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June 2014

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Silver Maple leaves

Jennifer Cutting Ocean Quartet Concert - Oct 26th

After having done day after day of 80 mile plus round trips over not so great roads to hear concerts in Cape Breton, a mere hour to go to Galesville, Md to hear Jennifer Cutting seemed quite easy.  We arrived early in a tiny community hall near the western shore of the Chesapeake.  Tickets were had and we mingled with the other early arrivals.

Since this was a Halloween/Samhain concert I decided to wear my leather ocean themed crown.  A number of folks recognized Shane and Leah Odom's work. Jennifer was bustling (literally) around in a victorian costume with a witches hat greeting everyone.  She recognized the crown and took a picture along with my wife in elven ears.  I thought it a bit odd that a performer was socializing before a concert.  And then, five minutes before start, a man came in with a keyboard and plunked it down.  I noticed a flurry of activity with Jennifer suddenly in real concentration with another woman who turned out to be the keyboard's owner. Her own keyboard had died during sound check and this was an emergency fill in keyboard. So, one disaster averted.

The concert was wonderful.  Jennifer is not the lead singer.  That honor belongs to the truly gifted Lisa Moscatiello .  Jennifer is lead composer, keyboard and accordian player.  Bringing in the reels is fiddler Andrew Dodd who loses nothing to the folks I heard on Cape Breton.  Stephen Winick finishes up the quartet with a highly malleable voice sounding ye olde England in on set and Gilbert and Sullivan in another.  His is the very distinctive voice on the Ocean Orchestra Songs of Solstice for those of you who have it.

There was an interesting mixture of songs. Jigs and reels made their appearance every third or fourth turn.  Humorous songs like "I only want to eat your brains" and "Mrs. Rangoon" appeared at about the same  frequency along with some older ballads.  Then there were Jennifer's compositions.  Most of her work is strongly pagan themed.  A green man song, the cycle of the seasons, and appropriately for Samhain, the living supporting the dead towards the Otherworld.  The subtheme of the concert was the death of Paul diBlasi a manager at the House of Musical Traditions and one half of the sea chanty duo Calico Jack with his wife Janey.  Janey  was the organizer of this concert and kept on after Paul died suddenly and unexpectedly a few weeks ago.  As she said, Paul was all about the music.  The final number of the night, was the helping hands to the Otherworld  song.  It was Paul diBlasi's favorite song.  While dedicated to Paul, Jennifer asked for all names of those who had passed over the following year to include in the dedication.

As a side note, I won the raffle.  A handmade bottle bag with an evil spirits theme.  How the bottle of an unnamed substance eventually ended up in there is a mystery as the raffle clearly stated that the prize was a bottle bag:-)

Comments

Awesome! Thank you for introducing me to her work. Both of her albums are quite lovely.
Unfortunately, nothing new on the Ocean horizon, so all the autumn and spring songs will have to wait awhile to be heard outside of concerts.