Review and Photos by: Michael W. Bright
Louisville, KY — This show was a performance for those dedicated to stringed acoustic performances at the highest, most virtuous level. The folks who came to Headliners on this evening were passionate fans of Elephant Revival, an entity whose eclectic mix, both recorded and performed, encompasses folk, Americana, Celtic, non-traditional bluegrass and whatever genre into which you choose to place Bela Fleck.
Openers Dead Horses proved perfect touring partners with their similar appeal of acoustic music and three part harmonies. The core duo of vocalist/player Sarah Vos and Daniel Wolff are joined by Ryan Ogburn, a mandolin picker whose chops earned him a spot on the tour and likely participation on a new album project currently in the works.
Elephant Revival, a quintet, effortlessly exchanged every variety of guitar, mandolin, acoustic and electric bass, banjo and percussion, adding fiddles, a cello, West African drums, horns and, unbelievably, a bowed musical saw played in perfect pitch by on-stage centerpiece Bonnie Paine. One superfan bragged that Paine, one of the groups original songwriters, can play 47 different instruments. That seemed like a valid remark on the face of things. Their virtuoso instrumental fireworks were matched by lyrics of equal weight and beauty.
Live music fans in Louisville and Kentucky are accustomed to world class pickin’ and singing. The wall-to-wall, six-deep-at-the-bar crowd was rightfully, righteously impressed.
Elephant Revival has festival dates booked throughout late Spring and Summer. An event schedule is at elephant revival.com.