Monday, April 17, 2017

Kinky Friedman at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill

Richard "Kinky" Friedman was born in Chicago, Illinois, but grew up on a ranch in central Texas. In the mid-1960s, as a university student in Austin, Texas, Friedman formed his first band, King Arthur & the Carrots, which lampooned the then-current surf music fad. Chinga Chavin gave Friedman the nickname "Kinky" because of Friedman's curly hair. By 1971, Friedman had formed his second band, Kinky Friedman & the Texas Jewboys. The band became known for satirical lyrics, social commentary and hard-luck country songs, but had little commercial success and split in 1979. Friedman moved to New York, where he performed regularly at the Lone Star Café. Friedman's musical career stalled in the 1980s, and he began writing a series of mystery novels. He also entered into politics and was a candidate for Justice of the Peace in 1986 and governor of Texas in 2016, losing in both elections. Inspired by an encouraging telephone call from Willie Nelson, Friedman plans to release Zoey, an album of new songs, later this year. He is based near Kerrville, Texas, where he founded an animal rescue ranch to care for stray, abused and aging animals.

At B.B. King Blues Club & Grill tonight, Friedman initially took the stage alone with just an acoustic guitar. Later in the set, he welcomed the opening acts, Brian Molnar and Joe Cirotti, to play guitar with him. Compared to the raucous country singer he once was, this set was remarkably tame, as Friedman whispered into the microphone on most songs. Between songs, he told many stories, but sometimes got lost in the telling. Late into the set, he read a lengthy passage from one of his books, A Guide to Texas Etiquette. One of his colleagues, Brian Kanof, auctioned bottles of Friedman's tequila to benefit Friedman's animal rescue cause. While the set was filled with Friedman's light-hearted witticisms, its lack of momentum kept the show perhaps too soft and slow. Friedman is still a character, but not the effervescent and energetic entertainer of his past.

Visit Kinky Friedman at www.kinkyfriedman.com.

Setlist:
  1. Pretty Boy Floyd (Woody Guthrie cover)
  2. Jesus in Pyjamas
  3. Circus of Life
  4. They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus Anymore
  5. Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis (Tom Waits cover) (with Joe Cirotti - guitar)
  6. My Shit's Fucked Up (Warren Zevon cover) (with Joe Cirotti - guitar)
  7. Me & My Guitar
  8. Asshole from El Paso (Chinga Chavin cover) (with Chinga Chavin)
  9. A Dog Named Freedom
  10. Saying Goodbye (with Joe Cirotti - guitar)
  11. Pickin' Time (Johnny Cash cover) (with Brian Molnar and Joe Cirotti - guitars)
  12. Zoey (with Brian Molnar and Joe Cirotti - guitars)
  13. Ride 'em Jewboy (with Brian Molnar and Joe Cirotti - guitars)