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Nov 23rd
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Paying Homage

blog_BiBBrokedown in Bakersfield gets up close and personal with classic country fans

We’ve been taught to save the best for last—and in the case of Brokedown in Bakersfield, the old adage could not be more true. The band finished its set to a standing room only crowd at Moe’s Alley on Nov. 17 with “Luxury Liner,” a fast-tempo country shuffle popularized by Emmylou Harris in 1977. Then, as lead guitarist Scott Law’s Telecaster began to cool and the band stepped offstage, the audience boomed like the recoil of a shotgun.

“The audience is what makes it happen,” says vocalist Nicki Bluhm. “If they’re not here, the magic doesn’t happen.”

With the encore, the six-piece took the stage once again—but this time, the band members hefted their instruments, then proceeded to walk through the audience, and into a side room. The crowd followed, unsure of what was happening. Sans stage, the band delivered a stirring and sad rendition of Gram Parsons’ “In My Hour of Darkness.”

The impromptu performance alchemized the evening from exuberant to bittersweet, with audience members’ voices blending and amplifying the band’s.

“It’s so fun to do that, to get the whole crowd to quiet down so no one’s talking—everyone’s dead silent,” says co-vocalist and rhythm guitarist Tim Bluhm. “All the attention is on the musicians. It’s really a special time.”

blog_BiB2But really, Nicki says, the focus is on the music. “You’ll see people crying, you see people hugging. It’s just a really human moment where everybody comes together, appreciating a song that has been on the earth for 30 years.”

Think of Brokedown in Bakersfield as a Million Dollar Quartet on a budget: All of its members are from established California bands that have come together to celebrate the classic California country sound, pre-“She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy.”

“We’re not trying to sell the songs; we’re just trying to honor them,” says Tim.


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Saturday, early morning, the sun enters and radiates the light of Sagittarius. Three hours later, the Sagittarius new moon (0.07 degrees) occurs. “Let food be sought,” is the personality-building keynote. “Food” means experiences; all kinds, levels and types. It also means real food. Sag’s secret is their love of food. Many, if not musicians, are chefs. Some are both. The energies shift from Scorpio’s deep and transformative waters to the “hills and plains of Sagittarius.” Sag is the rider on a white horse, eyes focused on the mountain peaks of Capricorn (Initiation) ahead. Like Scorpio, Sagittarius is also the “disciple.” Adventure, luck, optimism, joy and the beginnings of gratitude are the hallmarks of Sagittarius. Sag is also one of the signs of silence. The battle lines were drawn in Libra and we were asked to choose where we stood. The Nine Tests were given in Scorpio and we emerged “warriors triumphant.” Now in Sag, we are to be the One-Pointed Disciple, riding over the plains on a white horse, bow and arrows in hand, eyes focused on the Path of Return ahead. Sagittarians are one-pointed (symbol of the arrow). Sag asks, “What is my life’s purpose?” This is their quest, from valleys, plains, meadows and hills, eyes aimed always at the mountaintop. Sag emerges from Scorpio’s deep waters, conflict and tests into the open air. Sag’s quest is humanity’s quest. Sag’s quest, however, is always accompanied by music and good food.

 

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