Snacking on Music: Molly Parden, Harrison Hudson, and Oh Dorian (with Band!)

If you go out to hear music, and not to sit in a bar soaking up the cigarette smoke, $7 would have gotten you into one hell of a show at the 567 on Saturday night. Some people were in the mood for love. And to those people I say, “blergh.” Others were in the mood to rock. They were in good company. 4 musicians played a show with a range of music, from soft singer/songwriterly songs to hard edged 50s tinged rock ‘n roll. We heard a lot of new stuff and one band became our new favourite.

I had a blast at TheBlueIndian.Com Presents show at the 567 this past Saturday. I originally went to see Oh Dorian, but found that the others offered much in the way of musical creativity and enjoyment.

Yeah, they were frakkin’ awesome. How awesome were they?

The night started with Kenneth Drigger, a singer/songwriter on the keyboard. he wasn’t on the poster, so I wasn’t expecting him. He was pretty young, with room to grow musically, but what was there was worth following. It’ll be interesting watching him grow.

Next up was Molly Parden, a singer songwriter who brought a little bit of country to the party. I wouldn’t say she was fully country, just kind of folksy rock with a twang, but it was enjoyable enough. Later in the night, she played violin with Oh Dorian and also sang/harmonized on a few songs. I also found her stalker in the crowd – a blonde near the front, the  person who knew all of her songs, was singing along, and was willing to drive to Macon from Stockbridge, GA to see her play.

Nashville, TN band Harrison Hudson was up next and my first thought was, “Man, they’re loud.” I immediately felt like my grandma, settled down a bit and listened with my young ears. The lead singer, Harrison Hudson, looked a little like Buddy Holly (or maybe it was just the glasses and the babyish face underneath that brought up thoughts of Holly) with a great voice. All the songs were fun and moved at a great pace, transitioning smoothly into different songs. They didn’t give us much time to clap, but they did give us plenty to want to dance to.

Going up to a band after their performance to tell them you thought they were great just feels kind of stupid. Therefore it made me feel really good to go up to Harrison Hudson with such gems as, “What genre of music do you call yourself?” He gave me a vaguely weirded out look, mentally counted the age difference between me and the rest of the crowd, then said, “Vintage Pop Rock”.

I was so close. On twitter, I said it was like rock went back to the 50s. Vintage Pop Rock rolls off the tongue much easier.

Finally, the time I’d been waiting for arrived. Oh Dorian with her band. I can only think that this band was the Kopecky Family Band from the flyers. The first song out betrayed the “darkness” Heather Kemp felt was evident in her newer work. The chords were low and discordant and her voice soared over them. Overall, the songs had a winter feel to them. In them all, her voice did not disappoint and the band, though with a few glitches of movement and changing instruments, played well together. Her cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road” was well done. She covered the song as penace for the “devil” who drew her a picture and it should be stamped paid in full. Though you recognized the song for what it was, it was completely her style.

It wasn’t until she got to a song that I’d already heard over and over, “Strung Finger of an Old Dear” that I realized what I had been missing from her new songs. Familiarity. Suddenly, I wish I could have listened to those first few songs again and hoped I would get the opportunity to hear a few more new songs, to offer a proper critique, not one tinged in wistful lack of familiarity.

I did get the opportunity to hear another song I hadn’t heard before. After a haunting reworking of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” with backing harmonies that were very melodic but also brought to mind Anthony and the Johnsons, the last song was another of her wintery sounding songs, like a rush of cold winds and clashing/complementary chords with her rich voice crying out over it. It was good, a haunting reminder of why I love listening to Oh Dorian.

I spoke earlier about the possibility of following the growth of Kenneth Driggers – a singer/songwriter who has a lot of growth to accomplish, but who also has a lot of potential and worth keeping up with. I’ve followed Oh Dorian for a few years now and I’ve seen her grow in that time. It’s a rewarding thing.

Most people, myself included, want to hear music we are familiar with. What I’ve learned to do is to try to listen to new music with that understanding. How much will I like this song when I’ve heard it a million times? There are times when you hear a band and immediately, you know you like them (Roly-Bots, Harrison Hudson, Floco Torres, City Council & the Paper Street Band and, for me, Oh Dorian). There are others that just have to grow on you the more you listen. Some, you may  never like, but you can at least appreciate them.

These new Oh Dorian songs, while I liked them, did not give me the same punch her older songs did. Maybe because when I first heard her, I didn’t know what to expect, but now I do. What I do know is that, thematically and musically, this is the right direction for Oh Dorian. The newer music shows growth, a growing complexity as a musician and a songwriter, and a very organic movement away from her older works. She is not stagnating and she is not afraid to move away from what is comfortable for her. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to buy this new album to support her. Fortunately, it will be offered for free download.

The show felt cathartic, like she was getting something out of her system. Maybe this show has freed her to take the next step, whatever that may be. What I hope is that we see more of her playing these songs and new songs in the coming months.


One response to “Snacking on Music: Molly Parden, Harrison Hudson, and Oh Dorian (with Band!)”

  1. mactownunderground says :

    Angel! I owe you a mixtape… but for now, you def. should just go with the digital version… and I’ll bring the physical by ASAP (hopefully….) 🙂

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