Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Stuart Duncan- Whistlin' Rufus

Stuart Duncan- Whistlin' Rufus (MP3)

Who needs Led Zeppelin?

Robert Plant's decision to tour with Alison Krauss rather than working with a reconstituted Led Zep was validated last night during a thoroughly captivating show at Starlight Theater.

The Raising Sand collaboration is just a tad too polite for me. Thankfully, its sedate and genteel qualities were absent Tuesday. As Robert Plant said, the band- T-Bone Burnett, Buddy Miller, Dennis Crouch, Jay Bellerose and Stuart Duncan- was "smokin'."

The show's best moments were inspired by rock'n'roll. They included the tangible sexual tension on "Black Dog," unbound chaos on Townes Van Zandt's "Nothin'" and Plant's vocal on Benny Spellman's "Fortune Teller."

Plant, of course, is an engaging showman. The night's biggest surprise was Krauss' demeanor. Counting individual sets at '80s and '90s bluegrass festivals, I've seen Krauss over twenty times. She's never been more alluring or- dare I say it, sultry- than she was last night. She was more Stevie Nicks than Bill Monroe.

Here's Tim Finn's review.

Alternating between fiddle and banjo, Stuart Duncan seemed to represent the band's connection to bluegrass and Appalachian music. The traditional "Whistlin' Rufus" is from Duncan's fine 1992 solo album.

Nappy Brown died September 20. I'm pretty sure I saw him only once. A Black Top Records package tour featuring Brown, Grady Gaines, Snooks Eaglin, Hubert Sumlin and several other greats stopped at the Grand Emporium in the early '90s. I fondly recall Brown's playful leer.

Kansas City Click: Beppe Gambetta picks at the Mountain Music Shoppe tonight.


Don't Need Anything said...

yeah i had found the album to be a bit sedate for my tastes as well but what ive heard from them live is a different story. hopefully they get around to releasing a live disc from the tour

Russell said...

My wife dragged me to the front row of their set at Bonnaroo this was incredible.

I can handle the relaxing tone of the album, but agree that the live setting takes it up a notch with those two.

Thanks for the review

Happy In Bag said...

I didn't mention the sole negative element of the concert in my notes. A healthy percentage of the crowd was clearly disappointed by what they were hearing.

Read the comments at Finn's review: A guy complains about the mix. He cites Manhattan Transfer and Prairie Home Companion shows as sonically superior. He adds that "it was, literally, the least enjoyable concert I've been at in 30 years."

That speaks directly to my point- anyone expecting a neat and clean N.P.R.-ready performance was rightfully disturbed.

Krauss, Plant and Co. were adventurous, raw and wild.

Russell said...

When I saw them, the disappointed people were the ones expecting Zepplin-esque Plant. And there were quite a few pissed off people.

Horrible sound at festivals is a given, so there weren't many upset with the subpar sound.