Saturday, June 27, 2009

Lauris: A Revelation!

By Duncan Strauss

I'm fortunate enough to host an afternoon drive music show called the Sonic Detour each Wednesday on WMNF, Tampa's 70,000-watt community radio station, and because I live in an entirely different part of the state (Jupiter Farms, a three-hour drive to Tampa), it just hasn't been practical for me to get plugged into the flourishing Tampa music scene.

That bugs me--during times over the last few decades when I've done radio &/or music journalism, I've also been steeped in my local music scene at the time, and a champion of it. My disconnect in Tampa, my inexperience with its artists and their work, has struck me as a real weak spot of my Sonic Detours.

So about a year ago, I invited Bev Capshaw, a longtime WMNF programmer and supreme expert on (and advocate of) the Tampa scene to start offering local music segments--she's done so ever since, including the first one a few months ago about Lauris Vidal and another one on Lauris two Wednesdays ago, tied to his involvement in the Citrus Circuit Tour, which also features The Takers, Truck Stop Coffee and Have Gun, Will Travel.

She's become such a fast, fervent fan of Lauris, that we've joked--on the air & off--about her having a crush on him.

In e-mailing her this morning with my take on the Citrus Circuit tour, which stopped last night semi-close to my house, at Propaganda in Lake Worth, I later realized the portion about Lauris Vidal might work as a blog post. Let's see:

"Lauris: a revelation! I totally get your crush. I mean, I've really been digging the EP since you did the first local music segment on him, but live (with that incredibly good, muscular, nimble rhythm section), Lauris comes across as an emerging major artist:

insanely gifted, adventurous in a host of ways, a great synthesizer of influences but clearly heeding a powerful muse to yield a wholly original blast of art (the unholy love child of David Byrne & Tom Waits, if those guys had a more pronounced reggae bent? or maybe that was just the 3 beers talking in my head!), plus all the things that spell "special":

unfettered, genuine joy in performing...ease, flexibility & spontaneity...charisma to burn...lotsa intriguing choices (from his instruments, to how he plays them, to how he hears & creates music, to the wonderfully quirky cover of "Paint It Black," etc.)

If I didn't have a few notable personal & professional responsibilities standing in my way, I'm half tempted to volunteer to go on the road as his roadie--just so I could see him perform every night!"

That's the end of that portion of the e-mail to Bev, but not the Lauris tub-thumping. You'd be well advised to get your hands on his EP, "Shoot, Shoot Your Skeletons," visit his
MySpace--and catch him live!

“Skeletons” by Lauris Vidal (mp3)(iTunes)(Amazon)

Catch Lauris Vidal and the rest of the Citrus Circuit Tour tonight (6/27) at the New World Brewery in Tampa.

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