Live Review: Chatham County Line, Blair Crimmons
December 16, 2011, Variety Playhouse, Atlanta
by Eric Wildes
You’ve got to love the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta. If there is music lover in the area who doesn’t love that venue, then I can’t say I’d have much in common with them.
This time I went to see local favorites, Blair Crimmons and The Hookers, open for Chatham County Line. Blair Crimmons. Blair Crimmons is a masterful entertainer that is equally engaging as a solo act or with the impressive backing band, The Hookers, blasting back behind him. I’ve seen him play just about every small and medium -sized venue in town, so it was nice to see him do his thing at a larger place like the Variety.
Chatham County Line came out and the place was finally filling up. They formed a semi-circle around an antiquated looking custom-built microphone stand that had several types of microphones sticking out. It looked similar to a road sign from the 1920’s converted into a microphone stand.
The band’s sound was also remarkably authentic, as the tight harmonies were impeccable, and the musicians were all very skilled. The first half of the show was done in the semi-circle and was more traditional acoustic performances. Throughout this portion of the show the fiddle/mandolin player switched positions with the banjo player depending on which part was taking the primary spot on that song. As a result the two guys would go back and forth sometimes several times during the same song.
They really excelled at blasting tight and balanced harmonies with a slick instrumentation that was classic, but sometimes unpredictable. They would occasionally throw in a minor chord or a blue note to switch from what the audience might have been expecting.
The second half of the show was designated as the electric portion. While they brought out several other skilled musicians and expanded the array of instruments to include keys, hollow-bodied guitars, and an amazing collection of vintage amps, I found this part less interesting in comparison.
Perhaps that is because it didn’t have the same novelty effect on me. Regardless, the crowd was exuberant and clearly enjoyed the show. I really enjoyed the first half and was at least moderately entertained by the plugged-in second half.
Editor’s Note: Eric Wildes is a senior writer for DeadJournalist.com. A writer, musician and teacher, you can follow him on Twitter: @Elvis_Skinner.
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