Drove out to Ithaca Friday night and back on Saturday with Dave the upperclassman. Iris Dement at the Bull Run had been cancelled because of a death in the family, but on Monday all three of us went to Club Passim to see Fred Eaglesmith doing his solo act.
Fred came on-stage with a heavy black coat, a heavy black tophat with some vent-holes in it (he could have been keeping a sizable animal up there), and an old sleek electric with a pick-guard that was threatening to fall off and some serious miles on it. That instrument started a little haltingly but then put out song after song of the jangly, whiny, brash, aggressive, hurt, honky-tonk, hard core folkie, reedy Fred Eaglesmith sound we were all dying to hear, as did Fred himself of course. We were at a front table natch, and the place was filled with enthusiasts. We all knew what we wanted and what we were going to get.
Fred is such an entertainer and probably spent an equal amount of time on stories, jokes, and pointless ramblings as on his songs, but when he did he sure played some good ones. He opened with Freight Train, did He's a Good Dog when things got too serious, covered some of his new material like the professional he is, did Time To Get a Gun when things got too light-hearted, pleased the crowd (and me) with Wilder Than Her, and told everyone he was going to close with Water in the Fuel and then didn't. He had us all eating out of his hand and rolling on the floor in laughter and it was some mighty funky and profane stuff he was serving up on that sacred stage in Cambridge. This was a lot of fun!
Time to leave and exchanged a few words with the ex-Marilyn Rae Bayer, who was one of my favorite DJs when she sat behind the mike. Fred had sneaked around and was sitting there at the exit like a badly-shaved leprechaun to threaten us into buying CDs for him to sign. I looked 'em over and grabbed one, then got the plastic off as I approached his stool. He stuck out his hand for it and I told him, "I bought the cheapest one there!" ... which pleased him to no end (they were all the same price). Glad he had a good time too!