Jefferson Theater - Charlottesville, VA (January 23, 2013)


written by Kelli Scott

I was so excited for this night to finally come! The anticipation had been building all week to the point that I could hardly stand it. The Charlottesville show fell on a Wednesday night, and it was the beginning of a four night run for me. This year’s winter schedule varied from the norm, which gave us a number of shows throughout the southeast in January vs. the usual February Cabin Fever Tour schedule. This was a little bittersweet for us. It was super sweet because the break between the NYE run and Winter Tour was really short, but the bitter side was that Jamie couldn’t do all of our “usual” CFT shows. He was able to make it to C’ville, so it made the night a little more special ;).

I was also super stoked to see Lake Street Dive for the first time. I’d heard so many good things from when they played with the Dusters in the Northeast this past year. I filled my YouTube queue with LSD videos to get more acquainted. I couldn’t wait to see them in person. They did not disappoint! Their sound is remarkable and extraordinary. All that talent is magnified by a tremendous sense of unique style and swagger. I couldn’t take my eyes off the band, watching each of the four artists in turn. Their Motown sound infused with a classic doo-wop style brought a huge smile to my face, and took me back to fun childhood memories of dancing around with my Mama to her favorite oldies.

The front row of the Jefferson was full of Kinfolk. As I looked down to my left, I was greeted by Annie and Jim Katz, Kurt, and John. Many folks had travelled in for this long weekend of shows. Everyone was all smiles and heads were bobbing for the entire Lake Street Dive set.  As LSD finished up, it was a great chance to catch up with friends and other folks from the front to the back of the house. Jamie had plenty of company. He was joined by Tom and other local tapers. 

I was still pumped up. The opening act really got me going. My excitement continued to build because I knew it was time for the boys to hit the stage, and they were not alone. The one and only, Mr. Jason Carter, was the special quest for the first few shows of the Winter Tour. There were only a couple more nights to enjoy his amazing fiddle licks. We were all primed and ready to soak it in. Everyone was happy to have Jason in the house. He always has a reservation at the Yonder table.

The show opened up perfectly with “Out of the Blue”. I love when this song opens a show. JC was right at home taking his turn during the solo rotation. His fiddle put a nice accent on the tune. Ben kept it moving with “Sometimes I’ve Won”. Adam then hit the lick opening up one of the best dancing tunes in the history of YMSB, “Pockets”. Damn, I love this one! The extended version allows room for a little jam in the middle... oh, so good~ Then Carter added a certain level of intrigue, sawing off little funky bursts of fiddle action. It was only the 3rd song, and I was already lost in the groove, shimmy shaking it right down to the floor ;). 

Jeff gave JC a well deserved shout out, and asked him to sing a song. Everyone was thrilled to hear “Dark Hollow”. Jason’s voice echoed through all three tiers of the beautiful, historically molded Jefferson Theatre. Everyone in the crowd was singing along and really enjoying this cover. 

The time had come for some bouncy bluegrass. Dave kicked off “Loved You Enough”. The set slowed down with two very thoughtful and reflective tunes, Austin’s “At the End of the Day” and Kaufmann’s “Must’ve Had Your Reasons”. “My Gal” pulled the crowd back in. JC was allowed to shine with a sultry fiddle solo. His energy was on fire! I think it all had something to do with the Vassar tee-shirt he was sporting. 

Folks were curious to see if any of the Dusters would be sitting in for the night. They were not on tour and they were not scheduled for any local bills. Our questions were answered as Falco and Pandolfi walked onto stage. They took a second to plug in and tune up while the crowd went absolutely wild. An amazingly long and jammed out “KY Mandolin”> “Come Together” ended the first set. Yonder is so gracious when playing with other musicians. It was wonderful to hear the uniquely different style of strings blending the individual talents to form a unified jam. 

The second set opened up to an optimistic “Keep On Going”. It was long and improvised, giving everyone time to jam. “KOG” stood alone, no sandwich. Adam got everyone’s hips moving with “Damned if the Right One Didn't Go Wrong”, and kept it going with his new tune “Lonesome Letter”. 

The second set heated up with a big Jeff rock block, starting out with his cool classic “Half Moon Rising” right into a very driven and determined “Ten”, delivered in pure, explosive Austin style. Hartford’s soft and sweet “Natchez Whistle” was the middle of the “Ten” sandwich. The rise and fall between the two tunes provided another example of Jeff’s ability to control his voice and musical range. The fireworks of “Ten” were mellowed into the gentle melody and harmonies of “Natchez” just to erupt back into the powerful ending of “Ten”. Nothing completes a train song like a fiddle. Man, Oh Man! Jason Carter can bring a train to life better than any other. The steam of the Natchez fired up as JC’s bow glided across the strings, propelling the train down the track. 

Ben strapped on his electric bass for “Complicated”, and then gave us a little Sheriff Saga tease with “Mother’s Only Son”> ”Bolton Stretch”. I love both of these saga tunes. The solo of “MOS” never disappoints, and the lyrics and fast bluegrass pace of “Bolton” is unmatched. To everyone’s delight, it was once again time for a big ole’ pick when Panda and Falco joined the crew for a couple more tunes. Jeff introduced them as, “Chris, truck-stop, bottom-drawer, top-shelf Pandolfi”, and “Andy, the wizard, twister, microbiologist, Falco”. 

JC was up at the mic. He came on strong, fulfilling the most requested cover for him to play when he’s with Yonder, “Vamp in the Middle”. Once again, he gave us a taste of the ‘hillbilly fiddle’. The picking fun continued with an amazing “No Expectations” to finish out the set. I’ve seen Panda sit in on this tune before, a couple of years ago when the Dusters opened up on CFT, but this version of the Jagger/Richards tune was exceptional. It left me with chills.

The encore opened up with a big surprise, “Althea”. I don’t often hear this song in the encore, but I’m always happy to hear it whenever they want to play it. The boys sent us off on a fast dancing note with "Troubled Mind"> "20 Eyes"> "Troubled Mind". There is was... another night at ‘The Jeff’ in C’ville was complete.

As the stage started to be cleared, the back doors were opened, and we could see it was unexpectedly snowing outside. It made for an anxious drive home up the hills of the Blue Ridge, but we made it safe. We got home in time to get a couple of hours of sleep before going to work the next day, then leaving early that afternoon for the drive to Asheville for more bliss in Yonderland with my beloved Kinfolk. 

 Written by Kelli Scott; photos by Jim Katz

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