Review of Eddie's Attic Show on March 30thApril 4, 2007
The show at Eddie's Attic this past Friday night, March 30th was a great time and well worth all of the hassle involved in putting it all together. There was a big turn out and the crowd I think enjoyed themselves. I was experimenting with the looping pedal to find new and interesting ways to accompany or "play" with myself as it were --- but I was glad to have my old friend and seasoned musician Kevin Leahy along for the ride. He played drums, vibes and mandolin throughout the course of the evening.
There was a particularly wonderful moment onstage when Ian got up and played rhythm guitar on bluegrass standard, "Blackberry Blossom" with me. I was so proud of him. I was lucky enough to have a lot of friends, co-workers and students show up as well. Tom came with his family and I pulled him up onstage to sing for half the set. It's kind of amazing how well our voices blend after all these years.
A student from one of my Flash classes this year, Charles Yoo, came out to the show. He is a staff writer for the Atlanta Journal Constitution and was kind enough to turn in the following review of the show:
Ben Wakeman at Eddie's Attic 4/30/2007
by Charles Yoo
The most poignant part of singer Ben Wakeman's recent concert came in middle of the show when a guest joined him on stage. It was his eldest son, bespectacled and on his way to puberty.
The ten-year old strummed a Bluegrass tune on his guitar that had taken up hours of practice. The boy was doing it the way his father had taught him.
Such image sums up Wakeman's music. It's intimate – and familiar – like the relationship between a father and a son. Throughout the hour-long concert at Eddie's Attic in Decatur on March 30, Wakeman sang mostly from his latest album, "Waiting For the Light to Change," a fine collection of poems inspired by nature, nostalgia, and, of course, family. He played guitar, backed by another musician Kevin Leahy on the drum, vibes and mandolin and later joined by Tom Willner, the other half of his previous band, Screen Door.
A web developer by trade, Wakeman sprinkles his own past in his lyrics. That's a good thing because we get a snippet of a North Carolinian in his native turf – a small town amid the Blue Ridge. Say what you will of the mountains, but that place comes across in Wakeman's music as a shrine of serenity – at least to a budding musician that the singer used to be a couple of decades ago. There, Wakeman seemed to have himself soaked in bluegrass, a foundation of his music.
Another plus is that the melodies Wakeman composes match the honesty of his writing.
You ride, I'll drive.
By sunset we'll be there.
Tell me every dream you ever had
Find your favorite song on the radio
Because someday, you'll say
That was the best time I've ever had.
The concert was billed as an "all ages show," a gift to his fellow youthful parents who recall enjoying live performances but now have been pinned to graver obligations such as mortgage and children. They came with their children, who were staying composed for the first half of the show but by the end were jumping and running around as if they were over at a pal's house.
That cacophony is considered a distraction in other performances, but to Wakeman, they are the very rhythms of life that give fodder to his music.