Drunken Prayer, Casey Ruff, Friday at Conor Byrne


Photo by Amanda Laurick

There is a long-awaited show to take place tomorrow evening at the Conor Byrne Pub in Ballard. Ball of Wax alumnus (featured on Volume 10, according to my research) and all-around local luminary Casey Ruff will play with cohorts The Mayors of Ballard. Friday night will mark the official debut of new bass player Caleb Bue, and will feature members of the Georgetown Orbits as horn section.

Casey Ruff and the Mayors of Ballard deliver a reliably good time, disarmingly genuine americana bar rock perfect for drinking, carousing, perhaps even rollicking (yes, verb, to rollick), belying carefully-crafted songs and arrangements for the close-listeners among us.

Multiplying the special-ness of this night is the headliner, Drunken Prayer. This is the music of Morgan Geer, who when not touring divides his time between Portland, Oregon and Asheville, North Carolina. I had the dumb luck to happen upon Drunken Prayer at the Tractor a couple years back, and stood mouth agape as Geer and band blew my mind for the next hour straight. (N.b., good for dancing too.) That and a show since (with different but equally killin’ backing band) have been two of the finest sets of music I have seen in recent years.

Geer’s music is easiest summed in the Americana column, but indeed gathers classic pop, rock, soul, country, gospel, R&B, etc., riffs and colors into music that remains pure, never schizophrenic, always unmistakably Drunken Prayer. The songwriting is top-notch. Performance is top-notch. Backing band and arrangement, top-freaking-notch (speaking of which, one Casey Ruff will be joining on saxophone for this show). Geer’s guitar playing is scary good, rhythm and lead both, fluid and effortlessly masterful.

What else can I say? Raw, intimate, powerful, accomplished . . . go see this show, the opportunity to see this man play up close in a room such as Conor Byrne should not be passed up.

By the way, Drunken Prayer has a new album out, called House of Morgan, home recorded, lo-fi, experimental and adventurous (Ball-of-Wax-y, even), a delightful contrast to 2012’s more traditional studio masterpiece Into The Missionfield. Look out for a review here in the near future.

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