Friday, May 1, 2009

Dana "Short Order" Cooke and His Band Joe

Sparkytown, a quaint bistro-style restaurant in our neighborhood, has music with dinner on weekends now and we were thrilled for an opportunity to hear Dana Cooke play in our own backyard a few weeks ago.

As fans of a local Sunday radio show, The Blue Moon Cafe, we had heard a couple of Dana's tunes several years ago and I'd bought two of his CDs through his website back then. I'm drawn to lyrics, and Dana's are honest and twisted, my favorite combination. Hubby likes good guitar picking. The song that made us buy his CDs however, was a simple love song we know now that he wrote for his wife, "The Way You Look". It's superior to Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight" in my book.

When we began sitting in at the Songwriters Woodshed, it was a joy to learn that the talented Dana who led the group was indeed the Dana "Short Order" Cooke we have enjoyed listening to all this time. We'd never been able to actually see him perform live; when Sparky told us he was going to be on her stage, we were the first to make reservations.

As my arm injury has been healing, I've been spending afternoons with an ice bag on the arm listening to CDs in the music room. I played a lot of Dana's work. He opened that Saturday night with "Sky Diver", which had become my new favorite song. I was initially terrified that the crowd would miss out on a fantastic performance because Dana hadn't brought a microphone and it can be noisy in there. I wanted everyone to listen closely to the stories his songs tell....the twists and turns happen before you even know it, you must pay attention.....but eventually the room did quiet and Dana had them listening out of the palm of his vocal chords. I loved "Cold Day in Hell" and "Bone" and, well, I can't think of any song that fell short.

And the "band"! What a treat to hear some fantastic guitar playing from both Joe and Dana. Add to that the amazing banjo picking and was magic! As one who is usually bored when instrumentals are played, I can honestly say that wasn't the case this time. I was tapping my toes and wishing I knew how to dance. What a treat to watch two performers who have played together for a long time and have developed such an ease with one another and their audience. I felt as if they were playing in my living room, just for me.

Go to and check out the music. I guarantee you'll like it.

Thanks, Sparky, for opening up your delightful eatery for such fine entertainment for our neighborhood. And thanks Dana and Joe.....we could have listened to you dudes far into the early hours of the morning.

No comments: