American Wake for Mary Bue with Alan Sparhawk and Molly Maher at the Icehouse

mary-bueTraditionally an American wake was celebrated in Ireland before a loved one boarded the boat for America for foreign futures of unknown adventure. Mary Bue isn’t taking a boat to New Mexico, but she is going for a three-month Artist Residency in New Mexico. Last night was her New Mexico wake at the Icehouse.

Last time I wrote about Mary Bue she had just released Holy Bones,  she held a funeral for her keyboard on the stage of the Turf Club and her website promoted Pop Rock Candy.

I’m glad to see that the keyboard is back and the music is more rock than pop and not so candy. Much as happened in her life since the 2015 show I attended and she seems the better for it.

The keyboard came out for Gorgeous is an older song that almost seems to foretell some of her life’s turmoil – because it provides advice for any young person bound for rocking waters. The cello was a lovely addition added a warm timbre.

Contrast that song with A Million Moths, a song Bue equated with the healing powers of yoga. The song live is more rocking that the recorded version. There’s a catharsis in the guitar and Bue’s plaintive voice.

It will be interesting to see what New Mexico will bring to Bue.

alan-sparkhawkJoining Bue on the bill was Alan Sparkhawk, of Low playing with Erik Koskinen. The musc was dark, the instruments downplay the music. They instruments weren’t ambient but leaning that – maybe ambient with undercurrents. Sparhawk’s voice is charismatic both when amplified and echoed as a radio voice from days gone by and when left clear and unadulterated. It’s unique contrast I find compelling.

molly-maher-2Also on the bill was Molly Maher playing with Koskinen and Paul Bergen. Wall to wall Americana with lots of strings and twangs and room for solos and riffs because they are musicians who play well and play better together. Maher can command a guitar to do what she wants!

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