April 29, 2018

Concert #825 - Martha Redbone at the Richard & Karen Carpenter Center (April 26, 2018)

Martha Redbone is one of the few performers who can make me attend a concert at a venue other than McCabe's Guitar Shop, so there I was last Thursday at the Richard & Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center on the campus of California State University in Long Beach, to catch a singer that I truly admire. I'm glad I went.

This was not your typical concert. Titled "Bone Hill - The Concert" and weaving together spoken word and music, Martha and her ensemble recreated for us the eventful history of her multi-ethnic family, starting with her Appalachian Cherokee ancestors, a few generations ago, and continuing to her present life. Whether speaking or singing, Martha's delivery was something to behold - even though she was surrounded by a number of musicians who all contributed to the success of the show, it almost felt like I was attending a one-woman show, that's how strong Martha's stage presence was.

Covering multiple genres, the songs Martha sang for us were all thoroughly enjoyable, even though they were all new to me. The ones that instantly stood out were "Caught My Eye" and "Mamah Mason". By the way, all songs were written by Martha and her piano-playing husband and frequent musical collaborator, Aaron Whitby.

The Carpenter Center is a great place to catch a show, but sadly, only about three hundred people showed up for Martha's performance. As far as I am concerned, I will continue to follow her itinerary and whenever she's within driving distance from my place, I'll be in attendance.

Martha Redbone (left) & Soni Moreno at the Carpenter Center
Martha Redbone (center) and her cast
(Aaron Whitby is second from right)

Excerpts from the evening's program
The stage
The Richard & Karen Carpenter Center
On display in the lobby of the venue
On display in the lobby of the venue

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