What a pleasure to experience live an artist sharing his craft, expertise and joy with friends and strangers! That was the scene for a recent concert by Hans York (http://www.hansyork.com/) at Egan’s Ballard Jam House (http://www.ballardjamhouse.com/) in Seattle.
Hans is a German now living in Texas, with time spent in Brazil and much travelling along the way. Playing guitar in DAGDAD tuning, he showed that he has “done it all” musically through his career – been a bass player, member of various bands, producer, songwriter, etc. Rumor has it he is even venturing into musical theater! This diversity of experience was evident in the completeness of his sound – many layers of rhythms and harmonies working with his vocals, a terrific sense of dynamics and tension so that you soon forgot this was a solo act. Terrific ability, but no showing off purely for techniques sake. His focus is on connecting with the audience, not just impressing them.
His songs are true unifications of words and music, and the theme for the evening was, very loosely, the journey. Hans has what I can only call a very professional innocence – a totally competent musician who has obviously paid his dues, but chooses to celebrate it instead of whine about it. His sense of inclusion is quite infectious and the crowd found themselves very happy to come along for this portion of his journey.
While many of the audience (myself included) had seen Hans before, there was one fellow who had heard a song while walking by during the sound check and decided to stay for entire show!
The tunes all seemed to build on each other, highlighted with his finale, Lifeline, which pulled together his theme of life’s journey and how we all need to keep each other on the path and moving forward. For an encore he delivered a sambafied version of Gershwin’s There’s a Boat That’s Leavin’ Soon for New York , a perfect nightcap for the evening.
This is the power of live music, the old fashioned analog interface between performer and audience that makes it possible for art to help us all rise above the stale and mundane and reach toward our true potential as individuals and as a group. Kudos to Hans and Egan’s for making this night possible.