Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

October 8, 2009

Bruce Hornsby/Wood Brothers

Mahaiwe, Great Barrington, MA
by Eric Sutter

An audience has to move when hearing good music or at least be moved... this was the case with both acts which knew how to make a good noise. The Wood Brothers are biological brothers with a rootsy front porch blues-folk brand of Americana that rocks. The rich ringing tones of "Lovin' Arms" from their "Loaded" CD sounded outstanding. Oliver Wood's acoustic guitar and voice was out front through his set with brother Chris' support on stand-up bass guitar and harmony vocal. "Liza Jane" featured their brotherly harmonies and a bowed bass solo by Chris. Chris began their "Train Trilogy" with a chugging harmonica as Oliver cut in with electric slide guitar and humorous vocals. They closed with "Postcards from Hell."

Here came the noisemakers... live and on the move! Musical visionary Bruce Hornsby began his set with "Heir Gordon" from 2004's "Halycon Days." His piano solo was exquisite as he segued into "Harbor Lights." He performed a couple of gems on piano with "Michael Raphael" and "Here We Are Again" from his new CD "Levitate." His band, the Noisemakers, provided a full sound accompaniement and solos with electric guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and reeds. The six piece band launced into "This Too Shall Pass." The songs took on a new life in a live setting with Hornsby's co-written ballad on Don Henley's hit "End of Innocence." At times, Hornsby's vocals were ragged, but the powerhouse band pumped him up on the 1988 hit "Look Out Any Window" which morphed into the Rolling Stones "Tumblin' Dice" with a rock riff supreme and saxaphone interlude. Hornsby performed a playful "Prairie Dog Town" on the dulcimer and also jammed on the accordion. He took a request and played "Gonna Be Some Changes Made" with its hypnotic percolated rhythms. This three time Grammy winner -- Best New Artist of '87 -- performed his hit song "The Way It Is" with J.T. Thomas on keyboards. A standing ovation led to the adventurous "Space is the Place" and "Dreamland."