LIVE: The Jeremy Wallace Trio @ Caffe Lena, 5/15/10

Jeremy Wallace, Tom Devito and Matt Gruenberg
Jeremy Wallace, Tom Devito and Matt Gruenberg

A gritty, graveled voice that sounds as though he’s been gargling with gasoline.

A bushel-full of song upon song about love-gone-oh-so-wrong, the romance of hanging out in deadbeat bars, the salvation of whiskey and making lots of bad choices.

A minimalistic blues-based sound soaked in days long gone by – all drums with brushes and stand-up bass.

Yeah, that pretty much describes Jeremy Wallace and his compact combo. It’s also a fitting description of early Tom Waits, who is clearly one of Wallace’s prime musical influences.

At Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs on Saturday night, the trio shared the stage with Ramblin Jug Stompers for the Caffe’s final show in the special Decades Concert Series, and quite a number of musical influences were evident.

On the opening romp of “Falling in Love,” Wallace dished up some tasty Mississippi John Hurt-flavored finger picking on his resonator guitar. There was a decidedly Dr. John-style New Orleans strut to “Stephanie’s Kitchen.”

And one of his best tunes of the night – the new, as-yet-unrecorded “A Full Irish Breakfast” with Wallace sliding over to the upright piano – leaned heavily toward the wonderful but understated wordplay of John Prine.

Elsewhere, Wallace dredged up some Dylan-esque talking blues and a woozy, ragged but right cover of Willie Nelson’s “Night Life,” while the obvious influence of his mentor – the late great Dave Van Ronk – surfaced on his steamrolling rendition of “Samson and Delilah.”

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Falling in Love
Night Life
Samson and Delilah
I Think I’ll Take You Away (?)
Gotta Get Back
Stephanie’s Kitchen
Come Back Soon (?)
Certain Someone
A Full Irish Breakfast
Goin’ Down (?)

Wild Bout My Lovin
Milwaukee Blues
Overseas Stomp
Goin to German
Mornin Blues
Hobo Nickel
My Eggs Don’t Taste the Same Without You
Frypan Jack Enters into Heaven
San Francisco Bay Blues

Ramblin Jug Stompers: Cousin Clyde and Bowtie
Ramblin Jug Stompers: Cousin Clyde and Bowtie

Ramblin Jug Stompers: Michael Eck on jug
Ramblin Jug Stompers: Michael Eck on jug

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