Friday, November 12, 2010

Blackberry Bushes Bloomed in Utah's Autumn Chill

Whirling speed is no stranger to the Blackberry Bushes, who brought their nationwide bluegrass tour to Salt Lake City's Piper Down last Thursday.  Joe Capoccia played his bass fast like a fiddle.  Jakob Breitbach fiddled double time even when a horse hair or so snapped off his bow.  Vocalist Jes Raymond stopped singing and strumming her guitar long enough to wow the crowd with a quick little mid-song stomp dance.  Banjo-goddess Kendl Winter picked the strings at full tilt while she sang, always with a grin.  Despite speed fit for the autobahn, the four weren't a millisecond off on their timing.
With lilting, high pitched voices as sweet as Appalachian honey, Kendl and Jes harmonized to "Waste Away," "Virginia," "Old Oak Grove," and "Salt Creek."  Extolling the joys of couple-dom, "Take It" had particular autumn slipping into winter appeal:

When the rain is pouring down
When the leaves lie on the ground
In and sun or in the snow
I'll be right there by your side down the road

"Atlanta" was a heart-wrenching, cheating song involving a love child, and where California wasn't far enough to keep Atlanta away:

Secrets have a way of sneaking outside
that one stung me twice because I tried to hide

"Angelina" brought Jakob and Joe into the vocal mix without putting their instruments aside.  And at the end of the second set, the four sang a stunning a cappella "Poor Black Sheep."  I asked for a recording so you all could hear, but the group hasn't recorded it ... yet.

The old timey-Americana waves kept rolling from the stage like the mighty Mississippi, with minimal chit chat from the musicians.  In between songs, we shared a few conversations on motherhood, miracles, and (when "he" left for a few minutes) men amongst us.

The Blackberry Bushes came from Rhode Island, Vermont, Iowa, and Arkansas to Olympia, Washington, where they joined musical forces in 2004.  "There are a lot of hillbillies in Washington State," they told the audience, "and blackberry bushes, too."  And the latter was music to Salt Lake City's ears. {made-for-dancing, toe tapping music}

Disclosure: Admission price for this event was FREE. I received NO compensation for this review.

Disclosure: Cover for this event was FREE. I received NO compensation for this review.

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