Way, way back in the day (circa 1983), there was a great band hailing out of Los Angeles called the Long Ryders. Back then, nobody had even heard the term "alt-country." So, when Sid Griffin and Stephen McCarthy started playing songs that sounded like the legendary Gram Parsons, people struggled for a label. And since the band had a (very) remote psychedelic influence, the Long Ryders were often associated with the Paisley Underground movement that included the likes of Dream Syndicate and Green on Red.
Although much more akin to the Flying Burrito Brothers and Buffalo Springfield, the Long Ryders enjoyed a modicum of success within the Paisley Underground scene--but not enough to sustain a career past 1987. Many consider the band's 1984 effort, Native Sons, to be an alt-country holy grail. Griffin relocated to England and besides, starting another band, The Coal Porters, he became something of a renowned writer. Griffin's bio of Gram Parsons and his more recent expose about Dylan and the Band's Basement Tapes period have both received well-deserved kudos.
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All of which brings me to tonight's show at AllGood Café: Not only do you get to hear Griffin perform with a full band, but the opening act is no other than Danny Balis. And lord be praised, Balis will even perform with a full band.
So basically, it's a godfather of alt-country and a local guy who worships at the same altar (Cash, Haggard and Parsons) that inspired the movement in the first place. Pretty cool, I'd say. And it's only $10.
Oh, and for a lucky two readers who email Pete right away with the world "Native Sons" in the subject line, a pair of tickets will be theirs for free, courtesy the fine folks at AllGood. Good luck!
Update: Contest is over. Congrats to our winners!