Sunday, May 20, 2012

ANAIS MITCHELL at Blue Rock 5-10-12

When this concert was announced, there wasn't a second thought for me.  I got turned on to "Hadestown" by a musician here in Austin who said I had to hear it.  Bought it and have been a fan since.  Her latest, "Young Man In America" was recently released and is a real marvel.  Needless to say, I was looking forward to this show.
Somebody who I was sitting next to asked me to describe her as he was not familiar with her.  Well, she's a folk singer but that's not enough.  She sounds differently from everybody else.  She's got an edge.  Can be quite gentle.  Sharp lyrics.  Oh yeah, she also wrote a folk opera ("Hadestown").  I think you'll really like her.
First off, she had weather issues and didn't arrive at Blue Rock until 5 minutes before it was to start!  Her misfortune was our good fortune as we got to be entertained by Devon Sproule and Paul Curreri.  They were there for the show and were asked to play a few songs.  They floored everybody in that place, I do believe.  Her music is very stripped back, Smoky Mountains sounding, think Gillian Welch only doesn't sound like her, just great like her!  Did a song called "Ain't That The Way."  It was a head bopping, bouncy sounding little ditty that you couldn't help but smile through.  And Paul, holy cow, can that man sing.  He did a song called "California" and I loved it!  And they both are guitar players.  They're not strummers.  He also did some singing with Devon and the two of them going back and forth was spectacular.  Turns out they've recently relocated to Austin and I can't wait to see a full show of both.  I know they're married but I believe they do their own thing and aren't a duo.
Then Anais came out, cool as a cucumber. If she was frazzled at all, arriving at the last second, it didn't show.  Complete professional.  She was very funny.  Told us about the nightmare getting to the show.  Did almost all, if not all, of "Young Man In America."  Turns out it is her dad on the cover of the cd when he was a young guy.  One of the stories she told us about.
Also did several from "Hadestown" and Devon and Paul joined her for a couple of those.  Turns out they had performed it with her in West Virginia, taking on some of the parts on the album that were sung by the likes of Greg Brown and Ani Difranco, among others.
Anais live is very captivating.  Has a unique, gorgeously different voice.  Very emotive.  Then her lyrics.  Listen to them.
2 sets.  Probably 2 solid hours of music.  $25 cover.
Kinda neat at the end.  We were having a big thunderstorm, rare around these parts.  We had a cool lightning show.  She ended the night with Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall."  Devon jumped up with her, spontaneously.  Great ending.
As per Blue Rock, no photos or video.

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