Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

March 30, 2010

Roger McGuinn/Tom Rush

Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield, MA
March 27, 2010
by Eric Sutter

High spirited feelings of togetherness were experienced at the Colonial Theatre with the appearance of the Godfather of Jangle-Pop Roger McGuinn, who shared a double bill with the pre-eminent singer-songwriter of the Woodstock era, Tom Rush. The spiritually sensitive McGuinn was in fine voice and his special talents of combining the prettiness of folk music with the drive and strength of rock rhythm were evident as he walked out playing the opening riff of "Younger Than That Now" on his Rickenbacker. The folk legend proceded to time trip through, not only his own musical catalog, but the entire history of popular guitar music. He treated the audience to a traditional sea shanty, "Heave Away Johnny" played on his Martin guitar and the first American folk song from 1761 called "Springfield Mountain." He shifted to banjo for "Old Blue" which brought forth handclaps from the audience.

From Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, and Elvis to the Beatles, he sampled different styles of guitar which culminated in the splendor of the ringing chime of Rickenbacker which colored "Mr. Tambourine Man" and the climatic hits of "Eight Miles High" and "Turn, Turn, Turn." He also performed "Chimes Of Freedom" and the movie anthem, "Ballad of the Easy Rider." His version of an "Irish Blessing" was a soothing closer.

Tom Rush was in awe of McGuinn as he sang "Making the Best of a Bad Situation" to humor the audience about following the Byrds' frontman's performance. Rush also proved to shine in his own way with a mix of songs from his lengthy career. He cooed an Eliza Gilkyson love song with "Fall Into the Night" and Joni Mitchell's "The Urge For Going." He shifted to a gruff bluesy singing style on "Drop Down Mama" and the funny "Remember Blues." Rush then performed the title cut from his new CD "What I Know." The celebration continued with "Let's Talk Dirty In Hawaiian," which set a flutter of laughter through the audience. "These Days" and "A Child's Song" were played warmly on his acoustic guitar. McGuinn joined Rush for a harmonious rendition of "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere." They closed with a gutsy "Driving Wheel" with Rush filling out the bottom with his deep voice. The strong tide of emotions aroused an awakened consciousness and left the audience starry eyed and laughing.