Angela Reed is one of those not quite waif like white girls with very very very very long hair and a voice that belongs to someone much older and more experienced but somehow, dammit, ended up in her body. Wow, can she sing. You know the type, forgive the pigeon holing – Jewel, Joss Stone, Brandi Carlile, Melissa Etheridge, even.
Last night Angela Reed was channeling that sixties singer songwriter/chantuese style that is notoriously easy to make fun of, but because she’s packing such an enormous amount of voice, it’s a impossible to not take her seriously. I remember seeing one of these “girl with a guitar” acts a few years back with some friends, and god forgive us, when one of the women started with her diatribe, my friends and I burst out laughing. That wasn’t the case last night. It’s hard not to stop thinking and just listen when Angela Reed sings, but I want to hear better songs. She’s young, so I guess this is exactly what they mean by “promising talent.”
She was followed by Kenny White, a guy who can write and how. He’s a crazy mash of Dylan and Elvis Costello and Randy Newman and maybe Rickie Lee Jones, but also, very much himself with a lot of amazing skill on the keyboards and the guitar. He has this whole stream of consciousness thing going with his lyrics, an intense power of observation that he captures in his lyrics. I get a little bit of that, I understand how writing works, I think, but to see that keen ability to express a moment combined with music that doesn’t cave in to cliches or compromise on the literary, well, let’s just say I enjoyed it very much.
Check out this tiny line from Five Girls:
Yeah and I think that I might tell her that sheâ€™s
looking like a billboard
With that shirt that is cute,
but oh, so inappropriate for the season
Inappropriate for the season. She’s real from that remark alone.
This is from Last Stop:
boppin’ mexican boys with their hair cut short on top and long in the back
ears stuffed with portable sonys
still manage to hear each other say somethin’ about cajones
And that’s a helluva rhyme, sonys and cajones. Wow.
Finally, here’s the opening verse to In My Recurring Dream
in my recurring dream we have a daughter with a boyfriend
with a moustache with a taste for younger women, like our daughter
and he has this little habit when he tries to make a point, points his finger
which if it had not been eaten by a table saw when he was 23
would really help to emphasize his point, instead we are distracted by the
sight of the missing joint and no one hears a word he says…
in my recurring dream
That’s a whole story right there, and it’s only the opening verse.
There’s so much observation, so much attention to detail, so much that you don’t usually hear in music. Run of the mill song writers settle for the girl being pretty or the boys being tough or dreams being, well, I don’t even know what to say about the dream sequence other than, yeah, I think that’s some mighty fine writing. And all from the hand of a guy who can play and sing.
I loved hearing Angela Reed sing with Kenny White, they did a lovely duet of Blue Moon/Moonlight Becomes You, though people, people, don’t take this the wrong way, it’s “all dressed up to go DREAMING” okay? Also worth mentioning, the sound in the Phinney Neighborhood Center was lovely, remarkable even, for a room that must have been a gymnasium or maybe a cafeteria at one time. The folks from the Seattle Folklore Society organized a wonderful but woefully under attended show – “It was nice of you guys to buy two and three seats each,” said Kenny White.
I skipped the after party, having had my share of stimulation for the evening. I’ll probably regret that when I hear about it later. My ears were very happy though, I thought I’d just take them home while they rested in that content state. You can click through the links to Kenny White and Angela Reed up above to find out for yourself what your ears think.
[tags]Kenny White, Angela Reed, Seattle Folklore Society[/tags]