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Cosmic Swing

Elana's bowing her fiddle faster than the speed of light; Whit Smith's right arm is producing rhythms so tight you could bounce a nickel off 'em; Jake Erwin's slapping, tapping, and barely touching his standup bass strings in double time — and no one's cuttin' a rug. 'Course, since we're elbow-to-elbow in 19 rows of pews, dancing could only erupt in a Robert Crumb “To hell with the man — no, we'll convert the man to the cosmic swing giggles!” cartoon.

The mash of hippie veterans, gypsy-jazz fanatics, and hoedown-lovers compensates for the lack of physical movement with ravenous howls and cheers. Original inspiration/grounding stone Bob Wills's version of “What's the Matter with the Mill,” as well as old-as-dirt standards “She's Killing Me” and “Ida Red” are fattened with adrenalized instrumental breaks that keep the admiration burning. But the buzz in the air also relates to the feeling Cowtown's on a bit of a tightrope; anything might happen — and did, when the group turned Aerosmith's “Chip Away the Stone” into a spoonful of down-home, bittersweet honey that's unspooled tonight. Smith's ’46 Gibson L5 emits impossibly bright (especially on the single notes, more Les Paul than Django Reinhardt) tones. The risk of folding in more originals pays off onstage, tonight with the Reinhardt/Grappelli–seasoned instrumental “Heart of Romaine” and Elana's haunting “Cabiria.” Cowtown's joy is infectious. The after-show meet-’n’-greet, ostensibly for merch and autographs, dissolves into a virtual love fest. Hearing that I had trouble getting performance pics, Elana cuddles her pup Eva, who I've been admiring, the better to share the spotlight.

  • Concert: Hot Club of Cowtown
  • Date: August 13
  • Venue: AMSD concerts
  • Seats: 9th row; up front and to the right
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Elana's bowing her fiddle faster than the speed of light; Whit Smith's right arm is producing rhythms so tight you could bounce a nickel off 'em; Jake Erwin's slapping, tapping, and barely touching his standup bass strings in double time — and no one's cuttin' a rug. 'Course, since we're elbow-to-elbow in 19 rows of pews, dancing could only erupt in a Robert Crumb “To hell with the man — no, we'll convert the man to the cosmic swing giggles!” cartoon.

The mash of hippie veterans, gypsy-jazz fanatics, and hoedown-lovers compensates for the lack of physical movement with ravenous howls and cheers. Original inspiration/grounding stone Bob Wills's version of “What's the Matter with the Mill,” as well as old-as-dirt standards “She's Killing Me” and “Ida Red” are fattened with adrenalized instrumental breaks that keep the admiration burning. But the buzz in the air also relates to the feeling Cowtown's on a bit of a tightrope; anything might happen — and did, when the group turned Aerosmith's “Chip Away the Stone” into a spoonful of down-home, bittersweet honey that's unspooled tonight. Smith's ’46 Gibson L5 emits impossibly bright (especially on the single notes, more Les Paul than Django Reinhardt) tones. The risk of folding in more originals pays off onstage, tonight with the Reinhardt/Grappelli–seasoned instrumental “Heart of Romaine” and Elana's haunting “Cabiria.” Cowtown's joy is infectious. The after-show meet-’n’-greet, ostensibly for merch and autographs, dissolves into a virtual love fest. Hearing that I had trouble getting performance pics, Elana cuddles her pup Eva, who I've been admiring, the better to share the spotlight.

  • Concert: Hot Club of Cowtown
  • Date: August 13
  • Venue: AMSD concerts
  • Seats: 9th row; up front and to the right
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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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