November 2011 marked the 10th Anniversary of the Narrows Center for the Arts. Looking back through the years, a flood of great times, great friends and a strong sense of accomplishment permeated the air. We had a great line-up of musical acts as well as the fantastic Art of a Brick Lego exhibit, all the makings for a great celebration
We started our 10th anniversary weekend with Sonny Landreth and Danielle Miraglia. Danielle opened the show with her distinctive folk 'n blues. She is a charismatic performer and she set the stage for the Sonny Landreth power trio. We have hosted Sonny numerous times and he always brings his "A" game. This show reminded me alot of a Jeff Beck show. Lots of instrumental riffing with Sonny's unique approach to slide guitar on top. The following night was the David Wax Museum with The Parkington Sisters opening the show. The Parkington Sisters are 4 genuine sisters with beautiful harmonies and an interesting chamber pop sound. David Wax and company were the buzz band at this year's Newport Folk Festival and this show lived up to the hype. They mix traditional Mexican folk with a contemporary take on americana. Great songs and an interesting blend of instrumentation with high energy. You will be hearing much more from this crew in the near future. On Friday, the legendary Jorma Kaukonen brought his elegant guitar stylings to the Narrows. Accompanying Jorma was multi instrumentalist extraordinaire Barry Mitteroff. Jorma played selections from his 50 plus career in music. Highlights included, I Know You Rider, Good Shepard and a smoking Water Song.
We concluded our Anniversary weekend with Rosanne Cash and Jeffrey Foucault. Jeff has played our venue many times and he never disappoints with his smart songwriting and deft guitar playing. Over the course of our ten years, I have had the pleasure of working with some high profile acts, but I must admit I was a little nervous about hosting Rosanne. Being the daughter of the legendary Johnny and a major star in her own right, I wasn't sure what to expect. She was a complete joy to work with. She had a warm personality and she seemed genuinely impressed with the Narrows as a venue and what we stood for. She was accompanied by her husband John Leventhal. Rosanne has the voice of an angel and her set was well paced with songs from her latest release The List, and a career retrospective. Highlights were Long Black Veil, Hasn't Happened Yet, a spellbinding Ode to Billy Joe, Tennessee Flat Top(which showcased John's exquisite guitar stylings). She ended the show with the haunting 500 Miles with John moving to piano. We have had many outstanding shows in the last ten years but this is absolutely in the top ten. Thank you Rosanne and John for making the Anniversary so special.
We had many other great shows in November. Abilgail Washburn wowed the crowd with her intricate and soulful banjo playing. David Bromberg romped through his set with old favorites and great new songs. The old hippies loved this one. Shemekia blew the roof off with her powering voice and Dave Alvin absolutely ripped it up on a Sunday night(Top ten show of 2011), We had our annual Friends of the Narrows event with Seth Walker. This was a great evening of music and friendship. Newgrass legend Sam Bush and his spot on band played impeccably. We ended the month with our old friend Sarah Borges and new friend Amy Black. Both classy ladies who rocked the house.
As great as the music was, it is the people that came to the shows and the great volunteers that really made the month and the whole Narrows experience so memorable. Thank you all for being there.