Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.


Ray LaMontagne Tenderly Troubadors In Westhampton May 30, 2008

Ray LaMontagne at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center…a very visceral
experience. Ray a quiet fellow, not liking to talk between songs. Playing with
his quartet, the electric/lead/pedal steel guitarist the finest of the musicians;
a supple feline bassist, reminiscent of Rick Danko of The Band in her demonstrativeness
as she delved out each note and/or riff; the drummer very tasteful and restrained, except
when he played ‘Three More Days’ and ‘Trouble.’

Ray reminds me of what I would have expected in performance from the late reticent Englishman Nick Drake, who died at 26 back in the 1970’s…Feeling each song so very deeply. His hoarse seductive voice a lonely one, a loving one. Calling for his momma in his second encore, unlike other songs I’ve heard call the maternal one, panging and soulful.

Prettiest song of all though was the first encore, from his new album recently recorded
to be released on September 2nd, 2008. ‘Winter Birds’ had a beautiful intro, Ray all by
himself for the only song tonight, just him and his guitar, finger picking it to make
Mississippi John Hurt proud. But even prettier and more complex than what I’ve heard from the great finger-picking pioneer. The lyrics about the winter birds coming back, the days shorter, the nights getting longer….

Though as he broke into the vocal it came out wrong, and he had to stop himself, and start
all over again. Regardless, a lovely tune. One to look forward to hearing again and
again in September….

Perhaps his most terrific song lyrically and emotion-wise has these
powerful lines (from ‘Empty,’ from his second and most recent album
‘Till The Sun Turns Black’):

“I looked my demons in the eyes
They’d bear my chest
Said do your best
To destroyyyy me

You see, I been to hell and back so many times
I must admit
You kind of bore me

There’s a lot of things that can kill a man
There’s a lot of ways to die
Yes and some already did
And walked beside me

There’s a lot of things I don’t understand
Why so many people lie
It’s the hurt I hide
That fuels the fire inside me

Will I always feel this way??….”

For the rest of the short show, less than an hour, Ray was the rhythm master, getting each ong going, just playing chords, never having to retune his guitar – – he doesn’t play it
hard or fiercely enough. The music jazzy, folky, misty, unique.

The crowd was all white, very appreciative, knowing many of the works Ray performed from his quiet searching heart. He is a very serious man, about 30 or so, who works through each song. He’s a songsmith, with the spirit of a blue collar blacksmith without the big hard muscles or the soot. He sports a full beard and appears very Christlike as he fragilely begifts the audience a part of his soul with each song sung.

Recording his songs he especially takes seriously after he has he let them take flight out of him in their composition. “I always, always end up recording the songs that I feel are
important to me to work through.” he is quoted in the program guide.

Many of those in the audience expressed their love for Mr. LaMontagne in between songs, and he managed to return the emotion, tho in a taciturn manner. His performing seems to be not an entertainer’s joy, but more a sacred evolution of himself and his inner feelings and intelligence.

‘Gone Away For Me’ had me in tears as I thought of my late beloved wife, as did the following song about sheltering each other.

It was a beautiful tender tho intermittently sad evening that makes one feel mortal and fortunate for having whatever love one is fortunate enough to have, or have had. I thought of my own love, which is usually wild and ecstatic, and Ray’s quiet lovemaking, as he expressed it in one song.

As he was about to begin one song, the light was getting to him as he plaintively said “I feel so exposed.” The lights were turned down, and he thanked whomever was responsible, before commencing another stellar performance of another grand but simple song.

Inda Eaton Shares Her Music At The Talkhouse 4 5 2008

Inda Eaton performed at the Stephen Talkhouse Saturday night
April 5, 2008.  The crowd was small and intimate.  Inda was
tall and cool and bright and unperturbable and ultra-professional.
She plays her guitar (acoustic) so well, it always sounds good;
the beat’s in her head, she rouses out her lyrics, talks to the
audience through her songs, is great fun, very attractive, her
hair always falls back into place, her skin is smooth and healthy,
though she keeps talkin’ about drink up, no sense in being half

Well, she is from Casper, Wyoming.  Y’ever see anybody from
Casper with her special view of the world?  pronouncing
Waldbaum’s ‘Waldbamms’ – at least the first few times she bespoke
it this night.  Projecting about doing a tour with her music (I guess)
performing at them.  She says she used to be a bartender for the
military.  Worked in the Alps.  Where the troops are few, and the
snow is waiting.  Though she apparently had her hip fixed recently, but
is now able to sit on a stool while she is sharing her music with
her lucky audience.

