Berklee Singer-Songwriters Rocked The Coffeehouse
After being enthralled with Susan Cattaneo‘s performance in Amy Black’s Muscle Shoals tribute show, I knew I had to hear her play her own songs. I noticed that she was on the schedule at St. John’s CoffeeHouse Concerts, a coffee house series close to home that I had never attended (and to be honest did not know existed), and jumped on the chance to see her.
Last weekend, Susan, a songwriting professor at Berklee College of Music, was on the bill with Kelly Riley, a Berklee alumnus.
Susan released a new album earlier this year, ‘Haunted Heart’, that I was privileged to hear prior to its official release. I hoped that she was going to play many songs from that album, and my hopes were realized.
Susan’s songs are deeply personal, which is obvious in a song like ‘Worth the Whiskey’, my favorite song from that album. Even though I’ve listened to the album many times, that song took on new life. It was a treat being able to see the emotion on Susan’s face and in her movements.
Susan played acoustic guitar and sang with a smaller version of her band because there was only a small area for them to use. Her bass player is Richard Gates and her drummer is Andrew Jones. Both supported her wonderfully. There is clearly a lot of musical chemistry between Susan and Richard; watching their eye contact added to my enjoyment.
Her style is Americana, so there’s blues, country, rock, and folk in her songs. She told stories of how some of the songs came to be written and that made me more appreciative of them.
Susan brought Kelly to the stage to sing a couple of songs with her band and their voices complemented each other.
She has a terrific, rich voice that is well suited to the songs she writes. If I was a student at Berklee, I’d enroll in her courses. Susan is definitely worth the whiskey…
Kelly began the evening. I had not heard her prior to this night so I had no idea what to expect. She has a wide vocal range that seems especially well suited to down-and-dirty blues. She nailed a song by Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland, a fabulous blues and soul singer who passed away last year.
She performed a mix of her own songs and covers, but I liked her own songs best.
Kelly’s band comprised Tim Reppert on bass, Raleigh Green on guitar, and Ron Wilhelmsen on harmonica, with Kelly on acoustic guitar and vocals.
Kelly brought Susan to the stage to sing a few songs with her, including a fantastic version of “Willin'” (the Lowell George song). The audience was singing right along with them!
The show ended with both bands playing one last song. The stage area was a bit crowded but they were clearly having a great time and that was infectious.
Posted on April 29, 2014, in concert reviews, music and tagged Andrew Jones, boston, concert review, Kelly Riley, music, Raleigh Green, Richard Gates, Ron Wilhelmsen, St. John's CoffeeHouse Concerts, Susan Cattaneo, Tim Reppert. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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