I was sitting in
the back, and I kept thinking of Grizzly Adams.
You remember the
wilderness show from the 70’s, with the hairy man and the bear...well,
when listening to Carla Kihlstead and Fei Wu collaborate, a nature
scene kept running through my mind. With the delicate touches of
Carla’s violin and Fei’s koto, first I heard the haunting screech of a
lone hawk coasting ever-so-lightly over a mountain peak.
That sound would
slowly build to the soundtrack of a big brown bear lumbering through
notice, the energy of “Watch out! There’s a snake!”
The snake and the
bear fight as Fei and Carla literally pound their hands across the
strings, and then, in a flash, the snake dies.
And we’re back…to
the delicate touches of a clear icy sparkling stream.
Then…the Cows come
to the stage.
To keep with the
nature theme, a serious tornado just slammed into this Dan Haggerty
Is everyone still
standing?!?!? Is everyone o.k….?
Good for Cows is a
Devin Hoss upright bass and a Ches Smith small trap kit. That’s it.
And that’s plenty.
Just when you get
into the beat of a hip-hopish groove, you’re completely side-swiped by
an exploding jazz vibe that somehow fits just perfectly. Then, you
will go quickly into a bass solo….followed by distorted sounds from
drum kit trickery….followed by a slow mellow funk groove.
I’ve seen a lot of
music descriptions that explain the sound as all-things to all-people
such as “neo-soul funk country jazz folk rock international hip-hop
classical feel…” which usually is a bunch of gibberish just trying to
satisfy all musical tastes, and sell a few more c.d.’s...but this is
one band who absolutely makes that happen.
John Schott was in the audience. After seeing the duo on several
occasions, when the Cows finally came off the stage to roaring
applause, Schott simply shook his head and said, “I’ve almost
got your guys figured out…”.
The Cows’ sound is
so full it makes you wonder where the other musicians are hiding?
The sound has more
layers than a Moon Pie Deluxe.
In fact, where are
the two players who are here? They’re not here…not with us anyway…
They’ve moved on.
They’re in the next
At this point we
can only ride along and try to hold on.
They’re so much
further down the highway on their own road trip. They’re cruising in
a souped-up El Camino car-truck with the back full of Kool-Aid and ham
We’re following way behind…trying to keep up in a busted Ford Escort
with a Styrofoam cooler full of Safeway Select.