TNB Night Owl – Acoustic Feelin’-Good Friday

Tatiana Eva-Marie, Avalon Jazz Band. Image captured by the News Blender.

When I woke up this morning, my first thought was, “What am I going to do for the next Night Owl?” (It’s an evergreen question which keeps the gears in my mind turning in perpetuity). As I pondered that deep thought, I heard one of the voices in my head say, “Aren’t we overdue for some music?”, and another chimed in, “Yes. Yes, we are.” To which I replied, “Okay, fine, but I’m choosing the tunes this time, not you guys”. (The solitude of isolation may be affecting me, but at least the conversations are still civil, if not stimulating). Most of these artists are not widely known, although you may recognize at least one from a time when they were charting. Others have yet to achieve great fame. They are all incredibly talented. And now, without further ado, “Awaaay we go!” (to quote Jackie Gleason).

Let’s start with a humorous take on one of Dolly Parton’s early hits. Vintage Blue, also known as husband and wife duo Jenny and Rob Payne from Christchurch, New Zealand, normally perform covers of popular music with their own mellow jazz fusion style. As far as I know, this is the only country music track that they’ve recorded. The lyrics are on YouTube (below the video) if you feel like singing along with the Jolene Lockdown Parody (2:51):

She sounds very much like Dolly in this cover, but her abilities range far beyond country and western music. Having listened to several other tracks (and not a bad one in the bunch) I was most impressed by the best version I’ve ever heard of Billie Jean (4:24):


Athens Creek is a duo from Michigan. Taylor Walls-Haring and Nate Jones are known for their own unique and pleasing covers of popular music from the past and present. Here they are joined by guest Oscar Sosa, playing lead guitar. House of The Rising Sun/Amazing Grace (7:55):

The Avalon Jazz Band, based in New York City, play ‘Gypsy Jazz’, a style that was popular in Paris in the thirties and forties. Their vocalist, Tatiana Eva-Marie, was born in Switzerland and lived in Paris before moving to New York about ten years ago. This is almost as good as time travel – Bésame Mucho (Spanish for ‘kiss me a lot’, but this performance was sung in French) (4:38):

Allison Young, from Tennessee, sings and plays guitar, ukulele, and piano (though not simultaneously). Listen to her cover of I Fall To Pieces (2:37):

Shirley Jones would be ashamed of me if I didn’t also offer you Allison’s beautiful rendition of Till There Was You (2:53):

Taimane hails from Hawaii, and she’s a superstar on the ukulele as well as an entertaining, confident performer on stage. You might notice that her ukulele is plugged in, as the uke just isn’t loud enough to be heard very well in certain settings. Please pardon this amplification faux pas in an otherwise all-acoustic lineup. Here’s Taimane’s medley of Tico Tico, Mission Impossible, and the James Bond themes (7:00):

Taimane also rocks an outstanding instrumental cover of Wicked Game (2:50):

Pomplamoose is California multi-instrumentalist husband and wife duo, Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn. The Vignes Rooftop Revival, from Los Angeles is another French-style Gypsy Jazz band. Together, they perform Django Rheinhardt’s Les Yeux Noirs (Dark Eyes) (2:59):

We started with a lockdown-inspired song, and we’ll finish with one. Curt Smith of Tears For Fears and his daughter, Diva, recorded this version of his old band’s 1982 hit a few weeks ago while sheltering at home in Los Angeles. Mad World (3:53):

Question of the night: In your opinion, which decade produced the greatest music? Or, if you prefer, what genre of music rules?

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About Richard Doud 602 Articles
Learning is a life-long endeavor. Never stop learning. No one is right all the time. No one is wrong all the time. No exceptions to these rules.