Nearly beloved on Facebook

Next Show:

Matt Lax, Richard Linley, Dan Becker
Magic Forest Farm Outdoor House Concert
Saturday July 28th
7:00 pm show $10-$15 Sliding Scale
The Magic Forest Farm
Takilma, Oregon
email for info: matt.lax@mindspring.com

Where's Bob? Available Now


Listen to "Where's Bob"

Nearly Beloved Blog

Bob Enters The World At Large

We've enjoyed playing lots of great music over the last few months. I've been lucky to play at lot of great duo and trio shows with Paul Olguin, Michael Stadler, Ryan Lim, Dore Coller, and Erik Pearson in various combinations. We've played lots of new venues, including one very special Saturday night in January, at The Lost Church in SF with host Brian Belknap. This featured Evie Laden of The Stairwell Sisters and was a great night of music which featured Erik Pearson in all three bands...Other new venues included Breakers and The Fabulous Haleiwa Farmer's Market in Halaeiwa Hawaii, Disco Volante in Oakland,Matt, Erik, and Mike play "My Memory" at Disco Volante, February 5, 2012 Nick's Cove in Tomales bay.…We also had a Fantastic X-mas music celebration at Vasco, (thanks to Paul Lazzereschi for another great year of music!) We had the lovely Ted and Kaye Rodden, Dore Coller, and Joe Kyle (all folks featured on the new CD ) at Vasco. Andrew Gootnick, head-shrinker and mandolinist, also joined us for our festivus-for-the-rest-of-us jubilee, and introduced me to my newest guitar; a lovely Blueridge D-28 model with Brazilian Rosewood. It's a spirited thing with some bark to it, but also has some very nice balance for a full size guitar…my first new acoustic guitar since I bought my trusty 64' Martin 0018 in 1988(pictured with me in the creek)! Nice to have a new guitar voice!

Lots of thanks to my sister Mary for hosting and helping me get the gig together in Oahu. Mahalo Mary! Matt at The Haleiwa Farmer's Market back in January! I had a much needed break from mainland life, the waves were cooperative (not HUGE!), and the weather was perfect. I think we saw Eddy Vedder checking the surf…That Eddie didn't go…

A few of our more interesting duo and trio trips have been with Michael Stadler rejoining the ranks! Michael played and sang on the first two CD's and has been a great contributor to our sound over the years. On KPIG Radio and at The Ugly Mug in Santa Cruz Michael, Paul Olguin and I threw down some nice notes! Matt, Paul, and Mike play "Little Woodblock" on KPIG, February 26, 2012 We enjoyed a return to my old surfing grounds of Aptos where we got to hang with lots of friends from high school who knew all the characters from "Cool Fucking Sunset". The real joy was watching my friends' 11 year old kids sing along on the chorus… They were sure enthusiastic! Matt, Paul, and Michael at The Ugly Mug in Santa Cruz My pal Denise told Olguin that she couldn't believe that he could play the bass and not cry. That's a trade secret that most bass players would rather not have revealed, but that's why they make the big bucks!….That very nice homecoming was in large part thanks to Marky Starks and Dick Brundle of Fiddling Cricket promotions!...At The Cozmic Café in Placerville, we ran into our old friend Lisa Richmond, who engineered our first recording which included "One Heartache at a Time", which made it onto our "Hurricane and a Tumbleweed" CD and featured a whole mess of Joe Kyle, John Mader and Adam Levy! Thanks for capturing that for us Lisa, and good luck with the crops this summer! Evangeline from KVMR also introduced herself, and said she loved the new CD….that's enough to get you home with a smile on your face! Hope we get to visit Evangeline on the air one day! Mike and I had a great time, played way later than we should have, and got back to the bay area about 2:30 am!

