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Saturday, February 02, 2013

Calgary Folk Club 02 01 13

Calgary Folk Club
Feb 1, 2013
Gretchen Peters
Sam Baker
Barry Walsh

The Saturday Morning "Somebody-Asked-Me-To, So-Here-I-Go" entertainment review:

The Calgary Folk Club

Gretchen Peters
Sam Baker

I couldn't put my finger on it for the longest time last night. During singer songwriter Sam Baker's opening set, he reminded me of a number of artists, but I couldn't pin it down. A bit of actor Woody Harrelson, a touch of Kris Kristofferson. Leo Kottke, without the slide guitar...

 I wound up concluding his voice reminded me the most of actor Matthew McConaughey. A great fit for his easy-going storytelling style, and his soft, tender lyrics had the hall quiet as a library from opener Soldiers Of The Cross, until his sense of humour between songs cracked the crowd up repeatedly.

It is a philosophical experience Mr. Baker presents, as he talks about his own "there-but-for-the-grace" moment that changed his own life, and seeps into so many of his songs. Surviving a random act of violence and relearning his craft in the aftermath, when he posts a quote in his CD jacket like "How Beautiful Are These Days", he believes it whole-heartedly, and lives that onstage, extending that out for his audience.

Even seeing the humour of life on the road, and Sleep Number beds. 

There were too many highlights to list, including a few collaborations at the end of his set with keyboard and accordion from Barry Walsh - without any rehearsal beforehand. No impediment whatsoever for these pros.

In introducing Odessa, Baker shared a story about how Texas had squandered much of the state's oil wealth. Timing really is everything - welcome to Alberta, 2013....

You need to discover this gentleman's music - visit Sam Baker's website to catch up, and follow his journey.
Gretchen Peters... 

Well, let me shamelessly lift a section of her own website to give you some idea of her accomplishments, if you aren't familiar with her work:

"Nonetheless, Martina McBride’s 1995 recording of Peters’ “Independence Day,” the gritty story of an abused woman’s revenge, made her a songwriting sensation. The performance received a “Best Country Song” Grammy nomination and won the Country Music Association’s “Song of the Year” title. After that a string of great vocalists – Pam Tillis, Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless, Neil Diamond, George Strait, Etta James – began to record Peters’ songs. Peters also signed her own record deal, yielding her 1996 debut album The Secret of Life. The title track was cut by Faith Hill in 1999 and hit number five on the country charts." 

Last night, Peters performed more recent material, from her latest album "Hello Cruel World". With standout tracks like Saint Francis, Dark Angel, and the lovely Five Minutes in her first set, Peters and her husband (the aforementioned Barry Walsh) spent a load of time signing copies of THAT album during the intermission.

With her success at penning songs for other artists (and herself), she is a bit reminiscent of Steve Seskin, who was at this very same venue just a few months ago. If you're also a fan of artists like Emmylou Harris, or Mary Chapin Carpenter, you will undoubtedly be a fan of Ms. Peters. 

Visit Gretchen Peters, and find out for yourself.

The evening ended with a "Nashville guitar pull" set, each alternating on originals and covers,  with artists like John Prine and Townes Van Zandt included in their selections. There was a TV show not too long ago where Rosanne Cash shared a story about a similar guitar pull evening at her father's home - that was the first time "Me & Bobby McGee" was played before an intimate appreciative audience.

It may not have been all that intimate last night with a full house at The Calgary Folk Club, but it was an appreciative group for these talented, compelling artists....


Mrs. That Dan Guy said...

Shoot! It sounds all fantastic. Darn it! I had to miss it, still sick. Well, thanks for creating the picture, it sounds like I would have enjoyed all of them immensely.

ThatDanGuy said...

An incredible evening - too bad you missed it!!