CR Humphrey, who is better known under his nom de musicien Old Gray Mule, is a hell of a good guy. It’s clear when you see him play live, when you hear the soulful licks he lays down on tape, when you chat with him, and when you read the notes for the latest Old Gray Mule album Like a Apple on a Tree: everything he does is imbued with lots of heart, humor, and flat-out joy. He gives the lie to the “tortured artist” myth – you rarely meet someone more satisfied with his lot in life, even through the struggles, than Humphrey. And it’s evident in all he does. Take for instance, what he wrote about the song “Thanksgiving ’12” from Like a Apple on a Tree.
“I wrote this song in 2008 the day I got home from the hospital after finding out my three week old son was going to live. He’d died in his sleep 5 days before, I found him in his crib, did CPR on him, got him back…and my … Continue reading
This year’s Deep Blues Festival, my first, was full of highlights both music and personal. One of those highlights was seeing Old Gray Mule play, partially because of their musical prowess and service to the groove and partially because watching C.R. Humphrey and C.W. Ayon joke around like a couple of schoolboys on the verge of a giggle fit is so damned enjoyable.
It is great to hear that slightly mischievous, good-time atmosphere brought to OGM’s new release A Day in Mississippi, A Night in Texas. “Alright, this song’s got cussing in it,” Humphrey announces as OGM kicks off a live set, recorded this past July at the 2nd annual Junior Kimbrough Birthday Party in Austin, Texas. After a little more joshing around, OGM ease into their gritty take on “Stagger Lee”, showing not only that service to the groove but also showcasing Ayon’s sharp vocal attitude as he relays the fateful story. Ayon is a good match for Humphrey, who has played with a few different drummers under the Old Gray Mule handle. The swagger of Ayon’s vocals reflect the cool assurance of Humprhey’s guitar playing as Ayon also backs up on … Continue reading
Thinking about this post and trying to find a way to encapsulate some nine hours of great music and great people leaves me wanting to write “You should have been there” and leave it at that. But that isn’t fair to anyone, especially not the amazing performers who fueled the night.
Each artist who took the stage Saturday brought something special with them, from the endearing charm of Boom Chick (and drummer Moselle Spiller’s brilliant scream) to the explosive energy of Molly Gene to the hypnotic skill of Mississippi Gabe Carter to the dirty magic that occurs when Left Lane Cruiser sits in with Mark Porkchop Holder. Every act was worth keeping an eye on.
Confession: I didn’t keep an eye on every act. In fact, it seems I missed two of the best sets of the night: Ten Foot Polecats and Left Lane Cruiser. Instead, I was carousing in the bar like some sort of scenester. But with an event like DBF, part of the package is meeting and hanging out with great people – the kind of people who don’t roll their eyes or just quietly humor you when you go on and on about blues music (or … Continue reading
The Deep Blues Festival is tomorrow! I’m freaking excited. There will be great artists on stage, cool people in the audience, and it’s all going down at one of my favorite places in Cleveland. Come along and buy your favorite blogger a drink. And if your favorite blogger isn’t there, you can buy me a whiskey.
One more time, those details are: Deep Blues Festival, Beachland Ballroom, Saturday, July 16, doors at 4 PM.
Name:Old Gray Mule featuring CW AYON
Homebase: Austin, Texas/Las Cruces, New Mexico
Old Gray Mule with CW Ayon – My Girl
Old Gray Mule Official Website
CW Ayon @ Reverbnation
Homebase: Nashville, Tennessee
Cashman – Pistol Blues
Cashman @ Reverbnation
T-Model Ford & GravelRoad
T-Model Ford & GravelRoad – Hip Shakin’ Woman – DBF08