Eddi Reader, chanteuse and all-around-delightful lady, at your left.
My co-worker Gregg had announced she was going to play Joe's Pub, which is a stone's throw from the office, and he got us both tickets when I jumped up and down enough. He also went one step further and talked to her management and she, her accordion player Alan and her massively talented guitarist (behind her in the photo) and all around genius in his own right, Boo Hewerdine (formerly of The Bible), showed up in the Billboard cafe about 20 minutes late to play four or five songs. (The cafe is actually an enlarged cafeteria area on one of our floors, and the magazine fills it here and there it with all manner of up-and-comers, indie musicians and sometimes those on a comeback. Memorably we've had Hanson, Melissa Manchester, Neil Sedaka (didn't perform) and
Cat Stevens Yusef Islam (who brought a video and didn't perform either). Unmemorably there have been many, many others. So, good work on Gregg's part.
Eddi was completely down to earth and delightful; when the guys wondered about coffee she ran right over to the cafeteria's coffee machine and tried to get some, but couldn't work it, so I lent a hand and introduced myself. I've been listening to her work since the mid-1990s; she's got a clear, strong voice and plays variations on folk-pop and straight up pop and straight up traditional. Not long ago she did a whole album based on Robert Burns' lyrics and songs; it should be noted she is Scottish, so this makes sense. (And, back in the late 1980s, she fronted a band called Fairground Attraction which made a bit of a splash with a song called "Perfect.") Anyway, I helped with the coffee and then I heard her mention Boo's name, and with the faceful of hair he was sporting I just did a double take. It was like getting ice cream with fudge when all you'd expected was ice cream. Boo and she have worked together a lot, so it wasn't a major surprise — but I love a lot of their shared and singular music. I kind of did a double take and said something stupid about how "you two performed the same song!" (Boo wrote it, and yes, they each recorded it separately, it's a song called "Please Don't Ask Me to Dance.") Eddi immediately said she'd play it, and that was the first one they did.
As I say, a delight.
The corollary to my interest in Eddi's music is this: Yes, she's fantastic and yes, I'd be a fan of her regardless, but it turns out she's also the sister of the singer in another one of my favorite bands, The Trash Can Sinatras. And appears to be involved with one of the members of that there band, and people who know my history with the TCS will nod their heads with me as we appreciate the delicious twists of fate that make it The Same Guy I once went bananas over.
These things were not going to be mentioned, however. They are, however, interesting.
So, Gregg had this idea. After the Joe's Pub show, they shuffled everyone else out for another band's performance, and he desperately wanted to go out drinking with Eddi. But not just that, he was hoping she'd replay a visit she blogged about from another New York trip, where she ended up singing Edith Piaf songs in a West Village bar called Monster. Gregg, Piaf fan and Streisand pursuer that he is, was pretty much twitching with this idea. He'd already mentioned the drinking part of the evening, and she was definitely into that, as was Boo. So we hung around and Alan came out with some friends, then went to a place nearby called Scratchy's (or something like that). Eventually we ended up in the dressing room with Eddi, some friends and her 87 year old aunt, who was cradling about five or six CDs. In the end, the four of us (Boo, Eddi, me and Gregg) all took their gear uptown to the garment district hotel where they were staying, then shuttled right back down to find Alan. It wasn't easy, but we located Scratchy's. And proceeded to commence with the drinking and the talking and the listening to the 80s music in the background. I even learned about something called Morris dancing, which is apparently big, but possibly very embarrassing, in England. The things you don't know.
Then suddenly it was 3:30 and they were putting up the chairs and my head was swimming from being tired, not so much from drinking. I got a cab back to Queens with one of Alan's fellow Irish friends and fell into bed. Woke up sometime late in the morning. And worked from home.
Not a bad deal.