The Leify Green Conspiracy
Friday, January 13, 2012
Friday was a long day of shooting. It started with a 2AM wake up call and ended at 11:30PM when I finally climbed in bed. My itinerary
• 3:30 AM – B&O Budd Car, Circa 1951, relocated – Gaithersburg MD Museum
• 5:15 PM – #5 Metro Area Girls Basketball Team – Darnestown, MD
• 8:30 PM – The Main Cup – Photo Session – Middletown, MD
The Leify Green Conspiracy was in the house at The Main Cup – it turned into the best slice of life moment for the day.
I’m going back to the Land of Ago, to my earlier clubbing/concert going-days to recall a similar signature artist performance. It was
• 1973 – The Cellar Door, Georgetown DC
I was in a group of 10 college friends (incl. Denise) who went to the Cellar Door on a winter’s eve to see headliner John Prine. Warner Brothers was filming “The Exorcist” 2 blocks away (remember the stairs?) and the crew ended filming to catch Prine’s show. Opening for Prine was a petite 24-year old redheaded bottleneck steel guitar player and a tall bass player. The guitar player was Bonnie Raitt, with Freebo on the Bass. She stole the show and my listening heart that night as Denise and I sat in a front row table. We have seen her numerous times since then.
Fast Forward to January 2012 – The Main Cup in Middletown, MD
On assignment for the Montgomery Magazine I was shooting the “Now Performing” photo for a future story on the group The Leify Green Conspiracy.I was to shoot the 4-member band before they performed and did so in the service hallway amongst stacked chairs, auxiliary tables, baby seats, service trays filled with forks and knives, in the pathway to the restrooms. And then there was Big Lar “Deep Tracks” Strine.
Fifteen minutes after the shoot while sharing a Chicken Quesadilla with Denise at “Jerry’s” bar “Cups” brightly lit backroom suddenly filled with followers and busy waitresses.
Band members quickly downed a shot of Jim Beam Bourbon and kicked off the evening with Leif on vocal lead. After the first song Denise turned to me and smiling said – “they’re good”. By 10PM thinking I had seen my next signature performance, I left for the hour ride home. Saturday, I popped in their CD Leif gave me and listened repeatedly as I drove around. I was convinced.
Forgive me but I always do this, I try to pigeonhole new music. I am a veteran XM satellite radio listener and I “get” most new play (ranging from The Loft to BPM). Leify Green Conspiracy hit a cord with me, perhaps the CD with mandolin play (missing from Friday’s performance) was the clicking point. I think it was their original music and the cover of Usher’s “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love”.
So where do I put them – they exist somewhere in between a bluesy John Popper (w/o harmonicas) Blues Traveler and the lightheartedness song composition of BNL (Canada’s Barenaked Ladies) with former Stephan Page as lead singer. They call it “organic rock”. So be it.
Ah but whom am I – just a humble photographer – certainly not a music critic.
So, just to add a slight bit of credentials to my live performance listening ear – listed are my other signature concert moments – in no particular order.
• Cher – Private Concert – ORACLE Center, San Jose, CA – 2002
• Jackson Brown w/David Lindley – Berryville VA – 1974
• David Gray – Ryman Auditorium, Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, TN – 2010
• Nils Lofgren – piano solos – Merriweather Post – Columbia, MD – 1975?
• Bruce Hornsby – piano solos – Strathmore, North Bethesda, MD – 2005
• James Brown – Ritchie Coliseum, College Park, MD – 1969
• Nancy Wilson & War, Capital Jazz Fest, Annapolis, MD – 2006?
The Leify Green Conspiracy consists of:
Luke Solomon – Bass
Yerodin Sanders – Percussion and Vocals
John Lawton – Guitar
Leif/Leify Green – Guitar and Vocals
Missing – Zan McLeod – Mandolin
All photos are out-takes – not provided to Montgomery Magazine