Thursday, May 01, 2008

Jeffrey Foucault/Kristin Mooney; May 1, 2008; Café Carpe

Matt Pond PA was scheduled to play the High Noon tonight, but cancelled the week before. I always enjoy Jeffrey’s shows but hadn’t planned on going to this one since I already had plans. In fact, I had pretty much forgotten about it. That was until I saw those two little words in Jeffrey’s e-mail that had me on the phone immediately to the Carpe to see if there were any tickets left. Those words were “Eric Heywood.”

I’ve seen Heywood play with many people, Son Volt, Alejandro Escovedo, and most recently with Gary Louris and Vetiver, and he is never short of amazing. A wizard of the pedal steel, he has transformed ordinary records into good ones, and made good ones great (Romantica’s “America” is an example of the latter). I knew he was going to be playing with Jeffrey so it was a pleasant surprise when he also took the stage with opener Kristin Mooney. She was charming and self-deprecating, joking about how long it takes her to put out a record (this was only her fourth record in ten years, or something like that). Ultimately though I thought she suffered from the “Kelly Hogan” syndrome, a remarkably gorgeous voice but uninspired songs.

Jeffrey’s set displayed his guitar skill and wit in equal measure. A native of the Fort Atkinson area his shows back home at the Carpe are always some of his best, not to mention a family reunion of sorts with various family members and friends from around the area in attendance. And some of his songs wouldn’t work as well anywhere else. His ode to Illinois drivers was a classic example of this. A running joke of a song that never actually uses the word “FIB,” it does poke fun at many of the stereotypes of drivers from south of the Wisconsin border. Written on a drive from north, it was one of the funniest songs I’ve heard him do. Many of his songs are more somber, moody, evocative pieces that use his voice and guitar well. Most of tonight’s set came from his most recent release “Ghost Repeater” but a few older songs also made it into the mix. Honestly though, I was so entranced by Heywood that I don’t remember exactly what songs he did.

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