By Victoria Ogawa, Walternative.com webmistress
Kept away by moderate rainfall and rumors of a beer shortage at the bar, most of the residents and visitors of Franklin, Tennessee didn’t know what they were missing Saturday night, May 6 at The Pond. Walter Egan and his alternative-Walternative band – sans Chris James and with Brian Waldschlager (who had previously worked with Walter Egan as a member of The Brooklyn Cowboys) filling the gap and doing a fine job of it – rocked the house with two sets of mostly original tunes spanning Egan’s long career from 1977’s Fundamental Roll to some new tunes not heard on any of his albums.
Besides being treated to such stand out original numbers as "There Goes My Girl," "Free, "Just the Wanting," "Tunnel O’Love," "Hearts On Fire" (Yes, that’s the same "Hearts On Fire" recorded by Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris for Parsons’ Grievous Angel) and the mandatory "Magnet and Steel," the audience got their socks knocked off with a variety of scorching covers including Elvis Presley’s "Baby Let’s Play House," Cat Stevens’ "Wild World," Sonny Boy Williamson’s "Good Morning Little School Girl," and Peter Green’s "Oh Well" and "The Green Manalishi." But Egan wasn’t the only one who proved his prowess at the mic that night. Waldschlager showed he had something to offer as well with "You Must Be from Nashville" and his original tune "Right Now" (both of which can be found on the 2001 Brooklyn Cowboys release The Other Man In Black), as well as dueting with Egan on "Vergin’ On Tears" (from Egan’s 1999 release Walternative).
There were also some impressive lady singers as well. Long time Egan fan Susan McCluskey – who regularly makes the trip to Franklin from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania!!! - lent her voice on backing vocals for a number of songs, but balked at Egan’s attempt to have her sing Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon” (Susan later explained to me that she “can’t hit those notes,” to I which I assured her that Stevie Nicks can’t hit them either). Jolene Kay, accompanied by a friend whose name I don’t know, also provided backing vocals as well as giving us their rendition of “Chain of Fools.”
All in all it was a great high-energy rock ‘n’ roll show and anyone who has the means to walk, drive or fly over there should do his or herself a huge favor and catch Walter Egan and his Walternative band the next time they play a gig or rather, everytime they play one. Bad weather be damned.