Amy Helm, photo by Joy Bennett
Last night I had the pleasure of visiting the famous Troubadour club in Los Angeles, named in 2013 by Rolling Stone as “the second best rock club in America.” Opened in 1957, this place has traditionally been a favorite of musicians and fans alike for world class music. It’s like a funky roadhouse, complete with dark wood walls and comfy lounges to sit in. The feel is more one of being in a really cool house party instead of a traditional music club.
The troubadour is an amazing, historical place, with a long list of musicians who got their start here, and went on to world famous careers. It’s also very comfortable and unassuming, with impeccable acoustics, friendly staff, and even a small snack bar in the back if you want to grab some dinner.
Amy Helm opened the evening, with a tight, sweet bluesy sound reminiscent of Bonnie Raitt. Very capably backed by an outstanding set of musicians, Amy is very easy on the eyes and ears. She warmed up and really rocked out at the end, where I heard her say, “Let’s play it fast” to her band mates. They then performed an up-tempo blues number that was just super. Keep an eye out for her album, which I for one hope comes out real soon.
Then after a brief intermission, the Wood Brothers took the stage. This pair of brothers and one more has an impressive, evocative sound that you would think comes from more than just the three of them. They are labeled folk, but it’s more a rootsy kind of blues/rock/folk combination that is all their own. The lyrics are simple, true and poetic, such as “I’ll show you a rainbow in all shades of grey,” yet the existential angst is the oddly soothed with their smooth blues folk rock melodies. A very palatable sound, and when Amy joined them onstage for the final couple of numbers, the effect was breathtaking. For more information on the musicians, visit amyhelm.com and thewoodbros.com.