The only negative thing I can say about Joe Myers' new release is that you might get splinters from it.
The guitarist has gone all out with the packaging of Sonoran Snake Lady, creating a roughly hewn wooden box for his second CD to live in. And before you begin screaming about unnecessary tree death, be aware that the material for each of the 1,000 CDs comes from scrap wood that would otherwise go to waste. But that's not all. There are 15 cards--printed on varying textures of bond--that contain lyrics, recording details and pictures of Joe.
The whole package is really closer to an art project than anything else.
"We kind of went excessive," admits Myers. "But we wanted to have an album-feel to the project. We wanted something people could open up and look at. We assemble the thing ourselves, we get the boxes and put the cards in and put on the artwork."
Myers, in case you didn't know, is a longtime Valley fave, an acoustic guitarist of talent and renown. His fluid, hypnotic playing is what Snake Lady is all about; 13 tracks of original tunes with crystal-clear production. Myers' music works best when he establishes a soft, weaving groove. He succeeds in a big way with this offering.
"It's weird, because I'm trying to showcase the solo thing, but I want to cover a lot of styles and not be pigeonholed into the singer/songwriter genre, or just as the guitar guy who wants to play lead all night," he says. "I'm trying to fuse those things together. I'm trying to have a little bit more of an energy level than a solo, Windham Hill-type of thing, but a little less than what a band would do."
Myers hopes to have the release available at Zia, Eastside, Rockaway and Tower stores soon, but you can pick up one, get some free food and see him perform in the flesh at his CD-release party Thursday at Hollywood Alley. Festivities begin at 8 p.m.; call 820-7117 for more info.
By the way, if you're wondering how he can possibly turn a profit on such an elaborate package, wonder no more. "That's good that it looks expensive," Myers says. "Part of having a good product is learning how to work with a limited budget--our budget was just minuscule on this--but if you know all your resources, and you get creative, you can do all right."
@body:I got a postcard from everyone's favorite singing family, the Piersons. If you read this column religiously--and of course you do!--you'll remember that the men went to great, big New York City to play at the New Music Seminar. According to the card, the "show was great," they've met "all kinds of people," and "the air everywhere smells like piss." No, fellas, that's just the sweet smell of success.
Go See: If you're broke and want something to do that's low-budget, may I suggest checking out the Jay Busch Orchestra on Saturday at Centerpoint (that's at Sixth and Mill in Tempe; showtime is 7:30 p.m.). Jay and the boys will be offering jazz, R&B, big band and just plain pop, and vocalist Diana Lee will be on hand. To sing.
The lovely Sarah McLachlan will be at Tower Records at 40th Street and Thomas from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Thursday, presumably singing.
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This really has nothing to do with music (little in this column usually does), but the 1994 Bisbee Poetry Festival is going down August 5 through 7 in, that's right, Bisbee. There'll be open readings, writing workshops and a "near-feral" poetry performance contest. In the past, the festival has hosted names like Allen Ginsberg, Robert Creeley and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Some of this year's guests include Kim Addonizio, Brian Flatgard and Becky Byrkit. Call 602-432-5063 for info.
The fellas in Gang Starr have kept plenty busy in the last few years. D.J. Premier and Guru have worked with Spike Lee, Brand New Heavies, Branford Marsalis and the Marxmen, and the duo's latest release, Hard to Earn, is prime, gritty, urban hip-hop that's getting raves everywhere. Starr'll be at the Roxy on August 11, with Jeru the Damaja; call 912-9566 for info.
Adios: You know him, I know him, we all love him. I'm talking about New Times' own Darrin Hostetler. D.H. is bailing out on the journalism thing and, incredibly foolishly, enrolling in law school at prestigious Stanford University. I guess he wants to help the poor, or maybe just make partner somewhere and then kick back, billing rich clients thousands while he stands in front of a huge window in a corner office on the 68th floor somewhere, smoking an expensive cigar and laughing at all the little people he left in the dust so many years ago.
That's all speculation, but I can tell you this: Darrin is a great guy, a fine writer and loads of fun to drink with. Luck.