(Cross the) Heartland: Pat Metheny, “Au Lait” (1981)

One of the real strengths of Offramp is the heterogeneous nature of the material — each song so different from the next — and yet it all hangs together so beautifully. And so from the intense guitar synth workout of Are You Going With Me? we transition to “Au Lait.” I’ve always thought this song would have fit in a Fellini movie, with it’s gauzy, dreamlike quality and spooky vocalizations.

I’d wondered if they’d ever played this song live, and was pleasantly surprised to find this video. Actually, for a few reasons.

“Au Lait” doesn’t begin until after the 8 minute mark, the first segment taken up by the group vamping through some blues. It’s kind of a rare thing to hear Pat and Lyle playing on those simple changes. During “Au Lait,” and before they move back into the blues, we’re treated to an absolutely killer Steve Rodby solo on the standup bass.

Next up: Eighteen

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.