Last night’s Three Girls and Their Buddy tour stop at the Allen Theatre was as close as you might get to an intimate evening at home with your favorite folksy, guitar-rockin’, singer-songwriters. Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris, Shawn Colvin, and Buddy Miller sat in a row under quiet stage lights and took turns strumming their hearts out. Their set is purposely under-rehearsed and changes every night. It was so off-the-cuff that occasionally, the person harmonizing would pull out a lyric sheet before joining in.
Highlights of the night included all three women crooning on Colvin’s cover of “There’s a Rugged Road,” by Judee Sill, and Harris’ tribute to Heath Ledger, a tender version of Lucinda Williams’ “Sweet Old World.” ...
But the break-out star of the evening was Griffin, who’s been around for more than a decade, but may finally have come into her own with last year’s album, Children Running Through
. Whether it’s twangy country, blues, or ballads, she goes for your soul every time she opens her mouth, and usually gets it. First there was “Tony,” an unvarnished tale about a guy she knew in high school — “a quiet boy, little over weight, he had breasts like a girl” -- whose suicide felt like a fresh blow every time she hit the chorus. Then it was the bluesy, understated lullaby, “Tomorrow Night,” delivered with such plaintive force that you were forced to relive every morning-after regret in recent memory, as if it were something beautiful.
Meanwhile, between numbers, the audience was treated to some fascinating insights about the musicians. We learned, for example, that Harris was not a fan of the Oscar-nominated No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood (too bloody, too depressing), because she feels that, having reached the ripe old age of 60, she’s entitled to a happy ending. Griffin sings opera to her dogs, and Colvin has an unfortunate penchant for bad-boy drummers. At the end of the night, the whole crew treated the audience to a cover of The Band’s “Look Out Cleveland.”
With buddies like these, who needs any other friends? -- Lisa Rab