Pure vocals and honest stories brought the audience to tears and cheers on Saturday night at Russ and Julie’s intimate house concert in Oak Park, California. The double feature brought us Susie Glaze and the Hilonesome Band, and the Nashville duet, Jeni and Billy. Wowza – what a beautiful night!
Susie’s angelic face lights up the room. Sitting quietly as she tunes into the first strands of music from her talented band, I waited with anticipation for her voice to reach out to sweeten the night. Lilting and luscious, her tinkly and robust vocals surprise and delight. Accompanied by her own guitar and dulcimer, Susie carries us through poetic and humorous images of pain, pathos and out right drama. Rounded out by her band of virtuoso fiddle, bass, guitar, mandolin, Bouzouki and other traditional instruments, her ‘boys’ know how to play a tune and then some. New grass fusion with Appalachain folk gives part of the picture of this versatile band of bards.
Staunch supporter of the live acoustic music scene, FolkScene’s Roz Larman (KPFK 90.7 fm) says, “Susie Glaze has one of the most beautiful voices in blue grass and folk music today. She performs a song from her heart and soul.”
Don’t miss FolkScene Sunday nights 6-8 p.m. Roz provides a calendar of local events and some of the best guest performances on each show.
The homespun Jeni and Billy duet from Nashville brought forward a tradition of ballads both timeless and new. Whether the sweet faced Jeni was singing her own songs, or reviving tunes from the deep archives of the coal mining Applalachian Mountains, her personality and charm were a fresh breeze. Especially in over processed Los Angeles, home of commercialized BIG sounds of The Voice, X Factor and the like. Accompanied by her ‘true love’ Billy on guitar, bango and harmonica, they paint pictures of a world so different than the ‘modern life’ we are inundated with. I was truly moved by their homespun performance. Of course, Jeni is a 4th generation quilter, and a preserver of women’s stories of simple everyday heroism. She shared a new song of Olive Oatman born in 1837 who wore a blue face tattoo as a sign of her kinship with the Mohave, the Native American tribe that took her from her captors, the Yavapai. A clip is featured below.
Jeni Hankins sings her new song about Olive Oatman
Demonstrating her comedic side, she gave us ‘the BIG EYE” to get us to sing along with “Chicken Ridge.” Meeting Jeni and Billy, who travel by Airstream trailer across country to share their love of music, storytelling and live, gave me hope for humanity. When you step back in time, in the present, and find this realm of pure heart, from the heart of America to the heart of us all, you find Jeni and Billy, playin their hearts out, and flat foot dancin’ all the way to heaven.