Sunday, January 25, 2009

Wild Goose Creative Presents...

Wild Goose Creative threw on Thursday night one of the most enjoyable concerts I've seen. Four acts, suggested donation five bucks (really worth much more), oodles of CDs and other merchandise goodies to purchase, food provided, and Andy Anderson even heated water for tea (and Jessie helped me find the tea)! A very welcoming environment.

I suppose the theme for the evening (if there was a theme) could have been "rustic". Listening to these acts from the perspective of 2009, one would have guessed punk, new wave, and all the related genres that spawned in reaction to hippy excess had never happened. It was as if there was a space-time continuum between 1972 and now: long hair, banjos, organic, harmoniously rustic sounds are in again, spearheaded (or at least exemplified) by the Fleet Foxes. Not that that's a bad thing. One could do worse than be influenced by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Gram Parsons, and the Carter Family. Much worse.

The Shaw Brothers were up first, Chris on violin, Andy on guitar (for the most part; various arrangements of voice and instruments were used). Both very strong, capable musicians, the music they created was just plain beautiful. Andy's voice is a powerful instrument, and they reminded me at times of Beirut and/or a more subdued Muse. I'll be buying their album.

Next up was Pezzettino, a young lady with a wonderful old-looking accordian (she usually also performs witha piano). Dressed all in black, situated with the black and white accordian, Pezzettino looked like she stepped out of the Weimar Republic, and before she began her set I half expected her to be singing Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht songs. Her songs were much more personal, though, heartfelt, intimate songs of love and lost love and almost love, expressed with a wide range of emotions and subtleties both delicate and forceful. The style of her music was difficult to place, but I've never heard an accordian played so effectively; her control over the instrument was really mesmerizing. I was very impressed.

I purchased Pezzettino's first CD, Because I Have No Control..., and will be listening to it soon. She'll be releasing two more albums this year.

Longsleeves was up next; because I was purchasing Pezzettino's CD, I missed the beginning and didn't know if Longsleeves was a person or a group. He is a singer, songwriter and guitarist, this evening pared with banjo player and singer/songwriter Ben Laatsch.

We were again back in Carter Family territory. There has always been a folk music tradition, of course, flowing through the decades regardless of whatever other genres were transcendent at the time. To call Longsleeves' (and the Shaw Bros. and the Fleet Foxes) music folk seems somehow limiting, though; it's rustic music that is also informed by the potential forcefulness of rock. Neil Young's early '70s recordings were a sort-of template for this new music.

In any event, these guys were good! Like the Shaw Brothers, they used a variety of arrangements of instruments. Longsleeves' voice was forceful, and their interpretions of old standards some groups would consider too old-fashioned to perform were lively and audience-involving. Ben Laatch's solo songs using only the banjo were exquisite and with his long hair, plaid shirt, and red scarf, he looked the part.

I immediately purchased three of their CDs (one of them a Ben Laatch solo CD), and will probably be purchasing more. I'll be keeping an eye on all of these acts. Vinyl, my friends, keep vinyl in mind.

I had to leave soon after the last act, Eric Nassau, took the stage. Another time, Eric.

Here's a ton of links to keep you busy for research on these fine musicians:

The Shaw Brothers


Longsleeves' website:
Ben Laatsch's website:
Longsleeves' MySpace:
Ben Laatsch's MySpace:

Wild Goose Creative website:

Photo above taken by the talented Amanda Anderson!
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Amanda said...

What a nice review! Thank you so much Michael :)

Bootlegger84 said...

nice! thanks for the comments i really enjoyed seeing a review of us since we do not have a lot of "press" if you will for our duo. it is interesting the resurgence of folk and harmonies and such, we have always enjoyed that music and i have been noticing how it is almost "trendy" now...if anything there are more people playing it and that kind of music is getting attention and to me its just good music so...only good can come! thanks again!