Thursday at the Tin Angel down in Old City, Justin Trawick opened the evening with an upbeat folk pop set on guitar while cohort Jean Finstad took his bass lines for a walk on a beautiful upright. The duo treated the crowd to a bit of Virginia (where the pair hail from) with some bluegrass mixed into the set. As he performed his songs about “not love…I’m an unlucky boy,” Trawick was absolutely endearing; he stood with his feet turned in, knees waivering and belting out tunes with a lot of soul and passion. The only thing missing was a tambourine on the last song of his set.
Trawick was recently on the Georgia/South Carolina border recording a new EP so be on the look out for that. You can catch Trawick performing quite a string of shows in and around Virginia and Maryland with a couple dates in California in between. Check out his MySpace for more details.
My sole reason for being at the Tin Angel, though I quite enjoyed Justin’s set and am glad to have made it in time to catch him, was Basia Bulat. I first learned of the Canadian when I caught the end of her set opening for DeVotchKa back in May. That night, I bought her February 2008 release Oh, My Darling and have been spinning it almost non-stop since. Needless to say, I was very much looking forward to catching her headline a set.
Her smoky voice was a bit raspier than usual as she opened the set with the album’s title track singing, “There are two things I will carry in my pockets at the end / Oh, my darling / You are one of them.” Bulat was joined by brother Bobby Bulat on the drums, Allison Stewart on viola and Mike Javorski on keys and accordion. The four played lively renditions of latest single “In The Night” and “Snakes and Ladders,” both of which the delighted the audience that undoubtedly loved Basia.
On my favorite slow tune “Little Waltz,” Stewart’s viola and Javorski’s piano melody blended to form a warm and inviting harmony as Bulat plucked her acoustic guitar which kept the song light and whimsical. They played an extended version of Oh, My Darling‘s opening track “Before I Knew,” which took me by surprise before I learned an extended version was recorded on the 7″ Touch The Hem of His Garment that I subsequently purchased.
The set also featured beautifully vocalized covers by both Bob Dylan (“You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”) and Daniel Johnston (“True Love Will Find You In The End”). Before playing “The Pilgriming Vine,” Bulat mentioned that the song wanted to make her burn houses down, which makes the song’s music video quite appropriate. Despite an aversion to the piece, which she says is written about a crazy person, Bulat and company played it gorgeously and, in my opinion, is totally worth committing arson to hear it live.
Bulat ended the set with another personal favorite, “I Was A Daughter.” As on “Before I Knew,” the entire audience clapped along with the four on stage, which visibly delighted Bulat as she grinned upon hearing the room erupt in her matched claps. The song was beautiful and energetic and the perfect culmination to a magnificent set. Once the band left the stage, Bulat peeked her head around from behind the curtain before coming back out to perform a spirited and very well done old gospel song which she sang a cappella in a stunning display including clapping and stomping.
The tour is over, but if you get the chance to catch a Basia Bulat show, it is more than worth the cost of the ticket.
Oh, My Darling
In The Night
Snakes and Ladders
Before I Knew (extended version)
The Pilgriming Vine
You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (Bob Dylan)
True Love Will Find You In The End (Daniel Johnston)
Birds of Paradise
I Was A Daughter
Death Came Creepin’ in My Room