Friday, October 02, 2009

The Baseball Project Live!

One of my favorite albums - er, CDs - for over a year now has been by a group called The Baseball Project. It's made up of four great "indie-rock" artists: Steve Winn, Scott McCaughey, Linda Pitmon, and Peter Buck. Legend has it that McCaughey and Winn met when the night REM was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Scott is the "unofficial" 5th member of REM). They began chatting about their mutual love of baseball and how each had considered recording some baseball-themed songs. The result was "Volume 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails," released in the summer of 2008.

I have almost worn out the CD. It's filled with great baseball stories - Harvey Haddix, Curt Flood, Black Jack McDowell. Songs with poignancy and depth.

So, I was so excited to discover they were playing in Atlanta on their tour this fall. I got a ticket, debated whether it was wise to go to a dive bar in East Atlanta on a Sunday night....And threw caution to the wind and headed south.

And it was awesome! They played at a tiny neighborhood club called The Earl. A small crowd - probably only 100 or less in the audience.

Here's Peter Buck - better known as lead guitarist for REM. When I told him that I loved the CD - some of the best stuff he's ever done - he looked at me as if to say, Dude, don't you know I'm in another band?
Scott McCaughey has played and recorded with REM since 1994. Really cool. When I told him that I had nearly worn out their CD, he grinned and said, You do realize that CDs don't actually wear out?

Steve Wynn is all kinds of cool. I wasn't familiar with his recordings with Miracle 5, but I am definitely going to! He has a really cool travel diary that he emails to his fans - but instead of describing their gigs, he seems to spend a lot of bandwidth on what they're eating! I told him that his diary always makes me hungry. His response? Really? Well wait until you read tomorrow's installment!

This is drummer Linda Pitmon. I have a major girl crush on her - women rock drummers are just so cool!

The group came out and mingled with the crowd during their break - and I got their autographs. Total fan girl!

It was such a fun show - and well worth the less than 4 hours sleep I got to start the week. Their cd is simply awesome - and they have just been laying down tracks for the second. It includes songs about Ichiro, Tony Conigliaro and Bill Buckner!

And if you're interested in hearing some of their music, this site has a downloadable version of their show in Chapel Hill, NC

The night after their Atlanta show, the Baseball Project played in one of their "hometowns," Athens, GA. They were joined on stage by two surprise guests from REM: Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry, who retired from the group and hasn't played with them since 07. Not being greedy - but that would have been cool!