Oh, the digging, the digging... it just never stops.
Real quick though, I just wanted to point out that I've posted photos from both the August 24 Josh Ritter Free-at-Noon concert and the August 31 Uncle Earl Free-at-Noon concert over at my Flickr page.
I mentioned the Josh Ritter concert in a RIYL post a couple weeks ago, but I have to add that it was the best concert I've seen at 'XPN so far this year. Ritter's moved from folk troubadour to a more rocking sound and it's pretty obvious that he's having a ball with the new stuff (in a lot of my pictures it looks like his eyes are closed, but that was just from him smiling the whole friggin' concert). His songwriting skills are still as strong as they've ever been and the new songs sound fantastic.
Ritter mentioned during the concert that he played "The River" at a Carnegie Hall Springsteen tribute (and got to meet the Boss), so when he came back out on stage at our concert for a solo acoustic encore - while everyone else called for him to play "Kathleen" (his best-known song from his folk era) - I jokingly called out, "play the River!," which got a big laugh from the crowd. And then he actually played "The River!" How 'bout that? And just after Ritter solemnly sang the Springsteen line, "down to the river, my baby and I," a baby in the audience gave a perfectly-timed little cry. Damn kid showed me up.
Uncle Earl is a four-piece (plus an extra touring member) bluegrass band. I have never heard them ever get air time on 'XPN (or anywhere else), but I'm always up for some good bluegrass. And this was good, authentic bluegrass music. It was old-timey, but it wasn't treated as some kind of dusty artifact. It was played with a lot of energy and made the place feel like some Kentucky honky-tonk bar (a honky-tonk bar filled with public-radio-loving yuppies, but still).
The four women who make up Uncle Earl all seem to come at bluegrass from different angles - Alison Krauss sweetness to good ol'
boy girl rollickin' - but they all meshed together very well. An unexpected treat that was a lot of fun, and it'll probably be the only time I'll ever see clogs (as in "clog dancing") used as a musical instrument in concert.
I still have some Alejandro Escovedo (who was 'XPN's best free show last year) concert photos to process from a Camden County park concert last week. He's still unbelievably good live. More on that concert when I get more time.
[Did you get the post title reference? I knew that you would.]