Songs from way back when played here and now: Davis Live Music Collective presents Anaïs Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer, Frank Fairfield, and Tom Conlon

Last night I was blessed with the opportunity to hear some very talented musicians play a diverse catalogue of folk music. The show was put on by the generous volunteers of the Davis Live Music Collective at the Veterans Memorial Center Theater. Tom Conlon opened with a pleasant if not terribly memorable set of “songs about places.” Frank Fairfield, a native Californian who looks and sounds like a product of the Reconstruction Era, did not disappoint with a set of old-timey songs on the banjo, guitar, and fiddle.  The audience lapped up his onstage antics and cheered when Fairfield’s bow exploded during an intense bout of fiddling.  He tramped offstage to find a replacement and scratched out a slow, mournful rendition of “Rye Whiskey” to finish his set.

The headliners, Anaïs Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer, blew everyone away. They performed a slew of songs from their brand new album Child Ballads (including my favorite, “Riddles Widely Expounded”) and some originals too.  Like Fairfield, their treatment of the ballads was very traditional, and the pair sang in strict harmony throughout their set with simple acoustic guitar accompaniment.  Mitchell’s original song “Man in America” was a welcome aberration from the square rhythms of the English folk set–and shocked the audience back into the 21st century with its clamorous refrains:

Ravenous, ravenous
What you got, it’s not enough
Young man in America

For their encore, Mitchell and Hamer surprised with an unplugged version of Jethro Tull’s “Skating Away” and introduced Jefferson’s father who was sitting in the audience. I laughed, I cried, I wished I had half of Anaïs’s remarkable aptitude for songwriting. What an incredible Saturday night!

Review by Melissa Schiller with Lauren Norton

Photo by Rik Keller:http://www.rikkeller.com/

Photo by Rik Keller:

Check out the Davis Live Music Collective and the musicians on Facebook:

DLMC – http://www.facebook.com/davislivemusic

Anaïs Mitchell – http://www.facebook.com/AnaisMitchellMusic

Jefferson Hamer – http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhamermusic

Frank Fairfield – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Frank-Fairfield/264871751428

Tom Conlon – http://www.facebook.com/tomconlonmusicpage


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