By Robert Bradley
I moseyed over to Santorino’s the other night to catch Paco Lightfoot and Matthew Hart playing an acoustic set. Hart sang a Billy Joe Shaver song, finishing with a shout out to the great Texas songwriter and perhaps two people in the entire audience recognized the name. I was disappointed.
It was my only disappointing moment.
The evening began much like the weather. It took a song, or two, to warm up and get to it, but when the heat came on Paco and Matt were there to meet it. The music brightened as they found their groove, crossing paths repeatedly on nearly every song, weaving a melodic undertone more country than blues, more chicken skin than cattle. Lowell George would have been proud.
Paco and Matthew are known for their banter between songs, and they were in fine form. Paco would lead off with an old chestnut followed by Matthew singing one of his many original compositions, each gathering rapt attention. Paco was laid back as ever, seeming to enjoy the art of singing as much as the performing. He has slow hands — allowing each note to get its due before moving on to the next — a most welcome style. His playing seems as easy as the sun going down, or cracking open a beer.
Matthew Hart, on the other hand, also appears familiar with cracking open a cool one, downing a few shots of whiskey, and doing it all again. Several of his songs were written in the classic vein — boozing it up, cheatin’ and crying. It was great fun. His rendition of Stuart Gorrel’s, Georgia on my Mind, brought the house down.
Although the music was slated to start early, we all knew better. And, by the time the boys decided to wrap it up, the dance floor was full. The last song was complete with folks singing along, dancing up a storm and shouts of, “More! More!”
I’m as sure it will happen again as I am that I will be there again. Paco Lightfoot and Matthew Hart are fun entertainers who are always fresh and fun. Even while crying in their beer.
One more thing; the venue is worth noting, as well. Due to the enthusiastic reception, and the number of reservations for the show, the concert was moved next door from Santorino’s to the Miguel Illescas Gallery. The bright lighting, glittering steel wall pieces, and an abundance of golden-hued sculptures adorning the venue was a cherry counterpoint to the truck breakdowns, low down dirty deeds, and hard-hearted woman that dominated the show. The gallery is a concert in its own right, complete with whimsical panpipers, and critters of all sorts playing all sorts of magical instruments.
The gallery is worth a visit in itself. The show was a real treat.
I enjoyed every minute.