By the time we arrived around 8pm the front half of the place was packed, no tables available, so we picked out a small table in the back and settled in with coffees. People were standing in the middle of the place in order to see better, so we pretty much just listened to Sweet By and By and then Jon Shain. Both sounded in top form. I blogged about Sweet By and By a couple of weeks ago here and I was happy to hear they have their first CD coming out next week. I intend to buy one.
We were interested in hearing the final act of the night, Adrienne Young, as we hadn't seen her before, and we were blown away. I noticed her standing in the back of the place enjoying the end of Shain's set and she was so pretty that I thought maybe she was just another pretty blond with a guitar. WRONG! About the "just another" part anyway. She is immensely talented as a singer and songwriter. Her voice was strong and pleasing--and if she hit a wrong note with it all night, I never heard it. The most compelling thing though is that she's wise beyond her years in the way she writes her lyrics. I hadn't realized the critical acclaim she'd received so far either. We ended up buying all 3 of her CDs. I especially enjoyed the song Plow to the End of the Row.
Couple of snippets of articles here:
Room to Grow makes Nashville Scene's Top 5 of 2007and
Top Five Albums From Singer-Songwriters
The Nashville Scene (December 20, 2007)
ROOM TO GROW - Adrienne Young
Metaphors of growth and greenery are appropriate for Young, and not just because she’s donating part of the proceeds of her third album to sustainable agriculture. It’s also about expanding outward and upward from the roots. Here she further refines her already melodic approach to folk-pop and taps into the rawer edge of her supple voice. It’s Young’s first album produced without the help of Will Kimbrough, and she relies a little less on the traditional instrumentation used in the past, but there are still some nice spare moments, like the nostalgic, fiddle-sweetened ballad “River and a Dirt Road.”
Adrienne Young's Activism Keeps Her In TuneHer fiddle player/lead guitar player was intense and very good. A real utility-player. The 3 of them seemed genuinely pleased and surprised when the cries of "one more" "one more" went up after they finished their set. They came back and gave us two more songs to close out the evening.
With her twin commitments to rootsy Americana music and the ecology, it's tough to say whether Adrienne Young is a musical activist or an activist musician.
Either designation is fine by Young, a Nashville singer and songwriter who released her third album, "Room To Grow," earlier this year.
Once again, an enjoyable evening of great music-making in Durham. Not even 10 minutes from my house either, which is a bonus. And to discover a previously unknown (to me) up-and-coming young songwriter and singer was a particular joy.