With lyrically articulate songwriting, Jeremy Lyons’ new release Make It Better is a delightful array of acoustic roots selections that listeners will notice “take residence” in one’s ear in the most surprising, yet pleasant way. Lyons has crafted a release with no fluff on this taut set of tunes, in a production that is rooted both in the Deep South and the Northeast, with clear influences of Delta Blues, New Orleans street music and the 60s folk revival. The mood is at once wistful yet hopeful; the music evokes the crisp clarity of a day outdoors, whether it be in the Adirondacks or the Louisiana swamp land.
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If you came to this site looking for the newest thing, you need look no farther — THIS AIN’T IT! Here we RECYCLE culture! For the planet, for the peace, and for the creative pallet!
I find the obsession with the newest thing to be curious. As Chuck Berry once said, “There’s nothing new under the sun.” Sure, you might find an interesting twist on an old theme, or a new arrangement, and more power to you if you do. But there is no shame in playing old tunes. As a matter of fact, most of my career has been built around that practice. To take it out of the negative – to turn that frown upside-down – let’s rephrase the statement: KEEPING TRADITION ALIVE IS A GREAT JOB!
When I perform for children (and their grown-ups) I take pride in that fact that I am introducing old music to new ears. When I play a song that is 150 years old, someone in the audience may be hearing it for the very first time, and hearing it through the un-adulterated perception of a child, free of prejudgement or an aesthetic sense they arbitrarily settled on decades before.
When I play with the Members of Morphine, I am proud of the fact that I can help re-create music that might otherwise only be heard on record, and at the same time paying tribute to the friends I made when I moved back to New England several years ago.
When I front my own bands, (The Deltabilly Boys or the Bright Moments), or play a solo gig, I am so glad to play the music of classic writers like Cash, Waller, and Robert Johnson, and to play obscure old tunes by artists that are today being discovered by new generations of roots music lovers.
And when I write songs, I am drawing on the work of the multitudes of writers and players that came before me. Every new tune is grown from old ideas; every lyric references hundreds of years of poetry, wisdom and humor.
Here you may not find the newness of youth, but you will find the conviction and depth that comes with experience. Every time I pick up an instrument I think of the great players I’ve learned from. Recycling is not just for trash; it’s for treasure as well!
Seven years into my New England exile from New Orleans, while my friends celebrate Carnival season, I find myself anticipating winter storms as I once did hurricanes: with trepidation, and a sense of foreboding. Still, a good friend once advised me that one has to learn to appreciate one’s environment. I like wearing warm clothes, and I certainly do not miss summertime in the Deep South. But although I was raised in central New York State (a snowier place than Boston), I never cultivated any love for skiing or skating. I don’t mind the cold, but snow…? Well, after what was a drought of biblical proportion, I am glad we’re getting some precipitation. I’ll leave it at that.
I’ll be back home in New Orleans for three dates in December:
Friday, 12/14: Three Muses acoustic happy hour show featuring Greg Schatz; 4pm-5:45
Saturday, 12/15: dba with Morphine Members Dana Colley (sax) and Billy Conway (drums); this will be the first time Billy (Morphine’s beloved 2nd and arguably more famous drummer) has played with us in New Orleans; 11pm
Sunday, 12/16: dba hosts a Deltabilly Boys reunion, featuring Paul Santopadre and Greg Schatz!! (I look forward to these shows for months!) 10pm
Dana Colley, Jeremy Lyons and Billy Conway