A few years back, I was driving across town listening to the radio in my car. Between boy bands, Youtube sensations and bubble-gum-pop songbirds fighting for airtime and Redbull-addled DJ’s droning about whatever social media was buzzing about, it was hard to find a safe harbor in the storm of music with little to no substance. I remember changing the dial a number of times and then my ears picked a sound I had never heard before. A clean rhythmic motif, simple in its approach, but delicate and deliberate in it’s execution. Then the drums come in, accenting the silence rather the sounds, with the bass making it’s entrance. The bass (like any masterful bass line) is felt more than heard. Pushing you into the lyrics of the first chorus that picks up strings a third of the way through.
And so on and so forth it went, building into the next lyric. Each lyric building into each line, each line encouraging and guiding my ear into the next verse. Each verse complimented with better and more interesting harmonies than the last. The lyrics pull you into the songsmith’s world that is equal parts self-discovery and self-reflection and soon the realization that he/she/it knows nothing…and simply is. I wasn’t familiar with the song but managed to scribble a lyric down for to figure out who made this beautiful music.
I had just had my first experience with Brian Eno. The song was ‘Spinning Away,’ from his 1990 effort Wrong Way Up made in conjunction with Velvet Underground founder John Cale. What interested me more than the cryptic lyric that I would investigate later that night, was the man that followed up the Eno/Cale selection with hidden gems from the Deep House genres, or little know/rarely played gems from David Bowie or a slow burn from the electronica/ambient world.
I had just had my first experience with Brian Eno….but this was the night I was introduced to George Lyons….
Peter Gabriel, Lou Reed, Downtempo, Jazz and even local bands share, rather than compete for air time on George’s show. A few months back I was driving down the interstate and listening to a band destroy (!) a track with an organ player that played with the soulful approach of a Jimmy Smith or Joey DeFrancesco, but played with fury of the gates of Hell slamming shut. Again, I wrote the song title down at the nearest off ramp to discover it was the boys from Moksha. Friends of mine from college! George’s deft hand in music taste of not only what to play, but when, had struck again.
George Lyons has featured the man born David Robert Jones many times over the ten plus years on his program. That night was the first show George introduced Bowie in past tense. You could hear sadness in George’s voice. If I could’ve crawled through my radio and given George a hug that night I would have.
With urgency of a modern day Lester Bangs but with the soft touch of a clergyman, George Lyons faithfully provides a weekly Rorschach test in audio form that allows the listener to decide what the message of a song was or what happened in the exposition between the bridge and the chorus. Again, greatness is known and as a friend of mine recently said, ‘If it is great…it will last.’ The Lyons Den has outlasted trends, management changes, budget cuts and any number of obstacles that can befall of a local radio show. Yet the Lyons Den endures….The Lyons Den perseveres….’If it is great…it will last.’
Just Alliance's Blog
Thoughts, ideas and musical musings from this Silver State Loop Artist.