Sundown. A raised thumb hopes for a lift, something stirs the Spanish moss curtaining the bayou, a coyote calls in the distance. It’s hot as hell and a truck full of old men with barely a set of teeth between them stops just in time to disappoint an alligator. The driver turns up the radio and burns the remaining tread off his tyres. Open windows create a pink-tickling breeze.
On Tuesday night D took me to Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall to see Ry Cooder. I’ve seen some amazing live music in the last few years, but nothing compared to this. Cooder has a way of making traditional American music feel not just relevant but manifest; it was a warm blooded creature who had been born to the same parents, to the sound of the same wind in the same trees as I was. It was kin.
He started with a version of Nobody’s Fault but Mine* that transformed the grand concert hall into a wood-patched shack that smelt of staling coffee and dead spiders, and had defied its neighbour – a bank bursting river – for decades. But only just. I felt lucky to be alive.
And he continued in the same vein, bringing songs I’ve heard dozens of times to dizzying, apposite life.
Here’s the set list:
Header image Twittering Machine: Paul Klee.
*Note the sax.