One more time

Ken Lyon and the Tombstone visit their back pages
By BOB GULLA  |  August 21, 2007
LOOKING BACK: Lyon at the Stadium in April.

Back in the spring, a bunch of friends came together to pay tribute to Ken Lyon, at 66, now his fifth decade of making music. They dubbed it “An Evening with Ken Lyon: A Musical Retrospective.” A cavalcade of Lyon’s colleagues and accompanists trotted across the stage through the night in what amounted to a “This Is Your Life” evvent, a musical sojourn for one of our most storied talents. It chronicled each phase of Lyon’s colorful career, from the Brill Building pop of New York City in the ’60s, to the coffeehouses of the Northeast, the concert halls of the world with Tombstone and, finally, the intimate stages of Rhode Island, where he still plays happily in front of family and friends. By all counts, the night, held at the Stadium Theater in Woonsocket, was a resounding success, so successful that the musicians decided to reunite for a command performance. That encore will take place this weekend at the Ocean Mist in Matunuck.
The show, which may mark the last performance by Lyon’s original Tombstone band, also celebrates the release of a double-DVD set, also titled An Evening with Ken Lyon: A Musical Retrospective, an excellent, multi-camera visual document of the Stadium show. The film presents Lyon’s near-sellout, career-spanning performance almost in its entirety and includes guest spots by musicians from every phase of his career, including Celtic greats Pendragon, the Shoe Fly Orchestra, and original Tombstone members Mark Taber and Brenda Mosher-Bennett.
The lineup for the Ocean Mist show, which Lyon has dubbed the Tombstone “Class of 2007,” is a gathering of friends and collaborators from some of the area’s top acts. In addition to Mark and Brenda, a special appearance is also scheduled by original Tombstone drummer Michael Quinn, in his first major appearance after a multi-year layoff. The band features Rick Bellaire (guitar, percussion, from Folks Together); Don “D.C.” Culp (drums, percussion, from Gary Guitar and the Grinders and the Foreverly Brothers); Gary “Guitar” Gramolini (guitar, from John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band); Josh Lyon (guitar, Ken’s son, formerly of Triton); Jon Samuels (bass, from Gary Guitar and the Grinders and Foreverly Brothers); Lori Martin (vocals, from the Shoe Fly Orchestra and What’s It To U); and Adrian West (vocals).
The Ocean Mist date also marks the reissue of The Best of Ken Lyon Volume 1, the first pressing of which sold out at the April gig. The 17-song CD features Lyon’s best-known material as well as rarities and unreleased live tracks. And don’t arrive late. Not only will you get squeezed out, you’ll miss an opening set by Gary Guitar & the Grinders.
Lyon Roar Productions presents Ken Lyon & Tombstone in concert at the Ocean Mist on Saturday, August 25 at 9 pm. Call 401.782.3740. If you’re booked that night, you can hit Chan’s on Wednesday, August 29, where Lyon will head up an open mike blues jam from 7 to 10 pm. Admission is free. For information, call 401.765.1900.

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