October 20, 2012

Concert #655 - Shannon McNally & Amy LaVere at McCabe's Guitar Shop (October 14, 2012)

This was my second time to see Shannon McNally in concert and my first-ever encounter with Amy LaVere. The concert was the third stop on their "Chasing The Ghost" tour. The two ladies came out with a band that included Robert Mache on electric guitar and mandolin, Shawn Zorn on drums and a fiddler whose name I did not catch. The format of the show was spectator-friendly, as Shannon and Amy alternated as lead singers, with Shannon delivering just a few more songs than Amy. That suited me just fine, as her voice and singing style touched me a little more. Not that I disliked Amy's vocals, she sounded great, especially on "Sentimental Blues".

Armed with an acoustic guitar and an upright bass, respectively, Shannon and Amy sang six of the seven songs of their brand new release titled "Chasing The Ghost Rehearsal Sessions". Although new to me, most of those songs were pleasant to listen to, especially "Good Ole Time", "This Never Happened" and "Never Been Sadder".

Amy LaVere (left) and Shannon McNally at McCabe's
In line with Shannon's interest in cover songs, we also got to hear a few well-known oldies, such as "Mr. Spaceman", a song made famous by the Byrds, and Kris Kristofferson's "Loving Him Was Easier Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again". The show ended with yet another cover, "Wang Dang Doodle", the classic blues gem I first heard with Koko Taylor many years ago.

Amy LaVere (left) and Shannon McNally at McCabe's
The three accompanists were outstanding. The guitar and fiddle solos were all great and Shawn's drumming was equally good, in spite of its deliberate low profile. At times, they rocked real hard and those moments were highly enjoyable. Overall, the concert was consistently good, from start to finish.

The set list ("A" stands for Amy, "S" for Shannon)
The evening kicked off with an impromptu opening set delivered by Will Hutchinson, a young singer-songwriter of some talent. His low-energy six-song set included original songs as well as a couple of covers. The highlight of Will's set was M. Ward's "Here Comes The Sun Again". Drummer Steve Mugalian helped out on one song.

Will Hutchinson at McCabe's
Shannon McNally mingling with fans
The stage
Concert poster


  1. Do you ever go to Largo? That and McCabe's are my two favorite places for music.

  2. I've only caught two shows at the Largo (the new location). I saw Richard Thompson and Peter Wolf there. Both shows were excellent. Largo is OK, but in my book McCabe's is the undisputed king of all concert halls, big or small.