Many performers strive to make their stage shows exciting, spontaneous and different from the experiene of listening to their albums. The contemporary folk group Girlyman, however, has a unique take on performing live that makes their shows an experience more than worth the price of a ticket…
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There were many exciting moments in the performance that ensued, from previews of songs from their upcoming release Supernova to much anticipated renditions of classics like “Kittery Tide” and “Everything's Easy.” Everything has not been easy for Girlyman as of late. In November of 2010, guitarist and vocalist Doris was diagnosed with leukemia. The band, close friends as well as colleagues, spent many difficult months wondering if they would ever make music together again. Doris is now in remission, and their current tour and their upcoming album has become a way for the band to celebrate life and the gift of music. The band presented several songs from their new album at the concert. “Supernova” and “Soul of You” both have the sound that fans have come to expect from Girlyman. Rich with intricate three-part harmonies and skillful guitar/percussion arrangements, the lyrics are thoughtful, intelligent and rich with poetry. By the end of the concert, fans were eagerly placing pre-orders to receive a copy of the aniticpated new CD. Girlyman's old chestnuts were just as well received, and just as well performed. “Everything's Easy,” the title track of their 2009 release, was possibly their finest piece at this particular evening. Laced with their signature tight harmonies and liberally sprinkled with exciting dynamic changes, the song held the audience in a spell of both familiarity and excitement. Many audience members were singing along under their breath, others nodding their heads in time. The song has a deep but subtle ? beat and an intensity that ranges from flowing and dreamlike to throbbing and intense, and back again. The band, ever evolving, peppered this particular performance with a few exciting new harmonic turns and twists, particularly during the chorus. To infuse the evening with a bit of energy, Girlyman made sure to include some of its “peppier” hits. A favorite was “Through to Sunrise,” before which Nate commanded that the audience “keep the beat for us; we're getting old, and we forget what we're doing.” The audience laughed and obliged, and the energy of the room buzzed with the up-and-down motion of the song. The friend that sat beside me – the Northampton native who had brought me to the concert – mouthed the words enthusiastically. I recalled them from the live recording Somewhere Different Now, and joined in at times as well. But – and this is the only criticism I have of the band's performance – their words are at time difficult to understand, and this night was no exception. I did, in a fit of curiosity, check the lyrics of this song on the band's website upon returning home. And in addition to the fulfillment of finally understanding, I also had a new respect for the band. The song is, it turns out, about the events of September 11, 2001 – the date the band was supposed to have their first rehearsal. The band sings: “Bowing towers kinda left me dry/ Sittin' pretty in my own pigsty/ A little bitty of me wanted to die/ It all will up and leave you.” But the energetic tempo makes the lyrics hopeful, and the lyrics that begin between the up and down beat give the dark words a sense of positive anticipation. And the chorus stands as an example of the through-lines of hope and courage that appear in many of the band's songs, “Leave the fight and go behind where all the stupid fear dies/Keep
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(“The contemporary folk group Girlyman Book Report/Review”, n.d.)
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(The Contemporary Folk Group Girlyman Book Report/Review)
“The Contemporary Folk Group Girlyman Book Report/Review”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/other/1392835-concert-review.
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