Until a few years ago I had never heard of a “house concert”. Then we learned that David Buskin would be performing with Modern Man at something called Fox Run. Fox Run turned out to be a house concert venue. A couple named Laurie and Neale have been hosting concerts in their home for twelve years. You make a reservation and buy your ticket in advance, on-line. You arrive at their home, located in a lovely neighborhood in Sudbury, Massachusetts. You slip off your shoes, leave them by the door and check in at the desk in the foyer. You drop off your contribution to the intermission dessert/snack table in the dining room (No red wine please - think of the carpets!) and head into the family room where the concert will be held. You place a reserved sign on the seat of your choosing and get ready for an evening of music.
Last Saturday night found us once again at Fox Run. This time we were there to see Buskin & Batteau. David Buskin and Robin Batteau began performing together back in 1979 after meeting in the band “Pierce Arrow”. For many years they had day jobs as jingle writers at competing advertising houses, each of them repeatedly hitting the jingle equivalent of home runs. They continued to perform together on the folk music circuit until about 13 years ago when, according to their press kit, they took a “hiatus to 1) be dads, and 2) take a nap”. We were delighted when we heard they were writing and performing together again. We bought their latest album “Red Shoes and Golden Hearts” as soon as it became available and have been enjoying it very much.
Saturday’s concert was opened by Linda Sharar. Her music was new to us, but hooked us sufficiently that we purchased both of her CDs during intermission. At the end of Linda’s set she was joined by David, Robin and the dazzling percussionist Marshal Rosenberg for one final song “Arturo's Sons and Jorge's Daughters”. Linda exited to enthusiastic applause. Then David, Robin and Marshal performed music not just from the new album but many of their classics as well.
It was a wonderful concert. Buskin & Batteau are known not only for their musical skills (David on piano and guitar; Robin on violin and guitar), and their clever (never precious) lyrics, but also for their wit and humor. Their albums are great, but seeing them in person, listening to the stories behind the songs, brings added depth and dimension. They have always been great entertainers - polished and professional - as well as self confident and relaxed enough to roll with any hiccups that can occur during a performance. The end of the concert brought a standing ovation, “curtain” calls and an encore (which in this instance meant they left the stage in the family room, headed into the kitchen and returned!). This concert was particularly good, not just because the Fox Run venue was so intimate, but also because the guys seemed especially happy. When I mentioned this to Robin after the show he agreed and referred to one of the songs off the newest album “Choose Joy”.
Saturday, Chuck & David managed to work out that they have known each other for 39 years. I first met David about 21 year ago. Sometime in the next year or two I gave him some bad advice on how to operate the lid on a pitcher of water and he very politely had to ask us all to leave the dressing room so he could change out of his drenched jeans. I’m amazed I wasn’t banned from his concerts for life - amazed and happy!
You can see Buskin and Batteau at The Stone Temple Coffeehouse in Quincy, Massachusetts on Saturday, November 21st. I know it will be a great concert, because they always are.