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I had the distinct pleasure of photographing a fabulous show this past weekend at Vnuk's Lounge; Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash with special guest Grand Disaster.
First up were Grand Disaster. I was lucky enough to see their very first show back almost one year ago to the day. I have to tell you that they're just getting better each time. Mark Lee is proving to be one of the best bass players in the area and I love his classic country voice. Bill Armstrong is the rock on drums. Never missing a beat while throwing in some very unique riffs of his own, while at the same time never getting in the way. Pat O'Neil is fast becoming one of my favorite guitarists, laying down some of the punchiest solos you'll hear. Billy Orphan on rhythm guitar lays down a solid background to the melody, provides a very strong vocal performance and has a stage presence that most performers would kill for. A very righteous start to evening, sure.
And speaking of just getting better, the Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash have done just that. Last time I saw them was in 2002, at this very same venue. I was looking forward to this a lot!
For Mark Stuart and the Bastard Sons, the last ten years has been a blur of miles and markers. BSOJC has played more shows most years than most bands do in their entire careers, and they've done it the hard way, piling their own gear into their own van, and then heading off into a dark night that’s just a couple of hours away from day. A lot of indie bands have done a lot of this, but not many have made the long haul across an entire decade. And amidst that grueling schedule, Stewart has managed to keep writing, delivering two previous records, Walk Alone and Distance Between, that built a hardcore fan base for the band and yet achieved a critical recognition that most singer-songwriters would slit their left wrist to gain.The musicianship ... what can I say but top notch all the way. I could go on and on about that, but I'd rather focus on the songs. These are songs of life; of loves lost and won, of the hardships and good times, without what most people would consider to be the typical "country" cliches. These songs are real ... these songs are mature. These songs are truly our "miles and markers." They speak to all we have been and all we want to become. If you aren't familiar with this band, my only question to you is, where have you been? Find these guys ... you will grow to love them, indeed.
My deepest thanks to all who made this a thrilling night for me; Dave Vnuk and his fine staff, all the boys of Grand Disaster and, of course, Mark Stuart and Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash for giving a guy with a camera — who they'd never met before — an opportunity to capture their craft in photos ... I hope they don't disappoint.
Enjoy the slideshow above or click the following link for a gallery of full-sized photos:
NEW GALLERY: Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash with Grand Disaster May 15, 2009 Vnuk's Lounge Cudahy, WI
Gareth — The Celtic Camera Photography
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