Several months ago we saw Robin Henkel & Whitney Shay at Proud Mary's. Then we heard that Henkel & Shay were going to perform at Lestat's with Robin's horn band. We definitely wanted to see them. As it turned out, Robin Henkel and his horn band were there, but instead of Whitney, Jamie Shadowlight was there, perfoming on violin. We were very impressed with all who performed and afterward Jamie gave us a promo card for her own band, The Western Collective. For several months I've been watching and seeing that every time her band was performing locally, I was on the road someplace else. That was until last night.
When I saw that The Western Collective was performing at 98 Bottles, I immediately obtained tickets; and I am glad we did not wait to get tickets at the door, since they sold out! We got front row seats. Before the show, Jamie recognized us and came over to say hello. What we did not realize was that this was their CD release party! So we picked up their CD. They played all the songs on the CD and more.
The Western Collective consists of "Fast Heart" Martin Stamper on guitar, banjo, bass and vocals; Justin Werner on guitar, harmonica, percussion and vocals; Trent Hancock on guitar, bass and vocals; Chad Farran on drums, percussion, bass, and vocals; and Jamie Shadowlight on violin/fiddle. All songs were written by various band members except the traditional, "I'll Fly Away" and they ended their show with a Leonard Cohen song, "Anthem".
The style was primarily...western, folky, rocky, with some revved-up bluegrass, Americana, folk-rock...yet some elements of jazz/blues here and there and one song that sounded like a cross between Spanish/Middle Eastern and psychedelia with Jamie actually sitting on the floor to play - I think this was "Playa del Sol", written by Jamie, but I could be mistaken. Harmonies were perfect. The blending of the instruments was amazing. Their versatility! Chad not only played drums but played bass on one song. While Trent was the primary bassist, Martin also played bass on a few songs, constantly changing from guitar to banjo to bass, depending on the song. When Chad played bass, Justin did percussion. Martin, Justin and Trent equally shared lead vocals and all but Jamie took turns doing background vocals.
There is only one word for what we saw and heard last night. Awesome. I was so happy we did not miss them this time. We played the CD today, and something that doesn't always happen - their live set of these songs last night sounded very much like the studio versions on the CD. Oh yeah, the title of the CD, "Hearts and Dreams".