Paul Asbell with Andy Waks opening – 03/31/12
Boumel House Concerts – Coral Springs, FL
Music is a journey. As such, when it’s good you end up going to a specific place that is emotionally and spiritually gratifying. And when it’s exceptionally good you can experience several satisfying destinations all on the same trip. But when it’s truly great you can go everywhere you ever wanted to be. And that’s what happened last night at Arlene Boumel’s house concert as we boarded the train to everywhere with conductor and fingerstylist Paul Asbell (www.paulasbell.com).
Now, before the train left the station, we were entertained track-side by Andy Waks (www.andywaks.com). Andy is guitarist, pianist, vocalist and songwriter for the group The Southbound Suspects (www.facebook.com/TheSouthboundSuspects), and he did a four song, solo opening act that was highlighted and capped by his original piece titled Fall In Love Again For The First Time. Track ten off their 2012 self-named CD, this tune is so ear catching and fun to ride that I’d be surprised if it doesn’t gain Andy and his band national attention, for it not only captures the joy of falling in love the first time, but the desire to fall in love with that special someone again and again and again.
Once Andy had everyone warmed up and our engines were stoked and ready to go, Paul Asbell took control and the train to everywhere left the station. Rocketing off at lightning speed to it’s first stop in 1976 at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom to hear Such A Night, one almost felt like they were dancing the Last Waltz to Paul’s toe-tapping, jazzed up version of this Dr. John classic. After a brief refueling, the train to everywhere went flying back and backwards across country to 1896 and Newport News, Virginia, the birthplace of legendary ragtime guitarist Arthur “Blind” Blake, to hear his immortal Ditty Wa Ditty. And then to get things started off right, the train to everywhere hurled forward into the 20th century to hear the Paul Asbell original Chunky Monkey Gumbo, an ode to his life-long friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield who started an ice cream revolution in a renovated gas station on May 5th of 1978 in Burlington, Vermont (note of interest – if you ever had the pleasure of visiting the original Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory, it was Paul Asbell’s music you likely heard as your toured the facility).
Last night’s train to everywhere was a two set, nineteen destination trip that continued weaving through musical time and space to places like Thibodaux, Louisiana, to hear Jerry Reed’s Amos Moses (1970, RCA), the famous 1930’s Dockery Plantation crossroads between Ruleville and Cleveland, Mississippi, to hear Robert Johnson play My Blue Heaven (an Asbell interpretive original titled My Blue Hell Hound), and even further back to 1920’s Richmond, Indiana, to hear an inspirational instrumental version of Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust (1927, Gennet Records). Interestingly, while the covered tunes strictly outnumbered the originals, in some ways all these stops on the train to everywhere were Asbell originals, as no song is ever the same one touched by Paul’s masterful fingers.
So from track-side warm up by Andy Waks, to non-stop musical journey through time and space with conductor Paul Asbell, last night’s performance was a never ending train trip to everywhere I ever wanted to go. But don’t worry if you missed it. Just go online to Paul’s website and order a CD. There’s a pair of tickets waiting for you inside each one.