Archive for April, 2013

Comfort Food without the Calories

Saturday, April 6th, 2013

We just heard a magnificent show by Barbara Higbie, Linda Tillery, and Laurie Lewis at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley.  It was my first time to the ‘new’ Freight up near BART at Shattuck, and I was impressed by how much bigger and comfortable this is compared to the benches and folding chairs in the old coffeehouse down the street.

Backed by a fabulous guitar player, they performed songs from their joint album Hills to Hollers that and many familiar folk songs that exist at that gap between black and white American music, exemplified by the original African-American lyrics Black Girl which shares the chorus with the traditional Appalachian song In the Pines.  They covered a lot of ground with Barbara on piano, fiddle, mandolin and guitar, Laurie playing banjo, guitar, and fiddle, and Linda playing cajòn and all three singing as soloists, leads, or in harmony.

We bought the Hills to Hollers CD and listened on the way back home.  Recorded (mostly?) live over  a year ago, the CD cannot compare to the live performance of these.  I especially enjoyed their Barbara channeling Hazel DickensWorking Girl Blues’ and her piano solo ‘Cold Frost Morning’ was masterful.  I loved Laurie with her touching song ‘Here Today‘ and she performed ‘So Beautiful‘ the great Jack Minger tune to which she wrote the lyrics for her ‘True Stories’ project.  [I never realized the song is about a dog].  I was spellbound by Linda’s interpretation of Hank Williams’ ‘I’m So Lonseome I Could Cry,’ as she made the poetry of the lyrics more vivid than I had ever heard.  And the introduction by the guitar player (my apologies from missing his name) was magnificent! (and is not on the CD).

Anyway, these are great, soulful tunes that will resonate in your heart, and these ladies were a special treat on the same stage together.