· ~ ·We started off with Wild Maple. This excellent duo features Gary Dolinsky on guitar and Trish DeCaprio on violin. Both sing, trading off lead vocals and joining for sensational harmonies.
Gary's a flatpicking guitar whiz, and Trish is an expressive violinist, both flexible and incisive. The result is an appealingly polished sound.
Their set list included a number of excellent originals, with some pleasing covers as well.
I liked their version of the Beatles' "I Will," with a contrapuntal byplay of guitar runs and pizzicato violin figures. Great fun. A minute later they had me tearing up with a plaintive ballad, then tapping toes along with a twangy number. Make no mistake, these folks are good. We'll try to get them back, I promise!
· ~ ·Next we shifted to a couple of mini-sets by comparative new-comers. First we heard from Leo Bohigian. He played a number of originals, shifting between playful insouciance and more serious shades of pensiveness.
Leo's rangy baritone brought to mind Townes van Zandt, with more than a hint of Jonathan Richman, especially when he serenaded us about his new beard, or his blue sweater. Quirky, with a downbeat appeal.
· ~ ·The next mini-set was brought to us by Steve Southard and Andrew Southworth. In addition to alliterative last names, this duo has energy and musical appeal.
Steve's guitar playing is emphatic and assured, while Andrew's tenor has a kind of husky clarity (if that's not a contradiction in terms). They presented a nice set of cover tunes -- some familiar, some pleasantly obscure.
· ~ ·And then, WOW! We welcomed Gary Backstrom to our humble carpet. Gary's new to the Showcase, but familiar to area audiences from his work with Jiggle The Handle and The Gary Backstrom Band.
What a musician -- some of the very best guitar playing we've had the pleasure to hear anywhere, coupled with a strong, flexible, playful, evocative tenor voice. Lots of funk and soul influences, with a healthy dose of Todd Rundgren (say what?).
What a treat to hear someone move around an acoustic guitar neck with such facility. He had bass, percussion, rhythm and lead all bursting forth from four fingers on six strings.
Music's not really a visual medium, and I'm not an accomplished photographer, so it's difficult to convey just how dynamic and approachable Gary was in performance, and just how appreciative and involved his audience was. Let's just say he had people dancing in the aisles -- he really did!
· ~ ·So, last night we had another dose of what I love about the Acoustic Showcase: musicians, family, friends, fans, and coffee-seeking passersby, all enjoying the music. Pretty sweet.
See you next time!