Disclosure up front: New Age music is not my wading pool of pee. If I knew anyone who liked the stuff, I'd probably have gotten them to write about DIM. But I don't. So with my New Age street cred shot, I'd imagine that There Is a River is what New Age music circa 2001 sounds like: not much different than it did 20 years ago. Bad Pat Metheny impersonations abound, albeit with a beat. There's lots of chimes, which I suppose are meant to enchant, or at least relax the listener, but believe you me, I'd take Lee press-ons on a blackboard any day.
And there's one song that's centered on a completely soulless Celtic fiddle exercise, which is ostensibly based on Kearney's revelation at seeing Riverdance live, in person. At least he's got the good sense to name his Béla Fleck rip-off (actually, one of the highlights) "Bela Donna." It really is rather good, with a pair of Stevie Wonder harmonica breaks and effortless jazz piano serving as bookends for the Fleckian banjo hook. And its use of symphonic flourishes as musical punctuation is inspired, as well.
Oddly, the other highlight is "Urban Turban," which combines breathy human beat-boxing with a synthy groove and sitar strain that could pass for an early ballad by The Time, sans the personality of Morris Day, which, come to think of it, was The Time.
Hey, the guy can thump on the keys--I've seen him do it, live, in person. I've been a fan of his other bands. But Dreams In Motion isn't a band at all. It's a project. And I've always hated projects.
Brenden Kearney celebrates the release of Dreams In Motion's There Is a River at 8 p.m. on Thursday, December 13 at the Living Community Center, 330 E. Seventh St. He will be joined by bassist Steve Grams, guitarist Richie Cavanaugh and drummer Kyle Bronsdon. Admission is $5. I'm just guessing, but I'd imagine bologna and American cheese sandwiches on Wonder bread will be available for about a buck-fifty. Extra mayo on each one.
ON PARADE: Downtown Holidays on Parade is giving us all an excellent reason to venture down to Congress Street this weekend, as it's organized a bunch of absolutely free musical events in a multitude of venues on the thoroughfare, and most area restaurants and businesses will stay open late to accommodate your every need.
The bulk of activity of The Promenade of Lights will run from 6 to 9 p.m. (with a few noted exceptions) on Saturday, December 15. Musical highlights include: dust 'n' twang excellante from Teddy Morgan, with a special late show from blues hussy (and I mean that in the best way) Candye Kane (playing after Teddy, from 9 p.m. to midnight), at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. (798-3333); an Evening of Holiday Kitsch, with the lovely Bebe singing your favorite torch and holiday songs, at Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St. (622-8848); Looseleaf's patented brand of improvadelic grooves at Sharks, 256 E. Congress St. (791-9869); free salsa lessons and dancing at the always-hopping-on-a-Saturday-night Irene's, 254 E. Congress St. (206-9385); the streetcorner savvy of Desert Doo Wop, plus jugglers and magicians, at Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St. (622-3535); soul-soothing piano from George Rosenberg at The Red Room at Grill, 100 E. Congress St.(623-7621); the annual Holiday Performance Extravaganza as only the freaks (and I mean that in the best way) of Tucson Puppet Works, 111 E. Congress St. (770-1533), can perform it; Bolo Tie Affair at the Holidays on Parade Art Square, just behind Barrio Grill; and Cosmic Touch at The Land of the Pharoahs. Consider it all downtown Tucson's holiday gift to you. Cheap bastard.
CROSS TO BEAR: Not much info on this at press time, but I wanted to pass along what I know: Seventeen local bands and songwriters have donated songs for The Simplicity of Diversity (it's got a nice ring to it, no?), a compilation CD whose proceeds will benefit the Southern Arizona chapter of the American Red Cross. A CD release party for the disc, with a stellar lineup featuring Warp 3, Annie Hawkins, Truck and Rich Hopkins & The Luminarios will take place at 8 p.m. on Thursday, December 13 at Backstage, 6350 E. Tanque Verde Road. Admission is free, but a $2 donation is requested. Copies of The Simplicity of Diversity will be on sale for $12. For more info call 733-6262.
THANKSGIVING, A FEW WEEKS LATE: And finally, a quick round of thank-yous to all who helped out with this year's Great Cover-Up a couple weeks back. It was a far greater success than we had anticipated. Amazingly, we bested last year's contribution to the Brewster Center--not quite $3,000--by over 50 percent this year--exactly $4501. The following people are largely responsible:
Guitars, Etc., Sticks N' Strings, Rainbow Music and Audio Video Innovations, all of whom donated the use of equipment; Curtis McCrary and Shana and Richard Osiran from Hotel Congress, for graciously providing a rent-free home for two nights; Steven Eye from Solar Culture and Brian and Jason from Deklab.com, both of whom contributed artwork and printing; Kini Wade from Wah Deh Productions; Sesaly Stamps (who has the coolest name ever) from the Brewster Center; Duncan Hudson (for recording the proceedings for posterity), Don Jennings, and Jason LeValley, from KXCI-FM; Chita from KLPX-FM (who kindly stepped in to host Thursday at the last minute); Jamie Manser from the Tucson Weekly; Fletcher Chmara; and Bebe and Serge (who hosted on Friday, god love 'em).
And thanks especially to all of the following bands, whose tireless efforts were, hopefully, rewarded with a good time (since not a one received even a single penny): The Beating, Chango Malo, Crosscutsaw, Fourkiller Flats, Greyhound Soul, Annie Hawkins, La Cerca, Love Mound, Mankind, Maryanne, Ozlo, Popular Virus and the Daisy Troupe, Sassy Star X, Shoebomb, Single File Noise, Spacefish, Topless Opry, Truck and Tucson Puppet Works. And of course, to all of you who attended. Y'all rock. See ya again next year.