Sunday, March 1, 2009

Erelli Passim Review

Mark Erelli is all that he's cracked up to be. Supremely confident on stage, and possessed of an infectious sense of humor, he took control immediately and set out his rich tapestry of song at Club Passim in Cambridge, MA last night.

Listening enroute to the concert, Lisa said that he reminded her of Nick Lowe. Listening to the tenor and tone of his voice—what came through most saliently for more in my sleep-deprived state—I declared after the show that he reminded me of Paul Simon. But in a more folks-rootsy kinda way.

Either way, those are some major compliments! We both agreed that he must be heavily influenced by Jimmie Rodgers. It's good to see that Woody Guthrie's shadow is still extending into Erelli's generation too.

Erelli played liberally from his six-CD catalog. He was accompanied by his producer on Delivered, Zach Hickman. Thin as a reed alongside his bass, this Dali-moustachioed accompanist added much flavoring to the songs, and prevented the show from being that animal that my wife cringes at: an acoustic-only affair.

Erelli could have held all of our attention alone, though. As I said, he writes music in a variety of modes--sometimes the numbers recall Western swing, at other times a bluesy, train-song vibe, and, yes, some straightforward singer/songwriter confessional material. (His opener about having the blues in Columbus, OH was especially memorable in this vein.)

I'm blessed to have Erelli living in the Boston area, so opportunities abound to relive the experience. He does tour extensively, though. Head to his website and mark your calendars!

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