Wednesday, November 3, 2010
The last time I was in NYC a few weeks ago, my friend and I ventured way out to Avenue C. He had been to this place once or twice and immediately thought that it would eventually become "our place." And, although we've only been there together once, it has.
I walked in and heard a familiar voice singing in the front of the room. And then I looked over to the bar and saw a familiar face. It was Frank Hoier and Feral Foster of Washington Square Park and Sidewalk Cafe Fame! It was the first Manhattan edition of Roots 'n' Ruckus, a weekly roots music jam that's usually in Brooklyn. I had met them years earlier as a student at NYU. Feral even borrowed a pen of mine to write some other chick's information down. A few months later, I saw them in the park again and my friends and I sat and sang with them. I hadn't seen them since I was a sophomore. No, they didn't remember me as they meet tons of people all the time. But I really like their music, their style, their philosophy. You should really check them out. Here are some highlights: "We Both Live in Brooklyn Babe," "Comin' 'Round" and "John Henry." My Frank Hoier impression was a long-standing source of entertainment for my friends.
So, that was cool. Then Frank Hoier was reaching the end of his set as Feral Foster urged him to keep playing, "Just a couple more!" Hoier paused for a few moments, seeming a little shy and exhausted, but then he started playing another song. I am still completely startled and shocked and excited and confused at the song he played. "Walkin' After Midnight" by Patsy Cline.
"Walkin' After Midnight" is probably one of the most meaningful songs of my life. It would be number one on the soundtrack if I were ever turned into a biopic. It was my first karaoke song. I used to walk around with a case of Patsy Cline tapes wherever I went. It sums up my general feelings 80% of the time. It's subtle. It's beautiful.
The weirdest part, however, is that my friend and I had just sung it the night before for karaoke. And he and I had decided long before that it was "our" song. A song that we would put in the car and listen to on wistful drives back to Albany.
When Hoier started singing, "I go out a-walkin'..." we flipped out. We caused a ruckus. What are the odds that I would stumble into a bar named Banjo Jim's, two of my favorite musicians would be there, and one of them would sing my theme song that is also a special bonding point with my best friend? Feral and Hoier's girlfriend Moselle (I'm not creepy, I only know her name because they are in a new band together: Boom Chick. And they are adorable.) were sitting right next to us and probably very confused at our overwhelmed reaction to this meek song. He played sweetly and quietly, but we just kept going crazy: "I can't believe this is happening right now. Is this really happening? Is he really playing Patsy Cline? This is really happening!" We couldn't stop laughing. I couldn't stop grabbing my friend's arm and looking back and forth between his face and Frank Hoier's face to make sure it was real.
Who the hell covers Patsy Cline acoustically? It was glorious. The rest of the night was also ridiculous, as we made friends with farmers from Canada and I stayed a little later by myself and made some friends of my own. I still get warm and fuzzies when I think of it.
A reason to settle in NYC if there ever was one. Where else would that happen!?
I'll get there some day. Eventually.
I'm going to NYC this weekend, and you can bet your banjos we're going back there. It's like a hajj to Mecca now.