A little over a month ago, I bought Matt and me tickets to see Shovels & Rope at The Blue Door in Oklahoma City. I’m not one for being in a crowd (and really not one for paying exorbitant amounts of money to see bands play live while getting pushed around in a crowd), but for some bands I’m willing to forgo my personal comfort and suck it up.
So Tuesday night, I took in my second concert in less than two weeks. (To expound my earlier point, the last concert I saw before last week’s RHCP show was Morrissey back in…oh, 2007 or 2008? Before the turn of the decade, that’s for sure…) But The Blue Door was cozy and not at all what I expected when I was told it was a very small venue. I envisioned a standing crowd with lots of spilled beer on the floor. And while there was spilled beer on the floor, it wasn’t a rowdy bunch and I think everyone there appreciated that, from the young teenagers to the musicians to the grandparents in the audience. Yes, grandparents. Of whom? I don’t know, but there were some much older folks there and I was thrilled to be in such a varied group of listeners.
In fact, it was much liked a fourth-grade musical assembly complete with metal folding chairs lined up in an orderly fashion, some merchandise at the table, and no drinks for sale. There’s a water fountain back there on the wall, I was told. And I was grateful for one, seeing as Matt and I came unprepared even after acknowledging the venue’s BYOB policy.
For three hours, we happily listened to some pretty incredible musicians.
Samantha Crain, a local musician from Shawnee, has a voice that I compared to Tori Amos (but accompanied by a guitar instead of a piano) mixed with a little bit of a Southern Plains girl-version of Bjork. Too cheesy? Well, it was wistful and I don’t know how else to say it. My ears liked it a lot, though.
When Shivering Timbers took the stage, they spent a few minutes working out the sound kinks on their bass but when you could finally hear the words being sung, it was like listening to some very funky, creepy lullabies. I told Matt during their set, “I feel like I’m in a very weird version of Alice’s Wonderland.” We both agreed the singer was a sexier version of Olive Oyl, tall and spindly-limbed and just all kinds of porcelain-faced gorgeous. (Check out Crooked Old Man on their website’s music player)
Finally, Shovels & Rope came out. This is a band comprised of only two people, Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst. It’s her voice I’m so captured by. Maybe it’s the way Cary Ann Hearst’s Southern drawl overtakes every word she says or that it is such an overwhelming force, but a good kind of overwhelming, coming from a woman who is much smaller than I could have ever imagined. And she’s so charming! You know, the kind of woman you would never invite out on a double date because your date would end up falling in love with her, too. Oh, I was in musical heaven.