Times must be hard for the honky tonk heroes of country rock. Fine musicians, the likes of James Burton, Glen D. Hardin and Emory Gordy have been driven into the monied arms of John Denver, while last night at the Cellar Door what might be called "the Rest of the Flying Burrito Brothers" offered a limp, nostalgic one-night stand.
Back in 1970 the group of the same name, led by Gram Parsons, helphed kick off country rock by adapting the music of Merle Haggard, the Louvin Brothers, Buck Owens and others to the times. Parsons left the group, and later met an untimely death, while the Burrito Brothers have gone on and on with a cast of characters as varied as the Redskins' offensive line.
The estimable "Sneaky Pete" Kleinow, a minor pop legend at the pedal steel guitar, is still on hand, but the rest of the group consists of musically competent L.A. cowboys going through the motions.
Last night, it was a pleasure to hear Gram Parsons" "Hickory Wind," to hear Sneaky Pete do his number on Dylan's "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere," to hear Greg Harris pick "Rocky Top, Tennessee."
Beyound that, one wonders who decided that a five-man band, with a 10-year history and a cast numbering nearly 20 over the years is entitled to play nostalgia. It was a passable show at the Cellar Door, with no problems that hard work wouldn't cure.