I knew that smile.‚ It swept across lead singer Ed Anderson’s face like the wake from a stone cast in a pond, and lasted only a few seconds, but I still knew that smile.‚ The last time such a smile graced my face, I was walking down the first fairway at Pebble Beach with my dad.‚ Despite the differences in location and reason, I still knew that smile.‚ Now I don’t know the specifics behind that bona fide grin, and I’m only too content to keep it that way.‚ I’ll leave that bit of information with Ed and his inner dialog.
The good natured boys of Backyard Tire Fire put on a damn good session a few weeks ago.‚ They stopped by Shirk’s Studio on a day where the first tinges of fall were just beginning to show.‚ The blue, cloud streaked sky held that familiar damp mugginess as the few trees’ leaves hung tiredly, almost asking to fall.‚ “Front Porch Rock,” as their review in the newspaper that day said, definitely seemed to fit perfectly with the weather.‚ Upstairs, armed only with a fresh pot of coffee and their instruments, the guys got started. Their new album, The Places We Lived, was proudly in tow and they ripped through a quick set.
At first they seemed slightly apprehensive after we mentioned the standard (but by no means enforced) 4 or 5 song session.‚ However, once they were set up, caffeinated, and tuned in, time didn’t seem to be an issue.‚ Conversation peppered between songs varied as widely as Shirk’s Wurlitzer and my amateur videography.‚ Despite my shortcomings, I found some absolutely stunning moments in their music including the sudden switch to 3/4 during the chorus of “The Places We Lived” and the amazing rhythm change in “Shoulda Shut It.”
Later that night at The Metro, two HearYa Session Alums, Ha Ha Tonka and Joe Pug, graced the stage before Backyard Tire Fire’s headlining set.‚ This marks the first all HearYa Session show according to our historian (me, remembering back).‚ Joe’s acoustic set was flawless, and Ha Ha rocked out, even playing a few new songs (looking forward to that new album).‚ BTF eventually came out and played for nearly 2 hours, enjoying their time on the historic stage. The crowd certainly didn’t mind – many knew nearly all the words.‚ They played The Places We Lived in entirety, and even added an amazing brand new track “Indie Hipster Taste Maker Wannabe,” who’s opening line starts “He wears glasses like Elvis Costello…”
That last line made me smile a little bit.‚ It certainly wasn’t like the one at Pebble Beach, nor was it like the one on Ed’s face earlier that day; but it was a smile nonetheless.‚ Yes, I knew that smile.‚ But it was quickly stamped out by a sip of my overpriced beer, and I moved on to enjoy the rest of the song.‚ And although I was missing my contacts and couldn’t really see the stage that night, I’m sure at some point, Ed cracked a smile only to be squashed out by new lyrics or a sip of his beer.‚ However, mine at Pebble Beach, and his in Shirk’s Studio could not be squished out; oh yes, I knew that smile.
But then again, who cares? It’s just good music.