Alvarez, Ralph White, and Amy Annelle
July 12, 2008
Photographed by Amy Davidson
Photo: Lesser Gonzalez
Just another Saturday
night at the Knitting Factory featuring Lesser Gonzalez
Alvarez, Ralph White, and Amy Annelle.
Lesser Gonzalez Alvarez
Saturday night, I got the opportunity to hear the
very special Mr. Lesser Gonzalez Alvarez perform
songs from his about to be released album, “Why
is Bear Billowing?” The intimate setting lent
itself well to the guitar art of Mr. Alvarez. The
cozy feeling deepened when he invited the audience
to join him on stage and encouraged them to clap
along as if at a campfire.
The finger style in “Pinecone Eyes”
is intricate and when coupled with Mr. Alvarez’s
soft voice, the song has a very delicate sound.
Another track performed was “The Letter B,”
an upbeat playful tune which rekindles those childhood
urges to frolic in a field of flowers and then roll
down the side of a hill. Mr. Alvarez’s talent
lies in creating an atmosphere conducive to day-dreams.
“The Owl and the Pussycat,” is a whimsical,
nonsense poem by Edward Lear Mr. Alvarez set to
music. A critic once observed that this musician’s
art had the flavor of a Lear poem. Mr. Alvarez has
skillfully captured the day-dreaminess of the poem
and one feels like floating in the boat with Owl
The overall impression of Mr. Alvarez
is that he knows how to bring out the beauty of
the guitar in a similar manner to Jeff Buckley.
If you get the chance to see this gifted guitarist
while he is touring his way across the top of the
country and back through the middle to his home
state of Maryland, it will definitely be worth your
Mr. Ralph White had a tough act to follow, but
he managed to do quite well. He came to the stage
with only a banjo and an accordion, which made me
wonder if we were hitching down to Appalachia. We
were and it was good. Mr. White included “The
Police Came” which is a bluegrass, toe-tapping
tune. Mr. White incorporates a little bit of Irish
folk as well as a little bit of punk into his bluegrass.
When he picked up his accordion and played “Waltz
Medley,” you could not help but want to dance.
These songs can be found on his second album, “Navasota
River Devil Squirrel,” which includes other
traditional bluegrass themes such as sorrow, love,
death and nature. A cover of “O Death”
is featured on the album. The native Texan and has
a nasally twang that gives full flavor to his rendition
of the song. I enjoyed his set so much, that I picked
up the album.
After leaving the hills, the next act took us to
the Great Plains. Ms. Amy Annelle grabbed her guitar
and played it. The personable Ms. Annelle rubbed
a little oil on the wrists of listeners before playing.
Then did she play. The first song struck hard because
of the surprisingly powerful voice that is a little
bit reminiscent of Judy Garland. Other performances
displayed her evocative and eerie style. With her
songs, she paints an earthy portrait of American
toil and American history that captivates our collective
gritty soul. The simple folksy style of this singer/songwriter
is simply lovely.