The Blues Dude

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Vince Gill and The Time Jumpers – Live at 3rd and Lindsley – Nashville Tennessee

Last night everything I thought I knew about country music was shattered by Vince Gill & the Time Jumpers, on a Monday night at 3rd and Lindsley, in Nashville, Tennessee. I showed up at 3rd and Lindsley early that evening, after reading some info about the venue because people were saying that if you got there too late you were not guaranteed a seat. So, I arrived two hours before the show. On the bare naked floor of the stage sat a lonely kick drum with the letters Time Jumpers inscribed in a thin black letterform on the crowd facing side of the white, circular, bass drum head. I knew I was in the right place, but it felt like I arrived at the wrong time. It was too early.It was so early that the three girls beside me actually brought a deck of cards and were playing spades.

Vince Gill and the Time Jumpers

The band was not to begin for at least another two hours. It was almost impossible for me to sit still and chill, after that near lethal dose of caffeine that came from an Ethiopian drip, hand poured coffee, made by a germanic looking young barista at a gourmet coffee shop called Crema. I was not used to that type of coffee and I knew was going to be a long jittery, couple hours. So, I decided to order food and a drink to give myself something to do, even though I just ate the most wonderful Jambalaya served very honestly from Merchants restaurant at 401 Broadway, in the heart of all the St. Patty’s day madness.

Enough time wasted. Getting back to 3rd and Lindsley. My curiosity was soon quenched when the musical phalanx began advancing onto the elevated stage. This group was big. 11 members was larger than any musical group I had ever seen perform live. Being a musician myself, I knew the challenge was greater to play with more musicians than less. The members that approached the stage were, in no particular order, Illinois native “Ranger Doug” Green chunking on his vintage Stromberg guitar, also born in Illinois, on upright Bass, Brad Albin. To the far left, Jeff Taylor, New York Native, played at least three instruments; accordion, electric keyboards, and piccolo for the occasion of St. Patty’s day for a special guest performance. Next to ascend the stairs was the drummer Billy Thomas, a pro from Los Angeles who has mastered swinging with his brushes.

Joe Spivey and Kenny SearsUp on stage next was, the fiddle players; Kenny Sears and Joe Spivy. These guys played together like they came from the same mother. Perfect harmonies and flawless counterpoint. They approached the brightest lit area of the stage, and seemed to enjoy the spotlight regardless of its heat of the high powered, bright bulbs.

Vince Gill, Paul Franklin, Andy RiceNext to appear was a trio that filled in the rest of stage right, who all sat while they played, Paul Franklin on the pedal steel, Andy Rice offering the jazzier guitar licks, and the man of the hour, Oklahoma born, Vince Gill, who’s sultry vocals added a smooth and soulful flavor to the musical goulash. Finally, I noticed a woman approach the front and sit herself right next to Vince Gill. The woman, Dawn Sears, offered the most emotional content the bad had to give and hit me right in between the heart with her perfectly pitched vibrato during the angelic classic ballads. After all, Every 10 man band needs a strong female to balance out the male libido that size.

Nine o’clock finally came and the band began to play a genre of music almost completely foreign to me. The locals call it “Western Swing”. With all my misconceptions about what country music is, I would not have called it that. From a musical standpoint I would have called it “Big Band, Bebop, Bluegrass”, even though that might not make much sense to anyone. I didn’t have any thing else to call it so “Western Swing” it is and always will be to me and many others.

This was the very first time I had ever been introduced to this type of music. This perfectly tuned blend of musicians, all considered to be at the top of their careers, was like a dream come true for me. Many of the songs played were originals written and arranged by various members of the band. They also took a couple requests from the crowd. I had never heard music this complex that retained it’s warmth and sweetness.

The Time Jumpers most intriguing aspect is they each come from different musical backgrounds yet blend together as if they all played the same kind of music. Some of them have a country background, others a jazz background, and others a bluegrass background. What a show this turned out to be for this blogger from up North. Where I come from, unfortunately musicians don’t really blend as much. If you play Jazz that’s what you do. If you play country, that’s just what you do and so on and so forth. It’s very non-inclusive due to people just wanting to play what they want regardless of who they’re playing with in a band setting. This blending of different styles might possibly be called fusion where I am from.

Vince Gill and the Time Jumpers
As they were playing I could hear myself thinking over and over again. This is the reason I came to Nashville. I never ever would have got the opportunity to hear this type of music performed live if I never came to Nashville, and took my buddy’s advice who insisted I go to this show. Hey David, thanks so much!!

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