DOUG BLUMER and the BOHEMIAN HIGHWAY: Press
Show Review: Turkey Trot 2010 with The Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit, Misisipi Rider, Hang Jones and Walking in Sunlight at Cafe Du Nord 11/26/10
by MARIE CARNEY on NOVEMBER 28, 2010
This show was a big step away from the ordinary and comfortable for me. I do not generally listen to country music unless Jenny Lewis and She and Him’s first album count, and I’m pretty sure they don’t. So really I had no idea what to expect. What I got was a fun evening full of talented musicians and smiles.
I missed the opener of the show, but made it just in time for the band I was there to see Walking in Sunlight. They are a simple trio of vocals, acoustic guitar and banjo. They do a kind of sweet old fashioned country that is much more folk to my ears than anything else. Guitarist and singer Nathan Wanta has a beautiful voice that is quite hypnotising and really enough in itself. Add onto it the other two singers and some great musicianship and you have something really special. At the start of the set the audience was sparse and chatty and by the end they were giving such thunderous applause the band came back for an encore song. Pretty amazing for the second band playing a five band mini festival.
The show really did play more like a festival than a typical show, with an emcee announcing bands and contests before and after every act. Each band, though all country, really had their own flavor making it feel more like a sampler of the local country scene. But the best part was the friendly happy audience, so different from the more aggressive psychotic fan shows I tend to go to. At the front of the stage instead of people being possessive of their space there was dancing. Full on partner dancing. It was very fun and refreshing and continued throughout the show. Now I know, if I want to hang out with nice people, go to a country show.
The next band was Hang Jones. By all appearances they were the kind of band I love: many many instruments. There was fiddle (violin), accordion, guitar, upright bass and mandolin. This is when the dancing really started. They had this darkly upbeat hillbilly vibe going on that was really interesting and different. All the band members also seemed to be having a great time, which I always appreciate. They did a great job bringing the energy up another notch.
Then we really hit the rocking once Misisipi Rider took the stage. And yes it’s really spelled that way, I checked three times. They were a straight up country rock band to my ears. Two guitars, bass and, for the first time in the evening, drums. Again it was a band where all the frontmen sang. Is this a country thing I don’t know about? All the changing vocals, and I assume songwriters, kept their songs interesting and different. The real star of the night though was bassist Doug Blumer. He had his rockstar poses down! Through the whole performance he was rocking out, posing, and being generally entertaining. Not that everyone else in the band was boring, it’s just that Doug’s showmanship trumped anything I’d seen that evening, and kudos to that!
For a little while I thought the audience was going to clear out after Misisipi Rider, but when The Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit took the stage all the people rushed back from the bar and the dancing started again. It was another country rock band, but this time four guitarists bass and drums. Yes four guitarists. One of them played slide guitar, one played acoustic, but the other two… it was a bit over the top, but some people that aren’t me probably appreciate someguitar showmanship. The band was really tight, a little more so than the other bands I’d seen. Of course, they were the only band playing from out of town (Las Vegas to be exact) so maybe that is why? Besides, they were the headliners so more bombast was to be expected.
The Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit was the most typically country sounding band of the evening. Maybe it was the country-twang vocal style that up until that point had miraculously been absent from the other bands. It was country icing on the cake, and it was all the sweets I could take.
I hightailed it out of Cafe Du Nord and breathed in the smell of Christmas trees while I walked to my car. Next year when the Turkey Trot comes around I would consider going again. It was fun and the people were quite friendly. If you’re into country music you definitely should go. It’s a great showcase of local country talent and I hope the 70th annual Turkey Trot does as well next year.