February 9, 2006

Dave Alvin at Casbeers; The Greencards at Gruene Hall

Filed under: Music — Cory @ 7:38 pm

Last Thursday and Friday I had the opportunity to see a couple of really good music acts, so of course I had to go check them out.

On Thursday Dave Alvin played at Casbeers. I had never seen him play before, but earlier that week Chris had sent one of Dave’s songs to me and after hearing it I decided I couldn’t miss the show. Incidentally, I had also never been to Casbeers so I was up for checking out the place I hear so much about.

I showed up a little after 9, pulled up a seat at the counter and ordered a couple of their famous enchiladas. A few minutes after I got there Dave went on stage and announced that an old friend of his would be playing on harmonica, along with the lead guitarist. This was great because I enjoy small shows much more when there are no drums. The music was excellent, and Dave played several bluesy acoustic tunes that made me want to go home and pick up my guitar. At several points throughout the show Dave brought the music to a stop and held the crowd at complete silence until he fired it up again, it was really something to see. Before I left I picked up a copy of “The Great American Music Galaxy” by Dave and The Guilty Men.

The next night I headed up to Gruene Hall to see The Greencards. The last time I saw them back in September they put on an incredible show, and Dennis Ludiker and Sarah Jarosz came on stage and to play with them. I remember that it was one of the best performances I had ever seen.

I told David that he needed to see The Greencards, so Johnny and I met up with him at Gruene for the show. The band was already playing when we got there, and as expected they had the crowd energized. After a couple of awesome fast-paced bluegrass tunes they played their snappy Italian instrumental called “Gnocci.” They did this song last summer when I saw them, and I wish I could find a recording of it because its fantastic. Soon afterwards they announced that a special guest would be joining them, and I had a feeling that I knew who it was going to be. Sure enough, Sarah Jarosz was there with her mandolin. They played 2 instrumentals, and then Sarah sang a tune as well. They decided to play one last song before she left stage, and as it turned out they picked my favorite traditional bluegrass song: Cherokee Shuffle. Swapping leads from Kym’s mandolin, Eamon’s fiddle, Sarah’s mandolin and Robbie Gjersoe’s guitar, it was one of the best versions of Cherokee Shuffle that I’ve ever heard. All in all, it was an excellent show.

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