Saturday night at McCabe's I witnessed the performances of not one, but two musicians who, in my opinion, fit the "niche artist" label to perfection. Indeed, both Hubby Jenkins, the headliner, and John Reed Torres, the evening's opening act, specialize in genres that are seldom heard, certainly not by the followers of mainstream music.
With catchy gospel songs like "Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley", "The Last Month Of The Year", "Down On Me" and "I Heard The Angels Sing", Hubby Jenkins grabbed my attention from the very beginning. Alternating between his acoustic guitar and banjo, he kept me thoroughly entertained not only with his music, but also with his storytelling. Hubby turned out to be a treasure trove of knowledge about old-time music, as well as the social and racial injustice of those troubled times - listening to Hubby's stories about slavery and black banjo players made me feel a bit like a student in a classroom. But there were also moments of levity, with Hubby reading out loud random parts from a few Choose Your Own Adventure books, with the full participation of the audience. I could have done with a little less of that and a little more music.
|Hubby Jenkins playing his guitar at McCabe's|
|Hubby Jenkins playing his banjo at McCabe's|
In the absence of a predetermined set list, the entire evening had a free-flowing feel to it, very much like spending time in the living room of a musician friend. I'm pretty sure this was not my last encounter with Hubby.
|Hubby Jenkins at McCabe's|
|John Reed Torres at McCabe's|
|Hubby Jenkins chatting with fans after the show|