In Focus: Mikaela Davis at Colony Woodstock

It was an exhilarating homecoming jam for Mikaela Davis at Thursday night’s show at the Colony in Woodstock. The June 27 show was full of high energy, dancing, and an extraordinary show from a group of versatile musicians.

Davis, originally from Rochester and now based out of Catskill, is currently on a tour of headline shows and festivals opening for Amos Lee. This show was even more significant, marking her return to the Hudson Valley before embarking on a West Coast tour in July. 

Sharing the spotlight with Davis was her band and longtime collaborators, Southern Star. Made up of musicians Shane McCarthy, Cian McCarthy, Alex Coté, and Kurt Johnson, Southern Star collaborated with Davis on their first joint full-length project in 2023 titled And Southern Star. Throughout the show, the band’s psychedelic, bluegrass, and rock sounds consistently complimented Davis’ harp. With such a curious blend of instruments and styles, audiences undoubtedly witnessed a unique show.

The audience got a taste of what they were about to witness when she joined opener Rich Ruth on stage for a harp contribution. Davis’ harp playing was recently featured on Ruth’s latest release Water Still Flows. Ruth along with his band and Davis, treated the audience to a special collaborative performance.

Another highlight of the night with Mikaela Davis at Colony in Woodstock was the remarkable musicianship exhibited by the band. By crossing genres, they exemplified how a variety of musical backgrounds can come together to create new distinctive pieces of art. It’s not every day there’s a harp and a double-neck bass in the same band. The experimentation allowed for making the environment feel like a jam session where everyone in the room was equal to the performers, witnessing genuine virtuosity.

After spending the last few years playing with legends like Bob Weir and Phil Lesh, it’s no surprise that Davis chooses to cover a Grateful Dead song at most of her shows. Characteristically, she ended the show with the Jerry Garcia tune “Bird Song.” This was an extremely successful way of uniting the room even more, by playing a song loved by everyone with such positive energy.

    Mikaela Davis at the Colony Woodstock
    Mikaela Davis at the Colony Woodstock
    Cian McCarthy

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