The song ‘Love Is A Road’ she explained she put together by
conversing with various Casperians and others who were gonna go on
down to Mexico via train to get their thyroid medicine because it is too
expensive in America.  She must enjoy some tequila at times.  The lyrics
have “Tequila. Cantina. You’re my lover. Now you are my friend.” But
the first words of the song are  “Just as soon as I’m sober, just as
soon as I am well, gonna pack up a truck and drive…There is beauty
and danger every time…”  Dunno what happened to the train that
somehow wends its way thru ?Colorado and New Mexico to get to that
south-of-the-Rio-Grande pharmacy.  Where I remember hearing this
little Mexican woman answer a television interviewer posing the
question why folks came to her country to buy steroids, and she
smiled and laughed saying “Americans like to be BEEEEG!”

“All Cracked Up” she said she has high hopes for, I reckon, in the
commercial world of music and popularity.  She said she wrote it for
her ?drummer’s father.  It’s about a Vietnam Vet.  Lyrics go like this:
“The young boy on the farm,
You get yourself to Vietnam
You come back a little cracked up
And you take a wife
Help raise those precious kids
Get on
And come to find out where you stand
It’s just another day
The sun that burns in distant lands
The sun that burns us all anyway

We’re all cracked up
Walkin’ down past the cup?(?cut?)
Feel it comin’ down
Sky above
Miles to light
I can feel it
I can’t figure why

Every day it’s still a fight
From the office to those soccer fields
Come to find out where you stand
It’s Just another day

Some days it comes from the bottom of the cup…”

Yes, I love it.  The guitar just trickles and drives
through the song. At the Talkhouse she did the song
acoustically, but on her ‘Live in Casper!’ CD 2007
her band really fills the song out.

‘Casper’ Inda describes as a “boom or bust song” about
driving back into her home town on highway 25, and she
told us about Wyoming, and plucked the lapels of her black
western cowgirl shirt introducing the tune Saturday night.  The song
unrolling as she is “looking for a lover in the middle of the night…and
I thought that I would find you in the miles/the arms of my home town/ I’m too tired
to call you, strung out from the road/’cause I’ve
lost my pride/I’ve lost my drive/and now it’s time to crawl/into the
arms of my home town for a while/Down by the river/At the old
Ramada Inn/my grandma worked two shifts waitressing to raise up both those kids/
and my other grandad worked the oil fields/had a
business out of town/He was renting cars/and both worked hard/to find
redemption/and a passage out of town.”  I don’t know if they ever found it: the
redemption.  Or the passage out of town.  Living in those small towns.  She
compared how small Amagansett is, to little Casper and its one main street.
And how she was grateful to be able to perform at the Talkhouse, because there
are so few venues out this way for musicians.

She said she’s been living out here for four years, but by 15 years she’ll be
considered a ‘native.’  So SHE got out of town, Casper.  She apparently prefers
living in the Hamptons to residing in Wyoming, where they dig the coal out of the hills
with gigantic shovels and drop it into huge trucks; then ship it by train
to Georgia [terrific description of this in John McPhee’s award-winning, and
my favorite non-fiction book of 2006 called ‘Uncommon Carriers,” in the
chapter on ‘Coal Trains’ – which I think is the book’s best chapter] or
some other state/locale/power plant.

The Inda song that tugs at me and my heartstrings is ‘Be So Lucky’ –
to find true love. With me losing my wife recently, my soulmate,
my baby, my protector, my receptive elegant strong luscious ultra-essential
lover, my sharer of thoughts and poems and creativity and experiences with
passion and ecstasy, “it feels so good to be next to you”
Inda sings, to find peace. Yeah, as you go through life
you may not realize how fortunate you could be to find someone
that is the yin to your yang, the pieces of your puzzle just
fit together perfectly, with love, that love that you may only
find just once as you go through day after day.  Or, as many of
us know, you may NEVER find true love for whatever
reasons or whims of the universe. Sing it tenderly, dear Inda:

“Be so lucky
To find true love
Be so lucky
To find my way
Be the first
Be the rock(?)
Be the hope
Be tomorrow
Be so lucky to fiiiiiiiind
True Love

And the tide is heavy
It’s good to be alive
Oh, it feels good to be next to you

I broke a hundred dollar bill
To get some nickels
I was drunk at the campsite
And I was searching for clues
Walked to town with a walkman
On the tail of a blizzard
Only to find peace to be next to you
Should be so lucky to find true love….”

