Elixir /ih-lik-ser/ noun – a panacea; cure-all; sovereign remedy
Elixir is also the title of the soon to be released CD by Beaucoup Blue featuring a cover photograph of an antique elixir bottle from their hometown of Philadelphia. The father and son duo of David and Adrian Mowry, known as Beaucoup Blue, performed October 21st at the Nelson Odeon in Nelson, New York. Their repertoire covered familiar themes of trains, tramps, trouble, troubadours, true love gone wrong, and truth as they see it. David, the elder of the duo, switched often between what appeared to be a vintage Guild guitar and a gorgeous Dobro resonator. Mixing slide guitar with a finger-picking style, thumb-strumming, and percussive gestures, he wrangled an impressive range of sounds from his instruments. He and his son Adrian traded lead vocals on songs that each, respectively, wrote with Adrian adding rhythm guitar and melodic flourishes on David’s songs.
Highlights of their own pieces were “Rounder,” “Hurry Down My Holley,” and “Lonely at the Top.” Particularly noteworthy was hearing how their selections of cover tunes were both respectful to the original songs and revised just enough to be their own enjoyable versions. These included Charlie Poole’s “If the River Was Whiskey (Hesitation Blues),” Tampa Red’s “It Hurts Me Too,” their closing song, “Rainy Night in Georgia,” written by Tony Joe White, and the encore, Junior Parker’s “Mystery Train.” They have an easy rapport with each other and their audience. Listeners were engaged throughout the night’s two sets lasting two hours, ten minutes. Beaucoup Blue reminded the audience that music can indeed be an elixir. Merci, Beaucoup.
A journey to the Nelson Odeon to hear live music is not only a treat for the ears but an eye-opener as well in learning how a distinctly different performance space operates. Owners Jeff and Linda Schoenfeld are now in their seventh year operating the former Grange Hall. It is a small, comfortable venue with a capacity of perhaps one hundred fifty. Wood floors, walls and ceiling provide a rich warm sound, managed superbly well by Ralph Meitz, the sound engineer. Ralph and the performers are the only people who are paid. A team of volunteers takes tickets, arranges seating, and manages a small concession area offering soft drinks, baked goods, coffee and tea. Artists and fans meet, mingle, and chat before and between sets and following the evening’s performance. The Schoenfelds have cultivated a loyal group of supporters by presenting a diverse array of acts that might be less well known, but are certainly not lesser talent than might appear elsewhere. They do so by having a relaxed atmosphere with few rules, treating everyone nicely, and doing all they can for the performers, including housing them in their home down the street and providing home cooked meals. These gestures are greatly appreciated by road-weary musicians used to long miles, cookie cutter hotel rooms, and scrambling to grab something to eat and head to the next show. It is a formula that has allowed the Schoenfelds to pay the bills and keep both patrons and performers happy and looking forward to returning. Central New York music fans should check the Nelson Odeon schedule and make it a point to attend a show or two.