Saturday, December 19, 2009

Lil Rev at The Coffee House

After we got home from our evening at the Milwaukee Art Museum, I wanted to take full advantage of my night off work, so I asked Ruth if she wanted to join me at Lil Rev's show over at The Coffee House, a place on 19th & Wisconsin, near the Marquette campus. It was to be Rev's last regular show before he heads out of town for a winter tour out west. (On Saturday he will play a set with Frogwater at Alterra, but I likely won't be able to make that show, because of work.) My good wife was not up for any more activity, and wanted to stay home, so I headed over to the show alone.

After seeing him a few times, I can say that one of the remarkable things about his shows is that they are never quite the same. He has a sizable repertoire, and he draws deeply from it. He plays blues, American folk, Yiddish folk, early jazz, and ragtime, on the guitar, mandolin, ukulele, banjo, kazoo, and harmonica. Not since Stephen Wiest of blessed memory have I heard such harmonica. I suppose I've said it before, but let me say it again, Lil Rev is well worth seeing. Even though he tours extensively, and is a critically acclaimed musician, most people, especially those outside of Milwaukee, don't really get a lot of opportunities to see him perform live. I encourage you, however, to seize any chance you get, and also to buy his CDs. ("Drop Baby Drop" is his latest. I highly recommend it.) In today's market driven and pop driven world of music, Lil Rev is refreshingly real and authentic. Thanks, Rev, for an evening of good cheer and great music.

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