Wes Swing and Devon Sproule at the Jefferson, plus more

January 7th, 2011 · No Comments · By

So tonight’s big show is the CD release party at the Jefferson; local Cellist / Songwriter / all-around good guy Wes Swing has finished his first full-length album “Through a Fogged Glass,” which features several tracks with guest vocals by much-beloved local songstress Devon Sproule!

Wes was kind enough to give me an advance copy of the CD (after I bugged him about it), and it’s an exceedingly pleasant and impressively well-produced disc. Wes’ songs are both extremely sincere and austere, and the record’s gloriously lush production complements and balances those qualities perfectly; there’s tons nice little flourishes (violin, chimes, whistling, back-masking, etc) that keep things sprightly and energetic without overbearing the songs. In addition to the straightforward songs, there’s a few super-solid instrumental tracks, some nice musical adaptions of lines by Ezra Pound and TS Eliot, and a few moments where they even rock out a little bit. It’s thoroughly classy and cozy piece of chamber-pop that never gets too fancy, or in any way cute, and it all wraps up into a really nice album.

Devon’s got a record coming out tonight, too — I haven’t had the chance to hear it yet, although I did talk to hear about it last fall right before she was heading to the UK to record it; it’s titled, appropriately enough, “Live in London,” and features 10 live renditions of her songs, backed by Paul Curreri (of course) and notable pedal steel guitarist BJ Cole, (who’s pretty much collaborated with everybody). It comes with a DVD, too, which features 8 other performances and tour footage, etc.

I’m not really sure what the arrangement is tonight; I’m guessing Wes and Devon will each be playing their own stuff as well as presumably playing together, but I’m not sure what the full line-up or the set order is or anything like that.  I mean, you’re going to want to hear them both anyway, so show up early-ish (doors at 7pm — music at… ???); I’ve never heard Wes in a venue that big before (I usually hear him at the Tea Bazaar or the Bridge, or in someone’s living room), but Devon’s few songs at that exceedingly confusing “talent show” thing last month proved she could kill a crowd effortlessly in that gigantic venue, so I’m thinking tonight’s gonna be a really solid show. Tickets are $12 at the door.

If you’re in the mood for something smaller, or perhaps a pre-game before the big show, you can check out Hunter Smith at the Blue Moon Diner; I keep meaning to hear Hunter’s music, actually, as I’ve only heard him cover the Cars thus far; he’s playing a solo set tonight, along with two acts with the debatably-questionable band names Uncle Benguine and the Restraining Orders and Who are the Southern Baptists, whom I believe are both country-ish rock acts from Harrisonburg. That’s at 9pm, and there’s no cover.

There’s also three different folks doing their musical thing at JohnSarahJohn for First Fridays tonight; Gina Sobel at 5:30, Kathryn Caine at 6:30, and Lydia Ooghe at 7:30… that one’s free, as well, since it’s an art-opening-type-thing.

There’s a ton of other first-fridays opening things going on around downtown as well… and as usual I have no idea what they are and I’ll be at work. But you should definitely wander around & check them out; see the art, hear the music, see your friends and drink the wine before we all get snowed in again.

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