Report from Beijing's TVZ Tribute
randyabel.stable <randyabel.stable <at> yahoo.com>
2012-01-02 07:57:38 GMT
Folks, we had a surprisingly good turn-out last night as China's capitol remembered Townes with
performances by The Randy Abel Stable and solo artist/AboutTownes veteran Jon Zatkin. Bone-chilling
temps (and/or hangovers) didn't seem to discourage the mostly young, predominantly-Chinese audience
from packing Beijing's best acoustic venue to hear tunes by the man himself, a few he covered over the
years, and a truck-load by Hank Williams thrown in for good measure. The event also marked the premier of
"Stable Condition (For Townes)", The Randy Abel Stable's latest original offering.
In a previous post I boasted that the venue's audiences are almost always an attentive, appreciative,
folk-friendly lot, and last night's crowd did not disappoint. Though only a handful spoke English, the
event turned out to be the "teachable moment" I had hoped for, as various images of Townes flashed on a
screen behind the stage all night and curious music-lovers eagerly quizzed us during set breaks. I'm
certain that at least a few who attended will strive to learn more about the man and his work, which is of
course what it's all about.
For my part, the evening's highlight came as I was introducing "Rex's Blues", telling of the Old Quarter
Wake and trying to impart a sense of the universal spirit of Townes' legacy. I explained that a photo of
Wrecks and Townes (a still from the out-takes of Heartworn Highways) would eventually show up on the
screen, and while I was saying this, the photo happened to appear. Man, I love little synchronicities like that!
Finally, I've got to tell y'all about another Townes-inspired moment I experienced a few weeks ago. My band
had shared a stage with a group on tour from Sweden, and I was about to leave a green-room jam session when the
Swedish guitar player asked me about our upcoming shows. When I told him we'd play the Tribute, he busted
right into a version of "Two Hands"! Later he told of performing at TVZ remembrances throughout Europe and
we played Townes numbers into the early morning. Again, ya gotta dig happenstances like that.
Moreover, I reckon we've set a good precedent for keeping Townes' memory alive in China. For my band's part,
we'll keep a varying couple of his tunes in every setlist and see to it that the Beijing Tribute is an ongoing tradition.
Thanks for your support and Happy New Year, everybody.