Saturday, November 28, 2009
Mainline Express with Jesse Brock at del Rossi's
MainLine Express featuring Jesse Brock delighted an audience of fifty or sixty post Thanksgiving survivors on Friday night at del Rossi's Tratoria in Dublin, NH. Future performances this weekend will be at Nippo Lake Golf Club and Restaurant in Barrington, NH. See below for more information.
We drove to Dublin, NH through a chilly rain and arrived at del Rossi's Trattoria early enough to settle in and enjoy a fine Italian dinner before the music event began. Located on route 137 a mile or so north of route 101 between Keene and Peterborough, NH, del Rossi's presents fine acoustic music in a somewhat unusual setting. Combining very good Italian food from a wide and varied menu in an eighteenth century farmhouse, Elaine and David del Rossi are also bluegrass and acoustic music lovers who feature fine acoustic music from the small stage located in a corner of their very pleasant dining room. Upstairs is a small shop selling acoustic instruments and supplies. Irene had a perfectly prepared lasagna, while I enjoyed a diavolo misto on a bed of pepper linguini featuring luscious muscles and shrimp in a spicy tomato sauce. The cream of garlic soup was also excellent. Service was quick and friendly, and the food arrived hot and tasty. All this offered a fine prelude for a first class bluegrass band put together for this off-season, but sounding seasoned as they played a broad range of classic bluegrass in the style of the Bluegrass Album Band. Unfortunately, del Rossi's has no significant web presence to help with finding the restaurant or knowing more about menu choices.
MainLine Express has been built around Jesse Brock, IBMA mandolin player of the year for 2009, whose full-time gig is with Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper. Jesse's hyper-kinetic personality and driving mandolin style help push any band he's playing with to greater heights than it would have imagined possible. He combines impeccable playing with a sense of rhythm that pervades this band.
del Rossi's Trattoria
Josh Dayton on bass took a while to find himself in this new gig, but really laid down the rhythm in the second set. Dayton worked hard and rose to the ocassion.
With his wife, Alison Magill, Gary is the owner of Acoustic Outfitters in Straham, NH, the goto music shop for New Hampshire and northern New England. Filgate is an unobtrusive, quiet banjo picker, until you really start listening to his tasteful licks and fills as well as his inventive breaks. He brings imagination to his play, as evidenced by the tuneful setting with Roger Williams of the fiddle tune "Old Timey Risin' Down."
John Miller, from southwestern Virginia, singing lead and playing rhythm and solo guitar, has strong background an experience. Last year he played mandolin with Junior Sisk and Rambler's Choice after he replaced Chris Harris. John has played with J.D. Crowe, Lonesome River Band, Charlie Sizemore, Valerie Smith and other bands. He also owns and operates a recording studio and works as a luthier.
LimeLighter Express will be appearing at Nippo Lake Gold Course and Restaurant in Barrington, NH on Saturday and Sunday, November 28-29.
Well known in New England as a French-Canadian fiddler specializing in folk and traditional music, Gary Pomerleau has, in recent years for his bluegrass fiddling, too. On stage he projects a shy, quiet competence, until his turn for a break comes, whereupon the power and authority of his play shines through. He has been honored at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. Locally, he plays with White Mountain Bluegrass.
Roger Williams is a small, shy, near-sighted man with a pixie grin on his face as he peers into your face. It's when he puts his resonator guitar around his neck on stage that he becomes supremely articulate, a master of the rather strange, and somewhat quirky Dobro. Williams has played and recorded with the best, and has made nine trips to Europe as a performer. These days, his regular gig is with the very good country, bluegrass band Amy Gallitin and Stillwaters. Roger's inventiveness and power on the Dobro is second to none, and he is well recognized among other musicians. He deserves much broader appreciation from bluegrass and acoustic music fans.
MainLiner Express in performance shows itself to have the mysterious IT. What qualities distinguish a band that has IT from one that doesn't? This question devils many a band out on tour. This band stands out because of its drive, energy, and musicianship. Their performance on stage does not have the polish and finish you might find in some much showier and better known bands. It exudes, however, the sheer joy of making music together...listening carefully, responding in kind, and underneath the friendly competitiveness that often pervades a first rate jam. I don't know whether this band will be available for further performances once the winter hiatus ends, but all of us can only hope so.
People wishing to hear very fine traditional bluegrass covers by a first rate pick-up band as well as enjoy a meal out after over-indulging in eating and shopping for the past few days will find the trip to Barrington, NH to be very worthwhile. Barrington is about 28 miles east of Concord and 31 miles northeast of Manchester, and 20 miles west of Portsmouth. Call ahead (603.664.7616) for more information and reservations.