Friday, April 18, 2008

Danny Federici & Chris Gaffney, 1950-2008


An eerie symmetry connects the untimely deaths of Chris Gaffney and Danny Federici.

Both roots-oriented American rock musicians were 58. Both died on April 17 from forms of cancer. Both were accomplished accordionists. Both were "musicians' musicians"- respected artists without huge name recognition among the general public.

Federici is best known for his association with Bruce Springsteen. Kevin Gordon was one of a handful of additional musicians with whom Federici worked. He added organ to Cadillac Jack's #1 Son, a very fine Garry Tallent production. It suggests that Gordon merits a place alongside John Hiatt and James McMurtry among today's elite realist songwriters. Besides, any song with a Back In Black reference is automatically cool.

"Six Nights a Week," co-written with Dave Alvin, is an apt epitaph for Gaffey. The unblinking song about a working musician's life, co-written with Dave Alvin, is from the excellent Mi Vida Loca. As with Federici, Gaffney spent much of his life on the road. Instead of arenas, however, Gaffney hit bars and roadhouses. I believe he and the Hacienda Brothers played Kansas City's Knuckleheads at least a couple times in the past year or two.

I feel creepier and weirder than usual. A couple of the bands being touted by the cool kids- The Teenagers and M83- are really resonating with me. I'll never apologize for continuing to adore pure pop music, but it doesn't feel quite right to be down with the overt sexual nature of this material, particularly the Teenager's "Homecoming." It's exceptionally greasy kid stuff.

Kansas City Click: Christian McBride, Benny Green and Greg Hutchinson pay tribute to Ray Brown tonight at the Gem.

Yung Joc, Dolla, Lil Will, Trap Starz Clik and Cash Image are on Saturday's bill at Memorial Hall. (Incidentally, is "My Dougie" or Mariah's "Touch My Body" the most irritating hit of 2008?)

French acts Les Marteaux Pikettes and Les Fossoyeurs join their pal Joey Skidmore at Fred. P. Ott's on Sunday.


bgo said...

When my tears dry I will post here about

Danny & Chris

I have an earful

Happy In Bag said...

I suspect you knew Gaffney, BGO.

bgo said...

I didn't know Chris but me and Dave Gonzalez go way, way back.

After his recent health problems, for this to happen must have broken his heart.