Sunday, March 29, 2009

Wendy and Lucy

Kelly Reichardt's meditation on the fringes of economic life "Wendy and Lucy" makes for good cinema as well. Wendy is a young someone searching for a way to make more money, and clearly someone who's been down on her luck for a while that decides to head for Alaska where the standards for getting jobs are not related to resumes and office casual styles. Simple enough story, she sets out with her only real possession/relationship, her dog Lucy, and after traveling across country from Indiana to Oregon breaks down in a small town. The loss of the car stops everything. Wendy has had the gift of a song she hums as her major pastime and it ultimately winds up to be all she has left. When you are on the economic margins small catastrophe's loom large (like the fact that it costs $50 to tow a car 30 yards because "that's what it costs"...) Emotionally played by Michelle Williams, Wendy is a quiet study of the inner thought process writ large on her face inspite of her stoicism. In Wendy we see a yearning for independence and simple aspiration that we are left feeling will be seen through regardless of circumstance...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Kathleen Edwards at the Art Center

Canadian songstress Kathleen Edwards brought her angst ridden oeuvre to the Art Center last night with the impact of a 10 ton truck. From the first note the room was drifting on her amazing world weary vocal sound and the orchestral magic that came from the guitars of Kathleen and her husband/bandmate Colin Cripps. The show included all the favourites including a great renditions of "Six O'clock News" and "Asking for Flowers." A poignant moment in the show was when she did the song "Alicia Ross." About a woman who had her child abducted in Canada. She acknowleged that "this goes on every day." Edwards went on to say "You know, how could a parent get up out of bed every morning after knowing that that's the fate that their child met?" The meat of the program was made up of material from the superb "Failer" record as another highlight of the show was the moody "Lone Wolf." She recounted the first tour she did was the last time she was in Carrboro and that that was 7 years previous. She was clearly glad to be back and the audience was clearly glad to see her.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Richard Thompson at the Art Center

So raconteur, songwriter and guitar genius Richard Thompson played a sold out show for the second night in a row at the Art Center in Carrboro on Monday, March 9th. I won't recount the proceedings in their entirety (it was superb!) but want to emphasize two things. First that the man is a true artist. As always in the middle of his set he starts taking requests and someone calls out "Vincent Black Lightning." No surprise there, he must have played this song a million and a half times. He could just stand there and do a rote repitiion of the song in a spiritless way or he could just say "no way I'm ever playing that song again - ever!" Instead he travels all the way back to the spark of excitement that generated that song for him and he *brings it* one more time. The rendition of this song always sounds fresh and its because he re-finds the creative energy that generated it.

The other thing I want to mention is during the request taking segment of the show he said "how about lets do a Fairport song." And he proceeded to listen to requests and took an audience poll of what to play. Luckily the audience (and I) went for the elegant "Where does the Time Go." The amazing part was that as he was introducing this song he began to muse about Sandy Denny and her place in songwriting history and he got a bit whistful and slipped out of his normal bravdo into some other zone and had a moment of sorts himself that he effortlessly shared in a quiet, understated way with us how much he missed and appreciated his friend. A truer soft side, never seen before and shared with a full house. Now thats a man who's comfortable in his own skin.