Greg Brown -- March 22, 1997

The Handlebar, Greenville, South Carolina


Date: Mon, 24 Mar 1997 11:34:54 -0500
From: Sharon Larkins <slarkins@Gems.VCU.EDU>
Subject: Himself's Asheville & Greenville concerts


Well, the ole silver fox finally got to see Himself live and in person in Asheville, North Carolina at the 'Be Here Now' venue on March 21 and in Greenville, South Carolina at 'The Handlebar' venue on March 22.

3/22/97 @ 'The Handlebar' in Greenville, SC:

Did the same deal around downtown Greenville during the lunch hour and several folks asked about GB, so I had a grand time...again, several of them showed up for the show. This venue is in an old mill.

I arrived early and, being of une age certaine and having silver hair helped me get my seat on the front row reserved so I could go back and eat dinner and enjoy a Bushmills or two without fear of not being 'up front'. I also stood in the shadows of the back of the hall during his soundcheck. A couple came in with their baby girl (about 8 months old) whose lullabies are apparently GB and most particularly 'China', and he sang it for her. Talk about nice.

Sartorial notes: He was dressed in a sleeveless light gray T-shirt he (as he mentioned later) had picked up in a music store with the front printed "Palmetto Drums, Greenville, SC", jeans, buckskin colored boots, THAT hat, black shades and, get this, what appeared to be a Harris Tweed sportcoat. (That was not for long, however, once he got revved up on stage.) He did remove his glasses while at the bar, and I could see why he wears them more often than not. His eyes belie a weariness, not to mention wariness, that he probably prefers to keep to himself more often than not. That is, of course, an editorial comment since I have no way of knowing that to be true.

He signed another T-shirt for me, and we chatted briefly about Shirley and Regina.

The opening act was a folk singer, Charisse Lowe, who was battling a bad head cold so was not at optimum form. She plays the guitar acceptably, but I found her original lyrics the most compelling. Among the songs she sang that I particularly liked were "Leaving the North", "Mother's Song: His Arms Can Be Round Me Still" (written about her mother's having a coat her late father wore all the time retailored to fit her as a way of dealing with her grief) and "Matisse's Violin". She cited Mickey Newberry as an inspiration.

GB played this show standing up the entire while, and I must say it makes a difference. He was far more lively, seemed that his voice was more powerful. And he seemed to be more 'into' the guitar than in Asheville.

Song List:

Here is the playlist:

  1. Down at the Mill
  2. Speaking in Tongues
  3. One Wrong Turn
  4. You Give Me Flowers
  5. Who Woulda Thunk It (seemed to me some considerable license was taken with the lyrics on this one as was somewhat different from version on my CD)
  6. Mose Allison Played Here (LOVE this one!)
  7. Fooled Me Once
  8. Hacklebarney Tune (another favorite...'bout his Grandpa)
  9. Some Dusty Woods (Robert Johnson inspired)
  10. It's Enough, Goddammit
  11. Wild Like a Sonny Boy
  12. Brand New Dodge
  13. Just By Myself
  14. Poor Back Slider
  15. Two Little Feet
  16. (Encore #1) Where is Maria? (Tried to tell him I was right there but got smart)
  17. (Encore #2) You Got to Move and
  18. Further In

>Again, Bo was masterful in accompanying him. Actually used a new guitar he had bought in Greenville that day...I know NADA about such things, but it was a dull asbestos color that looked like the face of it was crafted out of slate. Sorry music-o-philes! > >They both came out into the bar after the show and signed a multitude of autographs, AND this time there were CDs to buy including some I did not have so I got them forthwith. > >I guess that's about it, folks. Sorry about the length, but I asked Shirley to edit this before sending out since I trust her judgment, and she was certainly right about reactions to Himself!! I found both men and women responding to him and talked to quite a few folks who, like moi, had never seen him in person and, indeed, some who had heard only cuts from 'Further In', who were very affected by his songs, not to mention his presence. The question I found difficult to respond to and so begged ignorance is just how one would categorize his style...folk, blues, rockabilly, etc. I guess I would say it's 'reallife' . > >Let me know about the preview/review articles! > >Sharon aka TSF > >P.S. Okay, okay, yes, I thought the man positively radiated an aura of sensuality, BUT the aura I found the most compelling (and maybe it's because of my advanced years) was one of comfort and concern....that is not kept under a bell jar-like shell as is the case of so many other artists. He may indeed be weary, but not of the soul.