As its title suggests, 3 for the Road: Live! at Eddie's Attic is something of a successor to Don Conoscenti's previous live albums One for the Road and Extremely Live at Eddie's Attic, particularly the latter, since, once again, a complete show has been recorded at the Decatur, GA, nightclub in a sort of audio-verité style, with no editing as long as somebody's on-stage. The big difference, of course, is that not only the nominal headliner, Conoscenti, but also his nominal opening act, Lowen & Navarro, are included. In addition, the use of the word "nominal" is significant in that the performers opted to employ only the barest outlines of the billing, joining forces for much of the two lengthy sets captured here over four CDs in an evening running nearly four-and-a-half hours. Conoscenti comes on at the outset to introduce Lowen & Navarro and explain the ground rules, then replaces them on-stage after four songs for his own five-song solo set, after which they play together. The second set follows the same pattern, but is, as usual for second sets, much looser. There is very little overlap: Conoscenti does play John Lennon's "Love" twice, and Lowen & Navarro tell the same tuning joke twice ("We tune because we care"), but that's about it for repetition. The listener gets a large chunk of Conoscenti's standard repertoire, including songs that have turned up previously on his other live albums, and of the highlights of Lowen & Navarro's extensive catalog, along with three excellent new songs -- "Raining in My Eyes," "If You Love Me Like That," and "The Opposite of Everything" -- which is to be expected, since they haven't had a new studio album out in five years. Especially in the second set, the performers present an eclectic range of covers including songs by Woody Guthrie, the Bee Gees, and Robert Johnson (a slightly retitled "Sweet Home Chicago" here called "Sweet Home Decatur") before things get really strange, as Led Zeppelin is turned bluegrass in a version of "Whole Lotta Love" dubbed "Hoedown of Love"; the Beatles' "Rain" is combined with the Brook Benton hit "Rainy Night in Georgia"; and the proceedings finally come to a close with an audience-participation rendition of Lowen & Navarro's biggest hit (as writers for Pat Benatar), "We Belong," which somehow morphs into the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want," and then the McCoys' "Hang on Sloopy." The unedited approach leaves in plenty of tuning, in-jokes, and calls to the bar for drinks to be delivered to the stage. This is a long, well-lubricated, enjoyable night in a Georgia club with three good friends who play guitars and sing, together and apart, along with a crowd that is having almost as much fun as they are.
3 for the Road: Live! at Eddie’s Attic Review
by William Ruhlmann