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Rock N Roar Is NIIIIIIIICE in the Springtime April 13, 2008

Posted by glenhooks in Show Reviews.
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Clear, cool night…cold beers within arm’s reach….The Girl right up next to me whispering funny things in my ear…I can’t think of many better ways to set the table for a good night of music.    Perfect night at the Little Rock Zoo’s latest installment of their ROCK N ROAR series.  

I may be the only person in Little Rock who’d never seen Runaway Planet’s bluegrass show, but you can now put me on the list of fans.   This four-piece of Greg Alexander (guitar and vocals), Steve Brauer (banjo and vocals) Ben Ellis (mandolin) and Michael Proveaux (bass and vocals) worked the all-ages crowd into high-steppin fits of ecstasy.   Runaway Planet has some seriously tight three-part harmonies and I can’t say enough about Ben Ellis’s mandolin playing.   Mandolin, when done right, can make you weep with regret for the mistakes you’ve made then make you howl with joy about how good life can be  This guy knows what he’s doing, as does the rest of this amazing band.  It’s traditional, wonderful, throw-your-shoes-off-and-dance-the-Dance-of-Thanks-to-Earl-Scruggs-music, and had the grownups and the little curtain-climbers in the audience movin’ and yellin’ for more. 

Less lively, but no less skilled, was the classic country stylings of Chris Denny and the Old Soles.  Denny is a young performer with an ancient voice, a countrified Roy Orbison who has a direct vocal channel to the ghosts of crooners gone by.  Under the moonlight, accompanied only by a slap-bass and drummer, Denny’s warbly falsetto twang soared into the skies and hypnotized those lucky enough to be nearby (presumably the baboons as well).  Denny’s album Age Old Hunger is a treat for the headphones.  Don’t miss it.

Next up for Rock N Roar:  American Princes on May 10th. 

QUESTION:  Is there anything more fun than an outdoor bluegrass show at nighttime?

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