Friday, March 12, 2010

Great Acoustics + A Full House = Command Performance by Mark Zane and Friends

Part One: Burritt’s Café, Weedsport, NY

This charming café located at the corner of NYS Routes 34 and 31B serves the best seafood bisque this side of Doug’s Fish Fry. We met my cousins there for dinner and stayed to hear Mark Zane and Friends play. I’d invited my cousins to meet us there (they live in the Auburn area, we live in Syracuse) because we don’t see each other often and it was a convenient meeting place. They are a little older then we are, much more conservative politically, but we love them and I’d been missing them.

I wasn’t sure they’d take to Mark’s music and actually expected them to make an excuse to leave at some point during the gig. We had a front row seat. My cousins were soon singing along to the covers Mark played and listening closely to the lyrics of this originals. They were so tuned into him, one cousin leaned over after Mark played “Knuckleheaded Fool” (go to www.myspace/ to hear this song) and said to me “He looks so young! I can’t believe he’s been married three times!" I was glad that Mark then explained that he teaches sociology and his songs were not all autobiographical. My cousins each ended up buying a CD and asked me to keep them posted on future gigs Mark might have at Burritt’s. They particularly liked his cover of “House of the Rising Sun/Amazing Grace” and hope it finds its way onto his next CD. His originals made their way into their hearts, too. Later they told me they sang, “Is There a Banjo in Your House?” as they were driving home.

The café was standing room only by the end of the night. The sound system at Burritt’s is first class. The audience doesn’t miss a note. Steve Pederson’s bass rang clear and it was so nice to hear him. Steve adds such a delightful accompaniment to Mark’s guitar. Steve and Mark are perfecting their stage moves; my cousins were amazed that Mark and Steve didn’t trip over any wires as they were jumping and moving their guitars up and down in sync. We love the guitar ballet them perform! Paul Marconi and his harmonica added the perfect touch to many a song. Paul seems to get better and better each time we hear him play. Frankie Diamond jumped up there on stage with the boys, too, and played some very nice lead guitar. (If only Mary Snell hadn’t been sick and could have been there to sing a song or two.)

Before we knew it, the night was over and we were driving home, “Ruby” and “Bethlehem” and “Utica” playing still in our heads. No matter how many times we hear these songs, they always sound fresh, the message is still there, they entertain and make you think and stay strong. And the tunes are so catchy; you just have to keep on humming them!

Thanks, Mark and Friends, and the wonderful staff at Burritt’s café, for an evening to remember!

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