This week, the Chan Centre for Performing Arts held a hootenanny as a trio of Texas Troubadours – Ruthie Foster, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Carrie Rodriguez took the stage.
The Chan Centre’s stellar acoustics added to the simple staging and sounds of the award winning trio. Starting off the evening, Carrie Rodriguez fiddled her way into the hearts of the audience with her folksy stories of growing up surrounded by musical influences of family and friends in Texas. Her self-described “Ameri-Chicana” attitude, Spanglish lyrics and timeless melodies were vaguely reminiscent of Linda Ronstadt but at the same time fresh and new. An old friend of her father, Jimmie Dale Gilmore brought his guitar to join Ms Rodriguez onstage for a duet, then took the reins for his own solo set. A classic Texas troubadour’s voice, Gilmore’s country twang fed the audience some ‘down home’ country-folk sounds and jovial meandering stories. Ruthie Foster joined Gilmore for one song, then displayed her own powerhouse voice for a few of her own numbers before Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Carrie Rodriguez returned for a group number before the interval.
Upon return to the stage, the second set was casual, impromptu feeling collection of tunes. Each singer lead the way with some of their own tunes, with the others joining in. Like an old fashioned hootenanny or front porch sing-along, the audience was encouraged to join in on choruses and lend their voices whenever they felt the desire. A great number of the audience took part and filled the Chan Centre like a country or gospel choir. The mutual respect and admiration of the three performers was clearly evident as they supported and collaborated to the delight of the audience.