Entertainment news and reviews from Bethel Woods Center for the Arts and around the world.
Opening the show and sponsored by BWCA was Barnaby Bright a unique indie band made up of Becky Bliss on vocals, harmonium, and ukulele and her husband Nathan on guitar, clarinet, and vocals. Originally from Kansas now based in Brooklyn the duo present a melodic acoustic sound that is unpretentious and genuine.
The couple opened the show with “Don’t Look Down” a song that won them the Grand Prize in the 2010 New York Song Circle Contest. Hearing the song live accompanied only by harmonium and guitar was a treat. I’ve always been a lover of demo tapes and original raw versions of songs and while the more produced version on their debut CD “Wake of the Hero” has a more commercially acceptable sound I found this performance more heartfelt. They then moved to their new single “Gravity” where Nathan’s hammer on style and tapping the box of his acoustic guitar give this song an addictive flowing feel.
Yet through their whole set the one thing that captures you are Becky’s harmoniously melodic vocals. No more so than on a wonderfully haunting song “Donologue” on which the harmonium took on a bagpipe like quality while Nathan’s clarinet added a mournful feel of the highlands, truly setting the mood for the evening’s headliner.
Eileen Ivers then took the stage with the infectious enthusiasm that has earned her praise on all sides of the pond and around the world. Nine time All-Ireland Fiddle Champion with a list of musical credits that scream melting pot the Bronx native of Irish immigrant parents easily transported the audience to the Irish country side. Telling stories of family and friends, she played a series of medleys that often started soaring and soulful and ended in a foot stomping reel.
Accompanied by Immigrant Soul, her longtime touring band which consists of Buddy Connolly, a Newark native and three time All-Ireland champion himself on button accordion, whistles, and keyboards. Along with Tommy McDonnell on percussions and lead vocals whose resume reads like a who’s who of modern music. Rounding out on acoustic guitar, bouzouki, and backing vocals are Greg Anderson and Leo Traversa on Bass. Together their many influences feed Ivers style.
After dedicating an improvisational musical torrent that earned her the acclaim, “Hendrix of the violin” to site interpreter and Woodstock ambassador Duke Devlin , Ivers worked the crowd into a foot stomping frenzy . Leaping from the stage and playing up and down the aisles she brought the evening to a crescendo with the audience dancing and singing along.
A word about the photos. Some of you may notice the photos are not up to my usual quality. That is because I was not afforded press credentials to the Events Gallery shows so I had to use a consumer grade camera that meets venue guidelines. I anticipate when the Pavilion opens I will be granted the same access I was provided with last year.