Rocky Votolato‘s music is intimate. By that, I mean it’s necessary to embrace a quiet, hushed vibe to fully embed yourself in his low-key but high-impact songs. The White Rabbit Cabaret was a great venue for the experience, and the crowd Friday night was rightfully respectful and attentive.
Votolato stood at the center of the stage with just his guitar and harmonica, letting his music do most of the talking. Votolato’s voice is so pure, and his delivery so earnest, it’s hard not to get absorbed. Touring in support of newest Kickstarter funded album, Television of Saints, the Texas born, Seattle based singer/songwriter began the set with Little Spring and Ghost Writer, the first two tracks off that release. But the next two songs, off 2006 release Makers, are what hooked the audience. Portland is Leaving and White Daisy Passing are both such warm, soulful, and evocative songs — the epitome of singer/songwriter excellence. Other highlights were Alabaster from Suicide Machine and a cover of MewithoutYou’s In a Sweater Poorly Knit. Votolato doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but what he does is so beautiful it makes you reconsider what constitutes good songwriting.
Joining Votolato for the show were Denmark’s CALLmeKAT and the Rhode Island duo Brown Bird. CALLmeKAT, aka Katrine Ottosen, opened the show with her ethereal and moody compositions. Her jazzy concoctions weren’t my cup of tea, but I have to give points for her Euro-flamenco cover of Britney Spears’ Toxic. Brown Bird’s kitchen sink, acoustic bluegrass Americana did, however, make me take notice. After the sleepy opener, Brown Bird’s organic, rousing music was the perfect energizer. The duo’s blended male/female vocals and unique amalgam of banjo, cello, guitar, etc were very engaging. Excellent set.
Were you at the White Rabbit last night? What did you think of the show?