It was another night at the Corner Cafe and I told myself, I have written way too many laudatory reviews for anyone to ever consider me anything but a local suck schmoozing for beers. I came into the performance by Jon Hogan and Maria Moss ready to hack them up. It was a matter of journalistic objectivity, my artistic integrity. They looked like two likely victims, a couple of big city wanna-be’s out trying to act like real talent where nobody knows the difference. I sharpened my pen.
Hogan, a wisp of a man, made my cynicism easy; I could probably take him later if I had to. You know, to defend my artistic integrity. Moss looked like… well, Ruth Buzze’s sister, some poor bag lady Hogan might have saved from a homeless shelter, who had kept her mother’s clothes, vintage hat and all. Either they were going to be laughable, or they had to be really good. I had found just what I was looking for, to re-establish my credibility. But quite inconveniently, they did not fit the bill. Once again, I must say, damn, where was the crowd that should have been there to witness such an extraordinary concert.
And it is just as well, when Maria Moss unwound and stepped off of the stage, all six foot of her, (or so,it seemed!) I felt... let's just say I felt like I should be very respectful... "Nice hat..." And then, it turns out the handsome stranger in the crowd was her husband. So I got a Shiner and started taking pictures.
I say Damn! Hogan and Moss were… I’m going to have to leave out everything but adjectives… Exhilarating… Fun, Heartbreaking, Wild, Crazy, Epic, Microcosmic, toe-tapping, head-nodding, gut busting, Soul searching, Wow, I can’t believe I’m in Navasota stupendousness.
John Hogan is a blast. He was born to entertain. If he had no audience, he would play to the forest. He just loves to sing. In fact, I have not heard such sheer joy in singing since my all time favorite, Rusty Wier, who was known to just haul off and half-yodel and laughingly holler for awhile. Hogan sings with happy abandon and sometimes seems to forget that the song even has an ending, or else he can’t stand to pinch it off, and everybody is just nodding and smiling with him. When he gets exhausted he turns the controls over to his co-pilot, Maria Moss who carries the musical journey until he gets back the air in his lungs, and then he might go another verse. It was exhausting to just watch them. What a gift.
By the end, they had made us live an extra year of our lives in a couple of hours. They made us love them... even their clothes... That's what genius does.
And all of this, just two blocks down from my house. It is such a great privilege to live at the center of the Universe. And thanks to Jon Hogan and Maria Moss for landing their magic carpet here, and sharing their song. If this is any sign of things to come, I’m not going anywhere!