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GIG REVIEW: LEHIGH VALLEY MUSIC: great in Philly
4/4/2013 (updated 4/4/2013)

...with one mistake

Harris and Crowell made just one obvious mistake: Having Richard Thompson as their opening act. Having Thompson play before you do is like having Bob Dylan open for you – if Dylan was a guitar wizard whose voice still was at the top of its game. Thompson's writing, playing and singing, not to mention passion, are virtually unparalleled. While Harris's and Crowell's set was superb, it wasn't as strong as Thompson's.

The best of the new was "Good Things Happen to Bad People" and "Saving the Good Stuff for You." The former was burning and driving, Thompson shaking his head from side to side as he sang, backed by a bassist and drummer that were forceful yet tight - a power trio in every sense. The latter song was among three songs on which he played acoustic guitar, and the contrast was stark. The crowd cheered his electric solos and excursions, but it was on acoustic where his mastery shone. Ringing and touching, the playing was simply lovely. Thompson's older material was, of course, also great. "If Love Whispers Your Name" was nicely nuanced. "Can’t Win" had an ominous undercurrent as his vocals burned and bubbled and his guitar screamed. It got a partial standing ovation...

John J. Moser, Lehigh Valley Music

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