last week i had the great pleasure of seeing trampled by turtles and william elliott whitmore live at the parish in austin, texas. it was amazing - so fun! both acts were just top notch musically and also really engaging and invested in the crowd.
william elliott whitmore was better live than he even is on cd (and i like him on cd quite a bit). there is an intensity and resonance to his voice that i think can only be truly appreciated live. his opening number was just his vocals over his heavy boot on a bass drum. intense. tremendous. i was a little bit in love.
trampled by turtles were everything i hoped they’d be. i was a little worried, because i’d heard that their music wasn’t as good live as recorded - i did not find that to be the case at all. the music blew me away. i kept thinking, “THIS is why i love this music! THIS is why i play the banjo!” dave carroll was just my hero on banjo. if i could get half that good, i’d be super happy. but, i must confess, that ryan young on fiddle stole the show for me. i’ve personally never seen a better fiddle player live in any context. he had (and musicians will understand this) that rare ability to play a solo that stood your hair on end, but to also play supporting parts with equal investment. he understood that the small moments are as important as the virtuoso ones.
i was lucky enough to meet ryan after the show and chat with him for a while - great personality to boot! he signed my shirt (my right shoulder) & the mandolin player, erik berry, did too (left shoulder).
i didn’t get to meet whitmore or dave carroll. :(
but i did briefly also meet dave simonett (lead singer/guitar) after the show and he signed the back of my shirt. talking with ryan was soooo lovely and got to last a bit. my exchange with simonett was more brief, but pretty great. it went like this:
me: great show! you guys are incredible musicians! i’m an even bigger fan now! (hey, i never claimed to be cool. don’t judge my dorky fandom.)
dave simonett: thanks so much for coming!
me: would you sign my shirt?
ds: does that shirt say ‘van zandt groupie’?
me: it does. *sheepish grin*
ds: hell yes, i’ll sign that shirt! *big grin* so cool you made that. not that i’m saying it looks homemade.
me: it looks like a kindergartner made it, but it’s cool.
ds: best shirt ever. *turns to friend* man, i love austin.
p.s. the crowd was great & eclectic. within arms reach stood hipsters, bluegrass musicians, farmers & just plain old fans, with ages ranging from about 16 to about 65. and, ladies, i have never seen so many cute men of all ages sporting beards & flannel shirts - not even at the avett brothers shows.