First up tonight we have Jarrod Dickenson, a Nashville resident, when at home, but originally hailing from The Lone Star State of Texas. This was my third time catching up with Jarrod and again this was a show that didn`t disappoint. As usual Dickenson was joined by his wife Claire as they shared some wonderful tales in this shortened set. The bulk of tonight`s musings came from his latest release the wonderful `Ready The Horses` We get `Faint Of Heart`, the quite reflective `Rosalie`, `Take it From Me` a story about repairing a relationship. I must admit I get a lump in my throat when the duo plays the deeply moving `Your Heart Belongs To Me` a song that I would have had at my wedding if it had been written that far back. There`s `Goldrush` a track about corruption and greed, written originally about the Californian Goldrush but drawing parallels with today`s dishonesty on Wall Street. This too short a set is concluded with ` Nothing More` about an ill-fated romance or just two people in need of somebody to hold and a catchy new song, so new it didn`t make the last record `Prefer To Lose` A cracker of a set, with just about enough to wet the appetite. Great guitar playing, great song writing and the duets between husband and wife were gorgeous. What more could you ask for.
With minimal fanfare Mr Phillips arrives on stage guitar in hand, acknowledges the heaving crowd and proceeds to enchant us with five cuts from his wonderful new release `Widdershins`. An odd title but the meaning is to proceed counterclockwise or go against the grain. In amongst these offerings is the superb ` Walk In Circles` which I guarantee will enter your subconscious and have you mumbling the words for days after. Not bad for a song full of political propensities about the current state of his home nation.
These tracks, as is the album are quite eclectic and a little more countryfied that his usual Americana cum folk leanings but still a cut above the usual dross that is force fed to us via the music industry.
I must admit I’d lost touch with our hero and hadn`t appreciated that he`s been solo for the last eighteen years and was shocked to discover that his previous seminal band, Grant-Lee Buffalo only shone brightly for seven years.
Indeed, in a nod to his past we enjoy classics such as `Mighty Joe Moon`, `Honey Don`t Think`, `Happiness` and `Arousing Thunder` before he entertains us with other solo recordings such as `Buried Treasure`, `San Andreas Fault`, the deeply emotive `Josephine Of The Swamps` and to close out another slice of bliss from the latest release with `Totally You Gunslinger.`
I have lost count as to how many times I saw Grant-Lee Buffalo but I think tonight was my initial foray into his unaccompanied work and what a joy it was. It`s been a while since I last saw GLP and I hope he won`t mind me saying that he`s a little more rounded but that voice still has the honeyed texture that sends you into the ultimate highs and deep, deep depths of emotion when shared. At the end of the set, rather than try and hide, GLP just shrugs his shoulders as we all scream for more. A few additional tunes are offered and in amongst them are my two favorite Buffalo songs `Fuzzy` and the heart wrenching `Jupiter and Teardrop`, a song I thought I’d never hear live again. The show ends with the reflective `It Ain`t The Same Old Cold War Harry` a plea to the former President Truman requesting peaceful rhetoric rather than warmongering, a sort of parallel to today`s World political instabilities and uncertainties.
This was a tremendous show, which had songs that had the audience singing along to, screaming for more and at times utterly silent. GLP`s voice is as rich today as ever it was and I’m a little disappointed that I’d left it so long to reacquaint myself with this incredible, but criminally under appreciated artist. Please don`t do the same.