Be There or Be Square

Ladies & Gentlemen
Aficionados of Fine Music and Satisfying Beer
Members of the Press

Step forward and prepare to be dazzled, stunned and stupefied as The Mighty Toy Cannon and the members of the acclaimed musical ensemble, Bourbon Jockey, regale you with feats of vocal virtuosity and strumming of stringed instruments in a manner most astonishing. Step back, there's no need to push, shove or jostle--there will be plenty of room for all of you without raising a ruckus.

Should you choose to partake of a Bourbon Jockey performance, you will be transported on a journey down lost highways and dusty byways of America where you will meet truck drivers, libertine women and deadbeat desperados in the throes of drunken sorrow. Accompanied by the joyous amalgam of melody, harmony and rhythm, you will be besotted by tales of heartbreak and redemption, hope and despair. The bass notes will rumble deep in your bowels whilst the high notes shall pierce the veil of heaven and wrap you as if by the gossamer wings of the very angels themselves.

FEAR NOT brave spectator! The burden of sadness and introspection thus launched in your heart and mind may be soothed by quaffing ales concocted through the alchemical magic of the artisans of Roots Organic Brewing Company of Southeast Portland, Oregon and poured with the steady hand of attentive servers dedicated to ministering to your needs and lubricating your parched throat with AMBROSIA.

How much would you expect to pay for an evening of entertainment that lifts the soul while edifying in such a potent fashion? What price the opportunity to hear stirring tales of sin and transgression without suffering the searing heat of BRIMSTONE upon your own reddened cheeks?

Would you not gladly drop a treasury note adorned with the visage of Andrew Jackson into a collection plate for such a privilege? Would you not swoon upon being informed that the only cost of this extravaganza is the humble sacrifice of a token contribution--that is to say that the entry fee is just one thin dime? Two nickels are enough to swing aside the turnstile and afford you the opportunity to partake in the dulcet tones of this renowned ensemble of chamber players steeped in the vernacular of American roots music.

Would you not be further stunned to learn that this meager fee --one-tenth of an American dollar!--were to be fully and unconditionally rebated to you immediately, such that the true cost of this once-in-a-lifetime event is NOT A SINGLE PENNY (as long as you fully commit in your heart within the next ten minutes)?

Yes, you have not misheard us, ladies and gentlemen. But let us repeat this message for the weak-minded and slow of hearing: For the price of a small portion of your leisure and sporting time, you can experience one of the most FASCINATING and CURIOUS musical experiences of the year—indeed of your entire lifetime. Many years hence, your great-grandchildren will gather around your deathbed imploring you to sacrifice your FINAL breath to tell them about the night you heard Mighty Toy Cannon and Bourbon Jockey perform at Roots Organic Brewing Company in the early weeks of the year of Two Aught Ten. Can you fathom the ignomy of admitting to your progeny that you stayed home that evening to watch television?

Don’t take our word for it, heed the insights of others who have bathed in the euphonious river of glorious sound produced by this remarkable conspiracy of musical genius:

I liked it. It was fun, I guess. The beer was real good. The band looked like they were having fun. I have to get up early tomorrow morning,” said one delighted spectator as he left the venue in the middle of Bourbon Jockey’s penultimate public performance last year.

They seem to be having a good time up there,” reported another audience member as she plugged her ears, presumably to forestall an overload of joyous goodwill.

Another dumbstruck listener said, “I don’t know what to say. I guess I'll fall back on something my daddy always used to say, ‘Judge not, lest ye be judged.’ I mean, who am I to define what’s good? Look, I could tell you that it wasn’t horrible, but that’s really all I feel comfortable saying right now. Why are you writing this down? I liked the beer and the servers were nice. The band did seem to be having fun, and it’s not like I had anything better to do.”

One long-time fan proffers this advice: “Try to get there early in the set because the singer seems to forget the lyrics the later it gets. Unless you like a lot of humming, you might want to arrive before they’re all drunk, though there’s a better choice of seats after the first fifteen minutes.

If you doubt the wisdom of your neighbors and common citizens, listen to what the experts have to say. Ethnomusicologist Humphrey Von Humphrey said this after listening to an acetate recording of Bourbon Jockey:

Their harmonies are wholly unique, not only within our traditional concepts of western music but, verily, to the entirety of world culture. Their choices of harmonic intervals – and their apparent ease in shifting those intervals at a microtonal level from moment-to-moment is astonishing. I can safely say that I’ve never heard anything quite like it. The jarring and unexpected microtonal dissonance carries into their instrumental work as well. I’m telling you that it is physically impossible to get that particular sound unless you intentionally fail to tune your instruments relative to each other. Of course, that would be crazy!

Another thing that intrigues me – perhaps 'baffles' is a better term-- is the band's artistic strategies with regard to shifting rhythmic patterns and its curious selection of tempo changes. As an ensemble, they display an uncanny knack for randomly speeding, then slowing the tempo– sometimes even within the traditional verse/chorus form. It’s simply remarkable that they all manage to end each song at approximately the same time—and here I’m talking about ending within at least two measures of each other. I’m reminded of the keening and wailing that accompanies the funeral rites of some tribal cultures, particularly the Oomaomao people who are, as a race, totally deaf.

In an unpublished review, a noted cultural critic declared, "It's as if T-Bone Walker and Hank Williams had a baby. And that baby was born with withered arms and something wrong with its soft palate and was raised by, gosh I don't know, Patsy Cline. And maybe it has a hugely swollen tongue or something. Oh, and the baby is drunk too. Forget the baby analogy ... it's more like if Howling Wolf and George Jones were arm wrestling while Fats Domino and Fats Waller argued over which one of the two was fatter. Never mind. There's just a lot going on during a Bourbon Jockey concert and these are grown men who should know better."

Important Details:

Bourbon Jockey
Thursday, January 7, 2009
--starting at 8:00 pm going until they tire--
Roots Organic Brewing Company
1530 SE 7th Avenue, Portland Oregon
No Admission Fee, Cover Charge or other Consideration

Free Membership in the Bourbon Dynasty
(the exclusive Fan Club of Bourbon Jockey)

Recommended Dress: Classy Dungarees/Tube Tops

Bourbon Jockey is:

Ross McKeen (aka The Mighty Toy Cannon): Singin’, guitar slingin’ and harmonica blowin'.
Alan Cole (aka The Perfesser): Six string fireworks and harmony yelpin'.
Matthew Jones (aka Matthew): Upright bass thumpin' and gravitas.


Unknown said...

I'm crushed to report I'll be out of town and unavailable to drink the organic Kool-Aid. Please keep us advised of future bacchanals!

MightyToyCannon said...

Bob, I'm crushed to learn that you aren't curtailing an out-of-town trip to be there. I assure you that there will be future bacchanals. We played monthly gigs at Roots in the final years of the last decade, before we went on hiatus. They were willing to have us back, so that's a good sign that they like us (or that we moved some beer sales).