August 1st, 2011
Simply put, the next CD you need to buy is Alone in This Together from Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs (released by Local 638). To quote from another, “Star Anna is an American original. I am a huge fan of her music and especially her voice. She sings from a place of beauty that takes me to a higher place. Her CDs rarely leave my player.” Mike McCready of Pearl Jam said that, and I agree 100%, even to the point of getting Star to sign my copy of the CD which is something I haven’t asked of a musician since I met a couple of the guys in Iron Maiden way back in 1986.
Back in February at the Hootenanny for Haiti, McCready sat next to guitarist Justin Davis and asked a simple question, “So when are you guys going to release another CD?” Justin could only answer that he wasn’t sure since they needed to save money for studio time and such, and the subject was dropped as the Hootenanny continued. But that’s when Mike showed he believes that bit he’d said about Star because not long after Justin got a got call from Mike and Mike simply said, “OK, let’s do this,” and thereby offered to finance the recording
And they did it.
Mike even lent his guitar to a few songs, one of which is the excellent title track (my favorite on the album). As good as Mike is though, I can’t help but feel his solo on “Wolves in Disguise” to be a bit much. Or perhaps that’s not the best way to put it. It’s a great solo for sure, and I love the fact that Mike is helping these guys, money where his mouth is for sure, but the chemistry in the band is special. It’s one of those undefinable things that anyone who has ever put a group together will understand. So often the best players aren’t really the perfect ones for the band. So I’m sitting here this afternoon with a Blue Moon in hand listening to “Wolves in Disguise” and the solo, and yes, it’s an excellent solo, certainly better than I could ever do, and I crank it and it rips, but I find myself wishing for the live performace where the band comes together in their own way as only they can and Justin lays in one of his tasteful solos that is channeled from somewhere deep within the song.
Other stand out tracks on the CD are “For When I Go”, “High Water”, “Just Leave Me There” … It’s the voice of course. “If you really cared, you’d just leave me there.” Yeah, buy the CD. Your heart will thank you.
You can catch them live at the shows listed below. The obvious choice is Pearl Jam’s Destination Weekend, but budgets being what they are, the Seattle Subsonic travel bus probably won’t be making the trip. Hmmm, perhaps I should contact the Destination Weekend folks and see about the need for an official chronicler of events.
Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs upcoming gigs:
Saturday, Aug 27 – Live on KEXP, 8:00 PM
Saturday, Aug 27 – The Triple Door, Seattle, WA
SEPTEMBER 3rd & 4th
PEARL JAM 20 – DESTINATION WEEKEND
Alpine Valley Music Theatre, E. Troy, WI