A High Jinks Hoedown

Rosie Flores. At the Maverick Saloon, Wednesday, September

Reviewed by Brett Leigh Dicks

flores%232.jpgAs Greg Leisz’s mandolin shimmered in
beauty, it reflected the torrent that surged from Rosie Flores’s
acoustic guitar. Flores introduced “God May Forgive You (But I
Won’t)” as the greatest divorce song ever written, and by the time
she had toured through the song’s first verse and chorus, the crowd
was in total agreement.

In a performance that brimmed with highlights, one of the most
striking was Flores’s remarkable sense of song. From the
unrelenting declaration of “God May Forgive You” to the haunting
beauty of Butch Hancock’s “Boxcars,” Flores typically explored the
more eccentric side of country music’s compositional palette. This
claim was further staked by renditions of both Johnny Cash’s
“Country Boy” and Buck Owens’s “Hot Dog,” though it wasn’t just
from the roots of traditional country that Flores’s set sprouted,
as a rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “Lucky Town” sublimely
attested to. And when she followed that song with a rousing version
of Merle Haggard’s “My Old Kind of Hat,” even those who were
leaning nonchalantly against the walls at the back of the saloon
were nodding in accord.

Lurking within Flores’s deceptively casual approach is an
immense musical talent. But her talent isn’t just confined to
seamlessly marrying a selection of her own sparkling songs with
classic contemporaries, for sitting beside Flores was Leisz — one
of roots music’s finest string instrumentalists. Leisz’s playing
was nothing short of awe-inspiring, but Flores was more than up to
the instrumental challenge thrown down by her revered companion.
Flores engagingly picked and plucked her way across the course of
the evening with style, grace, and bravado. And as “Truck Driver
Blues” neared its conclusion and the guitars blazed away, the duo
traded the instrumental limelight, while the audience clapped and
stomped their appreciation. Be it the songs, the music, or the
legend that attracted people to this installment of Tales From The
Tavern, no one made a quiet exit.


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