Friday, May 13, 2011

The Ashes

The Ashes – the “Tree-less” version of the Old Glories – played Groove on Grove, first show of our weekly series of outdoor musical festivals. Rumor was there was a show the week before but I missed that one, so this was the first one for me of the year. What an enjoyable way to end the day on Wednesday. The Ashes were a tad ragged but having a good deal of fun, opening with some pop-inflicted originals, then a Dylan medley – Man in Me, Takes a Lot to Laugh, Takes a Train To Cry and the rather obscure Wallflower, nice!. Another original that had a lonesome lullaby lilt and macabre refrain – I want to go to Heaven but I don’t want to dig my grave.” I’m not sure what the official lineup for the ensemble is, but the horns and fiddle and stand up bass were eschewed for this gig, just banjo, guitar and electric bass—with the banjo plucking nice counter points, enhancing the musical texture throughout. The bass and guitar player, ala early The Band, switched instruments mid-set. Another medley, Springsteen Hungry Heart into Wonderful World was fun, with the musicians showing how both songs have the same chords. The drummer, who added some oomph to the final days of the late, great Any Day Parade – perhaps the ultimate J.C. folk rock group – even sang a song, declaring it was the final tour of The Ashes. Drums were new to the group too. I had the feeling that this was not meant as some penultimate expression of the folk rock segment of local musicians, just hootenanny fun in the sun. Glad to experience this pit stop and watch some musicians have some fun. Welcome back Groove on Grove

Speaking of The Band and their predilection for trading instruments on stage, here the singer took the drum set for the last song and mixed Levon Helm with Folkie Dylan, playing the harmonica while drumming. Never saw that before

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