The Blue Ribbon Boys at the Main Street Public House

I think everyone should have a rustic little pub where they can catch some local music on the weekends, have some great drafts, and hang out with friendly folk. I feel bad for anyone who doesn’t have a place like that, since I’m lucky enough to have the Main Street Public House in Philmont, NY. I love the Public House, and was there last Saturday night for a show by The Blue Ribbon Boys.

The Main Street Public House doesn’t have a house band, but if it did, it might as well be The Blue Ribbon Boys. The band has played there numerous times, and the musicians are friends with the owners of the place. The usual line-up is Seth Travins on upright bass, Jim Krewson on drums, Lukas Schwartz on fiddle, Teddy Weber on lap steel guitar, and Matt Downing on tenor guitar, but Teddy is currently touring with one of his other bands, The Wiyos, and Matt Downing wasn’t playing with The Blue Ribbon Boys on Saturday either. Jonathan Talbott sat in for Matt on guitar, and played violin for a few songs as well. He and Lukas sounded great playing side by side, especially on “Channa From Havana.” During that song, while Jim Krewson delivered a great rhythm which was both sultry and energetic, Jonathan and Lukas’ fiddles dueled one another with fury, and the bands rendition of the song was quite gypsy inspired. As a matter of fact, a lot of the songs were played with a gypsy flair… Over the course of their two sets, the band whipped through a bunch of Seth Travins penned songs, a few songs Lukas wrote, as well as a colourful array of covers, including “Big Bad Bill”, “Channa From Havana” (as I already mentioned), and “When the Bloom Is on the Sage.” Sitting in with the band was Kip Beacco, of The Hunger Mountain Boys, on clarinet. He’s actually on The Blue Ribbon Boys’ CD, and I thought he added a lot to the show on Saturday. Jonathan Talbott, although an extremely talented violin player, didn’t know the songs very well, and his guitar was barely audible. That, and the fact that the band was also without a lap steel guitarist, made the sound balance a little bit off. The band really needs guitar to bring the music together, and that’s something which was unfortunately lacking from the show. I still had a great time listening to the musicians play though, and danced along the entire time. Before what was supposed to be their last song of the night, the slow dance invoking “Tears”, Seth announced, “This is one to dance with someone you love”, before adding, “Or not…” At that point, someone in the audience joked, “Let’s keep our options open, Seth!” Except that wasn’t really the band’s last song. They went on to play “Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone”, and were called back for yet another song, as everyone in the pub chanted, “One more song… One more song…” The Blue Ribbon Boys consented with not one, but two! The first was a German drinking song, and the second was a fast paced instrumental. The latter was especially great, everyone clapped along, and all of a sudden the pub turned into a full blown hoedown. Another night of fun at the Main Street Public House, courtesy of The Blue Ribbon Boys.

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