Erin, Judd and Maggie

Spent a few hours last night at Smith’s Olde Bar (the URL of which I think of as “Smith sold e-bar”) waiting for shows to start and working the merch table for the talented and superkeen Erin McKeown. We got there way early by accident, but the folks at Smith’s are all kinds of neighborly, and the upstairs venue is very cozy, so I recommend you get there early if you go, too.

Opening for Ms. McKeown was a Maryland brother-sister duo called Judd and Maggie, who were very personable and pretty impressive musicians. Good folks. They’ve got a certain sleepy, vaguely Iron-and-Wine quality that was good live but could be truly great on CD, around the house on a Sunday afternoon. Their album debuts at the end of this month. Again, nice folks.

Ms. McKeown’s show was riddled with technical challenges but, ultimately, rocked. A nice mix of new stuff and old stuff, all played with great enthusiasm and experimentation, so every song is a new invention, different from what you get on the album. She’ll be on Conan O’Brien the evening of August 9th, so check her out if you haven’t yet.

(She raised an interesting question recently: People think that since she’s a one-woman musical outfit, people label her as folk. Once upon a time she may have been, but that’s not true anymore. Do you think lone female musicians have a tendency to get labelled as folk even when they’re really doing something more like indy rock?)

Last thing: Gabe, Ms. McKeown’s tour manager, was still singing along and dancing to her songs at this late stage in the tour. Plus, he’s a nice chap. All these are praiseworthy, so praise I do.

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