Music performances in a basement have been in the news quite a bit lately, thanks to the comprehensive release of Dylan’s Basement Tapes. On December 9, 2014, in a basement in Beech Grove, a small gathering witnessed what is sure to become a legendary show in Indianapolis’ music history. Completely free of mics and amps, the artists came face to face with the audience. The evening was filled with pure acoustic music.
An abridged version of the Vulgar Boatmen, comprised of Dale Lawrence, Janas Hoyt and Matt Speake opened the show with a brilliant set of new songs, Vulgar Boatmen classics and the Gizmos’ The Midwest Can Be Alright.
Walter Salas-Humara was next up. His stellar set was sprinkled with cuts from his new album, Curve and Shake, tunes from songwriting workshops and Silos’ classics. Jonathan Rundman joined Walter providing splendid back up on harmonium, mandola, piano, accordion and vocals. Walter invited Janas Hoyt to sing with him on a couple of songs.
It had been maybe ten years since Janas had performed with Walter. In fact, the entire evening was a reunion of sorts. Dale had not seen Walter since his last performance at Radio Radio. Dale and Walter go way back to the original incarnation of the Vulgar Boatmen of the early 1980’s. And after comparing notes, Jonathan realized that, in the past, he had opened for Janas’ band, the Mary Janes.
Here is a “bootleg recording” from this magical night of Walter performing Commodore Peter, a song from The Silos’ “Bird Album” (on RCA) about a Caribbean water taxi pilot. Joining Walter is Jonathan Rundman and Janas Hoyt.
This special concert was made possible by Jimmy Peoni producing the show and Beth and Scott Hall for hosting the show in their basement, known as Byrdland. Big and Huge thanks to these folks that keep music alive and accessible.
My wife Julie and I have loved Dale Lawrence’s and Walter’s music for a long long time. In fact Julie and I photographed the Vulgar Boatmen on a downtown Indianapolis sidewalk way back in 1993. This past year we supported Walter via Kickstarter in making his new album, Curve and Shake. We know the Vulgar Boatmen and The Silos, along with Walter’s solo work deserves a significant place in music history. Thanks to Dale, Janas, Matt, Walter and Jonathan for an evening we will never forget.
Epilogue – After the show Julie asked if I could get a photo with Dale and Walter. One photo wasn’t enough for Walter, so he told Julie to keep shooting while we clowned around for a bit and that the photos could be made into a flip album. Well, here’s the flip album, digitally, anyhow!