Saturday, March 2, 2013
Tracy Grammer at The M&T
The Me and Thee Coffeehouse has booked an incredible lineup this season, even though Patty Larkin was cancelled by snow a couple of weeks ago. For instance, on Friday night (3/1) we made our way up to Marblehead (after the regular meet-up at Gulu Gulu in Salem) to see Cliff Eberhardt opening for Tracy Grammer and Jim Henry.
There was a short line that was just being let in when we pulled up, but we were still able to grab the best seats in the house, first row right in the pole position. Cliff came on and played a thoroughly entertaining set, mixing humor and a wide range of songs, all done with his home-spun style. We were delighted that he played his two mega-hits (well, mega-hits for folk): Memphis and The Long Road. Memphis has been covered by everybody and, though he didn’t bring out Richie Havens, The Long Road was done beautifully ... an extended apostrophe.
Then Tracy and Jim came on and, though Cliff had been great, the talent level just soared off the scale. What can you say about Tracy Grammer? She’s just a supremely talented musician who was blessed by her years with Dave Carter and continues to carry that musical torch. They didn't do the two best songs in the world (Blue Wing and Gypsy Rose), but did a bunch of other Dave songs, some she’d written, and some covers. For an encore they got Cliff back up on stage, unplugged, and led a sing-along on Townes’s Pancho and Lefty.
The highlights of the night for me were Little Blue Egg, Better Way, Hard To Make It, and The Mountain … cosmic folk poetry with beautiful licks. They also did Vincent Black Lightning, apologizing that it took two of them to play it when Richard Thompson does it himself. Tracy told a great story about Dave thinking that finally he had written a country hit in Better Way and starting out on the road to Nashville to peddle it ... and then the muses came back to him in the car and told him, “Dave, there’s a fourth verse to that song.” He turned around and went home.
Summer is over and her temples are grey.
And I guess you'll be looking 'round for somebody new.
Or maybe you found him and you're just not saying
'cause he makes you feel the way I used to do.
Oh, Babe, if there's a better way
to love you, show it to me.
'Cause I could not live
and let you get away
knowing there was a better way.
Well, out on the highway a mean wind is screaming
and it cuts right through you when the rain bites hard.
But I'd walk beside you to share in your dreaming
And while you were sleeping, I'd be standing guard.
Well hard roads bust open with bitter words spoken
and hearts can be broken and dreams undone.
But hearts can be mended and hard words forgotten.
And roads we turned off of where they started from.
Death came to my window in the form of a maiden
But she didn't say nothing, she just stood and stared.
And round about midnight, she lay down beside me
But when I awoke, there was nobody there.