Hearsay: Wednesday, May 30, 2002
Rocket 88

It ain’t purty, but it sounds decent: The “new” old piano at Black Dog Tavern which had been sitting o’er in the corner of the pub lo these past few weeks without a finger to respond to. Well, now it won’t shut up. All Braves No Chief, that Spoonfed Tribe spin-off, inaugurated the instrument two weeks ago, and Joey Carter, resident Sunday-night jazz jam vibes/piano virtuoso, and bluesman Holland K. Smith’s backing band have been giving it a heavy-duty workout ever since. And the Black Dog experience has become all the richer.

“We’ve been looking for a piano for a lonnnnng time,” says Michael Pellecchia, jazz jam orchestrator. He thinks they got lucky.

Pellecchia found the vintage piece at Habitat For Humanity about a month ago. It was a steal at $300. Black Dog owner Tad Gaither was sold the moment he heard it — rather, the moment he heard that it sounded good. (Gaither will be the first to tell you he’s no musician. He’s all bid-ness.)

“I have a customer who’s been tuning pianos for 20 years,” says Gaither. “He looked at it and said it was in great shape.”

The consensus among those familiar with the piece is that it dates back to the early 1920s, but there’s no way to ascertain its provenance or the actual date of its creation. The wise men at the Black Dog are just going on institutional knowledge.

It looks like a white dresser, and while its sustain and action are great, its voice is a little meek. Gaither hopes to make up for the instrument’s lack of stage presence by painting the whole thing taxi-cab yellow — “for a fast getaway.” Whoosh.

Music Awards

There have been some complaints about the Fort Worth Weekly Music Awards this year, and HearSay’s gonna face the music. OK. So there are a disproportionate number of Dallas acts and musicians on the ballot; and this is a touchy subject, considering the awards are by their nature supposed to celebrate Fort Worth artists — or, at least, Fort Worth artists first, Tarrant County artists second, and Dallas artists third. (We could say this rule of covering Fort Worth acts first directly reflects our paper’s distribution points; there are a helluva lot more copies of the Weekly in Fort Worth than in Big D.) Here’s a quick explanation: The bigwigs who make up the Weekly’s Music Awards nominating committee — you know, the folks who help us here compile the ballot that you see in the paper and ultimately feel compelled to bitch about — simply don’t understand newspaper economics. They just want the best bands in the area to get proper recognition. They don’t care about Fort Worth bands as much as they do about the Fort Worth scene, which brings in artists from across the state and especially Dallas. A simple solution would be to invite more Fort Worth-friendly industry heads into the nominating committee. So consider it done. Next year.

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