If variety is the spice of life, I’m living on hot tamales. I’m enjoying a great month of shows! If I had to sum them up in one word, it would be “Brave.” I’ve witnessed CD releases, bands playing new venues, bands debuting new members or saying goodbye to founders, and a venue celebrating a one-year anniversary. Perhaps best, I’ve seen veterans and first-timers sharing music at open mic nights. These brave nights trigger your fight-or-flight reflex. It’s easy to find those ecstatic moments where artist and audience connect. Here’s a rundown of my first week of March.
3/3: Joy Ike brought her new CD and supporting act Kim Edwards to Lancaster’s YWCA. Joy radiates warmth and emotion. Her physical beauty strikes you first. Her honest, genuine lyrics bare her soul and speak her mind. She and her combo played most of the new album with confidence and satisfaction. “Everything You Have” reminds us all how tenuous life is. See Joy live and you’ll be glad she’s in your life.
Kim Edwards was a delight. Her piano is deliberate yet delicate.
Her song “No Other” is destined to become a wedding song for thousands. “Wanderlust” betrays that it might be a while before Miss Edwards settles down. I bought CD’s from both ladies and have kept them in top rotation since. New material, new venue, new tour partners and open emotions added up to a brave night.
3/4: I caught a tasty little show at Chestnut Hill Cafe, one of Lancaster’s tastiest spots. A young lady named Canyon was passing through town and hoped to find a gig. She had really impressed crowds at Tellus 360 at last year’s LAUNCH Music Conference. On this night, she and local band The Pig Merchants played a surprise Monday show. It turned into a two-band birthday celebration for Bob Glick and the lucky dozens who dropped by.
3/8: I sent my friends Toy Soldiers to play for my friends at The Bullfrog Brewery in Williamsport. It tore at me not to be there with them. I know the magic of that place and could vividly imagine the spark that could ignite between it and this fine band. Also absent that night: Bullfrog owner Steve who was delivering the first bottled batch of his beers to Philadelphia. My reports say band, venue and beers all had stellar receptions.
I spent Friday night in Wrightsville celebrating the one year anniversary of The Burning Bridge Tavern. You must do an awful lot of things right to make a year in the restaurant business. The capacity crowd all weekend proved that BBT is doing a lot of things right. Just as on opening weekend, Vinegar Creek Constituency played their rousing style of homespun, folksy blues.
They call themselves, “Lancaster, PA’s swashbuckling, pseudo-legendary pioneers of Amerikindasorta string band music.” See them and you’ll get it. They get some heels kicked up and heads banging at the same time. It was a great night to celebrate taking a leap!
3/9: I had to see The Wayfarer Experiment’s first appearance at First Capital Dispensing Company in York. The band is always full of surprises and the place is like a cabin outpost in a beer wilderness. The original building was constructed in 1790 and you feel the age. When the place filled with forty or so people chugging craft beers and rollicking with the Wayfarers, it was like the wild west
Ronn Benway came charging through the door with his washboard rig, jumped in with the band and everything just broke loose. Nate played guitar, that crazy little glockenspiel again and on other songs played electric bass. Bjorn at times broke out an electric guitar and a bullhorn. Then it would be banjo, mando and even harmonica. Matt actually played drums when not smacking his cajon. He had a very clever touch! These guys put themselves out at the frontier every show and really owned it that Saturday night.