Friday, November 15, 2019
Gold Plated Door celebrates the music of Gram Parsons with a tribute concert of his first solo album, GP (1973). After breaking down boundaries between country and rock through his work with the Byrds (Sweetheart of the Rodeo, 1968) and the Flying Burrito Brothers (Gilded Palace of Sin,1969; Burrito Deluxe, 1970), Parsons brought his concept of “Cosmic American Music” to fruition on his first solo effort, blending a traditional fiddle and pedal-steel driven country sound with a poetic lyricism that could only come from the rock side of the equation. Its impact came from more than its musical components, though. As Bud Scoppa put it in his review for Rolling Stone, Gram’s central theme was “that of the innocent Southern boy tossed between the staunch traditions and strict moral code he was born to and the complex, ambiguous modern world.” The album stands its stylistic ground firmly, resisting the tug back towards sixties rock to which all other similar efforts of the day tended to lean (from the likes of Poco, the New Riders, The Grateful Dead, or the post-Parsons Byrds). Against that unified musical backdrop, the moral tension of the songs—as well as their rustic, southern imagery—comes to the fore.
In addition to culminating Parsons’ musical vision, GP was a breakthrough recording for the career of Emmylou Harris, who went on to champion Parsons’s music for decades. Although there are few pure “duets” on the LP, the blending of Parsons’ and Harris’s voices is at the core of the album’s appeal. Gold Plated Door was constructed around that sound ideal, featuring the singing of seacoast country/roots stalwarts Cecil Abels and Lindsay O’Neill. They are joined by a band comprised of some of the seacoast’s most active musicians: Dave Talmage on fiddle; John “Hal” Halstead on bass; Bruce Derr on pedal steel and guitar; Jim Rudolph on drums; and Dan Beller-McKenna on guitar, dobro, and pedal steel. To round out the show, a number of our friends from the seacoast music scene will join us for other iconic Parsons duets (some from his further work with Harris, some from his earlier collaborations with Chris Hillman and others).