Alice Gerrard & Friends
The ArtsCenter, Carrboro
Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014
"This is new territory for me," remarked folk legend Alice Gerrard October 30 at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro. Gerrard was referring to her backing band for most of the show, which consisted of Megafaun's Phil and Brad Cook, Hiss Golden Messenger's Mike Taylor and itinerant and excellent drummer Matt McCaughan.
But not everything was foreign for Gerrard, as she opened the show in familiar territory by starting in trio format with two familiar friends, Gail Gillespie and Kay Justice. The group huddled around a single condenser mic to play a handful of songs, beginning with "Boll Weevil," a number off her latest release Follow The Music
, which Gerrard learned from Mt. Airy fiddler Tommy Jarrell many years ago. The group huddled around Gerrard's purposeful voice, providing accents and sometimes elevating the song with flair.
Phil Cook was soon turned loose to play roadhouse piano, and when prompted to take two and three solos, he was up to the challenge. Late in the show, Gerrard told the story of how the project came together. Mike Taylor had been assigned as her graduate assistant at Duke's Center for Documentary Studies, and after he asked to produce a record for her for several years, she relented. The expansive show served as a reward for Taylor's efforts while providing a rare and thrilling exhibition of Gerrard's musical strength, too.
Watch the different configurations of Gerrard's band below.
Alice Gerrard, Gail Gillespie and Kay Justice, "Boll Weevil"
Alice Gerrard, "Follow the Music"
Alice Gerrard and Phil Cook, "Goodbyes"
Alice Gerrard, "The Vulture"