A Saturday night crowd, on a Monday, settled in for a wonderful night of folk songs in the cozy and warm exposed-brick confines of Restaurant Good Luck. Honest Folk Presents brought in two great artists representing both coasts. The crowd was familiar with Portland Oregon’s Jeffrey Martin, making his third stop at the venue. The Sea The Sea, from the much closer Troy, NY, however, were making their first appearance in Rochester and would open the night.
A male/female duo, featuring Mira and Chuck Costa, The Sea The Sea moved effortlessly between electric and acoustic guitars, a small percussion setup and an even smaller keyboard, mixing different combinations of sounds. Regardless of the instrumentation, their beautiful two-part harmonies were the true highlight throughout the night. It was remarkable how perfect their voices blended together, making a signature sound. They featured them so regularly that it started to become two parts of a single voice. On the rare occasions when only one voice rang out, it was almost as if one of the channels on the stereo was faulty.
The pair has spent a good deal of the past year on the road, and also recently relocated to Troy, both of which have been providing inspiration for a bevy of fresh new tunes, some of which they shared, like “Foreign Country” and “Stumbling Home.” Most of the set was filled with their more well-worn material, like the palindromic “Love We Are We Love” and the familial “Good For Something.” They rounded those out with two choice covers, the Bob Dylan deep cut “I’ll Keep It With Mine,” and “No Love Today” from the under-appreciated songwriter Chris Smither.
Jeffrey Martin was last on the Good Luck stage almost exactly two years to the day from this night. It was in fact the Monday after the end of daylight savings, just as it was on his previous visit. Martin’s music doesn’t really evoke blue skies and sunshine, so the fact that it was middle-of-the-night dark throughout the show, which ended at the Monday-friendly hour of 9:45, was very welcome. Perhaps it was both genius and coincidence.
For an hour Martin held court on the Good Luck stage, telling stories both in song and out. Though sometimes it was hard to tell the difference, as he noodled on his guitar during his between-song bantering and there was just something lyrical about the way he spoke. Some of the stories spanned the songs that interjected, and the songs always related somehow with the stories. Some of the stories inspired the songs, sometimes real life followed the songs, and other times the story and the song were one and the same. Stories, songs, acoustic guitar and a rich singular voice made for about as pure a folk show as you can achieve. Seems so simple, and yet it’s so hard to achieve, but Jeffrey Martin pulled it off with a natural and unfettered brilliance. It’s no wonder Honest Folk has booked him again and again.
As for the next Honest Folk show, they’ve just announced twin-brother outfit, appropriately named The Brother Brothers, who will be at The Arbor Loft on Wednesday December 11. Tickets are on sale now at early bird pricing for a limited time.