Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Happiness is...another musical adventure.

My friend K scored some free tickets to a show at Jammin' Java, a coffee house in Vienna so S and I accepted her invite and had our horizons broadened yet again.

First up was Lauren Shera, from California. She was basically a one-woman show, just her and her guitar (though she was joined by a few members of the other bands for her final number.) She has a lovely, rich voice with a classic quality to it that made me think of Judy Collins. I'm not a giant Collins fan or anything and by no means an expert but that was the comparison that kept coming to my mind, just sort of earthy and ethereal all at the same time. She was a little more mellow and I kept wishing I could just close my eyes and go to sleep...but in a good way!

Next up was theDavid Mayfield Parade, from Nashville, brother of Jessica Lea Mayfield and crazy man extraordinaire! What a character. His band consisted of a bearded drummer affectionately named (by us) Brother Brigham, an angsty little fiddle player who could bow like she was trying to set the thing on fire, a blond who rocked and swayed with her standing double bass as if it were a lover, a 50s throwback guitar player who would look at home standing next to Roy Orbison and then David himself who came somersaulting onto the stage and then spent half the rest of the time rolling around on it and jumping across it. The man never stood still. But boy can he play! They were a lot of fun to watch, starting out with a traditional sort of old time bluegrass and then segueing directly into rock segments with screeching electric guitars and thumping bass (though this was the standup one, not the guitar as you might imagine). Then there was the acapella gospel song (with some mad whistling skills) and the lovely lullaby accompanied by a soft guitar. And of course the standup comedy routine running continuously throughout-hilarious! I think these guys were my favorite. Their skills not to be denied, but they could win on sheer showmanship alone.

(this video is a little long but watch through the end --or fast forward a bit if you must-- to get a taste of the their style and craziness, though the bass player, I'm sad to say, is MIA)

Finally we finished up the night with Matthew and the Atlas (previous openers for Mumford and Sons which was where K first heard about them). They hail from England and though he looked like he would have fit in nicely on the back of a pickup truck in Oklahoma (his accent would be a dead giveaway however) the rest of his band (the bespectacled banjo player in the skinny jeans, the Bob Marley-ish hat wearing accordion player, the yummy drummer and the piano playing chica) all screamed "British!" He's got this incredibly smokey, gravelly voice (their website calls it 'bruised and raw') that just makes you want to melt. Their sound together was folksy with nods to both America and the British Isles and while I really enjoyed it I also sort of wished he'd just do something solo and acoustic so you could really swim in his sound alone. 

(this video is much more 'him' with the rest of the band more subtle in the it!!!)

It was after 11 before they all convened on stage for a couple of group numbers to wrap up the night. Such a great evening in a tiny little venue that made it possible to feel a part of the music. (At one point the DMP ventured into the audience and two of them sat on the row right next to S...I could have literally reached out and licked his guitar, and could smell their sweat they were that close!) It makes for a fun experience, something you definitely don't get with larger names and larger spaces. I highly recommend you check them all out!

On another note, I'm still slowly plodding away on the NaNoWriMo project. I broke my rule and went back and did a bit of deleting and editing so my numbers don't quite reflect the time I've spent but I'm pleased with what I've done so far (and vow not to edit again until the whole thing is done!)
Total word count-4219

How has your week been?


  1. What a great review! After reading it I am totally intimidated to write my own, but since I don't *think* my mom reads your blog, I guess I have to . . .

  2. Thanks! High praise indeed. (Though since I'm pretty sure you and Michele are the only people who consistently read this, so it's a good thing you wrote your own!)