Ah, the thrill of unexpected discovery. The payoff of checking out a band that you have never heard of but that a guy who is in the crowd with you at another band’s concert recommended. Having said guy recognize you two months later at the show of the band that he turned you onto.
All parts of the joy of being a music writer.
The band, whose lead singer and pianist have probably NEVER been told that they are tall enough to resemble trees in actual woods, took the stage to zero fanfare. Not a drum roll, not a simple strum of a guitar, not even a “hey, how ya doin’?” Rather, the quintet just dove headfirst into “Lonesome House Blues,” which was written by the legendary bluesman Blind Lemon Jefferson way back in Wikipedia-knows-when.
Opening with an old blues cover was a clever move, because Robert Ellis, who had warmed up the room for the headliner, had closed his set with with a revved-up (à la Elvis Presley) version of Bill Monroe‘s bluegrass classic “Blue Moon of Kentucky” and George Jones‘ 1974 country smash “The Grand Tour.”
The Deep Dark Woods jammed through an hour-long, encoreless set that inspired torso-shaking, hand-clapping, foot-tapping and—in the case of the couple behind me—full-on make-out dancing among the occupants of TT’s sparsely populated floor.
Deep-(and somewhat gravelly)-voiced lead singer Ryan Boldt, while hardly a shrinking violet, was fairly low-key throughout the evening. However, he did flatter the showgoers a bit by claiming, “I haven’t had this much fun in a while.” Like I said, flattering, but somewhat difficult to fathom considering that his band had played the Newport Folk Festival the day before.
Robert Ellis had also played Newport over the weekend. Therefore, those of us who are not Hilary Hughes could take some solace in having enjoyed a small but highly satisfying morsel from that buffet of a festival.