Sunday, November 7, 2010

three concerts

We were lucky enough lately to go see three excellent music shows. Here's a bit of a recap.

11/3/10 - Hot Rize at National Heritage Museum in Lexington (Boston Bluegrass Union show)
  • I routinely describe Hot Rize as the best bluegrass band that's ever existed and I saw nothing Wednesday night to make me change my mind. They played an assortment of their fantastic songs and mixed in a few "new" ones (new to them at least) like Jimmy Webb's "Wichita Lineman" and "Sinner" from Tim's new album.
  • Brian Sutton has taken up Charles Sawtelle's lead guitar part and did a really fantastic job: no singing but some awesome leads and tasteful fill in the Hot Rize tradition.
  • Speaking of vocals, Tim, Nick, and Pete sounded as good as ever, especially on chestnuts like "Colleen Malone" and "Won't You Come and Sing With Me." To me, their vocals was what sent me back to the days of yore and was the highlight of the show.
  • But the real surprise of the show was when Hot Rize left the stage and some other act that wasn't on the bill came out and ripped it up with some good ol' Western tunes. Their steel player was quite a card, their guitarist was flashy like you wouldn't believe, and their repertoire was impeccable ... they even did a medley of 60s hits (in a better key). The sexiest guy there was their young bass player, "Suede," who almost spoke a few times.
11/05/10 - Carrie Rodriguez and Jim Lauderdale at the Me and Thee Coffeehouse in Marblehead
  • It's a %^*@ of a long drive to Marblehead, but I met Sarah at a great bar in Salem (Gulu-Gulu Cafe) and we had some time to get in the right mood before the show. We got there just as they opened the doors and grabbed a seat in the front row ... which isn't a huge victory for that coffeehouse (it's a small room) but counted aesthetically.
  • Jim Lauderdale went on first and is a sincere, authentic, nice country singer with no ego, a great sense of humor, and a veteran's stage presence. If you've never seen him, run don't walk.
  • Carrie came on next with her accompanist, Hans Holzen (who Sarah says is at least as pretty as Carrie is) and they did a flawless set. Two of my favorites were "50s French Movie" and "La Puñalada Trapera," which was much better live than on record.
  • Sarah took some great videos of Carrie singing Waterbound and the two duetting on a Louvin Bros song for an encore.
11/06/10 - Eilen Jewell Band at Johnny Ds in Somerville
  • We weren't going to go to this, but at the last minute said "why not?" and got standing room tickets.
  • Boy, was that place crowded. It sold out soon after we got there (though there was still an hour until the show), and you had to stake out a place if you wanted to get a good view of the stage.
  • I had heard that they were going to start the show with a set of their Loretta Lynn material, but they bagged that (they just returned from a European tour and were probably sick of the routine) and only mixed in a few Lynn songs, like "Fist City" and "You Wanna Give Me a Lift" with their classic numbers like "Rain Roll In" and "High Shelf Booze."
  • Of course they did "Shaking All Over" and there was some dancing going on during that.

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