Loves It!/Count This Penny; January 7, 2012; Kiki’s House of Righteous Music
It’s always great to have a good show, but there is something exceptionally satisfying about being told that it was the best show of the tour. Jenny Parrott of Loves It! is well-known in Madison as the singer and guitar player of the recently disbanded, and already sorely missed, Shotgun Party. The Austin trio played the basement in 2008 and then went on to appear at the Sugar Maple Traditional Music Festival (twice!) and also headlined the High Noon for a SMTMF warm-up show. But thus far Madison had not been introduced to Loves It!, the band that Parrott started with her boyfriend Vaughn Walters.
She’d given me a copy of their CD, the appropriately titled Yay!, at SXSW last year. I’d listened to it a few times, and it is good, but it does not do them justice, they are much better in person. Tonight they both sang and played into a single condenser microphone, perfect for the basement and the attentive crowd that had gathered. They sound genuinely great together and their instrumentation complements the songs nicely. The most memorable song from the CD is the silly “Dinosaurs,” with its repeated line, “I’m going extinct like a dinosaur,” and it was certainly the most unforgettable tonight, which really isn’t quite fair to all the other gorgeous songs they sang. The image was reinforced by the T-shirts and sweatshirts they had for sale, a scary T Rex which boldly proclaims Loves It! And it glows in the dark. Yep, pretty cool.
Throughout their set, Parrott thanked local band Count This Penny for doing such a good job of warming up the crowd. And they had done just that with their exquisite set earlier in the night. The band consists of Alan and Amanda Rigel, an adorable couple who moved here somewhat recently from East Tennessee, plus fiddler John Henry and banjo player John Ray. Amanda said it was the first she had been able to sing in five days thanks to a case of laryngitis, but she sounded terrific. I patted myself on the back more than once for asking them to open, not only were they the perfect complement to Loves It! But they also did a great job of bringing people out for the show. In fact, for a moment I thought I might even have a sell-out at the door. Even though it fell just short of that, it was still a pretty amazing crowd.
And I have no trouble seeing why people are drawn to them, not only are they terrific performers- Alan and Amanda share vocal duty and sound great together, while the Johns add immeasurably on their respective instruments- but they are warm and genuine people. Oh yeah, and funny too, especially Amanda. My favorite comment of hers tonight was when Alan’s mother told her she had finally figured out who she reminded her of when she performed. “Emmy Lou Harris?” Amanda thought hopefully to herself before her mother-in-law announced “Ellen DeGeneres!” Ha. I can’t thank them enough for playing, and for bringing snacks. I can’t wait to get to Trader Joes to get some of that cheese for myself.
Parrott had arrived in a slightly off mood, but by the end of the night she couldn’t have been happier thanks to a terrific show and a bottle of Powers. “People tell you not to drink to solve your problems,” she pondered, “but why not? It works.” Here, here!
Count This Penny