Thursday, February 23, 2006

Kathleen Edwards and Luke Doucet at Largo in Hollywood

It was a night for couples. Not that any of the songs had anything remotely resembling a love song in them. In fact Kathleen said it best last night when she said, “Luke sang songs about a breakup. I’m singing songs about whoring and slutting”. Of course she was overstating things a bit, but it got a good laugh. The reason it was couples night was that Luke played most of his set with his future wife Melissa McClelland and Kathleen played most of her set with just Colin Cripps (her guitar playing producer).

Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland opened the evening and he warned us right off the bat that his new CD was all about his last breakup. Luke is pretty unknown in the U.S. which is too bad. He is a very talented writer. The music from the new CD was excellent in concert. And, yes many of the songs were about his breakup. In one of the best songs there was a line that was something like, “You have to have a heart in order for it to break”. As you might imagine, the breakup didn’t go well for him. But the intro to this song started a very funny moment, as he began explaining that he called her up to tell her the CD was coming out and it was all about her and that he thought she would rather she hear it from him then from friends. So he invited her over and he sang her the songs. It was at this point that Melissa said, “I wish I could have sung harmony on them”. We all laughed. She then did a clawing motion (can you say cat fight?). The ex’s response to all of this, according to Luke, was “You wrote an entire CD about our breakup. Do you know how many songs I’ve written? None”. And we all had to believe she was a heartless… uhmmm, songwriter. It was great moment that was only surpassed by the song about his brother who is selling crack on the street. It was a very sad and moving song. Luke spent much of the evening playing lead electric and singing, while Melissa played rhythm guitar and sang harmonies. She has a beautiful voice, and may be almost as witty as her future husband. What a wonderful duo they are and although Melissa hasn’t broken his heart yet, Luke was quick to point out that he had plenty more breakup songs that he just needs to add a name to. Yes, there is plenty of humor in his songs too.

When Kathleen Edwards doesn’t have a band behind her a different woman shows up. Or maybe it was just the small intimate surroundings that made her seem more accessible and soft (she was drinking whiskey straight up though). That isn’t to say that she didn’t rock hard with just the duo, but that she seemed more relaxed and approachable. In fact, after the show I talked to her for a minute and I was really surprised at how sweet she seemed. I gushed over her for a minute or so and she sincerely thanked me and asked my name. She was very sweet. But I digress. The duo played songs from both of her CDs along with a new song about a woman that never came home. It was a very sad and beautiful song. I’m guessing her third CD will be right up there with the first two. Part way through the show she asked a special guest to come join her. It was Benmont Tench; from Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers and so many guest appearances on CDs over the last 30 years. He is an amazing keyboardist. So he sat down at the old standup piano that lives on the back side of the Largo stage and refused to leave. After two songs, he said something to Kathleen or she said something to him, couldn’t really tell, and then he sat down as she said, “It’s in this key”, and strummed her guitar. Benmont said, “Oh that’s easy”. And then proceeded to play some awesome licks on a song he had never rehearsed with her. He did it again when they played an old John Prine song. He almost stole the show. Kathleen rounded out her set with several solo numbers which were easily as moving as the studio versions. They say that the true sign of a good song is how it holds up when you take the band away. The music held up just fine.

1 comment:

Stacey said...

That was really interesting that you saw her with just Colin. Pittsburgh, PA, was treated(?) to a really strange show last year. You can read about it on my blog Feel free to link to my page if you feel so inclined.

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