Even though I wasn't yet familiar with Fred Eaglesmith, I am extremely glad I made it to this show, because this was a night of fabulous music that left me smiling until I went to work the following morning.
Currently touring as the Fred Eaglesmith Traveling Steam Show, Eaglesmith wore steam punk clothing that set the mood (at least for me). He is a truly unique musician -- I can't think of anyone else with whom to compare him. He is a songwriter, performing only original tunes at this show, though he has been known to cover other artists' songs. He is also a comedian and a political commentator.
While I normally prefer more music and less talking, I was enthralled with Eaglesmith's performance style. He played more than he talked, but the interludes between songs were filled with stories about traveling, his band's antique school bus they've painted dark pink, and politics.
Opening the show was the Tif Ginn Band -- Ginn on accordion, melodica, guitar, mandolin and vocals; Matt Simpson on guitar, organ, banjo and vocals; Kori Heppner on drums; and Justine Fischer on upright bass. What an amazing opening set! Ginn played the guitar during this set (although she played other instruments during the main set) and sang all the leads. She has an incredible voice -- not quite sultry -- and is a terrific guitarist as well. I was disappointed at the brevity of her set until I realized she and the rest of her band would back Eaglesmith.
Eaglesmith's voice is slightly craggy, but suits his music perfectly. Although he refers to rock and roll repeatedly during his shows, it seems that his style is closer to alt-country. Eaglesmith, Ginn, and the entire band are well worth seeing. I will definitely see them again when they travel through the Boston area.