Divine Goddesses Bless Portland
Lucy Wainwright Roche, Rebecca Pronsky, Marie Moreshead ~ at One Longfellow Square ~ December 4, 2009
Dec 21, 2009
Lucy Wainwright Roche
Lucy Wainwright Roche brought to my mind the image of the quintessential country girl – ironically though, because she was raised in Greenwich Village, New York. She was honest, sincere, genuine and unaffected. I could imagine her ancestors gathering from beyond and singing with her there on the stage. Something in her quiet manner took me back to another time, when singing was an offering that sprang from an innocent root and blessed all that listened. She tilted her head back, accompanying herself on guitar, singing mostly original compositions with a clear, true voice. She told lots of endearing, funny stories in between, asking such direct questions as, “Who are you guys?” and “Why did you come to see us even though you don’t know us?” She made you feel like the friendship went way back and introductions weren’t necessary.
She performed a few of her own fine songs such as “Snare Drum”, “The Saddest Sound”, and “Chicago”. She also covered Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” and the rarely heard, but pretty, “I Met a Boy Called Frank Mills” from the musical, Hair. After the show I looked at some of her clips on youtube.com, and saw her do some evocative, traditional old songs such as “Wild Mountain Thyme”. She has the ability to draw in the audience and participate in the music-making so that when you go home, you don’t feel like you just watched somebody, but that you were part of the musical experience. Two examples of that happened when she invited a junior high school aged girl from the audience up to the stage to join her for a song (who did a great job, by the way) and when she expressed her penchant for sing-alongs and encouraged us to join in on a couple of numbers.
It is interesting to see a member of a musical family, performing in her own right. Lucy’s musical parents, Loudon Wainwright III, and Suzzy Roche, (of the singing Roche sisters,) are substantial singer/songwriters, both comic and poignant. Another string in her DNA is her aunt, Sloan Wainwright, who has one of the most amazing contralto voices in the business. And then there’s half-brother, Rufus and half-sister, Martha, who are forging their musical career paths as well. Growing up among so many talented, musical people is a two edged sword of either intimidation or else a built-in launching pad. Lucy went to college and was a teacher for a few years, but singing and the road won out. She has been touring with her brother, her father and others over the past few years. Her contribution to the music world is unique and beautiful and stands on its own merit. Her clarity and conveyance of songs will establish her as a solid musical talent as long she wants to continue, which could easily be many decades from now. I see her as a sort of Jean Redpath who will be singing and interpreting songs into her eighties and beyond. Check her out at http://www.myspace.com/lwrlwr where you can purchase her two EPs, Eight Songs and Eight More.
Opening for Lucy was the impressive Rebecca Pronsky. They have been friends since they were in high school together in NY in the mid-nineties.
Rebecca made me think of Barbara Stanwyck, from the television show, “The Big Valley.” It wasn’t so much her blond hair or her features exactly; it was her spirit, which was bold and capable. There was something “western” about her, which sort of goes with the fact that her website mentions the word “twang”. She seemed like the kind of woman who could run a ranch and stand up to bullies. Besides that she could really command the room with her fine and powerful jazz-trained voice. She composed some really touching songs, such as, “Anything but Good” and “Fragile World” and the six shootin’, “Hard Times”, which I loved. She also told some funny anecdotes about being on the road with Lucy, such as when her father called to wish her a Happy Birthday but realized it was the wrong month, and other oddities about growing up in Brooklyn. She had a fun and playful spirit and seemed very much at home on stage. Check out her website to see the many shapes of eyeglasses she wears.
Lucy joined her on the composition, “Big Kid” and they encouraged the audience to sing along on “Big City Lights”. We sang the phrase, “big city lights” on cue. I could imagine her songs being used in films and television. Rebecca is blessed with an observant mind and poetic ability, which ride with charm on the fortunate rocket of her voice. I would enjoy seeing her again any time.
Kicking off the show was the sweet and petite Marie Moreshead (pronounced more-shed). She played a handful of original tunes which expressed longing for love, emotional commitment, the angst of relationships and youthful hope. She embodied a real girl-next-door persona, and thankfully no attitude, which often comes with pretty, young singers. She has a bird-like voice and accompanied herself on guitar.
Marie has established herself playing in the Portland area and has released two EPs, Birdwatchers and The Distraction. Her songs, “As the Romans Do”, “No Turning Back” and “Hello There” were of note among her catchy and appealing set. At a mere twenty- two years of age, Marie has a promising future as a singer/songwriter and is a solid contender in her genre. Her star is rising.
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.
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