Throwback Thursday’s got nothing on Friday night’s lineup at Tarrytown Music Hall.
The acoustic duo of Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett of Little Feat, the legendary rootsy band that’s been going strong since 1969, opens the evening for New York’s own Orleans, which formed in Ithaca in 1972.
That’s four decades of rock ‘n roll!
These artists will be doing a string of shows together in the coming weeks.
The Music Hall gig is “the first show we’ve ever done with them,” Barrere tells Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? by phone from his Los Angeles-area home. “This’ll be an interesting soiree.”
“John Hall [Orleans’ frontman] and I have been swapping mp3s of different songs and stuff, and I think they’ll probably play a couple with us,” Barrere says. “Fred and I will do our usual acoustic opening set and we’ll get a little help on a couple of songs. And then they’ll do their set and we’ll probably jump in at the end of theirs. So it’ll be kinda cool.”
While the two acts haven’t played live together before, Barrere notes that he and Tackett share some history with Hall, who was a Democrat who represented the Hudson Valley’s 19th Congressional District from 2007 to 2011.
“John played on the original recording of [Little Feat’s] ‘All That You Dream,'” way back in 1910 or something like that,” Barrere says with a laugh.
Barrere and Tackett share a lot more history than that, though.
They’ve been doing acoustic duo shows — messing around with different arrangements of Little Feat’s classic catalogue — since 1999. But the idea began to coalesce a decade earlier, Barrere says.
“The way this whole thing came to be, was, when Little Feat would go on the road, after we re-formed in ’88 and ‘Let it Roll’ and all that, we would blow into a town and obviously some radio station would want to do some kind of preview or interview for the show,” Barrere says.
“They’d say, ‘Can you send a couple guys, a couple guitars, and do a couple songs?’ Fred and I were the obvious choices, and we wound up doing a zillion of those.
“So we kept working up arrangements for different songs.
“Then then we were being endorsed by Gibson, so Gibson asked us to come and play their 100th anniversary up in San Franscico [on Nov. 20, 1994], So we put together a whole set of music and went up there and did it.
“Then they asked us to play this NAMM show and open for John Lee Hooker and I said, ‘We’re the guys, we’re ready.’
“And the next thing I know there’s this Japanese promoter approaching me after the set and he says how would you guys like to come to Japan and play some shows? And I went, sounds like fun to me. And then we just started getting bookings all across America as well, you know, when Little Feat wasn’t working.
“It just kinda built up over the years. And then three years ago, I started seriously taking care of my liver — I have hep C — to the point where, just about a year ago I started my first treatment, so I couldn’t really tour with Little Feat. But I could still do weekends, because it [the drug Harvoni] didn’t waylay me that much.
“So we’ve done more and more over the last year and a half than I can remember ever doing before that. It’s become our own little Hot Tuna, if you will,” he adds, referring to Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady’s acoustic duo Jefferson Airplane spinoff.
“So, it’s been fun.”
While Barrere and Tackett have been gigging together this way for a long time, and they’ve been busy over the years with Little Feat, it’s not Barrere’s first experiment with the two-man format.
“Back in the Eighties, when Little Feat wasn’t playing, I was running around playing with a guy named Catfish Hodge,” Barrere recalls. “It was like two guys in a car with guitars honky-tonking it. So it was nice.”
Barrere says he still loves making music.
“I enjoy the process. I don’t enjoy the travel as much as I used to. That’s one of the things about Fred and I — we can do it like maybe one weekend a month, pack three shows in and then we can be home, which is great.
“But while I’m home, I’ve been working with this other cat, Roger Cole. We’ve been writing and recording a lot of songs.
“I like the recording process. To me, when you’re recording is like a canvas to a painter. You can get the basics down and start adding, and adding, and sweetening and sweetening. That’s the whole thing that really turns me on.”
Barrere says gigs with Tackett have been a godsend in terms of managing his hepatitis C, which he believes he contracted through drug use over the years.
He spoke positively about his health in the wake of a course of treatment he completed on Easter and was hopeful about his post-treatment blood tests.
“I just got an email from UCLA [Medical Center] saying that my results are online and I’m gonna go check ’em out and go see my doctor on Monday, before I head East on Wednesday. So I’ve got my fingers crossed. I’m waiting with bated breath … I feel so much better with the treatment than before I took the treatment.”
Meanwhile, if you can’t make the party on Friday, you’ll have one more chance to catch Barrere and Tackett in the lower Hudson Valley, when they play Daryl’s House in Pawling, New York, on June 4.
IF YOU GO
Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett: Acoustic Little Feat, open for Orleans and Friends
8 p.m., Friday, May 15
Tarrytown Music Hall, 13 Main St. Tarrytown, NY 10591
$48-58, available online by tapping or clicking here, by phone through TicketForce at 877-840-0457 (Monday – Thursday, 11am-6pm, Friday, 11am – 4pm) or at the box office (Wednesday – Saturday, 12pm-5pm, 3 hours prior to performances, and 1 hour prior to films).