“I agree, that it’s ‘Rock and/or roll music with some twangy geetar, Scottish fiddling, and piano ballads. Drunk and tough, except for the mushy moments.” Casey Neill
“Live On 11th Street” was the last time Casey Neill performed with Fiddler/Producer, Johnny Cunningham. On December 15th, 2003. Johnny passed away, sending shock waves across the entire world of folk music. With that in mind, you’re somewhat heavy hearted upon first listen to “Live On 11th Street”… that is until the top notch quality of the recording, or the stellar musicianship/lyrics, or the wisecracking Mr. Cunningham in between tracks. By the third song you realize, you’re hearing something special. One of those magical nights that are almost never recorded, let alone properly released as an album. By the 5th song, you’re covered in goosebumps, and the hairs on the back of your neck are standing on end. Between songs, as the crowd cheers, You ask yourself, “Damn! Why wasn’t I in New York City that night.” By the sixth song the combination of Johnny’s fiddle and Jon Spurnley’s beautiful piano sends a shiver down your spine so fierce, you have to take a break from the album, and simply call up a loved one just to wish them well.
Upon returning, you examine the album, a simple red cardboard cover saying: Casey Neill Band – Live On 11th Street. The other side contains only the track listing. There are no pictures, no lyrics, no special thanks. It’s not needed. The album speaks for itself. By the middle of the 9th song, you realize Mr. Cunningham is absolutely hilarious as he torments a very (trying to be) serious sounding Casey between songs. A minute or two go by… It’s around this time you congratulate yourself on purchasing such a fine album. You begin to think about all the live albums you’ve heard over the years. How does “Live On 11th Street” stack up? Pretty damn good, but you have to replay that last track. You were in such a deep thought, you missed the majority of the song. (Damn, I hate that!)
After replaying the album about a half dozen times, you simply pass out on the couch and awake the next morning feeling so refreshed, you decide to call in sick to work and take a drive through the woods, and reflect on things that should matter, and all that petty shit that shouldn’t. Only music can make you feel this way, and the music recorded on this album happens to hit the nail on the head, as you suddenly you crack up laughing…Johnny Cunningham you will be missed, brother.
Look for Casey Neill’s latest album “Brooklyn Bridge” later this year. (The last album produced by Johnny Cunningham)
Review by “Barnacle” Brian Gillespie