Jeremiah Nelson/Dietrich Gosser; Mother Fool’s Coffeehouse; March 9, 2012
I’m not going to lie; last weekend took a lot out of me. Five shows in four days and two of them house concerts will do that. Even with Monday off by the time Friday rolled around I still wasn’t ready for any more late drinkin’ nights. Which made this show just about perfect. I hadn’t seen Jeremiah play in months, not since he had stopped doing Mickey’s on Tuesday nights back in July of last year. Actually that’s not totally true, he did do an emotional version of Bob Dylan’s “Shelter from the Storm” at a wedding in October. But you know what I mean. It had only been a couple months since I last saw Dietrich, also at Mickey’s, but that too seemed like forever. So it was awesome to see both of them at Mother Fool’s with a listening audience, a giant cup of coffee and a giant oatmeal raisin cookie.
Dietrich played first, a nice collection of old and new songs. Live favorite “Abraham” is both, and older song that finally saw release last year on The Man Who Invented Gold. He ended the set by playing “one of the first songs I ever wrote, I can’t believe how much joy it still gives me to play.” I recognized the chords he was strumming during the intro as “From a Mercury Lynx” from his debut record, and seconded its ability to give joy. I’m glad he feels that way about it since it was one of the first songs I ever heard him play and I never get tired of hearing it. The haunted song hints at something much more evil than a childhood trip in the back of car. His gentle speaking voice belies the power of his singing. His guitar playing is never less than intriguing. It’s been great having him back in Madison, but still I wish he played more often.
Not only has Jeremiah not been playing Madison as much as he used to, he isn’t playing anywhere and he might just be a little rusty. He admitted as much when he had almost reached the end of his terrific, but lengthy, “It’s Hard to Love on Bourbon Street” and the words escaped him. “Sorry guys,” he shrugged, “you know, it’s great when you write a song with a lot of words, but if you don’t play it all the time it’s easy to forget.” Surprisingly Jeremiah has always been really good at learning covers, something he did regularly for his Tuesday night gigs at Mickey’s. He frequently covered everything from Bob Dylan to locals like Dietrich and Blake Thomas. He gave props to another Wisconsin band Conrad Plymouth, playing their song “I Will Always Be Your Man” (not sure about the title, but that’s what I would call it). He had a new toy with him tonight, a complicated looking multi looping pedal board that he hasn’t quite mastered, but obviously enjoys, and should make for some even more involved soundscapes.
Tonight was definitely what I needed. Two great musicians, a great show, a surprisingly good vegan cookie, and I was home by 10:30.