Bosque & Ruthie Report

February 3, 2006 on 5:58 pm | In Concerts, Road Trips

I’m back from my Las Cruces trip to hear Ruthie Foster and Eric Bibb in concert. The Bosque was mostly deserted. A few looky-loo humans with monster lenses, the usual two bald eagles stuck to the tree in the middle pond in the middle loop. I watch them and the black phoebes, kinglets, and assorted ducks as I chow down my pastrami sandwich, trying not to eat the buzzing honeybee that wants a bite.

The Bosque presents various sights, like a familiar box of assorted chocolates. Harriers cruising, white tail bars glowing in the sun; Canada geese sucking up debris from the canal; the colorful pheasant on the side of the road; homebound cranes pecking through the tall tan grasses; red-winged blackbirds chortling; meadowlarks singing melody; a tiny marsh wren flitting through the reeds, sipping water. I walk east down a perpendicular side road, chasing a hunting harrier. She dives, grabs a mouse, hunkers down on the matted yellow grass for the “early bird special.” Blackbirds move en masse from one tree to the next as I approach. I try not to take it personally. I have to leave before the evening fly-in to make it to the concert in time.

I am driving down the interstate. I feel the wheels of my car stretch and elongate, sprout hooves. I ride on, galloping my steed down the road, hooves clopping rhythmically on the concrete pavement, through the sunlight and the desert landscape, wind in my face, steering reins in my hands, toward Ruthie Foster and food for my soul.

“I see what you mean,” says Laura, one of my Las Cruces concert companions, at the end of the concert. “It was amazing. I can’t imagine how that voice comes out of her body.” Ruthie has hooked another 300 or 400 folks. They held their collective breaths as she sang.

Ruthie was joined by her long-time companion and friend Cyd Cassone on percussion. Ruthie almost cried on stage as she introduced her song CROSSOVER. She talked of the civil rights marchers as they tried to cross the bridge from Montgomery to Selma, Alabama in the 1960’s. She, Odetta and Richie Havens were asked to create a soundtrack for the documentary “Where Do We Go From Here” about the civil rights movement. At the end of the introduction, Ruthie said, “I send this out to our sister Coretta Scott King.” Ruthie didn’t have to say that Coretta died a few days ago; we all knew. We got to sing along on the chorus.

CROSSOVER (listen here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/ruthiefoster4)
…..I’m gonna plant my feet
no matter what hangs over me
gonna stand up for freedom,
go down in history.
When I want to roam,
I’ll never be far from home.
I’m gonna keep holdin’ on,
singing my song,
No matter what’s goin’ on
I’m gonna keep movin’ strong.

CHORUS

I’m gonna plant my feet,
keep my eyes on the prize
gonna climb higher and higher
to keep the dream alive.
When I can’t go on,
you’ve got to carry on.
Oh you gotta keep holdin’ on
singin’ your song
no matter what’s goin’ on
you gotta keep movin’ strong.

CHORUS: You gotta cross over (and overcome)
You gotta cross over (and overcome)
You gotta cross over (and overcome)
And overcome.
Oh, you gotta cross over (and overcome)
You gotta cross over (and overcome)
You gotta cross over (and overcome)
And overcome….

CROSSOVER, lyrics and music written by Ruthie Foster
www.ruthiefoster.com

I had never heard Eric Bibb sing. [My husband reminds me that I DID hear Eric sing once when he opened in Albuquerque for Odetta. OK, so I didn’t remember having heard Eric sing.] Picture a strikingly handsome, young man in shiny brown loafers, faded jeans, an orange sweatshirt, and a dapper flat felt hat. He sings alone, accompanies himself on guitar. He gently marches in place, knees rising deliberately, feet placed back down exactly. He is probably setting his tempo and rhythm, but to me it appears as if he is calling the music up from the soles of his feet, and sending the songs out through his voice, instrument, and heart. True soul music. Smooth mellifluous voice.

He and Ruthie, joined by Cyd on percussion, end the concert with a duet “For You,” written by Eric. “This song didn’t come alive,” Eric explains, “until it met Ruthie.” It is on his new CD “Friends.” Ruthie reins in her power to collaborate with Eric. You can tell that doing so challenges her.

