Friday, December 18, 2009

A Cozy Evening of Live Music in a Snowstorm

"Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow--the Listening Room is ON for tonight. Come on over and enjoy a cozy evening of lovely music and hot cider."

Despite counting on spending my evening at the Listening Room, I was prepared for this show to be cancelled tonight like everything else, so that message was good news. I headed over to the Michaux House and while the crowd was smaller than last month, plenty of people braved the snow to hear Luke Saunders, Jack Meets the Giant and Zac Hryciak and the Jungle Beat.

Ginger cookies, hot cider and coffee rewarded attendees upon arrival, followed by 2+ hours of acoustic music. Setting the holiday mood, Luke Saunders began with a banjo-accompanied rendition of "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel," followed by several songs about heartbreak (my kind of songs). Even as he was asking the audience if they could tell that he'd never done this before, more people continued to arrive. Snow delays I expect.

Jack Meets the Giant started by doing the holiday classic "Please Come Home" and then telling us he had 20-25 minutes to make us his best friends. The duo recently finished a record with a full band, so we were hearing stripped down versions of everything ("This is the most acoustic this song will ever be," we were told). The lead singer had such an interesting voice, which was further enhanced by his back-up singer (and occasional back-up whistler).

Zac, Zac, Zac. I've seen him and the Jungle Beat a fair number of times since I first saw them open for Mermaid Skeleton's CD release show at the Poe Museum a year and a half ago. The beauty of this band is the level of musicianship. The drumming practically defines their sound and gives you an idea where the name of the group came from. With a violinist and upright bass player in addition to Zac's guitar, there is so much string action working with and against those drums. It's the band's quirky sound that sets them apart musically and Zac's gorgeous voice and heartfelt songwriting don't hurt, either.

Leaving the show around 11, Franklin Street was hushed except for a lone snow plow. The accumulation was significant in the three hours I'd been inside. It's so beautiful, though, outlining fences, capping fire hydrants and weighing down the branches of bushes and shrubs. I was actually surprised not to see more people in the streets and outside in general.

It didn't stop me and the beagle from taking a brisk walk in it when I got home. He has always liked walking in the snow and his old age has apparently not dimmed that. We strolled the neighborhood, enjoying the quiet and hoping to see another dog walker to share the experience with but no luck.

We'll try again tomorrow.

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