I have to send out an enormous “Thank you!” to Amy Correia for getting me into the sold out show. I was in the audience when Amy performed at Mt. Stage in 2001 and again in 2005, and I’m very glad I was able to attend her third appearance at the venue.
Canadian jazz singer Holly Cole was also scheduled to perform, but was apparently “hung up at the border” and didn’t make it to the show. I was very disappointed, as I was almost as excited to see her name on the lineup as Amy’s. Holly’s performance at Mountain Stage in 1998 was one of my favorite concert experiences.
Jeremy Fisher was the first to take the stage last night. He was adorable – like a young, more handsome Bob Dylan with that big curly mop of hair and harmonica strapped around his neck. I haven’t been able to get his album yet, so the music was unfamiliar to me. His voice and arrangements were very catchy and soulful. I think the songs I liked best are “Scar That Never Heals” and “High School”. I always like to see a musician really throw themselves into a song like Jeremy did. I only wish he’d had more stage time. (Postscript: Goodbye Blue Monday review here)
The incomparable Amy Corriea was next, accompanied only by her guitar. Amy was a late addition to the lineup, booked for a solo set after the show’s producers realized she would be coming to the venue to sing backup for Marc Cohn. Every time I see and hear Amy perform there, I’m astounded by the power and character of her voice. Last night was no exception.
Amy played three new songs and one from her Lakeville album. The first of the new songs was sung from the perspective of a little boy whose father is sent to Iraq. The second was “Love Changes Everything”, which you can hear on Amy’s MySpace page. The third was “Powder Blue”, a funny tune about a love starved barfly and her Trans Am. Amy finished with an astonishing a cappella performance of “Love Is”. As she grabbed the microphone and let the song rip its way out of her throat, she seemed to be channelling the spirits of both Edith Piaf and Billie Holiday.
I should probably refrain from commenting too much on the acts that followed, because it was difficult not to be bored by anything left in Amy’s wake. But I prefer to be honest. Kelly Sweet and Bill Evans & Soul Grass with Richard Bono & Sam Bush seemed to be big hits with the baby boomers in the crowd, but I eagerly awaited the end of both sets. Kelly had an undeniably pretty voice, but was way too saccharine for me…like an even more pageantic Charlotte Church singing lifeless pop ballads. And the first half of the overly long set by Bill Evans & Soul Grass with Richard Bono & Sam Bush was like an elevator music jam band. The exception being the brief time when Sam Bush did an impressively fast mandolin solo.
Marc Cohn got the show back on track for me. Amy Correia returned to the stage to lend her voice, guitar, and claps to his band. Marc’s voice has even more depth and power in person than on his recordings. His is another CD on my wishlist. Highlights of his set were “Live Out The String” from his new album and a slowed down, bluesy version of his hit single “Walking In Memphis”.
Everyone except Jeremy Fisher returned to the stage for the rousing group finale of The Band’s “Up On Cripple Creek”.