so this show was supposed to have been craig bickhardt and liz longley, but craig fell rather ill midweek and had to bow out of not only this date, but also his saturday show at the creekside cultural center – both of which were capably filled by our mutual buddy jd malone. i was able to do the friday night date with jd because, after all, i was already scheduled to play the show with craig…so there wasn’t much adjustment required on my part, save for making sure i brought the banjo that doesn’t really get used in the bickhardt sets.
we were appearing with liz longley, whos’ been on shows with dan may and craig in the past, so we knew each other. liz had also just released her new record the week before, so i was looking forward to hearing some new material from her…as it turned out, the title track became my favorite of the new songs she did during her set…i fell in love with “overdue” when she did it on gene shay’s radio show last christmas when we were on with dan may. she’s the bridge between joni mitchell and dar williams.
now, she and craig are a match…she and jd – well, not exactly on the same level. vocally, liz’s delivery is a very soft, low volume affair, and unlike some singers, she translates that same vocal delivery live. a lot of singers – sarah mclachlan comes to mind – make records with these intimate, breathy vocals and then you see them live and the performance just doesn’t stand up to the record. liz manages to maintain the same restraint in her live shows that she accomplishes with her recordings.
jd, on the other hand, has an almost bob seger-like wallop in his voice…like seger, even jd’s ballads are delivered with his trademark grit, and he could probably do a show in a venue the size of the flash without any PA whatsoever. his voice is a powerful instrument, to be sure. it had to have been a bit of a bear for the guys doing sound, dealing with going back and forth – a lot of places would have just used different channels for the two of them, and repatched between sets, but they dialed it in…different strokes, ya know.
jayda was off work early, and she came along to the show…and gave the food two thumbs up. 🙂
being a jd gig, for me it was baritone guitar, lap and pedal steel, banjo, and dobro (which i shared with johnny, liz’s guitarist during her set)…still using the gibson amp that i bought from bob stirner some time back, and it’s still holding up quite well for dirty stuff, but none of the low-wattage amps i’ve been using for gigging are really cutting it for the clean stuff for pedal steel or baritone guitar tunes…which i’ll have to deal with at some point. even at low volumes, the pedal steel just ain’t workin’ through the gibson.