Thursday night the air was crisp as the weekend quickly approached. The good sized crowd began to meander into the Red Clay Music Foundry after extinguishing their smokes and grabbing an ice cold beverage or three. Everyone was excited for the night of music that was ahead of them with a few kicking off their weekend of frivolity a bit early. Eddie Owens Presents brought in two incredibly brilliant songwriters. One a grizzled veteran offering up songs of wisdom the other a young singer/songwriter supplying his lighthearted take on the world.
Ray Wylie Hubbard is a man that has seen and done more in his lifetime than most of us have done this past week. He took the stage Thursday night with his guitar and drummer then peeled of a set of tunes that had the packed house singing along. Tunes from his latest record – The Ruffian’s Misfortune – like “Mr. Musselwhite’s Blues” and the greasy “Down By The River” sounded like they had been in his congregation of songs for years and when he got to the classics such as “Mother Blues”, “Choctaw Bingo” and “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother” the music hall went crazy. Intertwined with Hubbard’s songs were a mix of stories about his life and the tales behind the songs. Humorous anecdotes about his grandfather, Hayes Carll and Twitter as well as honest tales about meeting and playing with fellow musicians made the crowd a part of the show. Ray Wylie Hubbard is one of those musicians you have to see at least once in your life. He gives his fans everything they want even sticking around after the show to say hi. Once again his show was impressive living up to all the hype.
Aaron Lee Tasjan started the evening off with his own brand of country infused folk rock. His set covered a wide swath of Tasjan’s musical catalog. Songs from his latest LP In the Blazes such as “Trouble With Drinking” and “Sixty-six Dollar Blues” sounded great. Tasjan pulled “Living Proof” and “Don’t Walk Away” from his EPs then dug deep into his catalog and pulled out the favorites “Santa Monica and Vine” and “Streets of Galilee”. A humorous song “12 Bar Blues” was a favorite of the crowd as Tasjan sang the “blues sounding” song about 12 bars he enjoyed drinking in. Like Hubbard Aaron lee Tasjan mixes stories and anecdotes in and around his songs that add to the enjoyment of his shows. Few attending knew of Aaron but when his set was over he had won over the room and added to his ever growing fan base.
This was one hell of a night of music at the Red Clay Music Foundry. Ray Wylie Hubbard showed the crowded room why he still has it and should be considered one of the finest songwriters to put pen to paper. Aaron Lee Tasjan won the favor of the crowd showing them his songwriting skills were pretty damn good too. When the evening was over folks did not want to leave. Mingling in the lobby they were able to offer gratitude, take pictures and swap stories with Hubbard and Tasjan. It was a great night to be in Duluth.