Monday, July 12, 2010

Armadillos Acoustic Sunday's-Good Keene Music

Acoustic Sunday’s at Armadillo’s Burritos
Keene NH
July 11, 2010
Mike and Ruthy
Anais Mitchell and Jefferson Hammer

When I heard that Anais Mitchell was playing in Keene NH I knew I had to make the hour drive down there. When I heard that the venue was a burrito joint, well let’s just say I was a little hesitant. But I made the call to Orange Earth Productions and reserved our seats.

Armadillo’s Burritos is a funky burrito place on Main Street in Keene NH. They are closed/slow on Sunday’s so it’s a perfect time/place to host acoustic music and that’s what Orange Earth Productions and Armadillo’s has done. Doors open at 5 pm and they serve good, inexpensive, well made food (HUGE burritos, nachos, chili, chips salsa guac) until 5:45 pm. Performances start at 6 pm. They have a nice selection of beer and wine which they serve until closing (a pitcher of Newcastle draft was $8!!!)

The show Sunday July 11, 2010 was a co-headliner of Mike and Ruthy and Anais Mitchell. Mitchell was accompanied by Jefferson Hammer (who will be recording a CD of traditional Ballads with her in August). All four musicians took the stage a little after 6 pm.

Mike and Ruthy are on the road promoting their new CD “Million To One” and Anais Mitchell is out promoting her CD “Hadestown” which is a folk opera; the CD is pure genius! This is the group’s fourth and final show together and the seemed to be really enjoying being on stage together. Mike Merenda, of Mike and Ruthy opened the show by asking the audience if “Keene likes the banjo, because Albany (previous night’s gig) just pretended to like the banjo but I’m not sure they did.” The audience at Armadillo's enthusiastically clapped their response.

The foursome played a couple together then alternated between Mike and Ruthy and Mitchell with Hamer’s electric guitar accompaniment. Mike and Ruthy played a few new ones: “Rise” and “Goodbye” while Mitchell and Hamer performed a few traditional ballads that will be featured on their new CD.

Mitchell and Hamer also did a little show and tell for the crowd—on the way from Albany, NY to Keene, NH they stopped in Stockbridge, MA to visit the grave of their hero Francis James Child, who was the first person to hold the title of Professor of English at Harvard University and collected and assembled, from a comparative study of manuscripts and printed sources, over 300 ballads that became known as the "Child Ballads". They presented to the crowd a crayon etching/rubbing they made of Child’s grave and Hamer reported on his twitter site that they sang “Geordie” for Child.

Mitchell highlighted two songs from “Hadestown”: “Why We Build The Wall” and a personal favorite of mine, “Wedding Song.” Mike and Ruthy performed a great rendition of Richard Thompson’s “1952 Vincent Black Lightning.” They closed the second set with a Pete Seeger song “Oh, Had I A Golden Thread” and even got the crowd to sing along.

Following a stand ovation by the sold-out crowd, the foursome chose a Bob Dylan song for the encore, “I’ll Keep It With Mine” that left the crowd reminiscing about the old days of coffeehouse performances.

Armadillo’s Burritos is a great place to time travel back to the days of coffeehouse folk music and Orange Earth Productions is booking some great music there. This is a great collaboration by these two businesses.

Please visit these sites for more information:
Armadillo’s Burritos
Orange Earth Productions

More information about the artists:
Mike and Ruthy
Anais Mitchell
Jefferson Hamer

More photos on: Photos By Nanci