Outer Banks Sounds CD Debuts at Kelly’s
By Kip Tabb –
Blues, bluegrass, jazz – there is a little bit of everything when Outer Banks musicians take the stage, and never has that been more evident than the debut of the Outer Banks Sounds CD at Kelly’s Outer Banks Tavern last night.
A project of the Dare County Arts Council and 99.1 WVOD, the CD is the collected live performances of Outer Banks musicians at the Outer Banks Sounds Showcase over the past year. Not every performer on the CD got to perform last night – to keep the show moving along, it was an all acoustic night. Even so, the diversity of sound, the creativity of the music writing and the skill of the musicians was astonishing.
The Jug Tucker Band kicked things off, a band that plays bluegrass with an energy and joy that is wondrous to behold. The musicians – Mark Criminger, guitar and mandolin; Sherri Criminger, standup bass; Ed Gee, banjo; and Bob “Muskrat” Peams, dobro – are good, really good, and they are there to have fun.
A number of musicians performed and rather than call out everybody, I’d like to mention just a couple of highlights from the evening. There were no weak performances, but some of the people on stage really stood out for me.
When David Neal’s CD, Reverbnation, came out last year, I gave it a great review, and seeing him live just underscores what is best about him. He comes out armed with a guitar and harmonica and sings the type of in-your-face protest song that takes me back to a dingy bar in western Pennsylvania where I went to school. He follows that with a love ballad that is so true to the human spirit that there is a feeling that somehow he has looked inside me and found the hidden corner of the pain of lost love.
It should be mentioned that the genesis for this project came from a locals show that David organized in 2010. “David got this going,” Mike Kelly remarked to me at one point.
At the other end of the spectrum of voice is Natalie Wolfe – not that David’s voice isn’t good, it’s just that Natalie is in a class by herself.
Performing with Ed Tupper of the Hound Dog Family Band (the group is on the CD and a great show, but way too electric for the evening) on standup bass, the songs Natalie performs are complex yet tightly woven with wonderful melodies and great vocals.
These are just a few performances that have stuck in my mind, but the whole evening seemed like a highlight, so I’m not sure I would call them that. There’s the amazing guitar work of Ruth Wyand and that powerful voice, and Scott Franson performed a duet with Christine Young that was beautiful.
The list goes on and on, so maybe the best way to catch the Outer Banks musicians is to buy the CD – $20.00 and all the proceeds benefit the DCAC music programs. The CD wasn’t featured on the website last night (darearts.org), so a phone call may be in order: 252.473-5558, or stop by the Gallery at the old Manteo Courthouse.