Way, and warmed the crowd up nicely with his rough-hewn songcraft. At one point, Lovell looked around for his guitar slide, before turning to the audience to ask if anyone had a lighter. Knowing that the show must go on, I bravely tossed mine upon the stage. Lovell returned it after the song, scarred and beaten to all hell, but I figure it was good for the lighter's karma to have been used for something outside of lighting cigarettes and incense. Toward the end of the show, Childers' son Robert slyly entered through the curtains at the rear of the stage, nearly scaring the elder Childers witless when he began to rattle the drum kit. After Childers' set, Talley took the stage. "Y'all are small in number, but enthusiastic in your support," he said, though I'm not sure it he was being serious or was simply using reverse psychology. Talley's show was a beautiful showcase of his Willie Nelson-like voice and wizened songwriting -- it's no wonder he was a favorite of former First Lady Rosalyn Carter. Most assembled that night have likely at one point or another "lusted in our hearts" for a talent like Talley's. Except that most, in our mind's eye, would probably imagine more people in attendance. Yes, it seems it's truly a bad time to be a Democrat.

-- Tim C. Davis

Rock & Roll Jeopardy Last Friday well-known songwriter Walter Egan staged a comeback show of sorts at Puckett's Farm Equipment in Derita. Egan, who is probably known to most for penning the old tune "Magnet and Steel" and hanging around with the likes of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks back in the day, is actually celebrating the release of a brand new album, Apocalypso Now, which is being released by the locally based Gaff Music record label. As Egan casually made his way to the stage around 11:30pm, the small crowd on hand watched attentively while a few of the older fellas tried to persuade their honeys to dance floor by demonstrating their fancy foot moves. One couple, however, started a debate on whether or not Egan was a part of the group Steely Dan (which, by the way, consisted of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker). The conversation went a little something like this: "Walter Egan...he's one of the guys from Steely Dan, you know?" said Dick. "No dear, you're thinking about Donald Fagen," replied Jane. "Well yeah, Jane, it was Donald Fagen and Walter Egan!" exclaimed Dick. "Maybe you're right. I think it was Donald and a guy named Walter!" said Jane. I wasn't on hand after the show, but I did have to wonder if the couple would go home disappointed since it's not likely they ever heard "Reeling In the Years" or "Rikki Don't Lose That Number."

-- Lynn Farris

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  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
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