Eric Kelly and the Dirty Johns
Between songs, Eric banters with pedal steel guitarist John Latini. While Kelly is funny and engaging, he's also quite a smart-ass, leaving himself open to pestering by the Johns, who, by the way, are indeed quite dirty. And it's not just because they're unshaven. When Eric can't find a pick, Latini stands up to see if he's got a loaner. John Sperendi, the other John Who Is Dirty, is an affable kid about half the size of his upright bass. He gives an adolescent giggle and utters the only comment we'll hear from him tonight: "I think those guys just like to have their hands in their pockets." He says this into the microphone in front of a packed Top of the Park crowd.
But all is forgiven when it's time to make music. All of this wrestling gives way to harmonious execution. Kelly's vocal dexterity takes the spotlight for a bit before he graciously hands it off to the mournful cries of Latini's guitar. Sperendi's bass and Jim "Honorary John" Latini's drum work keep time, and the four elbowing schoolchildren magically transform themselves into grown men. Together, they create one of the most Gram Parsons old-style country sounds I've heard since the Flying Burrito Brothers.