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Eve Goldberg (June 14, 2008)

We’re just in from Eve Goldberg’s performance at the Knox Acoustic Cafe and, as is always the case with this series, it was thoroughly fantastic!

Being a warm summer night, and with several other events going on in town at the same time as this one, the turn-out was still quite respectable for this show. There’s a hard core of the faithful coming to these shows (now that we’re hooked on the brilliance of these gigs, my lovely wife and I like to consider ourselves part of that select group by now!), and we wouldn’t miss it for anything.

Folks, it’s surely common knowledge by now, but it bears repeating here: Eve Goldberg can really, really sing. With each song her beautiful voice soared high and incredibly clear over her own perfect guitar accompaniment, creating a gorgeous sound that is still ringing wonderfully in my ears even now, at home after the show.

It was mentioned that Ella Fitzgerald and Patsy Cline come to mind when hearing her voice, and I heartily agree. It’s in that sweet way she holds her notes and then adds that little vibrato at the end (but never too much), that recalls for me so many of the past’s great vocalists.

Given this vocal skill she wields, it floors me that the vocal harmony workshop with Eve this afternoon, scheduled for before the show, had to be cancelled for lack of response. I mean, c’mon folks! Here was your chance to learn from a Master and you let it go right on by! What’s with that? Granted, I say this as someone whose howling would surely clear the room in record time, but for you folks who can do it and would be able to use her instruction, you missed a perfect opportunity.

But tonight? This show was completely excellent. Eve played with energy and style, and her stage presence was all class and good humour, a level of comfort only a true, seasoned professional can possess. Her songs are superbly-crafted and it was a pleasure to hear so many of them in a live setting. They hold up incredibly well, let me tell you.

Without trying to be confusing in my description here, I find there’s a complicated simplicity in her original compositions and their arrangements. Her songs have wonderfully complex things going on within the different parts, in the interplay between her guitar and that incredible voice, but when the whole is presented to your ear, it all just makes sense and you couldn’t imagine it being any other way. Again, this is the mark of a superlative artist.

Throughout the evening, she even offered us a couple of cover tunes (of Iris Dement, and of the Carter Family), lending her sound to songs from the great American songbook. Really, she could sing all night and we’d surely stay rooted to the spot.

And that’s the key – her respect for, acknowledgement of, and her joy in the roots of southern American music. It all comes together in her music, effortlessly straddling the lines between blues, jazz, country, folk and bluegrass, and yet still taking the traditions and making them her own.

Folks, Eve Goldberg is coming back to town in August for Summerfolk, so your mission is simple: Be there. With tonight’s show as proof, you really don’t want to miss your opportunity to catch her in action every chance you get.

Our immense thanks (once again and as always) go to the amazing Susan and Irwin for their vision and their hard work in making these much-needed shows happen. We are entirely grateful.

Next up: Brian MacMillan, with Layah Jane and Oliver Johnson, on July 12. We’ll be there, and so should you!

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