By Tom Speed
It's Fall now, and that means football, especially here in the South where college football is more religion than sporting event. Tens of thousands of people — nearly a hundred thousand in most places — flock to "church" in places like Knoxville and Baton Rouge and Athens, and yes, even Oxford, where the population quadruples on football Saturdays to make Vaught-Hemingway Stadium the second-largest city in the state of Mississippi.
Alas, the Rebels are a "young team" in another "rebuilding" year (hey, we are playing 15 true freshmen), and so while my loyalty doesn't fade in years like this, my attention does wander. It's wandering mostly to my New Orleans Saints, who as I write this, are sitting pretty at 6-2 and in possession of first place in the NFC South. As a lifelong Saints fan, I've been there for the ups and downs (mostly downs) for decades, but I have a good feeling about this bunch. Pro football is more and more about free agency these days, and I'm quite pleased with the Saints off-season acquisitions.
In other news, free agency seems to be spreading in the music world too. The biggest shuffling was in the lead guitarist spot for Widespread Panic, where George McConnell has stepped aside after starting on lead for the past four years to be replaced by the veteran journeyman, Jimmy Herring. Then there's the ever-revolving-door situation with The Black Crowes, Particle is back to one guitar, The Mars Volta have shed two drummers in almost as many months, and now Junior Ruppel has left the Jackmormons. For whatever reason, it seems all of my favorite teams and bands are in a rebuilding year.
Jimmy Herring by Aaron Williams
All of this, and perhaps the combination of all-day football and lots of bourbon, has caused me to ponder the possibility of what free agency will look like in the rock & roll world. Most bands are on their Fall Tours now, but the Fall Tour also wraps up the year for most. So we'll have a few weeks to execute some trades and other maneuvers before the 2007 season kicks off with Spring Tours and the Spring Festivals (which to me, officially starts with the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in April).
Here are a few off-season trades that I propose:
Cameron Williams (Tishamingo) to Umphrey's McGee for Brendan Bayliss:
Buckethead by Tony Stack
Williams will supply some much-needed soul to Umphrey's while Bayliss will help market tickets to Tish's existent-but-waning backward-hat-wearing demographic.
moe. signs Buckethead:
Concert tickets will come with a Surgeon General's warning: consuming this concert may cause brain to implode.
Jason Isbell (Drive-By Truckers) to Gov't Mule for Danny Louis:
The Mule is thin at the songwriting position, while the Truckers are three-deep. Who knows what the acquisition of Louis by the Truckers will mean? But it might be good to have at least one guy sitting down.
Theresa Andersson signs with
Hot Buttered Rum:
...increasing the visual aesthetic quality of this band by exactly 100%.
Trey Anastasio signs with Phil Lesh:
Come on, these two need to be playing together full-time, for at least one year. Phil seems to be really challenged and having a great time when he has Trey as his foil (of course, when doesn't he?), and it'd do Trey some good to play some shows where his name is not at the top of the marquee.
Keller Williams signs with String Cheese Incident:
Trey & Phil at Vegoose by Michael Jurick
Just get it over with already you two. This is worse than Sam and Diane on Cheers. Or as my wife told me, "Tom, say Kate and Jack on Lost, the Cheers reference shows your age!"
North Mississippi Allstars pick up George McConnell off the waiver wire:
This lineup would definitely live up to its billing and would be a real winner for Les Paul fans everywhere.
Warren Haynes signs with Outformation:
Fearing that he is not playing in enough bands, Warren Haynes will sign with Outformation, who will begin playing post-show gigs after the Allman Brothers and Gov't Mule.
Sam Holt to
Grace Potter by Jake Krolick
The departure of Isbell leaves a void, and the Truckers benefit from a ...what's this? ...a guitar solo.
A Guitarist-To-Be-Named-Later to Les Claypool's Fancy Band:
The novelty of the sitar was fun and everything, but please.
Grace Potter to Galactic:
For those of us who liked a dollop of vocals with our funk, Potter will be a welcome addition to the lineup.
Ben Kaufman (Yonder Mountain String Band) to Railroad Earth:
Kaufman will provide some needed height to the RRE offense.
I also suspect that Tea Leaf Green and Perpetual Groove are in talks to trade certain parts of their name with each other, and that Robert Randolph may become the franchise player in an expansion team, but you get the idea. This could be fun. Rock & roll would just be so much better if we would just apply the cold calculation of professional sports to it.
JamBase | Worldwide
Go See Live Music!