Jann Klose - This is my first trip to Ebeneezers Coffeehouse and based on tonight, it will not be my last. And if they continue to book great acts like this German-born, international traveler Jann Klose, I will be back plenty. Klose has one of the best voices you will find in the clubs. He plays a strong acoustic guitar, which is mostly plucked, with an occasional foray into fingerstyle. After hearing a few songs, it is no surprise to learn that he was cast as the voice of Tim Buckley in a recent film about Tim and Jeff Buckley, as there are few voices that can get anywhere near that of Tim Buckley (who is also an absolute giant that more people need to listen to). Klose did a great version of Tim Buckley's "Song to a Siren" and although his voice is a little different, he exploded into a sustained high register at the end which had the audience gasping. The audience was completely enchanted and enthused by this set and I don't know who was more surprised, Klose or myself. It was a great crowd that even started clapping along to a song near the end causing Klose to raise his eyebrows and comment that he didn't even have to say anything. Jann Klose's folk style is too powerful to be contained in just that genre. He is a fine songwriter whose powerful presence should win over just about any audience on any stage.
Eileen Graham - Local singer songwriter (and voice coach) Eileen Graham is on piano and vocals with Luke Brindley assisting on guitar and electronic kick pad. Sadley, there was a cord or amp problem that snuck in and out of the set at various times, but the musicians soldiered on and it wasn't that bad until the final cut, which wisely turned more into an acapella outing with the audience clapping along to help it out. And again, the audience was enchanted by Graham's set which featured many fine songs in a classic singer songwriter style that was rock, pop, folk, slightly rootsy, all quite warm at the heart of it. The guitar parts added fine tonal coloring often in the way Michio Kurihara adds color to the songs of Daman & Naomi. This set reminds me a lot of that, although Graham's voice is much more powerful. I enjoyed her music and the arrangements were crafty and worked well in this comfortable live setting.
The Deep Space Network - This Fredericksburg Virginia band is not the space rockers like Hawkwind or Spacious Mind that I had hoped for and instead, display a rather clean attractive pop rock sound. It is a little too pretty and controlled for me, but they do it well. The audience who is sticking around through the many styles of music tonight is taking to the tunes well enough and the band is friendly with a touch of humor as well. The sound did not work well enough for me. The drums were too dominant in the mix and the fuzzy bass thickened things in a muddy sort of way. Whether it was that the guitarists' amps were pointed backwards or whatever other choices were made, that sound was a bit too compressed. But they played hard and had a song or two that worked and others that had my mind wandering. Still, this is a fine band for this style.
Revely - This area quintet is fairly described as a Christian rock, but don't turn off your brain just yet. Christian folk and rock were quite decent and downright exciting back in the 1960s and 70s. Then it got awfully cliched, but it is good to see again, in various forms (and frankly in various faiths if you listen around the world). I was in the back of the club and the sound was a little better, although this band did not shoot for quite the power of the previous band. The vocals were a tad slight, but the music was pretty solid rock music that was light enough, but with some gutsy guitar work on occasion. I left a little early, but it had little to do with the band as they were doing a decent job.
I did enjoy the night and this club is one to keep on your radar as it is a comfortable room and had one of the brightest and supportive audiences I have seen in some time. It may have had something to do with the choice of beverage...
Quote of the Night: And one more from the nastiest musician on musician insult compilation...
4. Elton John on Keith Richards
“It’s like a monkey with arthritis, trying to go onstage and look young.”