To jump into the car and travel to a show with the husband is always a dream. To hang out in Northampton is always a joy. To spend the late night into the early morning listening to some of the best live music you can get on a triple bill? It was nothing short of a privilege.
The Iron Horse is a small venue located in Northampton, MA. On Friday nights there are two shows - an early show that starts at 7:00, and a late show that usually starts around 10:00. The husband and I had no problem filling a few hours walking around Main Street (um...Local Burger? I think so.), and we showed up for the show a little after 10, as we had been advised that the 7:00 show featured a big band that would need extra time to dismantle. Well. Cut to 10:30, when we were finally allowed to shuffle through the door. We snagged a table in the balcony and had a couple of minutes before the first act, Robert Ellis.
(The Iron Horse is pretty strict about not allowing people to take pictures or video, and even though it would have been pretty easy for me to Instagram a few, I refrained. So you're just going to have to deal with youtube clips OKAY.)
Okay. Robert Ellis. How incredible is this man. He only played for about half an hour because everything started late, but I honestly could have sat there and watched him play for hours. His finger picking is amazing, and his voice is so genuine and, at times, so beautifully sad. He played a couple of new songs, including one about how much he misses his wife while he's away, and honestly I just wanted to leap down and hug him. We met him after the show, and he was so gracious and sweet. I am really looking forward to hearing him play at Newport this summer!
Shovels and Rope is Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent, and I am kind of obsessed with them. From the minute they started their set, I did not stop smiling. Cary Ann is so joyful and strong, and Michael is sweet and soulful (also, can we be real for a minute because HE LOOKS LIKE CASEY AFFLECK IN ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES JUST LET ME DIE). The husband and I talked with them for quite a bit after the show, and they were so cool. They bring their dog on tour with them, you guys. THIS LOVE IS REAL. Can we please get them to Newport already???
Let me tell you something about Jonny Corndawg. This man is a force to be reckoned with. I don't think he took the stage until around midnight, and he rocked the entire room, even as it continued to thin out (where could anyone possibly have to be that was more important than in that room with this man????). Robert Ellis played electric guitar with the band (the man can SHRED), and Cary Ann came up to sing Chevy Beretta (one of my favorites), and all of the guys just seemed like they were having the best time ever, even though the crowd was kind of craptastic. He played pretty much all of my favorite songs, including Middle Brother during the encore. He closed the night out singing Silver Panty Liners solo - a perfect ending to an evening jam-packed with crazy awesome.
I need you to heed these words: IF EVER YOU HAVE THE CHANCE TO SEE THIS MAN PLAY LIVE, YOU MUST GO. YOU MUST GO TO THERE. WITHOUT QUESTION, GOOOOOOOOOO.
We got to talk to him for a couple of minutes, and he could not have been a nicer or more genuine person. Newport? I hope that you're ready for this man this summer. He's clearly got plans for you.