June 23, 2011 - Worried Man Song Swap

The Worried Man Song Swap is made up of Glen Farris, Danny Balis, and Doug Burr. All exceptional musicians, indeed. And, tonight, LaGrange was hosting the event.

It didn’t start at 9, which was the advertised start time. No, it was, in fact, closer to 10 when Danny Balis walked on stage and took his seat on stage left. Glen Farris followed right behind, sitting in the chair on stage right, and soon, Doug Burr took the center seat. They were fiddling with their own guitars as Glen said, “We’re The Eagles.” Which didn’t get as many laughs as it deserved. “I hope they get better then that.” Doug replied. They exchanged glances, waiting for one to seize the moment and begin the show, but it didn’t happen. “Well, since no one else is, I guess I’ll start the show.” Doug said. “Go on.” answered Danny, “You are the recording artist.” As Doug got the ball rolling with a song from his “On Promenade” record, “Blood Runs Downhill”. Then, they simple went down the line, as the more country musician, Danny Balis, did a song, before Glen Farris took over. When it got back to Doug he did “Thing About Trouble”, and after another round he played “Topeka”. I think it was around this point Danny was having some trouble with some feedback from the monitor, and while they took time to straighten it out, Doug, jokingly, thanked everyone for coming to their sound check. Then Glen began asking if they could get a big bowl full of M&Ms on stage, and also asked for some Twizzlers. “Not the normal size.” he made clear, “Just the mini snack size.” “How about a bowl filled with cocaine?” Danny chimed in, as he and the sound guy still tried to fix the feedback issue. They got it somewhat resolved, but eventually just let it be, as Danny did what he said was a newer song. And it was my personal favorite song he did this night. The songs chorus was what I liked the most about it, and it went something like, “…When your arms begin to wither and your eyes start to fail. When your hair burns of silver and your lips are all but pale. May my love for you remain as soft as wine…” Mr. Farris then did another song, before it went back to Doug, who performed “Red, Red”. During the song one of the LaGrange staff members, the man who works as the door guy, brought some glasses to the musicians, which contained some funny looking drinks. Then I got a better look, they weren’t drinks, but M&Ms. And he gave a package of Twizzlers to Doug. Both Glen and Danny, as well as the few dozen people in LaGrange just laughed, as it was a funny sight. After Danny finished his next song, they went through two more rounds to conclude their first set, which lasted 62 minutes. But they had another set planned, which Glen said would contain “…The sad songs…”, cause everything else had been SO happy and upbeat. (That last part is meant to be said in a sarcastic tone.)

After about a 40 minute break, they returned for set two, which was kicked off this time, by Mr. Farris. This set proved to consist more of cover songs, as after Doug’s first song he said it was by Depeche Mode. During round two, Doug was having trouble with his second song, mainly the opening line, but Danny helped him out with it. It sounded familiar to me, then he got to the chorus and I realized it was Bruce Springsteen’s, “I’m On Fire”. It was a good cover at that, and a few others thought so too, as they asked for some more Springsteen. Then, when round three started, Glen obliged, as he did “Atlantic City”. It was a bit rocky in places, like the line “…Our luck may’ve died and our love may be cold…”, where he sang “cold” instead of “died”. There were a few other times when he stumbled through the lyrics, but it wasn’t very detrimental to the song. And I just enjoyed hearing the song live, cause I doubt I’ll ever hear “The Boss” do it at one of his shows. Mr. Burr did an original next, “Graniteville”, then on Danny’s turn he played a tune by the country music legend, Willie Nelson. The Bruce Springsteen songs continued, as Glen began the next round with a song that everyone knows, “Born to Run”. They cycled through that round, and when it got back to Glen, Mr. Balis announced this would be their last round of songs. Doug ended his portion of the show with “I Got This Fever/O Ye Devastator”, then it went to Danny for the final song of the night. The downside with quieter events like this is you can hear everyone talking, to the point it can overpower the music. That was what was happing now, as Danny lightly played the opening chords of the song, while calmly making a “shushing” noise. No one heeded, and he abruptly stopped. “Can you please shut the fuck up for five minutes?!” he blasted, “I promise, this is going to be really fucking cool!” You could then hear people telling their friends they needed to be quiet, cause “Thet guy there said so.” Disrespectful fools. He, Danny, was right, the song was really cool, and a perfect way to end the night. And by the way, this second set lasted longer then the first, spanning 67 minutes.

I’ve recently gained a new appreciation/love for the singer/songwriter style of music, though I’m not entirely sure why that’s just now happening for me. And seeing these three singer/songwriters tonight helped that “appreciation/love reach a whole new level. I haven’t been a fan of Doug Burr for too long, but he has one of the most distinctive voices that I’ve heard. I’m not a real fan of country music, mainly cause what is passed of as country these days, like Taylor Swift or Kenny Chesney, isn’t real country music. Nothing against either of those acts I specified, but the music has a pop flare to it. But Danny Balis, now he’s a true country singer/songwriter. He has an incredible voice that sounds like the old school country musicians, and his songs tell fantastic, albeit sad, stories. Then you have Glen Farris, whose attributes are a mix of all of the ones I mentioned above. He has quite a unique voice, with amazing lyrics, and a very somber tone to his music. Basically, each of them is nothing short of exceptional at what they do.

As it ended, Doug thanked everyone for coming out, then adding, “We’ll do this again next year.” I really hope that isn’t the case, cause a year would be far too long to go without the chance to see this again.

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