As of late, Nearly Beloved's done with the smaller musical constellations, and we've been out enjoying some full band performances! We hope you've had a chance to join us in San Francisco at the Make Out Room with The Bootcuts (thank you Crystal for bringing the band!), Nearly Beloved's CD Release Celebration at The Makeout Room at Ashkenaz in Berkeley with The Palm Wine Boys, and Fernwood Resort and Bar in Big Sur with our pals Songs That Hotbox Harry Taught Us. Super special thanks to The Palm Wine Boys. If you were there at Ashkenaz you got to see Richard smiling non-stop as his lovely daughter Simone played violin all night with the PWB's and made her daddy proud! Big thanks in general to Richard for sharing his music and encouraging my own songwriting along the way. I think a lot of my new songs were heard first by Richard over the years waiting for PWB rehearsals to start! In Big Sur, we needed an emergency bass replacement, and Wally Barnick from Hotbox Harry did an incredible job of reading down Olguin's charts! And for those charts Paul, Thank YOU! The night before Fernwood, Nicole and I were again the guests of Phil and The Big Sur Bakery Café Restaurant and we all shared a night of incredible food and music with our buddies Tracy Cheesebrough, John Klein, and Laurie Kost on her hot fiddle! The stars made it out for a while Saturday night in Big Sur, but the rain came back in a big way…I had a bit much to imbibe after a crazy day of practicing with Wally, chasing down gear at the Henry Miller Library (thanks to Mike at HML!), setting up and playing with two bands (thanks for letting me get the guitar out Hotboxers!), and trying to fit in an anniversary dinner with my sweetie…I owe my honey a real date real soon, one free from…well, physical ruin and prolonged recovery! Maybe it's 4 months of absolutley fun gigging caught up with me...

A person can feel very lucky when you look around at the musicians and friends you have supporting you over the years. Ron Van Leeuwardee got up and played some guitar with us on "Hurricane and a Tumbleweed" at Ashkenaz and for a minute (or 5) we forgot about everything else the way we did when we played for thousands of people over the years at The 'Shnaz. I know others have discovered afro-pop guitar in the intervening years, but Ron and I held our own for a good decade, and made many and African musician smile, and that's something special! Adam Beach joined us for some soulful saxophone on "Nearly Beloved" and swung like crazy!

Soon we'll be taking off for our weekend in LA, Pasadena and Ventura! We'll be at Aubergine's in May with Doug Blumer and The Bohemian Highway, and back at The Lost Church with The Creak. Check the Calendar for all the updates and details. I'll let you know how things went! I'm a lazy blogger, aren't I? I'm just too busy when it's all happening to write things down. Well, it beats the shit out of tweeting, I'll say that much!

Erstwhile in Beloved land, some nice reviews have come in on the new CD which you can check out on our press page. My favorite so far is by Paul Rile of London's Country Music People (which is its entirety at the end of this blog). Of course, I chop up the best bits for promotional sake on the website so we look heroic and all, but I'm especially proud of this little note from Paul Rile:

"The worst track here is Cool Fucking Sunset, a track that sounds like a 13 year old wrote it to use the "f" word with the sole intention of shocking people. It may have been shocking 30 years ago, but now just sounds silly. On a more positive note, the title track is one of the year's best songs, a wonderful banjo-driven slow number and it's hard to believe that Matt Lax wrote this and the "f" word song."

Paul Rile is a man who understands my own ambivalence, and his sentiments are nothing I haven't thought to myself. Like, "Why the f*** am I putting this song on the CD!? People will think I'm 13 years old!" So, I hear you Paul, but we've got to live with the muse we're born with…. to us, the tune is about being, much older, like 16 in Santa Cruz back in, oh, 1979. The language is apropos to the genre, (or shall we say 'verite') because, what kind of spectacular vernacular does the adolescent surfer dredge up at day's end? You can't risk anything too sentimental. You have to sum it up in a few syllables of cowboy-surfer drawl, wearing your coolest $3 shades and still, since you've emoted, you risk being called a dweeb…I like our lovely surfer anthem CFS, and I do think the song better than Mr. Rile characterizes. Perhaps a trip to California would be instructive to Mr. Rile, or a Jack Johnson Greatest Hits Collection...But he really liked Bob! Ahh, but who doesn't like Bob? And Where is Bob? I dare not ask in earnest….

Anyhoo… Here's Mr. Rile's review in his complete version, which I enjoy reading. A few notes on the review and the songs and the album…Little Woodblock is about Woody Guthrie's sister, who died when he was about 7 years old, not his daughter, who died in a similarly tragic way. (And by the way, please read the Ed Cray biography of Woody G. It's extremely well researched and written, and I owe the song to my reading of this great book!) Also, I don't think there's too much of the Afrobilly guitar on the new disc, but I suppose it's always lurking in my guitar playing somewhere…Lastly Tomorrow Won't Be the Future , as I wrote it, is about the fatuous notion that American Science and Industry will save us of their own volition…part of what I think Gram P. was getting at in his songs. Forty years ago, when GP wrote his songs, we were a country and a planet full of space, with a dark notion lurking around the edges. Nowadays the darkness fills our view, and TWBTF as a song is an admission that mother nature will likely have the last laugh…that our salvation is predicated on our ability to save the planet…Though many fundamentalist thinkers see it the other way around, Armageddon will come all the sooner through global warming.

