We walked through the doors of that damned tavern on Saturday night, past friendly doorman, past those lined up for drink and the geometric ‘click’ of billiard balls to Logan’s black plywood stage. A young man, reminiscent of Buffalo Springfield-era Neil Young played a steel guitar: his name, we discovered later, was Evan Cheadle, and we were soon enraptured by his song.
Cheadle mostly played songs from his most recent release, Make Your Way, on Saturday night and the results were every bit as honed and polished as the studio renderings. With influences ranging from early blues players like Blind Blake to other immortals as diverse as Townes Van Zandt, Dock Boggs and Clarence Ashley, Cheadle walked us through a forty-five minute set which paid homage to the ancient voices that he so effortlessly invokes, while remaining distinctively local. Cheadle is a young talent worth watching; be sure to take a listen to his new album here.
Clay George, along with his four piece band, was the next to take the stage. While George only plays a handful of shows a year around these parts, it is evident that he and his band rehearse incessantly as they brought a catalogue of songs, both old and unreleased, to an almost unbearable level of intensity on stage. George’s mastery of his polished hollow body Epiphone is a subtle one; a near perfect tone danced gracefully over the haunting cry of pedal steel and an air-tight rhythm section.
George’s songs were perfectly suited to the surrounding din. A former Logan’s bartender, George no doubt drew much inspiration from those who make that place their home, and set their hopes down at the foot of barstool. George’s songs, simple yet elegant, tell the buried history of our town as he stands in front of the haunted Cherry Bank Hotel, and walks past familiar Oceanside intersections. An intimate, alternate perspective on Victoria arises in George’s song, offering us a poignant counterpoint to the Garden City.
Those who missed the show at Logan’s on Saturday night will have another chance to catch Clay George when he plays the Copper Owl on April 24, along with David P. Smith.
Words and Photos: Nick Lyons