Who couldn’t use a little more honky-tonk in their lives?
It’s not every weekend in Paris that you discover delicious vegan Chinese food then see hipsters swaying to Hank Williams. Throw in a wedding and a friend visiting from out-of-town and you’ve got yourself a party.
Let me stick with the honky-tonk for a moment, though. You’ll find plenty of jazz in Paris. Rock, chanson, electro, too. But rare is the honky-tonk venue (actually, are there any? please let me know!)
I can’t say I really grew up on country music. But I can tell you that hearing it in Paris gave me a nostalgic pang. It’s a uniquely American sound, somehow even more familiar when you’re far from home.
My new friend Ericka brought a group called The Brocanteers to the Cafe Courant, a buzzing bar on Rue du Faubourg Sainte-Antoine (at Rue de Cotte). A bit surprised to see the house packed for honky-tonk, I quickly entered into the fray.
Ericka writes plenty of her own songs, but did many crowd-pleasing covers, too. (Who doesn’t have a Johnny Cash favorite?) With special guest Sal Bernardi, a frequent guitarist for Ricki Lee Jones, the music had a magic spark. My friend Dani remarked that hearing the slide guitar reminded her of home.
So much is in the lyrics – that aching heart sentiment is probably what stirred my wistful longing. I wondered how much the audience could really appreciate it without understanding the words, but it made me happy to see them getting into the groove.
Comfort for a homesick heart on a rainy Friday night: If the Parisians can get down with honky-tonk, there is definitely plenty of promise left in this town.