Underhill Rose was in town last night and it was just what the doctor ordered.
The harmony-driven three-piece string band from Asheville was as tuned in as ever: Eleanor Underhill wowed us with her musicianship on the banjo (even playing a few bars from "Dueling Banjos" that had many in the packed house at High Rock Outfitters stomping and clapping); guitarist Molly Rose Reed treated us with her superlative vocals, and upright bassist Salley Williamson kept the whole thing moving on beat with depth and style.
It's just what Lexington needed after emerging from last week's ice and snow display that shivered our collective timbers.
The girls made an early arrival in town on Saturday to follow up on a photo shoot request by local photographer Chris Allred, and I'm hoping some of his work shows up as a sample somewhere. I was allowed to see some of his galley proofs and they were terrific.
Meanwhile, the show last night was a perfect opportunity for some of our friends who have never heard the girls perform to see what the hell I've been gushing about for the past three years. I think my friends were excited. I just hope they were able to hear them.
If there was one common complaint I heard last night— and from more than one source — it was about the ambient noise that was coming from the bar area.
OK, OK. I know the venue is a bar and what should I expect when alcohol is involved anyway? It's a social gathering place. Of course there's going to be some racket.
I guess what I don't understand is paying the price of admission, paying the price for your adult beverage of choice, and then yapping away, sometimes trying to talk over the artists that you paid to come see in the first place. That's a trail of logic that simply loses me.
Not only is that conduct rude to the artists, but also to the other paying customers who actually want to listen to the music.
I guess we're just two different camps of paying customers on this one.
I've been told that most musicians have to deal with this issue, from glee clubs and choral groups to rock bands, who practice hard and perform to perfection, only to see their art end up as background music to somebody else's bombast.
Salley brought me to my senses, although only briefly. "They're only having a good time," she told me in her professional wisdom. "It's OK. We're used to it."
I guess the problem is that I'm the one who's not used to it.