Daniel Martin Moore & Ben Sollee ‘Dear Companion’ Tour
Several years ago, in a city and life that now seems so distant, the music of Daniel Martin Moore politely introduced itself to me. It is, by far, the lightest, most simplistically beautiful thing that came to me during that time, and ironically, it is one of the very few things (other than my robust pet Leopard Gecko) that somehow managed to endure the many moves and changes I’ve since experienced. But that’s just the nature of Daniel, I suppose.
I had the pleasure of catching Daniel’s set last week (Thursday, 3.11.10) at the intimate Beachland Tavern. When I learned he was touring with the incredibly talented cellist/vocalist Ben Sollee, I knew I couldn’t miss the show for the world. The duo are on the road in support of their Yim Yames (aka Jim James of My Morning Jacket fame) produced album, ‘Dear Companion.’ (Released just last month (2.16.10) on Sub Pop Records)
I had a sneaking suspicion that Daniel and Ben were the kind of rare artists that sound fantastic on their recordings and then absolutely blow audiences away when they play live. I realized that this suspicion was a reality only moments into a wonderful set complete with foot stomping, hand clapping, fiddlin’, banjo playing, cello strumming, and three very distinct, different, and beautiful voices harmonizing in a most amazing and delicate kind of way.
Joining Moore and Sollee on the road are two incredibly talented artists, Cheyenne Marie Mize (ornery and haunting fiddling sprinkled with sweet as honey vocals) and Dan Dorff (percussionist/hand clapping/foot stomping extraordinaire who performed with STOMP in London) – and when their powers combine, they make the most wonderful, bluegrassy, Appalachian folk inspired music I’ve ever heard.
Their set was a lively and varied one, featuring a few tunes from ‘Dear Companion.’ The ones that stand out in my mind include “Something, Somewhere, Sometime,” “Try” (captivating Cello playing by Sollee), “Flyrock Blues” (beautiful plea by Moore) as well as a memorable performance of the album’s title track, a powerfully haunting song inspired by the story of a coal miner, who, while trapped and dying inside a collapsed mine, wrote one last simple and beautiful letter to his wife Eleanor.
The musicians also got the opportunity to showcase some of their solo work, which added great variety to their set. There is a certain, inexplicable quality to the music these good folks play, and throughout the night I went from clapping and singing along, to feeling the need to wipe tiny, salty tears from my eyes. Their music is both familiar and charming, and through the shadows of their troubled Appalachian cause, their voices and talents come together to radiate a beautiful and varied light. Several days later, I still find myself randomly whistling bits from their acoustic evening ender “Jubilee.”
Photos © Emily Drakulich
Albums you should check out:
Ben Sollee’s 2008 release, ‘Learning to Bend’
Daniel Martin Moore’s 2008 release, ‘Stray Age’
Cheyenne Marie Mize’s recently released ‘Before Lately’
Lastly, it’s very important to note that ‘Dear Companion’ is an album with a very important cause: ending the destructive process of Mountain Top Removal. Proceeds from record sales are going towards ending Mountain Top Removal, as well as finding a way to better the lives of the folks that call those mountains home. Visit http://www.appvoices.org/ and http://ilovemountains.org/ to learn more about their cause!