Saturday, September 20, 2003

on the same program with

Jubilant Bridge
A Harmony-Driven Acoustic Group

JUBILANT BRIDGE onight, a dulcimer wizard and a pure-voiced poet created a sparkling, harmony-driven sound that is fresh and innovative. Intricate arrangements, unique harmonies so tight, they pulse (Mary Cliff, WETA-FM), and a sense of fun are the hallmarks of every Jubilant Bridge performance, a surprising range of critically-acclaimed originals, contemporary songs, and instrumentals. Although they come from a rich aural tradition, they surprised us with counter melodies, changing time signatures, well-chosen dissonance, and their singing of what could be instrumental leads. The instruments go beyond simple accompaniment; the arrangements and the songs themselves are meshed. They used the vocabulary, but stepped outside of the conventions of folk, rock, and pop — not simply stitching together genres, but folding the seams under. It was a wonderfully pleasing performance in a traditional style.

ountain dulcimer wizard and vocalist Willie Jaeger takes what is often thought of as a "simple" folk instrument and discovers its complexity. His unique style of playing, and his popularity as a teacher at the renowned Swallow Hill School of Music, inspired Westword, Denver's alternative weekly, to vote him Denver's "Best Local Folkie." He has also been a finalist in the national mountain dulcimer championship at Winfield, Kansas. An engaging singer, he also plays hammered dulcimer and guitar, and composes instrumentals and the occasional song.

ocalist and guitarist Carol Van Alstine provides Jubilant Bridge with most of its distinctive original songs. She comes to songwriting by way of poetry. Often inspired by dreams, her emotionally wise songs depict states of mind and heart and the conflicts between them. Her voice has been described as "striking," "ethereal," and "far purer than Michael Jackson's fondness for gloves." "How did such a big voice come out of such a small person?" audiences frequently ask. Her musical experiences range from performing as a solo entertainer to singing soprano in Renaissance choirs.

earless guitarist Scott Bennett, the "Andre Agassi" of the guitar, join Willie and Carol on some bookings to make Jubilant Bridge a trio. We missed him. Scott plays in an oblique style that is all his own — listening to the band's CDs is the only way to hear him play the same thing twice. He is one of Denver's most sought after musicians. With Runaway Express, he played with John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band for four years. He has also been the guitarist for Bonnie Phipps and the Elastic Band, whose two Parents' Choice Award-winning CDs he produced. Other production credits include Mary Flower, Chuck Pyle, Carla Sciaky, and John Dillon. Additionally, in 1999 he received the Townes Van Zandt songwriting award for two songs he co-wrote. Rock, pop, and folk-all musical styles are fair game for the fearless Bennett.

s they did tonight, Jaeger and Van Alstine originally performed together as a duo and have two previous self-produced recordings, Crazy Like The Wind and Another Run At the Mountain. When Bennett joined them to produce their third recording, he added a whole new "dementia" to the proceedings, and they took their music in a new direction with the release of Under Shattered Skies, Jubilant Bridge's debut CD. Dirty Linen hailed its "great harmony vocals," "compelling dulcimer playing," and "intelligent and thoughtful" lyrics, and Victory Review proclaimed it "a rich aural feast." The band has just released their new CD, Happenstance, which was recorded at world-class studio Colorado Sound.

Link to Jubilant Bridge's web site:     or listen to song clips

and on the same program

Patrick O'Rourke

PATRICK O'ROURKE atrick is a Huntington based singer, composer, musical interpreter and fingerstyle guitarist. Playing for 24 years now, he performed a wide range of material: old standards, folk songs, and original fingerstyle and vocal compositions. Originally, he played with metal finger picks, emulating Leo Kottke, but eschewed them for bare fingernails - now his style "resides on the Celtic side of Michael Hedges...". A first tenor of Irish descent, he is a member of the Huntington Men's Chorus and has been known to sing "Danny Boy", even while sober. His playing and his melodies were spectacular, complex and very memorable — a real treat.

atrick was the "mystery" guest at Bob Westcott's Holiday Show last year, he played the Eclectic Cafe in February and has recently been playing in NYC and at the occasional open mike. He has two CD's available: Learning To Sit Still and Live at 57 West Hills. He is currently recording a new CD, ... the journey begins as never ending due out in November.

Link to Patrick's web site:     or listen to song clips  

Our open mike tonight featured performances by:

  • Jonathan Brooks
  • Estelle Henrick
  • Nick Vermitsky
  • Tim Atwell
  • Scott MacDonald
  • ... and other fabulous talents
  • If you weren't here tonight, you missed yet another of the very best programs of the year ...