Jack Hardy - February 2, 2002

The New Driftwood Coffeehouse, Marstons Mills, Massachusetts

[Jack Performing]
 photo by J. Barrett Wolf
From: Mary Jane Cuneo
Date: Wednesday, February 06, 2002 7:10:08 AM
Subject: [JHardy-L] performance in Marstons Mills

This past weekend my husband and I went to hear Jack and his band in Marstons Mills, MA, which is on Cape Cod. Here is an account of it as best I could do, for those who were unable to attend. (If you were there, please chime in and add your thoughts too.)

The performance was in a small old-fashioned civic hall. I didn't think to count the people, but the place was full, we were pleased to see that.

Because Denny Williams was ill, Hugh O'Doherty had agreed to open. He played several of his own songs, mostly humorous. His brother joined him on stage to sing an Irish drinking song, a capella--it was a standout.

Accompanying Jack for the evening were Tom Duval and Mike Laureanno. Recognizing he was in for a ribbing and wanting to get it over with right away, Tom acknowledged he had left his guitar back at Mike's house, where the three had been rehearsing for the new recording they are working on. He had to borrow Hugh's accoustic guitar. (He did a great job of making do, though. Very fancy fingers.) Both Mike and Tom had their skills very much in evidence, a treat for the ears.

There's never a whole lot of talk on stage when Jack performs, and what there is, is economical. This night was particularly so, though Jack did mention he was just back from a month in Ireland. The songs and the faces say everything you need to know.

Here is the list of what they played, with asterisks by the songs I had not heard before, and a few comments.

  1. Ponderosa
  2. The Moon is Full
  3. Autumn
  4. *Whom Do You Love? (a sad love song)
  5. Sheila
  6. Uley Mill Song
  7. *Kitty's in the Shoeshine Box (Although life is a frown, there are moments sure to make you smile anyway)
  8. *Down at Ground Zero (Confronting the unimaginable, head-on.)
  9. *Pardners (Images from the Old Southwest and from New York City combine to honor one who will not be coming home)
  10. Blackberry Pie
  11. Gazebo
  12. *So Long, So Long (I forgot to write something down, I'm drawing a blank now)
  13. Arrow (by request)
  14. The Boney Bailiff (Here, Jack announced his victory: "I am now the true and legal tenant to a complete hovel in Greenwich Village.")
  15. Sending Home the Slates
  16. *Winter Sunlight (country, or maybe "folk noir" as someone suggested)
  17. Forget Me Not (by request)
  18. *Down and dirty (a light-hearted take on the subject of bad luck)
  19. May Day (encore)

It was a a fine performance, and very moving. Old songs made a comfortable familiar framework on which to weave the new raw material. I heard no political or religious conclusions, no blame, no self-pity, no rallying cry; just the deepest sorrow for a brother lost, the senseless enormity of it, and the emerging resilience that eventually allows one to move on.

Mary Jane Cuneo

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