It started with an unexpected email from Dietmar Leibecke, the one-man tour-de-force behind Oberhausen, Germany’s Static Roots Festival. We were in the early stages of dreaming up a European tour behind our record Jimmy & the Moon, and when Dietmar got in touch, the deal was done. We’d start a 3 week run through Europe at the 2018 Static Roots Festival…
The band for this trip would consist of Chris Bennett on lead guitar, Chris Brown handling both the keyboard and bass duties, Hadley McCall Thackston on vocals and Michael Mormecha an astounding drummer (and producer) from just outside of Belfast, Northern Ireland. Then a further message came in from Dietmar asking how I would feel if he flew Gerard Maloney in from Kilkenny, Ireland to join us on accordion for our set? I didn’t really know what to say, It was already a thrill that we were heading for this festival. I knew enough about it to be very excited as my friend David Corley (a beautiful songwriter, poet from Indiana) had played the festival the year before. At this point, I had not yet met Ger, he had played some beautiful music on “The Troubadour’s Song” from Jimmy & the Moon, but that had been recorded in Ireland, and I was not in attendance at that session.
So, the answer was yes.
I have never been precious about arrangements. A song can live many lives – I relished the idea of the band being something other than what it is on North American shores. I got quite excited about what this gig might end up being…
After some travel that culminated in the headstock being snapped off the top of my Les Paul, we arrived at the venue for a afternoon-of-the-gig rehearsal. This would be the first time that this group of players had ever played these songs together. I now had the added concern of not having a workable guitar for the show. Enter Dietmar again with an offer to let me play his Gretsch Black Falcon. The stars were all lining up. I left the rehearsal 100% certain we were going to have a great set that night, this was a remarkable group of musicians, Michael and Ger became instant comrades – and the venue and production were nothing short of spectacular. Oh, and the German beer was flowing in abundance…
It’s a Friday evening in early July 2018, the band is introduced by my friend Jeff Robson, the radio host of UMFM’s Tell the Band to Go Home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This was another wonderful reconnection, Jeff was the voice who narrated the documentary that accompanied the 20th anniversary re-release of my former band Lowest of the Low’s record, Shakespeare My Butt…. The Roots crowd packed the house and we launched into Things I Wish I’d Never Seen.
We played a set I will literally never forget. As I write this, I can remember everyone’s face as I looked around the stage. This was a group of friends making music, loving the connection, savouring every moment of it, and for most of us, we were 6000 kms from home. I don’t remember it as perfection but I do remember it as about the most perfect experience playing music that I had ever had. And as we’d made no arrangements to record the show. I figured that it would live on that way in my mind’s eye, and nowhere else…
Unbeknownst to me, a regular attendee of the festival, a man named René Geilenkirchen recorded the entire show. He had coordinated with the festival’s sound person, Oliver Hutten and together they captured what in my estimation is a very beautiful documentation of this night in Oberhausen, Germany.
Live Static Roots Oberhausen, Germany
- Recorded and mixed by René Geilenkirchen
- Executive Producer Dietmar Leibecke
- Additional recording by Oliver Hutten
- Recorded at Zentrum Altenberg
- in Oberhausen (Rheinland), Germany
- Mastered. by Tim Branton at Joao Carvalho Mastering
- Introduction by Jeff Robson
- Cover photo by Klaas Guchelaar
- Cover art by Stephen Stanley
- Single Art for “Under the Mynah Bird” by Violet Stanley
- Chris Bennett – Lead Guitar, Vocals
- Chris Brown – Keyboard, Bass
- Gerard Moloney – Accordian
- Hadley McCall Thackson – Vocals
- Michael Mormecha – Drums
- Stephen Stanley – Vocals, Guitar