Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dave Alvin and Christy McWilson play the North coast

I'm definitely not posting as much as I should. Was it realy a week ago that singer/songwriters Dave Alvin and Christy McWilson played here on the Northern California Coast?

Alvin, who formed a rock-a-billy group with his brother Phil called The Blasters 30 years ago , has been recording and touring with a backing group called "The Guilty Women", made up of some of the best singers and instrumentalists you've probably not heard of, such as Laurie Lewis, Nina Gerber, and Cindy Cashdollar. One of these guilty females, Ms. McWilson, joined him for an acoustic set at a local venue.

Alvin says there are "two kinds of folk music: quiet folk music and loud folk music. I play both." Armed with his guitar and a smoke cured baratone voice, he proved that quote very handily. His songwriting shone on tunes such as "California's Burning" and "Downey Girl", with a simple lyrical clarity that recalled early Springsteen or a contemporary Woody Guthrie, but his finger-picking guitar playing was riviting. By turns delicate or hard edged, he played in a style that was unique and mesmerizing, and the audience responded heartily.

McWilson gave ample voice to some of her own compositions (such as the lovely "Potter's Field"), as well a holding her own up against Alvin's vocalizing. They were utterly different in there styles, yet complimented each other wonderfully.

This was both of their last times this year to take to the stage, but keep an eye out for them next year. Alvin promised another album and tour with the Guilty Women, and that would be a real treat.

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