well, last night, i learned two new things about james montgomery. three things, actually. well, four, but lets get to them before the list becomes too long:
first of all, james montgomery has GOT it. one could usefully point out, given his length of time on stage, that the phrase "still got it" would also apply, but that does a disservice to anyone who might have a chance to see him play in front of an audience--he's one of the best harp players (mouth harp, or, as craig ferguson would put it, mouth organ) around, and he can bring it. it's obvious from the first blast to the last. GOT it.
second of all, james' musical HPM is, well, disturbingly high for someone with that amount of talent. last night, in the first set alone, we learned about junior wells, johnny winter, each and every one of the many members past and present of aerosmith, huey lewis and, of all people, morgan freeman, and that's not even half of 'em. (did you know that morgan freeman's house in clarksdale, MS is right across the street from the shack in which muddy waters was born, and that a guitar was once made out of wood from that very shack, and that the person who made that guitar was...) really?
(ok, that was all very, very petty, but, seriously, really?)
third of all, the back page here in lowell is a hot happening place. we won't worry too much among who, though it could usefully be surmised by the number of bottles of white zinfandel in their little chillers on all the tables that the opening night crowd there for james montgomery may not necessarily be the one to keep the club going in the coming months. (white zin? really? the beringer kind? yikes!) the crowd was sold out, buying generously from both the kitchen and the bar, and happy, and you know that kind of buzz is going to keep getting around. (and the harpoon ipa from the tap was fresh and delicious, and you know that's all i need to know about any bar, right?)
fourth of all, walking back through downtown, it was most encouraging to see that james and the back page were not nearly all there was and is to love about lowell. dave norton's duo (if he had been a guitar player we would have guessed either bar fight over the drummer's girlfriend, or domestic dispute during a late-night party, but it was the mandolin player, and, seriously, i have no idea how those kinds of guys hurt their hands) was filling all the seats around the bar at fortunato's, and music was wafting out of any number of other places on the way home. i picked dave to be my evening's headliner, but intrepid music fans could have finished their evening any number of enjoyable ways, including just letting james montgomery give it to them straight in between in between songs when he was giving it to them just a little bit thick.
yeah, the riverhawks took another tough one at home at the tsongas, but this year's freshmen are going to have the last word on that over the years to come, and you can make book on that.
a lot to love about lowell