The musical box A live music blog at lexgo.com

Robert Tincher and Friends to fill Natasha's with Celtic tunes on St. Paddy's Day

Robert Tincher and Friends to fill Natasha's with Celtic tunes on St. Paddy's Day

Contributing Music WriterMarch 15, 2012 

Longtime folk musician Robert Tincher will head the St. Patrick's Day lineup at Natasha's.

  • THE WEEK THAT WAS

    Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt at the Brown Theatre in Louisville: Early into a performance of expert song-swapping that sailed along effortlessly for more than two hours, Lyle Lovett commented on pal John Hiatt's businessman-like appearance, remarking that he looked as if he "walked in off the set of Mad Men." Truth to tell, the two veteran songwriters were dressed almost identically in suits and ties. But given the dark, twisted and sometimes flat-out cynical emotive stance their songs took, a better estimation of a fictional home base might be the set of Glengarry Glen Ross.

    As they have for several years, Lovett and Hiatt performed side by side without a band, exchanging songs from careers that date back more than 25 years. With few exceptions, the repertoire revolved around love songs of troublesome — or at least, sardonic — origins.

    Lovett is a master at this sort of storytelling, mixing comically grim fables (Fat Babies, She's No Lady and the hilarious, newly recorded The Girl with the Holiday Smile) with elegantly pensive reflections (a beautifully bittersweet The Road to Ensenada). Hiatt didn't miss a step in spinning skewed love songs: the new and unrecorded Come Back Home and the plaintive strains of 1987's exquisite Lipstick Sunset.

    "People give a bad name to hopelessness," Hiatt said with a wry smile at the conclusion of Feels Like Rain, although the comment was vastly more tongue-in-cheek than the sobering songs that made up the bulk of the program.

    Hiatt stuck exclusively to his own material while Lovett detoured into cover tunes from fellow Texas songsmiths (Eric Taylor's lovely Understand You, John Grimaudo's profoundly dour Dress of Laces) and an unexpected rock institution (a Lone Star-flavored reading of the Grateful Dead's Friend of the Devil).

    Although they played side by side, the two seldom worked as a duo. Hiatt occasionally offered brittle bits of blues clusters as solos during Lovett's songs. But the only joint singing came during the encore finale, Lovett's Church. But that teaming seemed almost superfluous. Given the literate, emotive and stylistic bond their songs shared throughout the evening, Lovett and Hiatt seemed very much of the same musical mind.

Robert Tincher and Friends

8 p.m. March 17 at Natasha's Bistro, 112 Esplanade. $10. (859) 259-2754. Beetnik.com.

Oh, to be a barkeep when St. Patrick's Day falls on a Saturday — a Saturday, mind you, that falls smack in the middle of basketball tournament season. That, of course, is the case this year and this weekend. But just as the bars are bound to be in for a big day (and night) of business, so will there be ample amounts of Celtic-inspired music to accompany the festivities.

Our vote for the top St. Paddy's Day celebration goes to Natasha's, which has a full bill of multi-generational Irish music and more on tap for Saturday.

Leading the fun in what the venue is promoting as a St. Patrick's Day Ceili will be Robert Tincher, a true Lexington folk favorite who has performed and promoted Irish, British and Scottish music locally for more than 30 years, from the '80s days of Celtic renegades Mad Catherine and the Moondog Pirates to comparatively recent collaborative projects including Pale, Stout & Amber and his own tradition-minded solo performances.

Rounding out the bill will be the Lexington Irish Dancers, piper Keith Murphy and an intriguing Lexington duo specializing in "sea chanteys and drinking songs" that goes by the name of Drunk & Sailor. Kind of makes you wonder which one is which, doesn't it?

Bluegrass Lost and Found

Is there a place for bluegrass on what is likely to be the greenest day of the year? Absolutely. Bluegrass has always been a distinctly American string-music genre, but its link to Irish and Celtic music is obvious. The more direct influences might come from rural Appalachia and vintage country music sounds dating back to the '40s, but listen to a bluegrass fiddler sometime, and you are bound to hear inspirations from across the pond.

Upholding bluegrass tradition on St. Patrick's Day at Meadowgreen Park Music Hall, 303 Bluegrass Lane, in Clay City will be Lost & Found, a Virginia-bred ensemble that has performed, in various lineups (all with co-founder and bassist Allen Mills), since 1973.

The ensemble's most recent album, Love, Lost and Found, is the group's first record since the death of another co-founding member, mandolinist Dempsey Young, in 2006. Young's final recordings comprise roughly half of the album.

The Hazel Holler Band will open Saturday's performance (7 p.m., $12). For more info, call (606) 663-9008.

Buffett guitarist at Georgetown

You wouldn't know it by the weather, but summer is a full three months away. Still, the guitarist for one of pop's most enduring beachcombers will get a jump on the season — and help support a cause — on Thursday.

Performing at the John J. Hill Chapel of Georgetown College, 449 East Jackson Street in Georgetown, will be the Peter Mayer Group. Born in southern India but living in Nashville, Mayer has been guitarist in Jimmy Buffett's long-running Coral Reefer Band since 1989 (since the release of the album Off to See the Lizard).

Mayer's résumé extends far beyond Buffett's summery tunes, however. He has recorded and/or performed with James Taylor, Don Henley and Dave Matthews, and with acclaimed instrumentalists Dave Weckl, Al DiMeola and Sonny Landreth.

Mayer's performance Thursday will serve as a preface to the Kentucky Conference on Human Trafficking, which Georgetown College will host March 23 and 24.

Tickets to the concert — $18 in advance, $20 at the door — are available by calling (502) 863-8134 or at the door.

Read Walter Tunis' blog, The Musical Box, at LexGo.com.

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