I just love these folks. Since they were here last, Sue traded a difficult to remember last name for a wedding ring, and I couldn’t be happier for them–they’re really a great duo. In conversation, Dana seems like the country gentleman farmer, someone who likes to keep things simple and honest. But his songwriting reveals a much more perceptive and complex individual lies just beneath the surface. Building a bridge between original songs and a strong influence of traditional appalachian music, Dana and Sue delivered a wonderful set of stories set to the music of guitar, old time banjo and fiddle.
Later, after everyone else had gone, Dana and I were talking about old tunes and ended up playing a duet on one of the first songs I learned to play on guitar–Mr. Bojangles. I suppose every folksinger who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s knows that one, and it is still one of my all time favorite campfire songs.
Here’s how I judge a CD. I put it in the player while on an all-day drive, and if I just keep listening to it long after the entire disc has played through, it’s a good one. Annie’s CD is so fun and easy to listen to that we just had to ask her to come down from Ann Arbor, MI to Evansville to perform for you at the cabin. I love the way her lyrics make you realize that she’s just an average person who’s not afraid to state the truth about what she’s thinking in the context of a good lyric. She performs with her multi-instrumentalist husband Rod, who shares my love for funky old instruments.
I’m not sure how we started, but somehow Annie, Rod and I started busting each other’s chops from the moment they were introduced to the audience–we had an immediate comfort and friendship. During their encore, Rod asked the audience if they wanted to hear banjo or mandolin (Rod’s a multi-instrumentalist) and someone said “both”, and suggested I join in. I’m reluctant to do that, because these shows are more about presenting than performing for me, but I really enjoyed picking up Rod’s dobro mandolin and sharing a solo with them.
Erik and I were discussing something on an internet email list, and not knowing I booked performances, he offered to send me one of his CDs. I checked out some music online, and asked if he would send me a PR kit as well, in case he ever made it to the midwest. Well, one thing led to another, and this show is the result.
I have to say I love his sound. It’s thoughtful and understated, with an intimacy that quietly draws you in. I was first struck by his song “God’s Poet Now”, which was written for Dave Carter, a well-known performing songwriter who died suddenly and unexpectedly in the prime of his life and his career. It’s one of those songs that, once you hear it, you can’t seem to get it out of your head.
Erik has had much recent success and recognition as a relative newcomer to the stage. His first Cd was recorded in 2001, and this was followed by a 7 song EP he recorded as a benefit project for the Dave Carter Memorial Fund. His newest release, “While the Paint Dries”, was released in 2004.
Before Teddy played here at the cabin the first time, I was nervous. Here’s a slick streetwise east coast urbanite with attitude entertaining a roomful of midwesterners in the conservative heartland. I didn’t know what to expect. It turns out that my fears were misplaced, because Teddy just killed us all with his wry humor and sly delivery. As I’ve often said to people, “here’s this guy from “The City” singing a song that coming from anyone else you’d think were so sappy that they’d make you ill, but he delivers them with such sarcasm that you can’t help but laugh when you see yourself in those lyrics.” Everybody’s face literally ached at the end of the night–from smiling too hard. I should also note that Teddy’s an excellent guitarist and he’s an awesome mouth harp player as well. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone do both so well, at the same time.
They can be described in one word. Spellbinding. Still, one word is not enough to say everything that needs to be said about this talented duo. Rich Prezioso and Jacquie Manning develop a huge following wherever they go, and we’re fortunate to bring them here to the cabin for what is becoming an annual event. With great songwriting, a collection of instruments, and tight harmonies, they will guide you through the landscape of folk, blues, jazz, celtic and country music with wit and humor. Some of Rich and Jacquie’s songs have become truly inspiring favorites of mine. 1,000 Candles, 1,000 Cranes is Rich’s touching story about long held hatred melting into acceptance, and Waltz of the Wallflowers is Jacquie’s delightful story of awkward romance of two introverts at a party, told by both perspectives at the same time. Rich’s “I Will Pass This Way Again” should become a folk classic. And last year they did a wonderfully witty unrecorded number that was along the lines of “the farmer’s daughter” story meets Abbot and Costello. I can’t wait to hear that one again!