A few years ago, I had the pleasure of wandering into Parker Pie with my camera when some band from Rhode Island I'd never heard of was playing in the old, tiny corner stage area. That band was Brown Bird. Quickly—within a song or two—I became a fan. Within the year, I'd schedule them to play in Vermont again for a beer festival. They did not disappoint. In fact, they were amazing. Both Dave and MorganEve were professional, personable and just darned good people—the kind of people I adore and want to support. The kind of people of whom I love making pictures.
Warm, open and genuinely good, they were doing a thing they loved: making amazing music for people who appreciated it. I stayed in touch with them, enjoyed their beautiful music, celebrated their triumphs (Newport Folk Fest!) and followed the struggles they faced. In 2013 and 2014, Dave battled leukemia. He fought it. He battled as hard as a person can, including a bone marrow transplant, rounds of chemotherapy and radiation... and at his side was MorganEve, his support, his rock—his huntress and his holder of hands.
He lost that battle in April of 2014. The world lost a talented, exuberant musician. We all lost a candle in the dark. Roger Waters' lyric comes to mind:
Each small candle lights a corner of the dark,
When the wheel of pain stops turning...
And the billion candles burning,
Lights the dark side of every human mind.
A year out from his passing, Axis Mundi was released. The last Brown Bird record, it was both critically acclaimed and a wonderful success. It is, without a doubt, a superb album. Go. Buy it now. You won't be disappointed.
Which brings us to Friday, March 4.
MorganEve has assembled a group of talented musician friends into what is certainly one of the most eclectic, creative ensembles I can imagine, and she's taken it on the road: The Huntress and The Holder of Hands. They played in Burlington, the first stop outside of their friendly home turf of Providence, R.I. The reception was warm and welcoming. The crowd was respectful, observant and embracing. It was, simply, a perfect debut for a raw, fresh group of musicians gelling. Within 1-2 songs, though, it was clear that there is a seriously wonderful future to behold.
A few shots follow of the show.
The opening act was Old Sky, a great Americana outfit featuring Andrew Stearns and Shay Gestal, performing originals and traditional song. Those are the first two shots.
I can't possibly convey the power and grace of it, but suffice to say, the solo encore of Tortured Boy was utterly transformative (the final four pictures). It was transcendent. I've lost loved ones to cancer in front of my eyes, and I can empathize with what that song means and how difficult that song must have been to perform. I was in tears.
Thank you, MorganEve.