July 11, 2012

Singer Jordie Lane finds the soul of the Grievous Angel: Gram Parsons - Updated


I posted this story a long time ago, and have since updated it. 
After listening to a few Gram Parsons’ songs it was very easy for me to become a fan of his. 
Sadly this happened a long time after his untimely death.
Still, his legend lives on.
His vision of “Cosmic American Music”, his influence on many other performers, the tribute shows like “Return To Sin City”, Gandulf Henning’s documentary – “Fallen Angel”, a DVD for which I paid a small fortune for a bootleg copy on eBay many years ago, but no regrets, and now finally a stage show!

TO call Jordie Lane a fan of American alt-country legend Gram Parsons would be an understatement. The Melbourne singer songwriter recorded some of his last album, last year's Blood Thinner, in the California hotel room where Parsons, aged 26, died of an overdose 39 years ago. 

Now Lane is taking his devotion to Parsons's music a step further by playing him in a stage production, Grievous Angel: The Legend of Gram Parsons, that opens at Melbourne's Athenaeum Theatre next week.

Yesterday, Lane, one of Australia's most promising folk singers, donned a replica of one of the famous Nudie suits worn by Parsons as he rehearsed for the show alongside its creator, Canadian writer and musician Michael Bate.

The show tells the story of Parsons' short and tumultuous life and career, which included spells in bands such as The Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers before he recorded two solo albums, GP and Grievous Angel, the latter released after his death.

"I was frightened by the idea at first," said Lane, who is acting for the first time.

He also sings many of Parsons's best-known songs, some of them alongside Aussie performer Clare Reynolds, who plays the part of Emmylou Harris, Parsons's singing partner in the latter part of his career.

"There is so much in the music," Lane said. "It's not just country; there's soul and R&B in there as well. I can identify with the sensitivity and vulnerability in his voice . . . I really felt a connection with that."

Bate, who forms part of the backing band for the show, has enjoyed success with it in the US and Canada. 

He was the last man to conduct a recorded interview with Parsons in 1973, six months before the singer's death at the Joshua Tree Inn motel. The production draws in part from that interview.

Parsons's music was not commercially successful at the time but has been recognised since as a significant influence on many artists, from the Rolling Stones to alt country singers such as Lucinda Williams and Ryan Adams.

"He was a mass of contradictions," Bate said. "People handed him opportunities. He had it all . . . a trust fund, Harvard, he was good looking and talented and he threw it all away with both hands."

The show, which Bate plans to take to Sydney and Brisbane next year, opens on July 20.

Emmylou Harris on Gram Parsons

Keith Richards on Gram Parsons
The Nudie Suit

The clip above features Emmylou Harris singing “Luxury Liner”, with The Hot Band: Albert Lee, Emory Gordy, John Ware, Glen D Hardin, Rodney Crowell, Hank Devito.(1977) 
Fortunately I have this concert on DVD!
My tribute to Gram Parsons on You Tube.

Many thanks to George for sending me this article.
Also, a special “Thank You” to Annie for buying me “Return To Sin City” many years ago, and making me a somewhat huge fan of Gram Parsons. 

This post is for you!
                                          Jordie Lane and Michael Bate

Gram Parsons and The Flying Burrito Brothers appeared at the Altamont Speedway Concert along with the Rolling Stones and many others.
 More info here.

Update #1:
I really enjoyed the show and have no hesitation in recommending it!

 Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Gram Parsons at Nellcote.

One of the best clips of Gram Parsons available - at the moment (above).


  Gram Parsons and Keith Richards


Gandulf Hennig on making, "Gram Parsons: Fallen Angel".

  See also “In Search of Gram Parsons”.

 Related posts in no particular order:

The Rolling Stones To Release Two Heritage Concerts On DVD & Their Australian "On Fire" Tour

Ronnie Wood: His Art and The Rolling Stones
And Australian Tour Cancelled and now rescheduled. 

Keith Richards - His Life with the Rolling Stones and His Book