Acoustic guitar & vocal with piano and fiddle (or violin)- as tasty and classy as that sounds, the actual sound of it is even more so… especially with that back-woods mountain twang in the vocal. Back-porch fiddle and old-school keys work together sweetly and skillfully such that one can almost taste the salt-marsh air from back behind the bayou, or perhaps it’s the finely balanced, intermingling of honeysuckle rose and piney-backwash. The material is “mostly Dylan,” as the name would have it should this trio settle on that choice; or they might call themselves “Maggie’s Farm” or even “Maggie’s Farmhouse Band.” You get the idea.
Interspersed amid the Zimmerman-majority repertoire, the seeds of skillful songwriting are spread from a sampling of other artists of all sorts. Seems anything from Merle Haggard to Tom Petty and even Jimi Hendrix is subject to respectful treatment, with a little Tracy Chapman or another alt-edged folkie mixed in. A number of numbers from local heroes The Kings (yes, that five-headed monster) have found their way onto the set-list tonight as well.
More nights like this will surely be sure to follow, especially considering the popularity around these parts of the older sister-project Kings Duo, parental units The Kings, and the several and various other off-shoots and off-springs that circulate around the Springfield-Hartford area like so many highly enjoyable bastard step-children. For the moment, though, This Is It- the World-Premier, Debut Performance by this substantially fundamentalist folk trio.
Theodore’s Blues, Brews & Barbeque on Worthington Street in Springfield is the venue with the good fortune and/or good sense to book this event. Singer, guitarist and stand-up bassist Jeff King (usually “just” a bass-player, and one of the very best around) heads up this ensemble, more or less, with Kings-mate Tom Coburn tinkling the electrical ivories and garnishing vocally, and new-to-this-fold Emma stands center-stage, violin to her shoulder, and adds the touch of counter-point and complement to balance this perfect triangle of talent.
At least one observer has offered up for public consideration the idea that The Kings are a phenomenal and amazingly talented group, singly and in sum, and it seems similarly likely to have been that same self-effacing bastion of humility who has many times mentioned the many qualities that Mister Thin (Jeff) has going for him- this particular projection of his old-world sensibilities seems like the perfect place to explore his traditional tendencies. The voice, the instrumentation, the material, and the respect for tradition combined with a sense of adventure (not to mention outright, unbridled creativity) all come together here in ways that warrant and yearn for expression, such as are hinted at in other outlets but were laying in wait for the right accompaniment. That same aforementioned blogger might also have noted how readily the silverly-bearded key-stroker takes to supplying ample accouterment; and, in fact, one might (and should) know that this same web-sourced documentor has at least once (in an engagement some few months ago) put out to the universe how such a union as the one now launching off the lily-pad would surely provide many hours of enjoyment for themselves and doubtless several, perhaps even a dozen or more, fortunate others.