Ted Drozdowski’s Scissormen Rocked The House
On Saturday night, I left the mellowness of the Gordon Lightfoot show at the Lowell Summer Music Series and headed to The Back Page Jazz and Comedy Club to see Ted Drozdowski’s Scissormen tear the roof off the venue!
Sometimes a transition such as that can be jarring; this was not. Maybe I was simply in the mood to be rocked. More likely, though, it was because the music was terrific.
There was a reasonably sized crowd when we arrived at this fairly small venue, but my group was able to snag tables close – but not too close – to the stage. When we arrived, the band was well into its first set of the three they would perform this evening.
Ted is touring on the heels of his latest release, Love & Life, which I heard a number of times prior to this show. Even though I had a good feel for his music, I was overwhelmed by his mastery of blues and especially slide guitar and unprepared for the high quality of his live performance.
Ted is a performer who knows how to work a room. He played on the stage itself for a small portion of the show, preferring to wander through the audience, sitting on tables, lying on tables, standing on tables, and doing all of the above on a half-wall in the room. I am not sure if he got onto the bar, but it would not surprise me had he done so.
He also let people hold his guitar flat while he played it. There was nothing contrived about his antics; I suspect he merely enjoys getting physically closer to his fans.
The other musicians who form this trio are Sean Zywick on bass and Peter Pulkrabek on drums. They are excellent players, too, and I wish I had paid more attention to them but it was hard to take my eyes off Ted.
He had a number of guitars with him this night, but the most fascinating were the two diddley bows. Yes, it is the instrument from which Bo Diddley took his name (I did not know that). It is a one-stringed guitar and usually homemade. The music he coaxed from that single string was astounding.
One of the diddley bows was made for him by a fan who used a lobster pot (okay, my guess is that when Ted is not in New England, it is simply a stock pot!); it has a plywood face. I am still shaking my head with wonder at it.
Ted was a protégé of R.L. Burnside; I can hear Burnside’s influence on his music but Ted honors Burnside rather than mimicking him.
The band is based in Nashville, but tours throughout the United States (and probably Europe, but there are no foreign dates on his current schedule).
I am surprised I had never seen him perform, as he told me it was his fifth or sixth appearance at the Back Page (although it was my first appearance there). Now that I have experienced one of Ted’s shows, I plan to see him whenever I get the chance. Maybe he’ll be playing in Nashville next time I am in that fine city.
If you love the blues and Ted is appearing anywhere near you, it would behoove you to see one of his shows.
Posted on August 3, 2015, in concert photos, concert reviews, music, Uncategorized and tagged Back Page, blues guitar, boston, concert photos, concert review, diddley bow, Lowell, music, Ted Drozdowski, Ted Drozdowski's Scissormen. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.