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Welcome to Rock of Agers

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Dana Fuchs: Sexy Devil, Serene Angel or Both?

Dana Fuchs gets up and down
Given that it's the musical child of the sacred - gospel - and the supposedly sacrilegious - blues - it's not surprising that rock n' roll often reflects a spiritual crisis that plays out in both its music and its musicians.

Take song titles, for example. What if God was one of us?  Jesus is just alright. Sympathy for the Devil. Stairway to Heaven. Knockin' on Heaven's door. Friend of the Devil. God only knows.

Or lyrics.
  • "Devil or angel, I just can't make up my mind". (Bobby Vee)
  • "Imagine there's no Heaven".  (John Lennon)
  • "I am the God of Hell-fire and I bring you ... fire"  (The Crazy World of Arthur Brown)
  • "In the Bible Cain slew Abel. And east of Eden he was cast. You're born into this life paying, for the sins of   somebody's past". (Bruce Springsteen)
Or torn musicians. Jerry Lee Lewis - soul-saver like his cousin TV evangelist Jimmy Swaggart or piano-pounding wild man? Little Richard - Apocalyptic vision-seeing preacher or flamboyant, falsetto-screaming Tutti-Frutti ivory-tickler?  Bob Dylan - powerful folk singing prophet of protest or righteous, just singer for Jesus.

Sometimes, you can see these two spiritual sides play out in one performance. Such was the case earlier this year if you were on the Rock Legends IV Cruise and saw Dana Fuchs, the very last artist listed on the bill, perform.

Now if you don't know who Dana Fuchs is, stop reading this post right now, open your browser, search her name, and read, view, and listen to as much as you can about her.

Fuchs, a transplanted-Southerner who now calls New York City home, is best known for her performance in the Beatles-inspired movie All Across the Universe and as Janis Joplin in the off-Broadway play about the tragic 60s blues singer.

To me, Fuchs is also one of the three best (Joan Osborne and Grace Potter being the better-known two) females keeping the classic rock tradition alive today.

On one day on the ship, Fuchs and her band, were sandwiched between a morning performance by Kim Simmonds of Savoy Brown fame and the Artimus Pyle Band, which is led by the original drummer for Lynard Skynard.

In a soulful, stirring performance Fuchs, alternately prowling the stage and sitting provocatively on the monitor speakers, took  her audience through many the many facets of the spirit captured in classic rock.

Sounding like a sage from the 60s, Fuchs intoned at her stage intro: "I've been feelin' the love since I was on the boat. Let's all share the love".

After a forceful howl in one of her songs, a laughing Fuchs exclaimed: "That's my Exorcist voice. I saw that movie when I was like six years old and it scared the shit out of me".

In the intro to her song "Livin' on Sunday," Fuchs explained. "We seem really nice to each other on Sunday, but the rest of the week is something really different. Okay, boys, let's take 'em to church ..."

After that, it was look at the raw passion of life as Fuchs sang what she termed her "booty call sex song".

Before playing her final number, Fuchs left the crowd with a final spiritual thought:

"We've all experienced a lot of loss. We think about all that we have lost in our lives. But we bring the spirits of those that we've lost with us wherever we go. They're right her with us right now. So I want to thank you for celebrating life with me today. And let's keep on feelin' that love".

Dana Fuchs sits in with Devon Allman and his band later in the cruise ...