With a career as varied Mark Erelli, you really could get anything at his show. He brought 3/5 of his bluegrass outfit, the higher pitched parts to this one to this one in two generations of Armerdings (Jake & Taylor). They provided harmony vocals, mandolin and fiddle. The Armerdings took the lead vocals for a few tunes as well.
From Erelli’s last album, “Everything in Ruin” sounded great in a bluegrassy form. The Armerdings provided the harmonies and the strings, but the rhythm of the song stood out. Mark Erelli came through with one of his best songs to date.
While that was a staple, Erelli brought out one of my favorite tracks “Imaginary Wars.” This song is hidden on an old record and I’d always wanted. It was an oldie from 2006’s Hope & Other Casualties. It had a different sound with the driving percussion of the studio version but, the strong songwriting carried it through.
The Armerdings did more than just contribute backup vocals. Jake sang his bluegrass cover of “Boy in the Bubble” along with several original tunes. Taylor sang his cover of “Crash on the Barrellhead” and a few other tunes.
Overall, the boys made the evening about as upbeat as possible in a temple in the burbs. In fact, despite the fact that Suzanne and I were definitely the spring chickens of the bunch, there was an energy and appreciation of the quality of the playing. Don’t say there’s nothing exciting in the suburbs.
About the author: Jeff is a teacher in the Boston area. When not buried correcting papers, Jeff can be found plucking various stringed instruments and listening to all types of americana music.