On her album she talks about positive energy and the movie
‘Smokey and the Bandit’ – whose moral she says is getting the beer
from Texarkana, forget about ‘The Secret’ – this is
all you need.  “Splendor in the Sun” is the song about “all
that drivin’ and all that positive energy;
drivin’ that 18-wheeler…

“We got a long way to go
And such a short time to get there
We gonna do what they say can’t be done

Splendor in the sun
I found my friends
And we drank all day
I broke my heel
And I talked to Jesus

There’s all this time
And all this love..”

Inda has an energetic positive infective spirit, and even if
some of the Talkhouse faithful yapped and blerbled while she
was sangin’, she didn’t acknowledge it, just got on, none of
that stuck in Lodi again that John Fogerty sung us about
unforgettably, if we were around to hear it. [Credence Clearwater
Revival is the name of Mr. Fogerty’s group for you young ‘uns
and memory-wanked stoners that might’ve fo-got…(Oh, how COULD
you? – – if you wish to search for some of his fine early music.]

In ‘Touched Down’ Ms. Eaton sings about being down, and feeling so
incomplete, but then she repeats “Rise Up Rise Up Rise Up
and Move On Move On Move On, My Friend.”  This is a rocking song.
In which she realizes “the answers won’t come today, may not
come at all, no time for honesty today…”  So, she’ll “walk to
the end where the air is so fair…” Breathe in knowing you are
breathing in; breathe out knowing you are breathing out.  Repeat
that a few times, folks, and you will be in the moment.  Conrad’s
recommended short effective easy-to-do meditation to make life
most worthwhile.  You’re only here for a brief walk, so smell
the roses and the gardenias, and touch down to Earth, and listen
to Inda whenever you can.

For the second half of the performance, Inda had three local Hamptons
musicians come up to the stage and embellish several tunes.  Jim Turner
opened up his case of harmonicas or mouth-harps or “harps” as some
will say.  And Inda kept wondering if he would be OK, as she just met
him two hours ago, but she kept stating as he played in the key she
specified that he was NY Board of Education certified, and Jim was great.
He did plenty of solos, while Jim Lawler played drums and Michael Kanes
shook his Portuguese maracas, but not into any microphone.  Inda took
the extra energy and made it amplify the fun and satisfaction of the

If she ever comes by you, go see her.  Just hope that her palesse doesn’t
show up to introduce her, tho Inda seemed to like it.  Donna was sort of
funny, but rather plainly uncosmic.  Like she asked what was the difference
between a psychic and an intuitive psychic?  “Two hundred fifty dollars!!”
she excitedly told us, extending her ample arms and shaking her bumsie
and well rounded body.  Her best joke was “I used to be a medium.  But
now I’m a large.”  OK, that was funny.  But get off the stage, love. Inda
was who we came to see. Why cheapen the evening?  And I highly recommend
that new CD: ‘Inda LIVE in Casper!’ 13 songs.  All good. The cool, the
charming, the crisp, the syncopative, evanescent Inda Eaton!

Dave Alvin Great American Music and Fantastic Electric Guitar

Dave Alvin, ex-Blaster, guitarist, songwriter, producer, music purveyor, played an explosive dynamic set of rocking bluesy other-side-of-life tunes with his band, The Guilty Men, at the Stephen Talkhouse Sunday July 9, 2006. Everything from “Out of Control” to “Surfer Girl” blessed the ears of the eastern Long Island audience with the touch of Mr. Alvin’s guitar expertise.
Read more

Hamptons International Film Festival 2005: Some Films to See n Not

‘Go For Zucker’ is great, funny, a Jewish bouillabaisse of appositional comedy; ‘The Fall of Fujimori’ documentary shows the ex-President of Peru interviewed explaining everything so rationally about his bloody dictatorship and its death squads; ‘The Cave of the Yellow Dog’ – Mongolian nomads with three of the most adorable children ever protagonized! ‘Why We Fight’ ‘David & Layla’
Read more