By Dennis Roger Reed

Susie_Glaze_Live_at_FSSusie Glaze & The Hilonesome Band and the venerable Berkeley venue the Freight and Salvage. Sounds like a good match, and this recording made in July of 2010 proves it.

These folks are known for mixing folk, mountain music and bluegrass with just a smidgen of pop sheen. Susie and the band are high energy talented musicians who make great recordings, and as this recording shows, are also high energy talented live performers.

The set list mixes some songs associated with Susie’s mentor Jean Ritchie, and also originals from band member Rob Carlson. Carlson plays lead guitar, resonator guitar and provides harmony vocals. Glaze plays guitar and mountain dulcimer. Husband Steve Rankin adds mandolin, guitar, harmony vocals and lead vocals on the set closing version of Steve Earle’s Pilgrim. Fred Saunders plays bass and adds harmonies, and Mark Indictor plays fiddle. Banjo player extraordinaire Bill Evans guests on two songs. This is one hot band.

The set starts with Glaze’s a cappella take on Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies. Singing without accompaniment on the first song of a live set is a brave call, and one that Glaze pulls off perfectly, setting the stage for a variety of musics. There’s a taste of western swing in Carlson’s Albuquerque, with Glaze’s vocals well suited to the genre.

The most dramatic cut is Go Dig My Grave. One forgets that this is a live recording as the dynamics of the song and the almost eerie accompaniment draw the listener in.

If for some reason you have not partaken of Susie Glaze & The Hilonesome Band, Live at the Freight & Salvage is a good starting point. But be advised: you’ll most likely be purchasing the rest of their catalog soon.

Dennis Roger Reed is a singer-songwriter, musician and writer based in San Clemente, CA. He’s released two solo CDs, and appeared on two CDs with the newgrassy Andy Rau Band and two CDs with the roots rockers Blue Mama. His prose has appeared in a variety of publications such as the OC Weekly and MOJO magazine. Writing about his music has appeared in an eclectic group of publications such as Bass Player, Acoustic Musician, Dirty Linen, Blue Suede News and Sing Out! His oddest folk resume entry would be the period of several months in 2002 when he danced onstage as part of both Little Richard’s and Paul Simon’s revues. He was actually asked to do the former and condoned by the latter. He apparently knows no shame.