The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #60014   Message #959008
Posted By: John Hardly
25-May-03 - 04:07 PM
Thread Name: Need info on Dave Carter
Subject: RE: Need info on Dave Carter
I wrote the following review after seeing Carter a few years ago. Sadly, that was the last time I had the pleasure.


Last night I was witness to one of those situations where the opening act stole the show (I heard this happened when Vance Gilbert opened for David Wilcox and when LJ Booth opened for anyone...but I digress).

You like Gillian Welch/David Rawlings?
You like Lyle Lovett (even a little bit?)?
You like storytelling that will draw you in and entrance you?
You like writing that would stand on its own, music or no music? (think Prine or Dylan).
You like the spare sound of acoustic guitar (stupid question here) played ably in duet or in duet with tasteful fiddle?

do yourself a favor

Beg, Borrow or steal to get tickets, Drive a hundred (or as we say here in Indiana, "hunnerd") miles in rain, fog or snow. Kennel the' dogs, kennel th' kids.

Go see Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer

Forget the funky photo in the Fox ad (How's that for alliteration you writers?). I talked to them about that and they said they "demanded" that Fox remove that photo. These guys are the real deal. They do play those Foxes--Dave's is a dred I think maple-back/sides, Tracey's is a rosewood OM. Both have a hummingbird-like sunburst. Dave plays pickless--lots of what my brother used to call "scratch-picking"--alternating thumb bass with finger strums (two-fingered). He also plays finger-style and pattern picking with an interesting habit of resting on unused strings for anchoring. Without the sound of the pick articulating the string, string sound doesn't conflict with the vocal, but rather, lays down a nice bed for the voices to lay on--not that there's any vocal relaxin' goin' on. Some of Dave's lyrics are VERY rapid-fire (I clocked him at one point singing 95mph!). Dave plays a few tunes on an open-back banjo and Tracy plays more fiddle than guitar.

The delivery of the intros is as polished as the song delivery. Dave has a story for each and delivers them with warmth, humor, and the humility of a guy, happy as hell to be doing what he loves--but sensing the need to give you more than your money's worth. His stage presence is not unlike Lyle Lovett's--an at ease, lanky fellow with a smile that creeps up and catches even him unawares.

Tracy has a wonderful singing voice, excellent either in lead or harmony. She plays her parts flawlessly and has a stage presence that is that type of sensuality of a competent but shy person slowly losing inhibition as the music draws her (and you) in.

These guys were a last-minute surprise opening act and I got the impression that not many in the audience knew of them--THEY DO NOW. The audience was enraptured.

Oh yeah, they opened for Cheryl Wheeler who was her usual brilliant, hilarious self.

All three of their CDs ("When I GO", "Tanglewood Tree", and "Drum, Hat Buddha")are worth the purchase price and then some. I think Carter was the best writer of the '90s.