Some years ago, WC and Mrs. WC were browsing a small independent bookshop nestled against a small music store. WC remembers the store being in Sand Point; Mrs. WC thinks it was Boise. But the sound system was playing a guy with an incredible, smooth, rich voice that compelled your attention. We asked the guy at the counter, and he said it was Peter Mulvey and the album was Knuckleball Suite. We bought album immediately, and played it over and over on the car stereo the rest of our Idaho trip. It was that good.
We knew both Furtado and Mulvey from earlier Acoustic Adventure shows, too. So this concert was a much-anticipated treat, and our early trip to Costa Rica was scheduled, in part, to let us get back to town in time for the show.
Tony Furtado opened with a solo set of 7-8 songs. The guy has, to use Mulvey’s phrase, pyrotechnic guitar skills. Terrific runs, contrapuntal playing on both a beautiful dark body Martin guitar and a banjo. On both his own songs and covers, he sang with a sweet, tenor that complimented his playing beautifully.
Mulvey then did a set of 7-8 songs and while Mulvey doesn’t have the guitar chops of Furado, there’s nothing wrong with his playing. But in Mulvey’s case, it’s that rich, compelling baritone voice. And, live, Mulvey is an animated, energetic singer, whose performing style reminds WC of the late, great Steve Goodman: just barely restrained. Among the songs in Mulvey’s set was a song about Fairbanks, with the chorus, “The windshields in this town have all seen better days.” To WC’s delight, Mulvey closed his set with “Knuckleball Suite.”
After a break, Furtado and Mulvey did a set together, performing an eclectic list of songs that included Woody Guthrie, Duke Ellington (blue progressions on a banjo) and the best cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows” that WC has heard yet.
A fine show, by two fine musicians who obviously enjoy each other’s company and jamming together. WC’s thanks to both for a fun evening, and to Trudy and Mase for bringing them to town.