Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Songwriter Legends Charm

By Warren Epstein

Guy Clark, Joe Ely and John Hiatt walked onto the Pikes Peak Center stage carrying their guitars.

Lyle Lovett followed, with a coffee cup ... and his hair.

What a bizarre and wonderful concert this was: four sing-songwriting legends, each attracting devoted fans who came just for him.

Thursday night (Feb. 8), these disparate performers took turns, song-circle-style, transporting the sold-out crowd far from the concert hall.

One moment we were around a cowboy’s campfire. The next we were in a Texas roadhouse. The next, we were cruising down an open country road.

Lovett was probably the biggest draw. But like the others, he ignored the vast majority of hits (“Which Way Does That Old Pony Run” was probably his more popular selection of the night).

Instead, all dug into their more obscure tunes.

Instead of it being one of those sing-along concerts with your favorite artists, it was a night of musical storytelling, discovery and quiet listening.

Clark set the informal tone for the night, saying, “We have no set list. No agenda. We have no clue. And we have no fear.”

They played off one-another — Hiatt doing a song about cars (“Thunderbird”), after which Lovett said he felt obligated to do another car-related song, and then Clark picked up the theme of South Texas women from Lovett’s song, and so on.

Lovett’s throat sounded a bit sore, but it only added more tortured sweetness to his voice, which sounds like the soul of Texas distilled in a whisky bottle.

Hiatt followed, his otherworldy voice folding around upbeat tunes (“Drive South” was a highlight) that had the audience doing more than a bit of toe tapping.

Ely added a fiery intensity to the mix, like a young Johnny Cash, powered by Bruce Springsteen’s vigor.


Post a Comment

<< Home