With the right musicians, going to a show at the Icehouse can feel like a fancy family party and that’s how it felt last night with Corey Medina and Annie Humphrey. It’s not just because Annie had a couple grandkids running around the place or because Corey declared his show was the Annie Humphrey after party. It was really because of the mutual admiration on stage, the stories in the song and the stories behind the songs. And in the stories, they lift up topics that deserve more attention: Stopping Line 3, man camps, supporting two spirits and family.
I saw Corey Medina and Brothers a week ago; I saw them last night. If I had the chance, I’d see them again this week. They have a somehow swampy blues sound that drives sultry and slow until it gets into full on have-to-dance rock. They played a few new songs, Hey My Man has a rhythm like House of the Rising Sun – it doesn’t sound like it, just that ethos. Corey sings of a hard earned grace that is passed down to the generations. There’s an appreciation of family and a look at what life is like for an indigenous man. 1974 is a hard driving song of “major keys and minor chords” and a lot about motorcycles. The drums dictate a shift in the song. There’s a gritty feel and Corey’s voice is powerful and nuance. It reminds me of Jim Morrison on his best days.
Annie Humphrey is an artist, a poet, a storyteller in song. She played with Jeremy Ylvisaker (always a win!) and her piano. Her voice is strong and aspirated. She has the confidence to sing her way and let the listeners find her where they can. She sings about family in a way that reminds me to appreciate what I sometimes take for granted, specifically time with my parents and the love of and for my kids. We are about the same vintage and I appreciate that the song for her father, the idea that we’re not really gone until people quit talking about us, and the hope that our kids will talk about us the way we remember our parents. She also sang a new song that celebrates her imperfections. That should be an assignment in school, to recognize and celebrate our imperfections because sometimes what we think of as faults are the reasons those around us love us.
I left the show having danced and feeling great about the music. But also I felt better about the world after a fancy family party with amazing music!