Friday, January 30, 2009

Brush Mountain Band at Elk Creek Cafe & Aleworks

Last night I went to check out both the Brush Mountain Band and the Elk Creek Cafe & Aleworks in Millhiem, PA. I heard about both separately, so it seemed a fine chance to kill two birds with one stone.

I entered to find a wonderful atmosphere with music already echoing within the elegant room with an open layout and high ceilings. Right away I heard the familiar melody of Panama Red as I decided upon a seat at the bar. The crowd was healthy, and engaged by the band.

I listened for a while and heard some familiar songs like Midnight Moonlight, I Wonder Where You Are Tonight, and Drifting Too Far From the Shore. It was a real joy to find that the Brush Mountain Band could pull off real four part harmonies. While their instrumentation was solid, their vocals hooked me and ensured that I would keep coming back for more. They were playful and bantered with each other and the audience between songs, which can sometimes backfire, but was very comfortable with these folks and in this place.

I had the burger, which was great, but I regretted not getting the meatloaf off the specials board. I asked for a coke with my meal and was pleasantly surprised by something I knew was not a coke. I asked for another and watched them pour it this time. An all natural soda called Blue Sky. Very good flavor, beating Coke and Pepsi hands down. Can't think of another instance that I was surpised by a soda.

The band took a break, which gave me a chance to meet Tom Kapinus, the fiddle player for the band. He also happens to manage the sound equipment, which for anyone who doesn't know is quite the artform for a good wooden band with 4 vocalists. He did a great job, and even in our short chat I knew it was a labor of love and quite the challenge. Just when you get something going on one night, nothing works the same at the next.

Tom and the band were happy, and that means a lot to me when I go see a band. Sometimes their trying too hard to be good and it comes off as frustration. Sometimes their too familiar with their audience and end up alienating the strangers with inside jokes and references. These guys were just right. They made me feel right at home even though I'd never been there before.

I met Tim, who I assume runs the joint. He is a very nice man who's got something good figured out with this place. The wait staff was very pleasant and friendly and also made me feel welcome and comfortable. Overall, a great night in a great place with great people and great music. I recomend with both hands both the Brush Mountain Band and the Elk Creek Cafe & Aleworks.

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