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Bill Evans and Megan Lynch Wow the Crowd

~ Venue: One Longfellow Square, Portland Maine - October 22, 2009 ~

Oct 24, 2009
Kimmy Sophia Brown

Bill Evans, twenty-five year banjo legend and author of Banjo For Dummies, and Megan Lynch, six time National Fiddle Champion, took the stage after a wonderful warm up from the opening act of Ron Cody, Matt Shipman and Erica Brown. In fact, you could say that the evening was a musical feast. It was something like having Chicken Marbella* and Auberge French Lavender Marinade** over the finest cuts of beef, served with Dom Perignon. Sometimes music is so delicious, so tres magnifique, it’s hard to describe in mere listening terms! In cooking, flavor is everything and likewise with music – the preparation and presentation are key ingredients to a great concert.

From the vantage point of the middle of the front row I got to see the exuberant Bill Evans and the commanding Megan Lynch. What a powerful twosome. They started out with Ernest Tubbs’, “I Hung My Head and Cried”. Megan wore a sleeveless dress with a zebra pattern, black heels, black bracelet and her long hair pulled back in a sleek ponytail. Bill’s looks are a bit reminiscent of John Denver; round glasses, longish hair and a broad, warm smile. He had an extremely supportive attitude as he accompanied Megan’s vocals. She melted into her violin, producing a liquid tone, versatile and intimate. Bill held and played his various instruments like cherished babies; delicately, attentively, devotedly. His strong, deep voice juxtaposed beautifully against Megan’s honest and expressive one.

Their two voices blended together stunningly as they played cuts from their “oldest, newest and best selling” CD, Let’s Do Something. Their conscious phrasing and elegant harmonies were truly breathtaking. Coupling their singing ability with emotional yet precise fiddle and banjo backup, they performed a number of familiar and unfamiliar compositions, including Van Morrison’s, “Into the Mystic”.

At one point they gave beautiful introductions to each other and we got a taste of their individual expertise. Bill was utterly at ease and playful throughout the evening. He played a Beatles medley on the banjo, encouraging audience members to chime in with vocals once we recognized the tune. He talked about the fact that John Lennon’s mother, Julia, played the banjo, and when John got his first guitar, they tuned it like a banjo because they didn’t know guitar tuning. An early photo of John shows him playing banjo chords on his guitar.

Megan had a very droll sense of humor and talked of her childhood which consisted mostly of fiddle playing and reading. She said that once, when she was very young, she read the biography of Sonny Liston and became enamored with him. While other girls were on the playground singing, “My Little Pony”,she was in a throng of eight year olds, posing the question, “Was Sonny set up?” With that they did a haunting version of Mark Knopfler’s, “Song for Sonny Liston” with Bill on a fuzzed out electric banjo.

They performed what they called their ‘Halloween death song’; “Rocks and Water”, which, they said, reached the position of Number Six on the Folk Music Charts, only to be outdone by old standbys such as “Kumbaya”, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” and “This Land is Your Land”.

Another heartbreaker was a song by their friend, whose name I believe is Sarah Siskin, entitled, “I do”, about a marriage gone wrong. In contrast to that, they finished with a joyous tribute to love, written by Robin and Linda Williams, “On and On”.

Finishing up the night, they called up Ron Cody, Matt Shipman and Erica Brown for a sizzling lick fest, (musical licks that is, oh behave!) ending with “Forty Years of Suffering, Forty Years of Pain”, (with a great solo vocal by Matt),an ironic ending to almost three hours of inspiration and beauty.

They can be reached at www.myspace.com/billevansandmeganlynch.Bill Evan’s homepage is http://www.nativeandfine.com/, and Megan Lynch’s is: http://www.fiddlestar.com.

*Chicken Marbella has capers, olives, prunes, herbs, brown sugar and white wine
**Auberge French Lavender Marinade has olive oil, garlic, lemon, lavender flowers and lavender honey

For music lovers visiting Portland, Maine, I highly recommend
One Longfellow Square ~ "Portland's Premier Arts Venue"
Check them out at onelongfellowsquare.com.

Kimmy Sophia Brown has loved humor and music and freedom for as long as she can remember.She is especially passionate about the environment and caring for animals.

She writes the column "From the Back Porch" as well as reviews of music in her column "MusicViews". Her goal in her music reviews is to introduce music she loves to people who may not have heard that particular artist or CD. For information about how to submit a CD for review, click here.

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