Mother nature was a soggy, wet jerk for this year’s final day of the Jazz fest. Armed with my umbrella (which afore mentioned soggy jerk wrecked with a gust of wind) I ventured out into the Shangri-la-di-da one more time.
Though I missed Steve Martin’s quips, The Steep Canyon Rangers put on one helluva matinee performance. These Carolina boys can lay down bluegrass, bluer and grassier than anyone. But it’s the songs that depart from that root a bit that were especially scintillating. No worry to the purists; the root remained and served as, well, a root as the band blended today and yesterday with a tight performance that featured numerous feats of finger style strength and harmonies that though secular, were bound for glory.
Offering up musical interpretations of Dorothy Parker, Katie Ernst gave life to the printed word as well as color. She expertly caught Parker’s dry wit with her perfect voice lighthearted runs and patterns originating from her upright bass. Though lyrics and music could easily stand alone when spread n the same sandwich, it totally worked.
GoGo Penguin was swimming in natural reverb at the band’s first set at Christ Church. The trio built on dynamics from sublime to intense on each of the four songs I stayed for. But the finer details I was hoping to catch were lost in the church immensity and displays of Christian torture.
Thirty years together culminated in a nice set from Bobbie Henry and the Goners at the Squeezer’s department store stage. Henry never ceases to amaze me with his flipped southpaw six string attack as he trilled and filled the space with lightning runs slap-back twang. I won’t lie to you, this is my jam and it’s the Goners; too, ‘cause jelly don’t shake like that.
Abeebaduh-beebaduh- beebaduh, That’s all folks. Frank has left the building.