Friday night, the Pawling Towne Crier hosted local favorite, Dan Lavoie, as well as accomplished singer/songwriter Chris Trapper. The attendance was low, but the people who did attend were in for a treat.
“I’m actually speechless,” Lavoie began. “So, instead of trying to explain, I’ll just show you how I feel.”
At that moment, he launched headfirst into an untitled instrumental, a sprawling magnificence that really showed off his incredible guitar-playing. But his talent didn’t stop there. When he began to play songs off his new album, To the Ocean’s Edge, he displayed the great mix between his rough voice and his beautiful guitar playing. His voice ranged from an airy yearning to a grumble, all the meanwhile playing complicated acoustic guitar.
His love for Jimi Hendrix definitely shows, as he seems to have taken Hendrix’s electric guitar skills and translated them into an acoustic configuration. The only downside of the performance was his awkward banter, but that was easily forgiven, as he performed impressively song after song with the entire audience in sublime bewilderment. Dan is also the only opening act I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing that got an encore.
I saw the night’s headliner Chris Trapper perform in his hometown a couple years ago, opening for Martin Sexton in Boston, and I had been impressed, prompting my interest in seeing this show. He explained that he has had songs in movies and his music has been the central focus of his life for 13 years, but the stage was much smaller that night, performing an intimate show in a town he claimed he didn’t even know existed.
“We’re going to start out really dark and depressing, and work our way out of that hole,” he warned at the beginning. The instant he started playing, his smooth voice and beautiful chords filled the room. Lavoie had incredible guitar with complementing vocals, whereas Trapper’s focus was on creative and engaging stories in his lyrics. Even in between songs, he told hilarious stories that led straight into the songs that they influenced. He played everything, from August Rush’s lead track, “This Time,” to a member of the crowd’s declared favorite, “Boston Girl,” to Trapper’s entry for a replacement to the original “Birthday Song.” At points it seemed like he didn’t want to be there, but over the course of the show, he warmed up to the crowd and put on a thoroughly entertaining set.
After seeing a show for the first time at the Towne Crier, I can say they book fantastic smaller name acts and the venue is the right size for an intimate, yet entertaining show. Pawling’s lucky to have this opportunity.
Check out their schedule which includes the Open Mic finals this upcoming Sunday night, which will also be covered by Pawling Public Radio.
This article is sponsored by a generous donation from M&S of Pawling. http://www.mandsofpawling.com/