Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Paul Baribeau's Denver Booya Hootenanny

Paul Baribeau is a bona-fide hobo rail-rider folk singer, the kind I would expect to own a guitar e that says, "This machine kills fascists." But his songs are intensely personal , and he hails from my town of Grand Ledge, Michigan. Even produced a ten-song EP in 2007 called Grand Ledge. And toured the east with Ginger Alford in 2006 and 2009 singing Springsteen covers. So of course a visit to Denver turned into a profound event. This summer, he's wandering the west with a fascinating singer from Columbus, Ohio, Kari Jorgensen, who records under the name The Boy Who Could Fly.

Kevin and I headed up north, sure from the advance publicity that "Booya Beaugeau" was bound to be a house-concert venue, and we weren't disappointed. In fact, this house was a sustainable-energy, local-food-growing ambitious-hippie house, the kind of place where Baribeau said too many residents get up at 6:30 in the morning. Eat your medicine, it's good for you.

What blew us away was the remarkable quality of even the local Denver singer-songwriters, led off by our home-host Mark, who records under the name Papa Bear. Below is his song "Photographs of Spring," and you can hear two other songs here and here.

A remarkable woman known only as Bonnie followed, and I can't decide whether her writing, singing, or song-styling is best. Click on the song titles for "Be My Husband," "Arrow," or "Jezebel," and I've embedded "Driftwood Husband" below. Abe Abraham followed Bonnie with a wonderful set of concise and passionate songs - I didn't get any titles, but there are samples of his work here and here.

Kari "Boy Who Could Fly" Jorgensen began her set with some Nirvana bass lines, then did haunting pieces that used an electric guitar as an underlying foundation for some wonderful poetry. Here are "Here Together" and "Homesick," though my favorite was the song "Trash", below, with its brilliant re-purposing of Brian Wilson's "Don't Worry Baby."

Paul has some new songs! He performed "If I Knew" and "The Mall" from a new Demo Tape EP he has (on cassette, of course). Familiar favorites included "Only Babies Cry," "I Thought I Could Find You," "Brown Brown Brown," and "Strawberry." And I'll leave you with his ode to mid-Michigan holidays from the Grand Ledge EP, "Christmas Lights." Thanks, Booya hosts and patrons!

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