House concerts touch souls
House concerts may be the most dynamic part of the folk and roots music scene today – yet they are rarely discussed, and seldom reviewed in the media. We figured it was time to right the balance a little, with this report from longtime house concert host Steve Tennant of Perth, Ontario.
In standard journalistic practice, it would be unusual for a host to review a show at his own venue. But part of what makes house concerts unique is that the hosts are often super-fans, working hard for the love of the music. Who better to judge the quality of the show than someone who’s literally warming their own home by hosting one?
Music is a very personal thing. While listening to live performance, one person sitting beside you can be laughing while those on the other side are wiping their eyes for entirely different reasons. It’s where the music takes us; where a skilled musician whisks us away, transporting each and every one of us to somewhere within our own soul.
When you think of ‘soul’, we’re used to thinking of the incomparable Aretha Franklin, but in fact, it can be anything that touches us in that place, deep inside, that seems to have a mainline to our hearts and emotions, be it a work of art piece or a piece of music.
On Saturday night, Nonie Crete and Eugene Rea shared their soul and brought their eclectic styles to play Music On McLean in good ol’ Perth, Ontario. Their infectious blend of celtic, blues and folk, interspersed with whimsy and glimpses of self-penned song origins touched the appreciative crowd, swaying them from tears of laughter to tears of unreleased emotion.
I first heard Nonie years ago in one of Ontario Council of Folk Festival Conference‘s many late night song circles where her stellar blues style on guitar and harmonica embedded itself in my mind. A couple of years later I caught her and Eugene together at the Barrie Folk Festival where again, via a song circle stage, I was impressed with their dynamic, and the musical genuineness the two produced together.
On this night in our home, any song they touched brought out all they had in interpreting their shared vision and enhancing the other’s offering. Eugene’s background support on guitar, mandolin or pipes took each tune to a new level just as Nonie’s guitar, harmonica and vocal harmonies gave extra depth to Eugene’s creations.
They shared their souls with us. We were blessed. I hope you jump next time they’re playing near and you catch the fire this complimentary duo deliver.
The magic of live music continues…