[Originally posted in February 2008 on www.Memphis-Dulcimer.com , copied and reposted here with changed formatting on 4/11/2009.]
Sunday night’s house concert with Butch and Christie was one of the BEST house concerts I have had the privilege to host!
My wonderful Aussie Bloke/Friend, Adrian Kosky, provided Butch and Christie’s introduction in his charming Australian-yet-Deltafied manner and then proceeded to warm us up with a rhythmic, sassy, songwriter/singer/mountain dulcimer performance. Adrian played several of his original tunes, including by request, his DPN-published “Table Hill Road,” as seen on Youtube.com — minus any alleged railroad regulation violations, as he was simply sitting in front of my fireplace rather than on the railroad tracks of Chattanooga.
The concert audience of about 10 was a gathering of Memphis Area Mountain Dulcimer Club members and spouses, a fiddler, a violinist, as well as a couple from Jonesboro, Arkansas, who discovered my scheduled house concert via an internet search, picked up the phone and called me for more info, and traveled to hear Butch Ross and Christie Burns perform on their stop-over visit after performing at a recent folk festival in Texas.
Adrian’s warm up performance and an impromptu Will The Circle Be Unbroken sing-along finale were the luxurious and entertaining bonuses for all of us.
Other than hearing Adrian and Butch jamming after dinner at Butch and Christie’s house and seeing/hearing Butch and Christie in performance on a Youtube video, I had never before had the privilege of hearing Butch and Christie perform in concert.
This house concert was sheer pleasure…hearing Butch and Christie’s music of hammer dulcimer, mountain dulcimer, and guitar in various combinations….and also, at times, accompanied by Adrian, was truly entertaining. Together Butch and Christie play with the beauty of timing in their musical expression/phrasing in a way that I have observed with the most professional of stage performances — the most recent being the performance of the Transiberian Orchestra at the FedEx Forum in downtown Memphis during the Christmas season. I’m not saying that Butch, Christie, and the Transiberian Orchestra are the same in their genre or their dramatics…I’m just saying that there didn’t seem to be any difference in the quality of Butch and Christie’s musical expression and phrasing in my living room as what I observed from the super-high seats in the super show of the T-Orch.
Butch and Christie seem to breath music in and out of each other and their instruments….the whole time Christie comes across as a bouncy ball of energy that would make anyone want to bounce along with her….and Butch seems to be energized by Christie’s energy.
Butch sang his original song — which he later learned was coveted by another song-writer in the audience that night — “I Love Singing Folk Songs,” a song telling of Butch’s fondness for singing the songs of everyday life and how he loves to sing them so….if I didn’t already love singing folk songs myself [when nobody is looking/listening] before Butch’s performance, instead of writing up this entry on my website right now, I would currently find myself Googling up more info on folk songs, as in Who else sings them? How can I sing them? and Why would anyone not want to sing folk songs???? I don’t think Butch has any political motives…but if he did — he would no doubt write a campaign song that would win us all over to his side….fer sure.
As you can read…I’m not really a concert critic….I cannot tell you which key was what when or where in my living room, and I can’t really even remember what they sang from their set list…although I remember someone getting ahold of the black Sharpie ink pen that they used when they wrote their song list…and I happen to know that there was a surprised look on someone’s face at the moment she did a double take on her familiar, yet smiley-face edited, set list…those things I REALLY remember…and will ALWAYS remember — the memory of the beautiful, intimate, feeling of friendship that comes when friends are with me in my living room, listening to the performance of the sharing and talented musicians who were not holding back anything they would give to another audience of great size/number….as they demonstrated that their gift to a gathering of only a few is the same and can be even sweeter than that which is given to a gathering of thousands.
When it comes to the effect of their music on my soul, love for humanity, and the living of life in my immediate world at this given time and place in West Tennessee, Butch and Christie deserve much more of a reward than their collection from the love basket of appreciation and donations. They deserve to be heard…again, and again, and again. Thank you Christie, Butch, and Adrian, for allowing me to share you with my beautiful, music-appreciating, friends….the long-timers and the new ones. And thank you to my friends who shared their friendship and their love for cozy, living room-evenings and music simply by being here.
[edited time stamp after publishing on 4/11/2009 to indicate original posting date]