Friday night marked the first part of The David Mayfield Parade's two-night stand at Abilene. By the time I made the scene the place was packed and sufficiently lubricated on Genny, Jim, and Jack, and show openers The Tarbox Ramblers' opening set was full of lowdown, drop-tune, and swampy Beantown voodoo.
The headliners from Columbus, Ohio, kicked off in high gear, playing hella loose and reckless, and succeeded in winding things up high and tight like a first-time inmate's haircut. Mayfield's guitar work is utterly brilliant and mad in a sort of demolition-derby way. It sounds as if the guitar can't make up its mind, or has ideas of its own as the frets shout at Mayfield's fingers, "Go here; no, go here. That's right, now here. That's it, that's it. Now doesn't that sound cool?"
Cool collided with beautiful when, toward the end of the set, Mayfield and his stage-right bottle-blonde vocalist ventured into the crowd to harmonize a gorgeous lament over each other's honky-tonk heart.
Saturday night was a big surprise as I discovered a fantastic Rochester singer/songwriter named Jeremy Laurson as he played at Tala Vera. Backed by a thrown-together-yet-capable back-up band made up of members of Meta Accord and Moon Zombies, Laurson went from hook-laden heavy pop to gentle-as-the-dust-in-the-air salvos. His guitar work was efficient and interesting but hard to classify (in a good way). It was understated and casual, leaving room for the material to swell sweet bordering on epic in its impact.
From the jungles of Vermont, Bow Thayer & Perfect Trainwreck rolled into town and followed Laurson's killer set with a banjo- and guitar-driven set that riffed heavy with the ghost of Dylan floating between the lines.
Drove the Chevy to the levy but the levy was dry, so I drove the Caddy to The Dinosaur and stumbled in as The Teressa Wilcox Band was sinking its teeth into Lucinda Williams' "Joy," with blood running from its grin down its chin. Sure, it's Wilcox who all the eyeballs gravitate toward. But every single player up on that stage is a major-league heavy hitter.