Della Mae & John Stickley Trio @ Jammin Java, Washington DC - Aug 25 2015.
John Stickley Trio
The John Stickley Trio opens the show. The guitar and fiddle start to the fill the room and it sounds typical of what one would expect from this type of music. Then the drums kicked in and things changed. Quick beats and fills coupled with the hiccups and trips of the other two musicians, almost, and I don't know how absurd this sounds, feels progish at times. Lyndsay Pruett feels like the anchor of the trio. Her composition sometimes travels to the unexplored which makes for an interesting and unique experience and one that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Nervous banter sprinkles the compositions as someone's dad fully embraces a side that doesn't come out often enough. Without the constant disapproval of his children, intermediate yells of approval spring forth from the middle aged audience. Shredding of the acoustic guitar sprinkles the loud/soft compositions as the show winds to an end. Tony Rice is mentioned as an influence but my underdeveloped ears hears music from a different decade. And then the first few bars of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' as the set comes to a close.
Della Mae arrives about twenty minutes later. The crowd comes alive as the mandolin player elicits quite the response when she steps up to the microphone for a solo. Their crowd work on on point; tons of audience interaction. Call back and laughs. No tripping, no hiccups, but occasionally there is a darkness before a chorus of harmonies. So while it may sound safe, it doesn't mean the path was without trial. Four songs in and finally someone in Capri pants started dancing.
The guitar and mandolin work particularly well with one another. Occasionally the two dance; switching lead, following one another while a confident rhythm supports them from behind. And as the vocals die, the fiddle begins to soar. Eventually they all return home and fill those empty rooms with a lively conversation of past lives lived: stories about fellow musicians, hometowns (Boston), and the confidence of being in love.
(1) John Stickley Trio,
(2) Della Mae