Hey there. A very Happy Presidents Day to you. It’s not typical protocol to wish anyone “Happy Presidents Day,” but when it gets you a 3 or 4-day weekend, why not?
Anyway, I think the official title of this glorious day off … er, holiday, is Washington’s Birthday. But, since the only shredding ol’ George did was on a cherry tree, I’m sticking with P-Day.
And while musically inclined U.S. leaders have been few and far between, it’s not a complete shutout - sure, Richard Nixon got busted for Watergate. But he was also a trained pianist who busted out a memorable performance at the Grand Ole Opry and wrote his own concerto for Jack Parr’s Tonight Show.
President Obama can’t get Congress to listen to him, but it seemed he had everyone’s ear when he took on Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” in Harlem, or joined B.B. King, Mick Jagger, Buddy Guy and Gary Clark, Jr. on a version of “Sweet Home Chicago” at the White House.
And who could forget Bill Clinton on the Arsenio Hall show? It was actually this nationally televised, funk-ified version of “Heartbreak Hotel” that earned him the nickname ‘The Rock and Roll President’ – not the whole Lewinsky thing.
But for a bona fide, real musician president, it comes down to a cage match between Warren G. Harding and Thomas Jefferson. Harding was a terrible president, but he was a true multi-instrumentalist who used to host booze-fueled jam sessions at the White House during prohibition. Jefferson had a lot on his plate with the Declaration of Independence and all, but he still found time to get down with the clavichord, cello and violin. He also married a musician and made sure that his children were proficient players as well.
I’d love to speculate whether Chris Christie or Hillary Clinton could knock out the better version of “Get Lucky” at karaoke night, but some other musical things are happening this week as well.
- Angel Olsen, Guided by Voices, Lost in the Trees, Phantogram and Suzanne Vega drop new albums tomorrow. Don’t miss Olsen at the Soda Bar on March 1. She’s sure to win you over with her unique voice and heartbreaking tales of love and loss.
- It’s been announced that everywhere-man Cee-Lo will be joining Lionel Ritchie at his upcoming “All The Hits – All Night Long” Sleep Train Amphitheatre show on June 7. This is good news. Now you can scream “F--k You” at Lionel Ritchie and blame it all on Cee-Lo if you get any strange looks.
- Officially confirmed by the band on their Facebook page Feb. 7, Trips Jurado, the bassist for locals Gone Baby Gone has called it quits. The band is currently holding auditions, and I can only wish them both the best of luck. The Gone Baby Goners are all a bunch of nice folks.
- Fans of local rockers the New Kinetics can rejoice: A reunion show has been scheduled April 5 at the Casbah. Original bassist Leslie Schultz will not be joining them, but Joshua Kmak, guitarist/vocalist for the NFormals (also on the night's bill) has filled in quite nicely as the band's new bass player.
- Pick of the week: Cibo Matto at the Casbah on Feb. 22. Sorry to pick another sold-out show, but after a 15-year hiatus and a great new album, this one really should be special.
Enjoy your day off, music lovers. We’ll see you in a week.
Blogger Scott McDonald covers music in San Diego for a few different publications and is the editor of Eight24.com
Published at 11:31 AM PST on Feb 17, 2014