Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Live Music Re-cap – The Green Boys, Sweet Fern, Bumper Jacksons and more

The Green Boys (with Del McCoury)
I’ve seen some great music over the last 3 weeks, starting with The Green Boys on 10/25/13 at Ashland Coffee and Tea.  I’ve been to all three of The Green Boys' shows at Ashland Coffee and Tea, and this was definitely the best of the three.  They didn’t seem as nervous, were tighter than ever before, and kept things flowing at a steady pace.  The addition of drummer Jonathan Burkett for this gig helped complete their sound.
People's Blues of Richmond
The following day, Saturday 10/26/13, we headed down to Richmond to check out the first ever Boulevard Pumpkin Festival, not knowing that we were about to be exposed to a balls-to-the-wall, trippy as hell rock band called the People’s Blues of Richmond.  It was quite chilly this day, but PBR heated things up with their Zeppelin and Hendrix meets Dr. Dog influenced sound.  I wouldn’t call PBR derivative…they inhabit the influence of their rock and blues forebears.  I wasn't even going to the festival for the music – which is usually crappy at something like this - so seeing a band of this caliber was quite unexpected.  I’m not sure if I’m ready to see PBR inside a packed club though…not sure the eardrums could take it.
Sweet Fern - photo by Laura Fields
The following Friday, 11/1/13 was the UkeFest Virginia, which is kind of a kooky event, but one of our favorite local acts Sweet Fern was playing.  Sweet Fern is comprised of the lovely songstress Alison Self on ukulele and guitar, and master musician Josh Bearman who rotates through several stringed instruments during the course of a Sweet Fern set, including mandolin, clawhammer banjo, tenor banjo and guitar.  Sweet Fern’s charming combination of country duets, Carter family songs and jugband material went over well with the older UkeFest audience.  
The Bumper Jacksons
We were committed to returning to the UkeFest the next evening 11/2/13 because we had already bought tickets to see The Bumper Jacksons, a band I had heard good things about but had never seen.  I’m glad we went back because the Bumper Jacksons were great!  I loved, loved, loved the sound of Jess Eliot Myhre’s clarinet.  Although the she only played it on a few songs, it really brought to mind the sound of a 1920’s speakeasy.  Chris Ousley was very entertaining on ukulele, banjo, guitar and mouth horn – yes mouth horn!  It’s obvious that these two are well versed in traditional music, but still have a lot of fun with it.
Mia Friedman, Owen Marshall and Ari Friedman
Most recently, I got to see the Boston based sister duo Ari and Mia Friedman with Owen Marshall as they passed through Ashland on their current tour on 11/7/13.  Not only are they great musicians, with sort of a refined sense of folk music, but they are also great people that I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know this year over the course of their two visits to Ashland.  Despite a 10-hour drive to get to the venue and a small turnout, these professionals still gave a very warm performance.  I think I laugh more at Owen Marshall’s between song comments than any other musician’s on stage banter.  I hope more people come to see Ari, Mia and Owen next time.  You’re missing out if you don’t!

There’s aren't any shows coming up in the near future that I can think of, although I am looking forward to The Hot Seats at Ashland Coffee and Tea on December 28th!

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