Saturday, August 07, 2010

A Great Triple Header at the Coach House

I’ve been to the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano many many many... many times. Last night may have been one of the best all round shows I’ve seen there. All three acts put on great shows and I came home with a bunch of CDs to listen to. What was truly amazing was that the audience was there to listen. I’ve never seen a crowd at the Coach House so respectful for all three acts. It was almost like they were all headliners. Shawn Colvin was the real headliner, but we will start at the beginning.
Tracy Niles is a young energetic local talent who has that certain flair onstage. She is having fun and you could see she was enjoying the evening as much as we were. Her style is very singer/songwriter, but there is a certain jazz sensibility that shows up in her songwriting and singing style. And then, in mid song, as she sings about smoke, you hear the chords to “Smoke on the Water” and you know this girl is well rounded musically. Accompanied by her bass player, she wowed the audience and received the type of applause normally reserved for the main act. I can’t wait to hear more from her. You can check her out at .
Sasha Evens was next on the bill and sitting behind a keyboard, accompanied by a violinist, Sasha seemed to be having even more fun than Tracy. Her songs were... Hmmm... Think Juno soundtrack.. or maybe Jenny Lewis. The overall feel was a young Natalie Merchant (although she is already a better keyboard player and has a much lighter approach to music). The songs are very personal but can be humorous. In one song, she sings a cappella about the guy who wants back in, “‘cause your number 36 on the list and I’m calling number 12 next”. (check out the song here: ) For someone who hasn’t been playing long and who may have been performing her first live show in front of a paying audience, she was fairly confident and relaxed on stage. The interplay between her and her violinist was beautiful. I see a big future for this young lady. There are some videos of her here: and you can go directly to her here:
You never know what Shawn Colvin will be like on any given night, and that is part of the fun in seeing her live. She is easily the finest female guitar player in the singer/songwriter category and honestly, I’ve only seen a handful of men who can compete. Her ear is so good, she can, and often does, tune her guitar mid song, without missing a note. She has a beautiful voice and has, over the years, written some great songs. Sometimes her shows can be a bit sloppy. Again, that is part of the fun. She is honest about it and will not think twice about playing a song she may not remember and has no problem stopping and asking help from the audience. That was the show we got last night. Pulling out “I Want it Back”, something she hasn’t done in years, she had to stop several times because she couldn’t remember the lyrics. But it is always a lot of fun when this happens. In fact, right off the bat she forgot her capo and someone from the Coach House lent her one. Then she found hers but played with the borrowed one saying, “If I “F” it up it will be this borrowed capo’s fault”. (Uhmm, yeah, she said the whole word by the way). Shawn brought out Kate Markowitz to sing harmony on a handful of songs. I believe she has done this before. Their voices sound so good together. As for her storytelling, we got an old story that I had never heard, about her being the grand prize in a Gallo Wine contest. She had us in stitches, as always. Her encore included two Beatles songs, during which one of the funnier moments of the night occurred. As she was playing “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”. Someone yelled out, “Not in California”. Very funny and timely. Overall it was a fun show by one of the most talented women performing today.

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