Words of the prophets
Darrell Croker The Herald
It alludes to angry old men but it is really a touching new tribute, because at one time the subjects were sensitive young songwriters.
Writer and producer Chris Keeble, along with musical director Jeremy Edwards, have created a full-on two-hour “rockumentary” that delivers not only a catalogue of great songs, but interesting stories to go with them. Given the inclusion of Willie Nelson the show spans 70 years.
“I’m an old hippie,” says Keeble. “I’m also a huge Bob Dylan fan and managed to get some work as a stagehand when he toured with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in 1986. Dylan is the obvious one, but all the performers referenced in The Songs and Tales of Angry Old Men are poets.
“I love the songs they wrote, the way they performed them and the stories of the songs. The show is interactive too, so you get great songs, a hot band, and amazing imagery.”
The title sounds like some BBC reality TV program with B-list Pommy celebs moaning about modern life. But this is an emotive piece of theatre bringing to life the troubadours, and in many cases the shapers, of the rock era.
Apart from Dylan and Willie, the angry old men of the title include Leon Russell, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Nick Cave, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty and John Mellencamp.
Great songs from great songwriters are interwoven with tales revealing surprising and unknown stories behind the music.
Sound like baby boomer heaven? Superbly crafted songs not only define the era in which they were composed, but are timeless. Many in Gen Y know the richness of these songs and the current crop of “vintage hipsters” is just discovering them. Talking ’bout my generation … I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.
Apart from taking charge of the musical direction, Edwards provides vocals and guitar for The Songs and Tales. Matt Ross (vocals and guitar), Wayne Kellett (bass and vocals), Di Solomon (keys and vocals) and George Brugmans (drums) offer superb support.
Together they not only show respect for some of the greatest singer-songwriters of any era, but they bring to life the powerful storytelling, narrative, and lyrical richness of these balladeers.
The two-part show provides an outline of the background of the struggling young performers before they became angry old men. We hear of their influences, character traits and settings of the songs.
We can relive the historic festivals and recording dates, the connections between the players, when they collaborated, when they feuded. We find out about the egos, the flops and the rebirths. And we know some of them performed into their eighth decade.
Visual projections, animations, photos, and quotes honouring the work of these artistic titans complement the artistry of these great songs. Nothing wrong with reopening your back pages.
What: The Songs and Tales of Angry Old Men – featuring Dylan, Cohen, Waits, Cash, Young and many more
The Songs and Tales of Angry Old Men, a celebration of rock-n-roll and the songs that defined great moments throughout the decades.
The Songs and Tales of Angry Old Men features more than 20 great songs interwoven with tales that reveal surprising and unknown stories behind the music. Audiences can expect music from legendary artists including Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Jim Morrison, Nick Cave, Johnny Cash, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and many more.
From the writer and producer of Pearl – The Janis Joplin Story, the performance promises to deliver some of the greatest music ever made by the singers and songwriters who will never be forgotten.
The Songs and Tales of Angry Old Men will be led by Jeremy Edwards and Matt Ross performing vocals and guitar; supported by Wayne Kellett (bass and vocals), Di Solomon (keys and vocals) and George Brugmans (drums).