Arts & Culture / Mosaic / Music / March 6, 2008

Fanfare for food and folk

Last Monday, the Gizmo was graced by a performance from a great American folk singer, Charlie King. The show was sponsored by the AnSo Club and the Folk Club. The evening began with a set by the Danny Fisher-Bruns Carpentry Guild, a collective of Knox students fronted by Tom Fucoloro and the eponymous Mr. Fisher-Bruns. Their set was a double handful of American folk and country tunes, sung and played on guitar, ukelele, mandolin, bucket, and hubcap.

When Charlie King was brought on, he was accompanied by Jim Scott, another singer/songwriter of some renown who handled most of the guitar duties for the evening, while King preferred to sing and play harmonica. They traded off singing each other’s songs, which worked nicely, since they were obviously comfortable with the material and accustomed to playing together. Scott’s material dealt with broad, timeless topics of peace, justice, and environmentalism, while King’s songs spoke of current political issues in much more pointed language. The wry humor of King’s work was also spaced by some of Scott’s adept instrumental guitar works that blended classical and Latin feels.

The men’s styles complimented each other nicely, but King’s work definitely succeeded in establishing a connection with the Knox audience with his unabashed evaluation of some political events, like the recent pardoning of Scooter Libby “(When they hand you the ball / Tell you to take a fall / Who you gonna call/ Who will pardon Scooter?)” as reporters and conscientious objectors were jailed left and right. He also addressed marriage rights with a song written from a conservative perspective “(We’re defending the institution / Against people who want to get married).” My personal favorite was a critique of the first hundred days of the Bush administration, specifically regarding the many treaty withdrawals that happened in that period. Lyrics like “Arms are small / Sales are huge! and Nuclear Non-proliferation–Ok for Danes and Haitians!” really got appreciation from the crowd. King was an excellent choice to fit Knox’s taste, and I look forward to hearing what he has to say about the next administration.

John Lane

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