Willie Nelson, along with Neil Young and John Mellencamp, founded farm Aid in 1985 when American farmers were in the midst of a mortgage crisis that was forcing many small farmers to leave their land. Through the concert, modeled on the Live Aid event that took place earlier that year, the performers hoped to raise money and awareness to help those farmers along. The event was a huge success, and turned into a tradition that has lasted for over three decades, with a large concert held at a different location each year.
Steely Dan’s Donald Fagan and Walter Becker have been making music together for nearly half a century now, a fact that was not lost on Becker as he introduced their backing band at Jiffy Lube Live last Wednesday. The duo is known for their almost-too-slick 70s FM radio production (“no static at all”) that belies a dark underworld of shady characters, seedy locales, and questionable goings-on. Blending soft rock tropes with complex jazz scales and time signatures is no easy feat, but Fagan and Becker are the masters at it. With a 12-person band backing them, it takes a lot of work to sound so smooth.