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New York Cool - Music

Lesser Gonzalez Alvarez, Ralph White, and Amy Annelle
Knitting Factory
July 12, 2008

Written by Stephanie Fouts
Photographed by Amy Davidson

Opposite 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 and Pussycat.

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 time.

Ralph White Amy Annelle

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.


 



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