On deck: Halford bats cleanup in the Crystal Bay Club’s Red Room
Jeffrey Halford is the master of storytelling in songs. George Thorogood is a loquacious teller of stories. So it’s no surprise their recent show together started a little bit late.
“He wouldn’t stop telling stories,” Halford said, “so finally the backstage guy came in and said, ‘Jeffrey, you have to go on right now.’ George says, ‘No, no, I’m not done!’ I was a little nervous because it was a sellout crowd.”
The crowd might mostly have been there to see Thorogood, who was the headliner, but Halford finished his set to a standing ovation.
Jeffrey Halford and the Healers perform the Reckless Kelly after-party free in the Crystal Bay Casino Red Room, his third appearance in the venue in four years.
“We’re more on the blues-rock end – country, blues, folk, Tex-Mex, a little bit of R& B,” Halford said. “I’ll stir the pot.”
Like Thorogood, Halford is a baseball fan, and he is still glowing from the San Francisco Giants World Series title. His musical style is often categorized Americana, which makes natural a handful of his songs are about the national pastime. One of his more popular tunes is “Satchel’s Fastball,” an homage to the sport and Satchel Page. His record label is Shoeless Joe, a reference to “Shoeless” Joe Jackson. And he recently produced Peter Rudy’s album “Mudshack,” which includes some baseball tracks.
Saying it’s been “too long,” since releasing his sixth studio record in 2008, “Broken Chord,” Halford has been recording this week.
He put down on Monday “Play Some Vinyl,” which tells a story from his youth.
“I would go to the giant record store in LA and hitchhike home with my vinyl,” he said. “I would call a girl and have a listening party. There’s a lot of great girls there.”
Halford is re-releasing on vinyl his album “Kerosene” on the 10-year anniversary of its first release.
“Records are back,” Halford said. “Once you pick up a record, whether it’s a John Davidson or a John Hammond, you’re not going to forget the artist.”
Another song is a gospel with the viewpoint of a prisoner.
“I always felt like one wrong turn and it could have been me,” he said. “It’s just this guy pining in prison for a second chance.”
An uptempo blues song, “North Beach,” is about his days busking on the streets of San Francisco and spending the earnings on pitchers of beer.
During Halford’s frequent trips to LA, he visited an artist who while drinking himself to death would paint Mexican beach and cantina scenes. He explained the premise of his story he tells in “Mexico.”
“The last time I went down there, he didn’t come back from Mexico,” Halford said “This guy drank. That’s all you can do a lot of time (when writing a song). Let your imagination take an idea. He was just checking out. It’s got to be artistically inspiring if you’ve got any kind of discipline.”