Monday, March 2, 2009

Red House Artists on Parade

Just recovering from my trip to the Folk Alliance Conference (which you can read about here), it was a busy week at the Red House office with lots of our artists passing through--Robin & Linda Williams, Danny Schmidt, Bill Staines and Greg Brown.

The newest Red House sign, Danny Schmidt was in town for a couple days and made his Twin Cities debut playing with me at the 318 Cafe. It was a fun show, swapping songs in front of a warm crowd, many of whom were already Danny fans. We hadn't worked anything up formally, but he did some nice guitar work on my song "Texas." The highlight for me, though, was getting to sing on "Company of Friends" and "Firestorm," my favorite song from his upcoming album Instead the Forest Rose to Sing. If you Twin Cities folks missed him, have no can see him open up for Lucy Kaplansky at the Cedar on April 17th.

Greg Brown's Saturday show at the Cedar sold out month ago--not a surprise given his last two shows here were sell-outs at St. Paul's Fitzgerald Theater (yes, the home of A Prairie Home Companion), which is twice the size of the Cedar. So it was a packed house, but despite that I was still able to find my friends Jerad and Rachel and catch up with The Pines. One of my favorite new Folk Alliance finds Noelie McDonnell opened the show. His set was great and totally won over the crowd. Here's what he played, all of which are available on his two great CD's Noelie McDonnell and Beyond Hard Places:

- Take the Evening Slow
- Belly of the Earth
- Steal a Rhythm
- Moths
- Galway Rebel Boys
- New York City
- Nearly Four

Before Noelie's set, I was in the green room, catching up with Greg, Bo Ramsey and David Huckfelt (one of those Pines boys). Greg asked what he should play, and David and I offered some suggestions, which were actually already on his list. Then I suggested "Brand New '64 Dodge." Greg said he hadn't done that in years and looked at Bo with a look as if to say "Could we give it a go?" Whether the answer was no or they just didn't get to it, I'm not sure. They didn't play it, although they played many of my other favorites, all with a funky mellow vibe aided by Bo (who rocked it in a particularly hip black and white cowboy shirt)...

- You Drive Me Crazy
- The Evening Call
- Think About You
- Laughing River
- Kokomo
- Driftless
- Why Do You Even Say That
- Blue Car
- Billy From the Hills
- Sleeper
- Dream City
- Never So Far
- China
- Treat Other Right
- Canned Goods

Encore: If I Had Known

The music was great that even Noelie bought a Bo Ramsey CD!

After the show I introduced him to local brews at the original Chatterbox Pub on 35th St. There we hatched up my plan to prepare for my retirement to Galway, where I hope to become Crazy American Banjo Playing Cat Lady. Noelie says that I would be very popular there and that within a day, everyone would know who I was and buy me a pint. Galway, here I come!


Matt Winters said...

What a cute photo of you, Ellen!

And what a cool Greg Brown setlist. I love "China," and I'm not sure if I've ever heard it live, although I feel like I must have at some point. And I think "Driftless" might take over my head music for the rest of the day now.

(And as you may or may not know, "Brand New '64 Dodge" is a staple of the Matt Winters repertoire, so you can let Greg know who's ready to come through for you!)

Ellen Stanley said...

thanks, matt! if you're looking for more cute photos, i've posted some on the mother banjo myspace page here. :)