One Sunday a month, Miss Neesie and the Ear Food Orchestra congregate at Casbeers and elevate spirits with their patented gumbo gospel, a Southern Louisiana-inflected take on classic church hymns.
On Sunday, April 15, EFO’s Gospel Brunch performance will also serve as a CD-release party for their new album, Gloria Road. Opening with an a capella introduction to “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” the disc covers spirituals time-honored (“He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands”), contemporary (Steve Earle’s “Jerusalem”), and flat-out eccentric (“The Devil’s In The Phone Booth”). I’m especially fond of a Creedence-worthy romp through “John the Revelator” and a Cajun treatment of “Nobody’s Fault.”
Lively and unvarnished, Gloria Road could be defined in much the same way Casbeers bills its Gospel-Brunch menu: “Not fancy, but it’s SA substantial.”
Gospel Brunch begins at noon, and the Ear Food Orchestra take the stage at 1 p.m. Admission is $12, and advance tickets are required. Call 732-3511 for ticket info.
I suppose there’s something profound to be gleaned from the fact that legendary sexagenarians Aretha Franklin and Rod Stewart will both visit the Alamo City on April 17 (Franklin at the Majestic Theatre; Stewart at the AT&T Center), so I’ll give it a bash.
While both Franklin and Stewart are inimitable singers who have reached rare musical heights and succumbed to brazen sellouts, Franklin has never completely relinquished her vitality (even during her ill-advised, late-’70s, disco-diva period). There’s always the sense with her that anytime a mic is close by, she can do something magical, as demonstrated by her recent Ahmet Ertegun tribute at the Rock and Roll Hall Fame induction dinner.
Rod the Clod, on the other hand, has been a cheddar-cheese disgrace for so long, and with such blithe indifference, that he’s beyond hope. His series of standards albums, not to mention last year’s exhumation of worn-out classic-rock anthems, reeks of a desperate drive to maintain his high tax bracket, regardless of the cost to his soul. Just ponder the fact that when he covered “It’s a Heartache,” he found himself imitating Bonnie Tyler’s shameless imitation of him. Whatever happened to retiring gracefully?
Whenever I find myself ready to dismiss one of rock’s elder statesmen as a dried-up, useless old codger playing out the string, I think of Stewart, and remember that things could always be worse.
He’s The Mann
Aretha Franklin is not the only Motor City heavyweight (no dress-size aspersions intended) coming to SA this week. Detroit triple-guitar machine Chapstik, featuring former San Antonio scenester Leighton Mann (of the band Worm), will appear at the Rock Bottom (1033 Ave. B) on Friday, April 13. Showtime is 8 p.m.
— Gilbert Garcia