I came home today. As I crossed the bridge over the Rio Grande, I looked for eagles in the shoreside cottonwoods and tried to ignore the dilapidated green couch sitting in the middle of the river. When I got home, I learned that Ruthie and Eric will be singing in Socorro tonight at the NM Tech campus. Oops, I could have driven only 160 miles instead of 498. However…I enjoyed spending time with Lonnie and Julie, Laura, Ruth, Judy, Mark and Chris in Cruces. Ruthie, Cyd and Eric will be in Farmington, Clovis and Alamosa over the next week. www.ruthiefoster.com and www.ericbibb.com have details. Travel to hear them if you can; you won’t regret it.

Wagogo & Lura at El Rey

January 25, 2006 on 10:42 am | In Albuquerque, Concerts

The beauty of a blog is that I can post things as they come up. If you’re not dancing in Santa Fe Saturday night, you can be dancing in Albuquerque with no instruction, just groovin’ and movin’ to the rhythmic music of Wagogo. I stole most of this info from neal copperman, the master concert promoter who organized ¡Globalquerque! I can personally attest that Wagogo is so dance-rhythmic, I once started a congo line with a hundred 60- to 80-year-old women dancing to them!

An AMP Dance Party with Lura (from Cape Verde) and Wagogo from Albuquerque
Saturday, January 28, 8:00 pm
El Rey Theater, 620 Central Ave SW (Downtown)
$20 advance, $25 door
Tickets at abqmusic.com, Bookworks, and Natural Sound

Late night dance party with Wagogo follows the Lura show. Tickets to see Lura include admission
to the Wagogo show. Separate admission to see Wagogo at 10:00 is $8 at the door only, but why
would you want to skip Lura? There is a huge buzz on Lura these days. She was one of the big hits of ?Globalquerque! before heading off to play festivals across the United States and a well received European tour. For this swing through the states, she’ll be doing two nights at Globalfest in NYC, the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis and cool clubs in Chicago and Seattle.

Lura is from Santiago, the most African of the Cape Verde Islands, located about 300 miles off
the coast of Senegal. The music is a sexy, slinky Afro-Portuguese blend, combining styles like batuku (songs inspired by the rhythm and gossip of communal laundering) and funana (an accordion-based dance song) with Portuguese Fado and jazz.

The night will end with a late night dance party with one of Albuquerque’s best world music bands
– Wagogo. Several members will have just returned from Zimbabwe, so they should be full of new ideas and energy. This is a rare chance to see Wagogo in a big theater with a great dance floor. In case you haven’t heard, the El Rey has been no smoking for over a year now. If you’ve never been, there is a wooden dance floor in front of the stage and the theater is tiered. There will be tables and chairs out on the other tiers for those who don’t want to dance all night. Visit www.abqmusic.com for more info. And boogey on…

Ruthie, Here I Come!

January 22, 2006 on 12:11 am | In Concerts, Road Trips

With almost daily reminders to ‘carpe diem’ while I’m alive and relatively healthy, I took the plunge and got a ticket to the Ruthie Foster/Eric Bibb concert in Las Cruces, New Mexico on February 2. They’ll also be in Albuquerque on February 4, but I’m calling a dance that night. I suggested to Hands Five that I find another caller for the dance so I could attend the Albuquerque concert. But the band wasn’t too keen about being pawned off on another caller. Plus, Hands Five is really fun to work with, and we’ve already had a 2-hour practice.

I will stop at my favorite place in New Mexico on the way down to Cruces, the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge. I never know what wonders I’ll encounter there. Being at the Bosque is almost as much a treasure hunt as the thrift store. Once I saw a coyote with his entire face stuffed inside a snow-white goose carcass. When he emerged momentarily after tossing the carcass around gleefully, his snout was smeared with blood. Another time a tanager flashed across the windshield, his startling scarlet color one I’d never seen before. Years ago, right over my head, the one whooping crane on site flew in with a flock of sandhill cranes, the whooper’s giant breast gleaming with the peachy pink setting sunlight.

snow geese at sunset
Photo by Merri Rudd

Or the deer that seems nailed to place along the back trail because I’ve seen her several times in the exact spot. Or the muskrat paddling in the lagoon, the vermillion flycatcher winging its way up the middle loop, the merlin ripping apart the meadowlark, the eagle shredding a duck. The latter images may seem gruesome, but they are the ebb and flow of the Bosque. Maybe I’ll stop at Percha Dam Campground and listen for the owls in the secret tree or the red-winged blackbirds in the cattails. An opening act for Ruthie.

I am taking this trip because Ruthie’s singing “restoreth my soul.” I am taking this trip to honor the memory of Mike Smith and his love of good music. And I am taking this trip to fuel my own sense of adventure. I love gliding down the highway, alone, not knowing what will happen next. When I find out, I will post another entry.

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