Friday, March 1st was a pretty special night for the Music Savage gang as we got to spend an evening with two Newport Folk Festival alumni in downtown Boston. Two of our favorite Anti- Records artists shared some shows together for a few days and we were lucky enough on this chilly night to have them stop in our area to warm our hearts and souls with brilliant music for a few hours at City Winery.
First up this evening was Asheville, North Carolina-based musician Christopher Paul Stelling whose fourth studio album (the second for ANTI-), Itinerant Arias, was released May 2017 and kept the troubadour on the road well into the following year. A quick survey of the room found that there was a mix of folks I talked with that were familiar with Stelling’s work but had not seen him live and as he was opening for Son Little they expected something special. That is exactly what they received! Watching people look at each other aghast as he was playing was awesome. I even heard a number of people turn and say “Holy Shit” to their friends. The too short set was fun, intense, and just what we needed to kick off the weekend. Word on the street is that his new album is just about done, and I for one cannot wait.
Philly’s own Aaron Livingston has been creating music magic since 2014 when his debut EP as Son Little, Things I Forgot, was released via Anti- that November and placed him on the radar of soul and folk fans everywhere. He then spent the year touring with Kelis and Mumford Sons, playing to an even larger music loving fanbase and honing his stage presence. His 2015 self-tilted debut full-length was called one of the best of the year by music critics and Little’s latest album, New Magic, made all the best of 2017 lists. So it was NO surprise that the sold-out crowd was ready to hear their favorite songs played, and from the sound of it every song was the crowd’s favorite song. From the sing-a-long on “Blue Magic (Waikiki)” where we were told that Boston did the BEST job, to the couple who got engaged at the show and had the beautiful love song, “Lay Down,” dedicated to them, it was highlight after highlight.
To say that you missed out if you did not attend is an understatement as both musicians delivered heartfelt performances crafted for larger audiences of, let’s say Newport Folk, yet perfectly performed to the intimacy of the room. Both Son Little and Christopher Paul Stelling are accomplished artists who have carved their own unique paths through the singer-songwriter music scene and have garnered well-deserved praise and recognition across the country.
Check out the fantastic images from the one and only Steve Benoit of Boston Concert Photography and be sure to catch these incredible musicians live when they grace the stage of your city’s finest venues. I also highly suggest you pick up copies of their latest albums, New Magic, and, Itinerant Arias.
You will not be disappointed!