BY TIM HINELY
The was my first time to the Walnut Room and the place looked real nice, pizza restaurant/bar on one side and go through a door and there’s a nice little room for bands to play music. Not your typical dive. Walked through the doors at 9 PM and 2nd act, Daniel Romano and his band was setting up. First things first, they all had denim and cowboy hats on, a good sign (and just for the record these guys are form Toronto, not someplace in Texas)! It was Daniel on vocals and acoustic guitar, pedal steel player (with a righteous ZZ Top beard) and a drummer…well, let me be a bit more clear. The drummer sat in a chair with a single snare, had his head down and slightly tapped a drum stick against the snare for most of the night. At one point my pal turned to me and said “Man, that drummer looks deathly serious.” We both laughed. The songs? Man, the songs were GREAT. They played a bunch from their forthcoming record Come Cry With Me and these cuts are straight up country songs about the bottle, mah woman, revenge, death and other such topics with no irony. Do no miss these guys if they come through your town.
I had last seen Caitlin and her band in the Spring of 2011 in Portland when they came through town a few times at the Doug Fir Lounge. I’ve really been enjoying her latest record, The Stand-In, and really wanted to hear the songs live. The band still included guitarist Jeremy Fetzer and pedal steel player Spencer Cullum, but I believe it was a different bassist and drummer this time. They opened the set with the opening cut from the latest record “No One to Call” and from there played a healthy dose of cuts from all of her records including “Spare Me,” “Waiting on a Broken Heart,” “For the Rabbits,” “Old Numbers’ (the last song on her new record), “Pink Champagne” and a few others. About mid-set the band left the stage and Caitlin played a few solo acoustic songs then had two women from the local (Pueblo, CO) band the Haunted Windchimes joined her on stage for a lovely rendition of Hank William’s “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”
The band came back out and did an awesome cover of the Felice Brothers’ “Dallas” plus more from the new record including “Silver Sings,’ “Menagerie” and “I Was Cruel” (by a band called The Deep Vibration). They ended the set with the terrific, driving “Shanghai Cigarettes” (a favorite from 2010’s Own Side Now).
She came out for an encore (again, just her and the acoustic guitar) to which Caitlin stated, “I suck at doing encores…but I love doing ‘em.” She did “Answer in One of these Bottles” and ended the night by putting the guitar down and, with just a tambourine in her hand did one of her early songs “T-shirt” (both songs from 2008’s Dead Flowers ep).
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Rose is a total natural (and a bit of a ham , too) and with her aw shucks style, her gorgeous voice and her band who is completely on it , it all adds up to a great night out.