Check out more photos by Hal Samples in our slideshow.
Last night a steadily growing crowd kept the Granada staff on its hospitable feet as well-wishers, friends and music lovers in general (and yeah, a news crew or two) celebrated the release of Carter Albrecht's solo album, Jesus is alive...and Living in London.
The first sets of the night came from Albrecht's Sorta-mates Danny Balis and Trey Johnson, who offered up previously unheard solo material due out on albums later this year (Balis' is most likely an autumn record according to Chelsea Callahan of Manhandler Management, and Johnson's may be a summer release). Balis wowed the early crowd with his own brand of C&W that bridges throw-back classics and modern country. Johnson followed with his poppier melodies that made Sorta fans feel right at home.
Then came Carter's music. A rotating lineup -- backed by Shibboleth (aka, the hardest working band in Dallas showcases) and/or The Slack -- performed songs from the new album, to an audience that was respectful, attentive, celebratory and all-in-all happy to be there. A rarity for Dallas audiences, if I may. Don Cento and John Dufilho's kick-off of "Jesus Light" was a fine way to get the show rolling after a touching and witty speech by Carter's father, Ken Albrecht. Ward Williams (Sorta, Sparrows) rocked the tail of "Godot"...and yeah, the words of that chorus seemed especially poignant: "Come back, to me/I'm always, always waitin'."
Sarah Jaffe, Salim Nourallah, the Carmichael brothers, Jenn Nabb and others also lent Carter back to a crowd hungry to hear his music played on his instruments and by those who loved him.
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Look, all that up there? You really already know it, if you've kept up with our paper and/or blog, and I'm not delivering the usual Last Night review here. I just had the rare opportunity to observe something pretty damn emotionally fulfilling and have the forum to address it, so forgive me if I veer on sap:
Having attended the impromptu Barley House gathering the night following Carter's death about a year and a half ago, the absolute dumbest thing I could say is that the mood was vastly different last night, but here's the thing: it's important that it was different. It's wonderful that while there were tears last night, they were joyful, if bittersweet.
Awesome that through the hard work of many people, a talented guy and best friend and musical role model's work (and everyone else's work on that album) got released to the masses. That people who were affected by a horrific event found a way to produce something amazing -- something tangible that's a far better reminder of him than a shocking headline. And that on that first somber night, or last night -- or any of the tribute nights for Carter in between -- someone picked up an instrument, stepped up to a mike and performed.
Look, I just write stuff. I don't sing onstage anymore, but I am floored by all of these musicians who knew Carter so much better than I ever did, who climbed onstage and performed their own and his songs...and clearly have a strength that I, or most people, don't have. As much as last night celebrated an album's release, I'd like to think it also celebrated those friends and performers.