Cheers! Matt.

Where's Bob

Here is a band that score points for originality. Where's Bob is the band's second disc, the first being 2002's Hurricane And A Tumbleweed. I like this disc a lot, but there are a few problems. Matt Lax, the driving force of the band loves African music and on this album plays Afro guitar, which does nothing for me but if you like the idea of a left field Afro/country disc, this might be your dream record.

The worst track here is Cool F***ing Sunset, a track that sounds like a 13 year old wrote it to use the "f" word with the sole intention of shocking people. It may have been shocking 30 years ago, but now just sounds silly.

On a more positive note, the title track is one of the years best songs, a wonderful banjo-driven slow number and it's hard to believe that Matt Lax wrote this and the "f" word song. In fact, all the songs are Matt Lax originals apart from Bob Dylan's tedious Subterranean Homesick Blues which is very well played by the band, but I still don't like the song. Since the death of country legend Gram Parsons there have been many tributes and bands who emulate the sound. The best tribute is The Guess Who's Seems Like I Cant Live With You, But I Cant Live With You. Nearly Beloved's GP offering is Tomorrow Won't Be The Future. The song is a note perfect "tribute". However as the song ended I was left wondering was there any real point to it? A far better track is the country rock opener My Memory. This is quality country/rock bringing back memories of The New Riders Of The Purple Sage and Commander Cody. In similar vein is Whiskey Whispers, but at 4:40 it is a bit long.

As well as being a good name for a band, Nearly Beloved also have a song of the same title. It's a country/blues wedding song and it is with songs like this that Matt Lax proves what a highly talented song writer he is, with an ear for a good melody and interesting lyrics. He also has a great sense of humour, which comes out in My P-Role Officer, a funny true crime tale, that sounds a bit like Loudon Wainwright III goes country. The disc ends with Matt Lax alone with his acoustic guitar, singing a song about leftie/ folkie Woody Guthrie's daughter. Another of the years best songs. So ends an interesting, slightly flawed, but very entertaining album, from one of America's most interesting bands. Matt Lax is clearly a songwriter to watch. Paul Rile- Country Music People, UK

He never liked The Subterranean Homesick Blues, ever…..ML


Welcome to the new website! It’s up and running thanks to Kimrea who did the new design and created the beautiful look to the website! Thanks to peter nevins for the silkscreen print, and mark johann for the band photos you see on the new CD and on the website. The website banner photos were taken by alisa comfort burmeister a few years back at the riptide… We also want to welcome Kim Grant to our crew. Kim, of KG Press is going to tirelessly work this new CD to get Nearly Beloved in the press, electronic media and over the airwaves. I think it’s about time we had a proper launch and we’re very excited to be in such capable hands… Now what the hell are we up to in the meantime? We’re doing our regular gig at Vasco in Mill Valley and planning a late winter/early spring tour to support the new CD! So far we’re heading to Big Sur, LA and Denver. Check the calendar for updates, I’ll put them in as they get confirmed… We’re working on getting up to the pacific northwest where we’ve promised to hang with our pal Mary Tilson at her new digs in Seattle (thanks for the couch mary….did I mention we?)...about that Vasco gig, Paul Olguin was guest bassist last week, and we had a damn fine time. I got to play my new amp, a Savage 12x12 (12 watts, 12 inch speaker), and our set went from Booker T. and the MG’s Hiphugger to The Tennessee Waltz by the great and diminutive Pee Wee King. Then we played an afro-beat version of the traditional bluegrass tune Wild Bill Jones. Then someone very alertly asked for a Fela song, so we obliged with Zombie! That’s what 27 years of collaboration will do for you, thank you Paul Olguin!!!...by the way, I highly recommend the Fela! show, Nicole and I saw it in NYC with Patti Labelle playing Fela’s mother. It was incredibly good, though the horns were oddly in tune…This week we welcome back Joe Kyle to Vasco, and our good friend Lisa Kindred, come join us Tues. 11/22 at 8 pm.

A word on the merchandise page…we realize that this is a hard time for people to scrape together the dough to buy a CD. If you’ve been out of work, or your just plain hard-pressed to buy the CD for the full price, send me an email at matt.lax@mindspring.com and we’ll work something out along the sliding scale lines, though all the money is pretty much going to operating expenses. Cheers! Matt Lax.