David Lindley and Wally Ingram, Sky Church at The Experience Music Project, Seatte- 2/6
“The Prince of Polyester”
David Lindley should be starring in his own sit-com. The guy is a laugh a minute. During my first experience seeing him I was at times, as enthralled with his sense of comedic timing and ability to connect with the audience as I was with the music. And that’s saying a lot! Seated atop a leopard covered converted desk chair that had a couple old ELRAYOEX license plates attached to the bottom, this “prince of polyester”, as drummer Wally Ingram dubbed him, due to his clothing choices for the evening, played a myriad of stringed instruments, with a story about some of them and life as HE knows it, in between songs. A master of anything with strings, a road hardened voice and a unique outlook on life that comes screaming through as he and Wally careened through an hour and half of what seemed more like “The David and Wally Show” than an evening of music by David Lindley and Wally Ingram.
The show started promptly at 8:30, which probably speaks more to the staff at EMP than anything else. They do music 24/7, so I would suppose they have their stage setups down to a science by now. One of the first things I noticed that he had no less than 10 instruments in his arsenal for the evening and I was excited to get to hear someone who could actually play them all. The show started with Mr. Lindley playing a normal enough looking acoustic guitar. Normal looking until the first notes started running and then I knew we were in for a treat. The song was “King of the Bed”: and this man is a king of the fret. Super soulful in his approach while attacking the strings in an updated blues style. Then came “Meat Man” and the Jamaican styling of “Jah Reggae. The Latter played on an all maple Wiessenborn hollow neck acoustic by Canopus similar to the one played by Ben Harper. After that came a song called “National Holiday” written by Karl Perkins, a seeming dead ringer for a Jackson Brown tune, with whom David spent 10 years with as a co-conspirator of sorts. Played on a Bouzouki this song was great with its patriotic feel and wonderful melody.
Another one of many instrument changes brought out a “potato back” Oud. The song he played was called “The Johnson boys”, however the set list read “Farmer Boy” so I’m not real sure of the title but do know from the story that was told that it was written by Lindley years ago for the banjo. He sold the rights for $150.00. It has since been recorded many times over and he is “a bit bitter” that he hasn’t gotten as much money as those who recorded it after he did. Then next chapter in the show brought out a beautiful Guild 12 string acoustic, played on the lap, and featured a song by Danny O’Keefe. It is called “Jody” and is about a boy who dresses in his sisters’ clothes. It was humorous yet heartfelt and the picking was beautiful. Next he pulled out a different Bouzouki that he said was of Romanian origin that he got at Lark in the Morning for about $300.00. For the money it was probably the best instrument played all evening. It was an instrumental and was masterfully played with Wally laying down the backbeat with great precision through this and all of the selections.
The final four selections were all Lindley-penned originals that all carry his unique sense of humor coupled with his awesome playing ability. Titles like “SUV’s Suck-Hang Up and Drive You Blood Clot” (with lots of audience choral participation), “Meth Lab Boyfriend”, “Cat Food Sandwiches”, and “Osama’s Enema” speak directly to his insane sense of humor and observations in life. One would tend to think that songs with titles like these would or could be regarded as “junk” or trivial, yet I found them all to be sensible quality pieces that only a real professional could pull off. I could go into a great deal of explanation as to just what each one is about (only because he told us) but would instead recommend that you go and see for yourself what these two wonderful craftsman of American music have to offer.
The story telling and general lighthearted approach to the live music experience is what sets a David Lindley and Wally Ingram apart from most all other shows and must be seen to be fully experienced. David Lindley is a folk musician in the truest sense. It is a craft that is slowly being lost through record lable greed and the pop culture. One by one we are losing these great American heroes. Let us hope that “The Prince of Polyester” keeps on keeping on. The future of true independent music depends on it. The Lindley-Ingram 2002 Winter tour is playing selected dates in and around California through the 24th of February and can be found at www.davidlindley.com. It is a show you should catch if you have the chance.