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MUSIC: Sarah + The Tall Boys Blues Up The Met

Monday, April 01, 2013

 

Rhode Island native Sarah Potenza and her band Sarah and the Tall Boys were back in town this weekend, bluesing up The Met in Pawtucket.

The last Friday night in March brought Nashville’s Sarah and the Tall Boys to The Met.  Rhode Island natives Sarah Potenza and her husband, bass player Ian Crossman, rocked the house along with guitarist Steve Stokes and drummer Jason Smart.  The band recently relocated to Nashville after nine years in Chicago. Their style, mirroring the move, mixes elements of classic Chicago blues with a honky-tonk roadhouse sound quite at home in Nashville. And in Rhode Island.

It’s often noted that the best bands are found in small bars scattered around the country. That’s the case for Sarah and the Tall Boys – without a doubt one of the best country blues bands in America.

Sarah and the Tall Boys

The band is tight –  road-tested like a Harley on steroids and road-worn like your favorite pair of jeans. The show included many now-familiar originals. Friday Night Man, penned, as Potenza noted, while single in Chicago, keeps alive the great tradition of blues songwriting.  

A women in command of her band, she writes, “Baby don’t you want to come on over to my house, baby don’t you want to sit down on my couch; Baby you can touch me but you gotta use both of your hands …Baby don’t you wanna be my Friday night man?”

Several other crowd-pleasers followed, including Jonesin’ for RI, fast becoming a state anthem. After a long cold winter, the thought of hot wieners and Del's sounded awfully good on an early spring night.

The band really shines on the slow ballads. Sarah’s voice is subtle, yet powerful - cutting through much of the barroom chatter. Songs like Texas really give her space to stretch out.

Noting the portrait of Janis Joplin adorning the wall, songwriter Potenza writes about life on the road, and the challenges faced by a touring band. In The Life, she sings “200 days on the road, honey that’s just how it goes; It may not be the easy life, but it’s the life I chose.” It may sound romantic, but it’s a tough way to make a living.

In the encore, Sarah made it clear how strong the blues can be. She laid down her guitar, thanked the audience, and belted out OV Wright's soulful love ballad, That’s How Strong My Love Is, repeating the title over and over, spilling her guts until every last person understood what she meant.

Six Star General, The Tower and the Fool

Local act Six Star General preceded The Tower and the Fool to open the evening. Six Star played a rousing set of punk inspired rock and roll. Think Ramones meets Velvet Underground. The Tower and the Fool, an alt-country outfit, added an impressive set. The Providence band, recent winner of the New England Music Awards “Best Rhode Island Band”, will be on tour this summer playing several dates on the Warped tour. Worth checking out!

Sarah and the Tall Boys continue their New England swing through tonight in Brighton, MA. Check out their website for upcoming shows.

 

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