Wednesday night’s events were lined up to be a big one from the beginning. And a little snow (by that I mean 10 inches) wasn’t going to stop us from getting to it all.
Bermuda Highway, Katie Toupin’s (Houndmouth) side gig here in town, has been bringing in some friends to play small, free shows inside of the Nulu boutique. Wednesday night’s was a compilation of some huge locally tied names, brought together to highlight their genius and jam for a bit. The “band” with an ever-changing name included Teddy Abrams on keys and clarinet, Scott Moore on the fiddle and Ben Sollee on cello. If you think you’ve heard of these guys, it is because you have. You have been (or certainly will be) seeing Teddy Abrams as the new face of the Louisville Orchestra– their marketing tactic is literally that. Scott Moore has been associated with several local acts including the 23 String Band and his new group Niles Foley has been playing shows around town regularly in 2015. Ben Sollee, though from Lexington, is a nationally known pop cellist player that has many connections in our city as well, including the recent Actor’s Theater’s At the Vanishing Point. The three came together to play some of their own compositions, something that outside of this setting may have never happened otherwise.
Bermuda Highway advertised as having a 50 person capacity and as the music started, there were about 30 people in the store. Getting to see Teddy Abrams as the pianist and clarinetist rather than conductor brought in some older audience members early, who found spots on the floor to sit for the set. As the group started playing, more guests arrived (mostly younger), completely filling the room and forcing a pause to have people scoot closer towards the counter acting as a “stage.” The event was all ages, so a few of Ben Sollee’s younger fans also got to see the popular musician in an intimate setting. Teddy had brought Louisville Orchestra goodies, including t-shirts, long lost vinyls and tickets to upcoming performances, so everyone had the opportunity to go home with something. Bravo to Addie Mills, co-owner of Bermuda Highway, who put on this event with her other half (Toupin) out on the road touring. It was a fantastic evening and I’m pumped for many more.
After clearing our car of a couple inches of snow, we headed to Headliners to catch Dave and Phil Alvin. The brother-duo have been performing together since they were young and as the band, The Blasters, but it has been quite a while since they made an album together. Phil Alvin’s near death experience- actually he really was dead for a bit- caused the brothers to get back together and record an album of childhood favorite, Big Bill Broonzy, songs. This project ended up being incredibly successful as they were recognized by the Grammy’s with a nomination in the Best Blues Album category. I think the weather kept a lot of people away for their Headliner’s show, but those who did battle through the pounding snow were in for something special. Dave is an incredible guitarist and Phil, even with his recent health scare, has the pipes of a younger man. I found myself dancing to their catchy blues, country sound with the rest of the “adult” crowd.
Though this second massive snow storm may have kept the crowds at both events slightly down in attendance, I think it is safe to say, it did not limit the quality or enthusiasm.