November 18, 2018

Concert #851 - The Salty Suites and Phil Salazar & The Kin Folk at McCabe's Guitar Shop (November 16, 2018)

Friday night's concert at McCabe's was a double-header that introduced me to two highly entertaining acts.

The evening opened with a seventy-minute set by Phil Salazar & The Kin Folk, a quintet of graying gentlemen whose musical skills and energy level brought us to our feet. Covering various genres - from traditional bluegrass to western swing to cajun music - their set was very well received by the crowd. With three vocalists and a couple of multi-instrumentalists in the lineup, Phil's band kept things rolling at a high pace, with lots of humorous moments between songs. The band members had plenty of opportunities to strut their stuff via engaging instrumental solos that generated frequent applause.

Band lineup
Phil Salazar - Fiddle, vocals
Tom Corbett - Mandolin, guitar, vocals
Bill Knopf - Banjo, vocals
Bill Flores - Dobro, guitar, accordion
Rick Borella - Bass

Phil Salazar & The Kin Folk at McCabe's
Even at first blush, their original compositions sounded good - the one that stood out was Tom Corbett's "Fish To Bite". Their set also included a few covers: Ralph Stanley's "Little Maggie", the classic "St. James Infirmary" and "Swing To Bop", the band's one-song encore.
Phil Salazar & Bill Flores at McCabe's
Tom Corbett & Rick Borella at McCabe's
Phil Salazar's set list
The evening's second set was delivered by the Salty Suites, a genre-bending trio consisting of Chelsea Wiliams (vocals, guitar), Scott Gates (vocals, mandolin) and Chuck Hailes (vocals, upright bass). They are young, talented and energetic. Chelsea knocked my socks off with her vocals, she is something special. Her singing on "I'll Be Fine", a song written by Chelsea herself, was one of the highlights of the evening. Knowing that Chelsea has a solo career, in addition to being one-third of the Salty Suites, I thought that Scott and Chuck were there only to provide instrumental support. Boy, was I wrong.

With his idiosyncratic singing style, great voice and outstanding mandolin playing, Scott Gates was a key contributor to the success of the evening. I loved his rendition of "The Parting Glass", which was the first of the trio's two-song encore. Chuck is a good singer as well, I really liked the way he delivered "Chocolate On My Tongue". The band's entire set, about eighty-minutes in all, was exceptionally entertaining and the crowd responded accordingly.

The Salty Suites at McCabe's
After his outstanding first set, Phil Salazar came back and played with the Salty Suites for half-an-hour or so. His dynamic interplay with Scott was exceptionally good, especially on "Swing To Bop", a song we also heard during Phil Salazar's opening set and we all had a good laugh when Phil picked his violin like a mandolin, while Scott was using Phil's violin bow on his mandolin.

By the way, the show was either a sellout or very close to being one.

The Salty Suites & Phil Salazar at McCabe's
Scott Gates & Phil Salazar challenging each other at McCabe's
The Salty Suites, with Elaine Gregson on accordion
Chelsea Williams at McCabe's
The Salty Suite's set list
The end of the show
Chelsea, Chuck & Phil mingling with fans after the show
Chelsea Williams meeting fans after the show
The stage is ready for the Salty Suites
Stage ready for Phil Salazar & The Kin Folk
The merch table
Concert announcer Brian Rodriguez showing the crowd what to turn off

No comments:

Post a Comment