As friends and fans know, I generally play music as a “one-man band.” You may also know that I’ve been getting my boys involved in music-making, and we’ve formed a little family band called “Henry and The Dynamite.” But this is not actually my first band experience . . . .
During my holiday break, I happened to unearth some old recordings (around 2001). Back then, I was working as a TV weatherman. In addition to writing and performing kids music as part of my station outreach, I also got together with a couple of co-workers (Eric Semmel and Abigail Lemley) to play some of our favorite covers for fun. After going through a couple of band names including “The Cronkites” and “Frantic City News,” we finally settled upon “Uncle Jesse’s Still” (a nod to the “Dukes of Hazzard” TV show from our collective childhoods).
We rehearsed a bunch of songs at Eric’s apartment, but I don’t think we ever wound up playing any public shows. New jobs and new opportunities got in the way, but hearing those old songs are like a time machine.
Here’s a nice example — a cover of Lucinda Williams’ “Can’t Let Go.” Williams’ version, while cool, did not have harmony vocals. When I would listen to it, I would always add a harmony line on the chorus. When we recorded it as a band, Abby took the lead vocal, and I added the harmony vocal (and a shoddy harmonica solo to replace the guitar solo on the original), while Eric held down the rhythm on bass guitar. The song was more recently covered by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. Give the “Uncle Jesse’s Still” version a listen and let us know what you think.