Jimbo Mathus and Dr Sick was just what the doctor ordered for me last night.
It was one of the shows that make you feel like you are in your living room and your crazy, talented cousins came by for a visit….(and brought their music makers with them).
For me it felt like a special day at home with the best possible visitors. They were friendly…they played with open arms all night long. I laughed so much my jaws hurt. Jimbo is comfortable with an audience and he makes the audience feel comfortable with him.
No set list, no sticking to all originals, no holds barred…we felt FREE in The Listening Room…These two guys were wide open and they let the audience steer them through the muddy waters as they took any and all requests and said even though they had no rehearsals, no pre-planning they’d give it a try. It was always magnificent!
Jimbo talked about being from the deep south, as he and most of us are, he said, “its all about drainage”….immediately I thought of a time in New Orleans when the water was knee deep on the sidewalks….and all I could think of, was “What kind of germs and yuck are swimming around in that water that is now on my feet and legs!” DRAINAGE is an issue for sure.
For an old country girl this show was a piece of heaven. He walked us through the flooded waters of New Orleans in the rainy season. He took us on an adventure of cotton picking as his lyrics said, “Ill never pick cotton again”. I remembered my mother who told me how painful it was picking cotton, the thorns are big and penetrate the flesh of your hands until you can hardly bend your fingers at the end of the day. She added the cotton she picked was more red than white after a few hours of picking….”I'll never pick cotton again” sounds like a good idea.
The story behind his song “Aces and Eights” was mind-blowing but Jimbo says its true. He traveled in the back of a van from Clarksdale Mississippi to South Dakota in one day…then turned around and traveled it back with no real rest….during that time he wrote this song he swears is a real story of a man’s death. Though that is a gruesome subject, the story was energetic, and memorable. In Jimbo’s own words, “You can’t make this shit up!”
“I left the bar last night when it was done. I guess it wasn’t the greatest but I still tried to have some fun.” People like you and me, we ain’t used to too much, we make our living off the bramblers, and gamblers and outlaws and such.”
“Jack McCall rolled in from Cheyene in a herd of cats. He slept in the alleys and the gulleys with the whores and the rats.”
“There’s nothing worse than a desperate man who’s holding a grudge.” “In an outlaw town on the border with no jury or judge.” “Aces and eights were not in his plan…
“I was standing back in the corner, looking over at the table view. I’d about gone crazy, it was hazy and I’d had a few. Bill always played his cards with his back to the wall. But last night he had it to the door when in walked Jack McCall. “Aces and eights had been handed down. We’ll always remember the hand he had in an unlucky town.
“A slug to the back of Bill’s head had sealed his fate. And when they saw what he was holding at the end, it was Aces and Eights.
Aces and Eights, thats the way it was done. And the next thing you know McCall was back on the run. Aces and Eights had been handed down. It will always be an unlucky hand in an unlucky town.
This song is on Jimbo’s Album “Confederate Buddha”.
He announced he has been married 3 times…but he said it in such a way everyone laughed openly…he said “this here song is about the first two!” The song is titled “too much water under the bridge”. it is easy to follow the lines…”There is too much water under the bridge, too many teardrops have washed the road away.”
That pretty much sums up a relationship that is over.
I didn’t think I would ever hear this next song LIVE again, but Jimbo proved me wrong as he sang a Hank Williams, Sr song…”Your cheatin’ Heart”….nearly the entire audience sang along…I would say I was one of them…but I can’t actually sing…its more like off-key bellowing.
He sang a Doug Kershaw song I was familiar with…”Louisiana Man”….now that one is a toe tapper for sure.
An original song that he sang near the end of the night still rings in my head…”Sop My Gravy”…it beckons an answer to “Who’ll sop my gravy when I’m gone?”….I am not sure why but I cannot say or write that line without cracking up…I mean gut-jerking cracking up.
As it was July 5th and we were all still tasting the bbq ribs and potato salad, still remembering those majestic fireworks and family gatherings…we still held to a love and pride for our country; Jimbo surprised us with “This Land Is Your Land”….I can tell you I believe everyone in The Listening Room felt proud, just as I did. We happily sang along and did not want it to end…”This land is your land, this land is my land…From California to the New York Island. From the Redwood Forest, to the gulf stream waters, This land was made for you and me!”
This whole show was unique…it was absolutely unlike any other. These two very talented men poured their hearts out singing and playing and talking to us. We welcomed them and they welcomed us right back.
Dr. Sick was phenomenal. He played the violin (fiddle) like no other…and I have seen many. He could twirl the bow like a majorette’s baton…it was fascinating. He also had a shaker, noise maker but the most surprising thing was the SAW. YES, I said saw. He pulled it out of a case and began playing that saw so well, I bet it forgot it was even a saw. That thing probably woke up this morning all high and mighty, refusing to ever saw again…it is now an instrument of music! The sound is unlike anything you would ever expect to hear at a concert…but it works.
I must tell you, this is a music concert you would enjoy. If you see an ad announcing them on the playbill…GO…or if you see one announcing their whole band “The Squirrel Not Zippers”…make your plans to go…you will walk away with a smile.
Thank you Jimbo Mathus for entertaining in Mobile and taking us away from any and all struggles we may be facing; you helped us enjoy life!
Thank you Dr. Sick…you are fabulous, a great musician and fascinatingly handsome too!
Thank you Jim Pennington and The Listening Room of Mobile for bringing this great talent.