Review: Greg Brown and Bo Ramsey Deliver the Blues at the Sheldon Concert Hall 1/31/14

Roy Kasten
Bo Ramsey and Greg Brown at the Sheldon
The weather and the Midwest and fatherhood seemed to be on Brown's mind this evening, though of course they're always on his mind, and form something like a frayed thread gently pulling all of his songs -- numbering in the hundreds now -- together. It's serious shit, but also funny as shit, as "Fat Boy Blues" made clear. The strangeness of Brown's music is how utterly physical it is -- he thumps and raps on the guitar and intones every line, even when sailing off into a stratospheric falsetto on the newish song "Besham's Bokerie," with the guts of his guts -- and how utterly intimate it is at the same time. He might have been sitting in his book-lined study with Ramsey or leaning back into a dusty couch in the latter's trailer (if that doublewide still exists, it belongs outside a blues hall of fame) and you might have been there with the two inseparable companions. On that glowing, century-old wood stage, they shared the spirit of their friendship, the bone-warming groove of it, the understated lyrical strength of it, a connection that's always more than just a poet's game.

Greg Brown Setlist

Cold + Dark + Wet
Laughing River
Stiff Old Bones
The Poet Game
Fat Boy Blues
Freak Flag
Tenderhearted Child
Skinny Days
Why Do You Even Say That?
Besham's Bokerie
Canned Goods

Billy From the Hills

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