Seems a fair guess that between Wino and Conny Ochs, it’s the latter who brought the idea of covering Chris Whitley to the table. The relatively underappreciated singer-songwriter, who passed away in 2005 from lung cancer, had a discography of more than a 10 full-lengths to his credit by the time he died at the age of 45, and of course more have surfaced since. “Hotel Vast Horizon” is the title-track from the Texan’s ninth LP, released in 2003, and in performing it on their US tour, it’s Ochs who takes the initial lead vocally in the video below, backed by Wino as the song progresses.
Wino & Conny Ochs were on tour at the time supporting their debut, Heavy Kingdom (review here), after beginning with a European tour to herald the Exile on Mainstream release. Their second album, the more crisply produced Freedom Conspiracy (review here), came out earlier this year, and while most of the time when I post about the two-piece, it gets a response I’ll generously call “minimal,” as the Wino Wednesday series pushes toward its conclusion with #200, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a Wino & Conny Ochs track, because screw it, I like that stuff a lot. Can’t be Spirit Caravan all the time.
Along with “Hotel Vast Horizon,” the video includes the next cut in their set at The Satellite in Los Angeles on Aug. 8, 2012, which was “Green Speed.” Taken from Wino‘s 2010 solo acoustic debut, Adrift (review here), its careening central progression and faster pace manage to show heavy roots no matter how they’re played, plugged or not, and it makes a fitting companion for “Hotel Vast Horizon” here, demonstrating what each player brings to the Wino & Conny Ochs collaboration.
Two more Wino Wednesdays after this one, which is getting increasingly hard to believe. Hope you enjoy: