River of Grass Café Concert Series – 03/16/12
A performer is as a performer does, and perhaps the greatest tribute to a performer’s temperament and timbre is in how they play to a small audience. For when playing to a large crowd, the lose of a single pair of ears is inconsequential. However, when performing to an assembly of a few, the lose of one soul can be catastrophic. This, of course, makes the historically impromptu Wallace Hartley ensemble (April 15, 1912, somewhere in the north Atlantic Ocean) the greatest band of all time as they courageously played on while their audience involuntarily disappeared all around them.
Now in the world of small venue concerts, the Quija Board of factors that control audience turnout are innumerable, incalculable, and uncontrollable. Thus the muses fated Tim Farrell (www.timfarrellmusic.com) to play to a smaller than anticipated, though no less appreciative audience at River of Grass Cafe’s Concert Series last night (www.riverofgrass.org). Yet, Tim was more than up to the task with both the temperament and timbre of a professional willing to entertain any audience of any size that willingly gathers around him. And rest assured dear reader that Tim’s warmth and fiery fingerstyle acoustic wizardry kept all the nearby icebergs at bay, and not a single soul was lost or inattentive during the entire show.
As many of you know, Tim Farrell is an acoustic fingerstyle guitarists with many accomplishments and awards to his name, and the list of who’s who that he’s played with include four of my all time favorites: Les Paul, George Benson, Jean Luc Ponty and Rick Wakeman. I was first introduced to him this past Monday as a featured performer in Chrystal Hartigan’s Songwriters Showcase at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (www.chrystalhartiganpresents.com), and his solo performance at River of Grass Café last night was the main entre to the appetizer he served up earlier this week.
Doing twenty-three songs divided into two sets last night, Tim opened with Joyride to Tranquility from his 1998 Sky Dancer CD, with its beautiful brocade of finger picking tapestries and escalating harmonies. He then played Rosewood Alley which won him the best instrumental award at the seventh annual International Acoustic Music Awards (IAMA). While the show was predominated by his dazzling array of original masterpieces, instrumental covers included the Left Banke’s Walk Away Renee (1966, Smash Records) and both major and minor keyed arrangements of Jack Norworth’s and Albert Von Tilzer’s 1908 Tin Pan Alley hit Take Me Out To The Ball Game. The Beatles (All You Need Is Love, 1967, Parlophone; Flying, 1967, Parlophone) and Duane Allman (Little Martha, 1972, Capricom) also graced Tim’s playlist. However, the highlights of the evening continued to be his original works, my favorite being the Backpacker from his 2010 Codas CD which is based upon his encounter with Bob McNally, creator of Martin’s Backpacker guitar.
All in all, Tim Farrell presented a musical feast last night that he shared graciously amongst a few. But not a single note was wasted and there were no left overs. Personally, I’ll add this to my lucky list of experiencing Genesis live during their first U.S. tour with Phil Collins as lead singer play to a crowd of two hundred (somewhere in Pennsylvania, 1976), and the Gregg Allman Band play to a crowd of nine (Fort Lauderdale, 1986). And best of all, unlike those who attended Wallace Hartley’s performance, I’m still here to write about it.