A black SUV pulls up to a farm-style complex in upstate New York. Out steps a man in a long black coat, signature long red beard, a red do rag under a worn, comfortable felt hat, and sunglasses. ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons walks forward to shake hands with his host, Daryl Hall. After a few words of conversation, the two are jamming inside Hall’s expansive music room.
So begins episode 63 of the online Live From Daryl’s House.
And yes, this is Daryl Hall from the 1980s Hall and Oates duo. Hall has become an online storyteller. His episodes deliver a consistent, tight story format: a half-hour mix of live jams, conversation, cooking and dining.
The jam room, large by any standard, is packed with musicians, gear, and camera guys. The barn-like room features mementos, a Little Milton poster on the wall, an imposing chandelier, and rugs underfoot. Microphones everywhere. The camera work and editing are exciting, dynamic, well-executed.
The focus is the music. Jamming at its best. This episode with Billy Gibbons includes ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man” and Hall and Oates’s “Bank on Your Love”. The audio on each episode is clear, clean. Despite the crowd of musicians and gear, none of the instruments bleed together. No instruments eat up vocals. And Gibbons says of the efficient set-up Hall provides, “Hit it and quit it.”
Gibbons talks of working one night with B.B. King. After asking if Gibbons would mind switching guitars for part of the performance, King noted that the strings on Gibbons’s guitar were heavy gauge. “These strings are kind of heavy,” he said. Gibbons replied that he used them to get the deep, rich blues sound. “Why are you working so hard?” King came back. Gibbons has used lighter strings since.
Between songs, Gibbons whips up a huge bowl of his Renegade Guacamole, with help from caterer Mexican Radio. The episode ends with more conversation and a communal meal around Hall’s long table.
Hall has been doing this for over five years. The sixty-three episodes include Rob Thomas, Sharon Jones, KT Tunstall, Shelby Lynne, CeeLo Green, and Allen Stone. Every episode is a new, fresh story.