Great Evening of Toe-Tapping Music
I love bluegrass music! There, I said it… I went to Club Passim tonight to hear Laney Jones, a young bluegrass banjo/ukelele/harmonica player who writes all her own material, who was opening for Nora Jane Struthers.
They each perform different styles of bluegrass/Americana, but their styles mesh well for a double-bill show.I met Laney while waiting on line (I’m from New York where we wait on line, not in line) to see David Wax Museum last December. She was in Boston auditioning at Berklee College of Music and was out to experience some of the local music scene.
She gave me her demo CD; when I listened to it, I was blown away by her. I was praying that she’d be accepted to Berklee so I’d have a chance to see her perform. This was my first chance.
Wow! I’m sure most members of the audience were not familiar with Laney before the show. I sensed that she won over most people with her warmth and talent. She was completely at ease on the stage, starting out playing the ukelele and ending on the banjo.
She has recorded with a full band, but tonight she had Matt Tonner with her on guitar and backing vocals. He is a good complement to Laney, and appeared very comfortable backing her.
She plays banjo in the clawhammer style and is self-taught. Her songs are well-written, with lyrics that are sometimes playful and sometimes serious. They’re always good though. I think the music world will be seeing a lot of Miss Laney Jones in the future.
Laney opened for Nora Jane Struthers, who I have to admit I was not familiar with before this show. I can now say I am a fan.
Nora Jane’s style is fairly classic Americana – some bluegrass, some country, some roots. She plays guitar, sings lead most of the time, and interacts with her audience.
She has surrounded herself with some fabulous musicians. Joe Overton on banjo, mandolin, pedal steel, upright bass, and vocals. Jack Devereux on fiddle. Nick DiSebastian on bass, pedal steel, guitar, and vocals. Drew Lawhorn on drums and ‘body percussion.’
The set consisted of mostly original songs. One I particularly liked had in the chorus (and it might be the title of the song) ‘listen with my heart’. That’s a phrase that resonates with me. Nora Jane was an English teacher in her former life, so it makes sense that she writes lovely lyrics. She has excellent rapport with her audience, which made the show even more enjoyable.
Twenty years ago, I would have told you that you were crazy if you thought I’d like this type of music. I’m so glad that my mind is open – as is my heart – to the wonders of Americana music.
Posted on October 24, 2013, in concert reviews and tagged Americana, banjo, Berklee College of Music, Bluegrass music, boston, Club Passim, Draw Lawhorn, Jack Devereux, Joe Overton, music, Nick DiSebastian, Nora Jane Struthers. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.