Eaglesmith Converts New Souls To the Church of Fred

A review
by Chris Hibbard
Music Lover
Originally written for http://www.labeat.com

Eaglesmith Converts New Souls To the Church of Fred

Eaglesmith Converts New Souls To the Church of Fred

The Slice was packed to the rafters, July 13 — standing room only — with a sign hanging on the front door that read: “Tonight’s performance is sold out!”

So why didn’t I recognize half these faces? Because half of the audience were Fred-Heads, that’s why. When critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Fred Eaglesmith comes to town, his fans come with him — an indication of just how great he is.

At 8 p.m. sharp the Fabulous Ginn Sisters took the stage, two beautiful women from Texas with incredible skills. Their crack backing band hit every note and their voices echoed harmoniously off the walls and ceiling. The sisters from Texas remained onstage with Eaglesmith’s band throughout the evening, singing backup vocals and performing synchronized dance steps during Eaglesmith’s headline performance.

I was happy to learn the Ginns will be playing the South Country Fair this weekend and after Tuesday’s incredible presentation on Tuesday, I’ll be eagerly waiting by the stage.

But the man of the evening was next. Fred Eaglesmith appeared quite suddenly onstage, wearing a slick top hat and suit coat; but while his outfit was sharp, his tongue was even sharper.
With over 17 albums released throughout a three-decade career, the Ontario-based folk/country genius had the audience hanging on his every word.

All that is, except for a few individuals who did not escape Fred’s attention — receiving a dressing down for having backs turned and talking during performance.

“In Texas,” Fred told an amused crowd, “you don’t speak loudly during a show, because you know that all every lady in the bar keeps a gun in their purse.”

Performing songs from throughout his catalogue, Eaglesmith played for over an hour. He pulled out some signature ‘rockers’ about freight trains and horses, other bluegrass pieces about long haul truckers and religion chasers and some glorious ballads about love gone sour and seeing life from the bottom of a bottle. Several songs from his latest 2010 release ‘Cha Cha Cha’ were included, and the toes were a’ tappin everywhere you looked. There wasn’t much room for dancing, but that didn’t stop some people from givin’ it their best.

Eaglesmith’s quick wit and storytelling style had total command of The Slice. Several ‘Newfie’-style one-liners had the audience in stitches – even if we didn’t quite understand the jokes.

This was my first Fred experience and I can now honestly say, he is one of this nation’s best performers and his rising star shows no sign of slowing down. If he isn’t one already, he will be a legend one day; especially since big-name American country boys have recently started scooping up his material.

Eaglesmith has an electric personality and for 90 minutes on a rainy Tuesday night — this house full of Fred-heads young and old was absolutely shocked. Then just as suddenly as he had appeared, the show was over and The Slice emptied out. It was like a force of nature. Eaglesmith’s tour is packed with dates just like that one — heading back east and hitting every town along the way, big or small.

If you didn’t catch him this time around, might I urge you to pick up tickets in advance the next time he comes through. Trust me, you won’t regret it. Just don’t turn your back on the man in the top hat, because he could very well write a song about you.

If you haven’t seen it already, check out L.A. Beat’ s interview with Eaglesmith – he’s really quite a character.

~ by Chris Hibbard on July 14, 2010.

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