A pair of highly regarded singer-songwriters played an intimate show Sunday night before a warm crowd at the Columbus Theatre in Providence. Opener Ian Fitzgerald got things started before headliner Matt the Electrician brought stories and songs all the way from Austin, Texas.
Providence based Ian Fitzgerald is among the region’s foremost songwriters. He’s a Newport Folk Festival veteran, tours constantly, and has recorded several acclaimed albums. His song style often reflects the stream of consciousness storytelling reminiscent of early Bob Dylan. He appeared solo, joking with audience as he ran through originals including “Camile” and “Trouble, Me and China Lee,” from his recent album You Won’t Even Know I’m Gone. He also played a couple of new songs, including “The One and Only Jesse James,” about a 100-year-old man who claimed to be the famous outlaw. He closed with “Melinda Down the Line,” perhaps his most well-known tune.
Matt the Electrician
Fellow Newport Folk veteran Matt “the Electrician” Sever was taking a night off from his national tour with the Weepies. The former electrician (and now full-time musician) is an engaging performer, full of road worn stories only a true folkie can experience. His songwriting is bold and appealing, somewhat in the style of Paul Simon, who he often covers.Sever ran through a nice set of tunes, sounding strong on “Never Had a Gun,” “Accidental Thief” and his popular “California.” He was joined by accordionist (and Red Sox organist) Josh Kantor for several songs including “In Osaka in the Rain” and “The Bear,” and closed with a stunning version of Simon’s “Under African Skies.”The show was co-sponsored by “Newport Folk Presents,” a series on concerts featuring Newport Folk Festival artists. Click here for future NFP shows including Mandolin Orange February 9th in Boston. Meanwhile, check out Rick Farrell’s photos of the show below.
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(All Photos: Rick Farrell, Mojo Photography)