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Incredible Evening of Music

OK, I'm not going to say it was the best musical event I've ever attended. (Even if it was.) No.
   I got back from skateboarding (on 2 new skateboards) on some nice down-sloping neighborhood streets in Soquel with a new friend, Tim (another story, was it fun!) about 6:45 last night.
   I saw in the local paper that Hills to Hollers, a group of three women, was playing that night at the Kuumbawa Club - - "American roots music." Moreover, it started at 7 PM, my kinda time for a musical event. I hustled over to the club and heard the sweetest 3-part harmony as I walked in. It was an utterly magnificent evening of music, a rare time when every single person in the packed room was on the same wave length.
   The women, (l-r in pic) Barbara Higbie, Linda Tillery, and Laurie Lewis are unbelievably skilled musicians. Fiddles, mandolin, guitar, banjo and a jazz/blues piano solo by Barbara (fiddler at left) above, that left everyone stunned.
   Bluegrass, blues, spirituals (as opposed to gospels), soul, every single song brilliant. Linda, at drums, grew up in Texas, said that when she was a little girl, her mom played Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" over and over, and Linda did a unique cover, channeling Hank's poetry and pain into a gorgeous rendition.
  There were times when the harmonies were so beautiful, I'd close my eyes and breathe deeply and feel like I was about to go airborne. Really.
   They talked about roots stuff. Like in the 1700s, hand drumming was outlawed (in every state but Louisiana), so the slaves transferred the rhythm of the drums to vocals. That spirituals quote the bible whereas gospel is a 20th century invention. Jesus is not referred to in spirituals. Then they did "Let Your Hammer Ring." The group is so new they're not to be found online. I don't know where they might play next, but there's an event in Berkeley on June 12th to raise money for Linda's knee operation, with Linda and a bunch of other musicians: http://www.freightandsalvage.org/linda-tillerys-new-knee-fundraiser
   I got out of there at 9, went to Bookstore Santa Cruz, then got a root beer float at the Penny Ice Creamery, was back at motel by 10 PM.

1 comment :

Joy Godsey said...

Linda Tillery is no newcomer. A prominent figure in women’s music, she began her career in the 60’s releasing 3 albums. Tillery was a staff musician and producer at Olivia Records and has won Bay Area Jazz Awards for Outstanding Female Vocalist. Prior to that, Tillery was awarded another Bay Area Music Award for Best Independently Produced Album. She has collaborated with female powerhouses such as June Millington, Deidre McCalla, Barbara Higbie and Margie Adam.

Tillery has appeared on radio, film, theater and television and has worked with the National Endowment for the Arts. She has appeared with other artists ranging from Santana to Kenny Loggins and Bobby McFerrin to Holly Near, to name a few.

Laurie Lewis and Barbara Higbie are also major talents. Lewis has recorded no less than seven albums and Higbie is a Grammy nominated Bammy award winning pianist, composer, violinist, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. She accompanied Carlos Santana on 3 tunes on his recent CD release.

I certainly wished I could have caught their show. I am sure it was an “utterly magnificent evening of music.” Thanks Lloyd for this post... takes me back to the early women’s music era.

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