Last night I got to hear a band called “The Wandering”. No relation to my posts here. That I know of.
Anyway, I sat there with my 19 year old daughter and an audience that probably included folks as old as 70 and listened to a band of 20-somethings play music from as far back as the 1930s. From Charlie Patton to Kris Kristofferson is a large and some would say insurmountable gap in genre and chronology, but Luther Dickinson, Valerie June, Amy LeVere, Sharde Thomas and Shannon McNally skip across it effortlessly. Un-produced, warmly held and deftly played, the songs of this band remind us that it really is about the music. And when the music is right, time, genre and preconceptions go out the window. Never mind what happens to even the strongest man when Shannon McNally puts a Kazoo to her mouth.
The incongruity of the Medusa-haired beauty Valerie June straddling a banjo, Tiny Sharde Thomas with an old wooden fife to her lips, or the thoroughly enchanting Amy LeVere cradling an upright bass like a lover; all of it disappears as the music hits you. You just want to smile and imagine the ones who’ve sung these songs before and the places from which they wandered.
I’m glad these folks wandered through my life and I’m grateful Luther had the vision to wander away from the commercially beaten path so that we could all wander back to what really matters.