Saturday, September 28, 2013

Patty Larkin Rocks

The lineup at the Me and Thee Coffeehouse last year was fantastic, but this year seems a little thin.  BUT, one of the first up this Fall was Patty Larkin (actually a leftover from a cancellation last year), and there was no question that we were going to be there.

Quite a slog through traffic getting to Salem, where Sarah and I met at a packed Gulu Gulu (even the outside tables were busy).  We made it to the church about 10 minutes before showtime and I let Sarah out while I parked.  She was able to wiggle into a front-row seat, and the church filled up soon afterwards, including a bunch of chairs in the vestibule.

Scott Alarik came on first and read some passages in his nuanced, high voice from his folk music novel (a genre waiting to explode).  Patty came on next and rocked.  She must have taken the easy ride through the tunnel from the Outer Cape to Marblehead ... she was fresh and ready to go.

I was hoping for I'm Fine, one of the best songs ever written IMO, and she did that second and followed it up with the sublime Tango.  Sitting in the left-hand first pew we had a great view of her fingering and picking and it was enthralling.  She's got the fingers and the technique of a concert pianist, as well as a suitcase full of fantastic songs, a soulful voice, and a great sense of humor.  After stretching her neck between songs she commented that she'd been thinking of taking up yoga but decided she wasn't ready to take the edge off quite yet.

Patty did a couple of songs from her just-released album, Still Green, but covered songs from throughout her career.  Then she nicely asked what songs people would like to hear in the second set.  People did not hesitate to shout them out, but she cut us off after 5 or 6, saying, "OK, that's enough!"  She took a break while we all got coffee and/or pastries, and then she came out and played all of the requests!

I had asked for Metal Drums, thinking it against the odds that she'd want to do a song from so early in her career, but she did an excellent version of it, citing the pain and struggles that toxic waste problems have caused in Massachusetts, in towns like Holbrook and Woburn ... it was like she knew we're from Woburn.

She also did some of her excellent instrumental pieces, like Banish Misfortune/Open Hand:

Merry Amsterburg came out and accompanied Patty on vocals for an encore of Different World.  We hung out a bit after the concert and chatted with Glenn and then Patty.  Sarah mentioned my sister and she actually remembered her as "Louise from Portland" from when they met in Ann Arbor years before.  What a nice person, and what a nice time at the Me and Thee!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Ipswich South

Haven't been blogging about all my kayak trips in MA recently, but here's one.  I've borrowed Dave's Old Town Castine for local salt water trips and we hit the big time today.  We put in at the Ipswich Town Landing, went down the river for a mile or two against the solid incoming tide, and then poked out into the Atlantic, past the opening to Plum Island Sound.

The incoming tide was ripping over the shoals at the entrance to the Sound and was twisting back and forth with the options to go up the river, up the sound, or to crash on the shore.  Added to this was the strong South by West wind that grinned at the tide (headed Southeast generally) and whipped up a chop wherever it could.  We plowed through turbulent waves and whirlpools out in the mouth of the sound, hiding behind buoys that were almost submerged by the strong current.

Back up the river after a sandwich and strolled through the salt marsh peninsulas on the high tide while motorboats joy-rode down the channel.  Made it back to the Town Landing about an hour past high tide and put up.