An enthusiastic night at the Acoustic Showcase. Mike Barrett and Chris Eastburn began the evening, joined by Kate Donahue on backing vocals and guitar, and her father Jack on bass and the occasional vocals/harmonica. As usual, their set list was excellent -- high points included "Hallelujah" (Leonard Cohen) and a rousing rendition of "Spirit In The Sky" with Jesus replaced by Nancy (as in "gotta have a friend in Nancy" -- evidently the harbinger of a new and exciting religious orientation originating right here in Lexington, Massachusetts!)
I get a kick out of listening to this group. They have an old-timey spirit that's very inviting -- a kind of hootenanny effect that brings a smile.
After Mike, Chris, Kate and Jack were cheered off the stage, Alyssa Zahka took over. Alyssa has a gorgeous voice that she sends soaring over her ringing guitar, with an unaffected and appealing stage presence.
Great song selection -- a balanced blend of covers and originals. Among many wonderful moments: "Unchained Melody" (Righteous Brothers), an out-of-left-field selection that went over beautifully. She also covered Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and Miley Cyrus (proving that good song writing trumps marketing hype). I got a kick out of watching her friends in the audience singing the words along with her...
Alyssa's set was another example of what deep pleasure is to be had from listening to live music in an intimate setting -- especially when the performer is local, the crowd is warm, and the songs are sung from the heart.
Finally, as Alyssa's crowd filed out at the end of a very satisfying evening, they were serenaded with some original songs from David Keevil.
See you next time at the Acoustic Showcase!