Krone and Waller, Authentic American Beauties.
-posted by Patrick Alan Coleman
Whereas Hand2Mouth’s Repeat After Me, tears American music down to its emotional foundations, Larry Krone and Holcombe Waller build upon those foundations to create work that is honest, riveting and unique. Drawing upon folk and country traditions, both musicians use their voices to light the dim corners our society might otherwise ignore.
Larry Krone rests confidently in the dichotomy of sad songs and gaudy costumes. Like the country music mavens of the 70’s, he uses this dichotomy to put an audience into a pleasant vulnerable confusion. His deeply honest lyrics cut to the core of human experience. At one moment in his short set, he is dressed as a little girl, complete with crinoline and bow. One might think that his gaudy get-up would be a distraction, but it actually works to illuminate a song about a father’s death and the wishes for just one more dance with him. It is a wonderfully moving moment. Krone’s set is full of these bittersweet moments. Sure, he says he is a drunk, that he is in pain, that he has loved and lost… But he has such humor and charm, that all we can do is love him.
I want to take this moment to apologize to Mark Russell. Last year I was collecting secrets at the Works and I intercepted him during Holcombe Waller’s set. He was a bit perturbed that I’d interrupted his listening, but told me his secret was that he was falling in love with the quiet young man on stage. I remembered that moment as I listened to Waller’s entrancing songs at the Someday lounge and felt a ping of guilt for having taken Mr. Russell out of the spell that is cast by Waller’s sweet folk melodies. I too found myself falling in love.
With an ensemble of fine musicians, Holcombe Waller allows his world to spill from the stage, unfettered. Yes, his music is somber and introspective, but it is also colored by a sense of hope and beauty. There was certainly no need for the video that accompanied some of his work. He could have easily carried the audience away with a bare stage and his guitar. At the end of his performance, my companions and I spun lazily into the night, high on Waller’s remarkable voice. Not wanting the spell to ever end.