One of the many highlights of my recent trip to the States was to visit twice the Eagles Club in Medford to see my sister dance and listen to the music of Jim Lane's The Renegades.
The Eagles Club [or Lodge I think] is a freemasonry institution - and, though not sure, if it is linked to the Fraternal Order of Eagles it has an altruistic history and sense of service, but I don't really know - and in addition to the generous measures of alcohol served which I definitely enjoyed, it is an oasis of ordinary folk enjoying the twilight of its windowless interior and, in many cases, their years.
|Eagles Club, Medford|
The two nights I attended were dance nights, so the evening ambiance may have been further engineered by the dimmed lights whereas other activities could well be brightly illuminated, and the dancing clientele was mixed though certainly thoroughly peopled by those long into retirement and the simple pleasures of continuing.
This post isn't about my sister - a relative spring-chicken in the context of that clientele - though her dancing was outstanding and it was a joy for a brother to see. I performed some classic dad-dancing myself, and literally with my daughter on the second visit, but the swing, cha-chas, waltzes and all other recognised routines with professional adjectival descriptors were brilliantly performed by my sister and her partner as well as the other experienced movers.
The band on both nights I attended was The Renegades, led by Jim Lane on guitar and keyboards. Playing an eclectic set on both nights, the band was predominantly country rock though this ranged from covers of Santana to Roger Miller's King Of The Road, as well as on my second visit an enjoyable rendition of Old Crow Medicine Show's Wagon Wheel. I had the pleasure of speaking with Jim on a couple of occasions, and here is the epitome of the journeyman musician: someone who has played for pleasure and beer money for most of his life; the epitome of the accomplished professional who never made it 'big' but whose clear and broad love of music exudes its eclecticism, expertise and absolute work ethic in the context of this everyday dance life. I loved it. And Jim is one of the humblest, nicest guys I have ever had the pleasure to meet.
|Jim on far left. Photos of band by AF|
As I typed this I have been listening to The Renegades' Lost Country Rock of the 70s cd, my two favourite tracks being opener Mustang Sally with backing horns, and Black Magic Woman as it is a great song but I also heard it played live twice. And it is hearing this band live in this club with these people simply having fun in this twilight of clarity that is now a cherished memory.