ShowsAroundTown: Ree’s Release


Everytime I go to a Ree Boado/Dearspeak release show, it’s something of a magical event and it’s almost always an intimate emotional affair. I also always experience something wonderful and get to hear new music I’ve never heard before. The first solo release she had was the first time I ever heard Ladylike and I’ve been a fan of them ever since. This time around it was celebrating here new EP Out of the Mouth of Caves and it was once again a great evening, this time at the Rhythm Room for a night of storytelling and yes, intimate, emotional music. I once wrote about Reed that she was “beautifully innocent, while darkly experienced” and I still stand by that, with here new EP that couldn’t be more true as she explores the darkness a bit more, searches the depths of experience to discover further enlightenment. You can read more about my thoughts on here new EP HERE, but this is about the show that took place a little over a week ago.

Photo by Joel Ekdahl

 

First of all, I love the Rhythm room, I just wish that they held more local indie shows–I’ve seen so many great shows there, but it’s been some time since I’ve been motivated to go there, but this was a special night. When I got there, I found out that Obadiah Parker was sick and would not be able to perform which was a slight disappointment, but luckily they found a replacement in quick order, which is semi-amazing, actually. It was Nick Heward who took the stage first and though we’d been friends online for sometime, I had never actually met him or seen him perform. I was duly impressed by this singer songwriter who played folk guitar with a very natural flair, to add to that, he sounded a lot like a young Jackson Browne. There was something fantastic about the tone of his voice and his guitar that made for an unusual combination and I kept coming back to Jackson Browne. There aren’t enough Jackson Browne’s in the world. I have to admit, I would love to hear him with a full band, but his performance was pretty great on its own. One of my favorites of the night was a song about drug/sex abuse that had the wise refrain that it “takes a lot of loss to love.” He ended his set with some of his best songs which included “When She Was Young” (about his fiance), “Add It Up” (about his mom) and “My Father Tom” (about his dad).”

Photo by Joel Ekdahl

 

If you haven’t seen Tobie Milford put on a solo performance I would advise you do so as soon as possible. Tobie has an amazing voice and is a mystical violinist, using pedal loops he becomes his own band and it is always amazing to watch. This night was no different, the last few times I had seen him, it was a member of Whisperlights, so it was nice to see him on his own again. My only complaint was that his set was too short, six songs in all and I could have easily enjoyed ten or more. He literally becomes a one man orchestra and its amazing to watch–I could tell that most of the crowd had not seen him before as they were positively transfixed by his performance. With songs like “Old Friend”, “Doctor” (about his mom), “Death!” and “Queen Isabella” he wrapped the crowd around his violin and held them tight. I truly hope that Tobie has some new recordings in store for us, because it’s been some time since his majestic debut Aloysha was released.

Photo by Joel Ekdahl

 

Tina Estes was the last minute replacement for Obadiah Parker, but you wouldn’t know it by her performance, she fit in with the evening perfectly and really took to the storytelling side of the event, explaining what her songs were about. She was also magnificently personable and the crowd warmed to her instantly. At first it was just her on guitar, but soon Milford joined in to beautifully accompany her with his violin, which included a fantastic reggae number inspired by Bob Marley. The most amazing thing is that she has only played guitar for two years and it seemed completely natural! Her set was filled with wonders such as “Let This Be The Last Time” about the karmic return of lovers playing the game and getting played, a beautiful ballad that showed off the range of her voice called “September” and when she switched to piano a soulful song called “Rachmaninoff” that was inspired by the works of the composer with the powerful refrain “Why don’t you see me.” Her set was a stunner and I can’t wait to her more from this artist.

Photo by Joel Ekdahl

 

It was finally time for Ree to play her set and I was honestly beyond excited. I love the new EP and I had begun hearing it through demos and early cuts, to hear it live was going to be a whole new experience, plus she had a complete backing band with her which included Brian Whitman(keys), Tim Rahman(drums), JoJo Nieves (bass), Tara Cummings(vocals), Chrystal Stewart(vocals), and Tobie Milford (violin). I realized as she started “On The Waters” that it was one of my favorite songs on the EP, I also realized that her voice had never sounded better an I’ve seen a lot of her shows. This song makes me melt every time I hear it. She followed it up with the lone piano piece on the album, the two minute long, touching “Build This House” which though brief, I consider essential to the construction of the record. “Ready For Spring” and “Hibernate” work hand in hand on the EP as they both seem to concern trouble with life, relationships and marriage and these were certainly a highlight of the evening. “Hibernate” was especially amazing live and apparently the inspiration for the “Don’t Be A Bear” t-shirts (which I need) and coffee mugs on sale at the show. Ree wrote “Still Beating” as a song to make herself feel better and the good news is that it will probably make everyone else feel better that hears it. It was at this point in the show that I wished it was being recorded as the performances were stunning. As she had played the first five of the six songs on the EP in order, I was beginning to wonder if she was going to play the finale and end the set, but she had some pleasant surprises for the audience. Ree worked on a documentary about the homeless in Mexico called Children of This Light and she took a detour from the EP to play the two songs she contributed to the documentary. She shared here experiences in Mexico, then launched into “Higher Than The City”, the tragic tale of the poor there who recreationally huff paint to get by. One of my favorite songs was the title track of the documentary “Children of This Light” in which Ree’s husband, David joined the stage to play guitar–simply a fantastic song that was well executed. Finally, Ree returned to the EP to close out her set with “Where Is God” and it was a performance so powerful and impressive that it is still ringing in my head after countless shows over a week later.  Boado had done it again with another brilliant record and release show, the room was packed and everyone was dazzled by the sheer talent and artistry they had just witnessed.

Photo by Joel Ekdahl

 

The evening concluded with a performance by one of my favorite current bands The Prowling Kind. Their brand of rock’n'roll was in stark contrast to everything that had occurred previously and it was the perfect way to end the night. Their set was exciting for two reasons, the first is that they sounded phenomenal in The Rhythm Room and the second is that it sprinkled liberally with brand new material, enough that I would not be surprised if they put out a new album before the end of the year. Sure there were great songs from their debut including “After All”, “Babycakes” and the finale and title track “Tennessee”, but there were new screaming rockers like “Quiet” and “Listen” that just blew my mind. I loved hearing the new material and I really like the direction they are taking. One thing is for sure, I will be checking out The Prowling Kinds shows more frequently, because I love where they are headed and they just keep getting better with every performance. Also, it must be said that the harmonies between Mickey Pangburn and multi-instrumentalist Erin Beal are simply phenomenal, just a sheer delight for the ears. This is definitely a band to keep your ear on. It was the perfect finale to a perfect show.

Share