It was my inaugural trip to The Burren in Somerville’s Davis Square – the brisk afternoon had consisted mainly of eating guacamole and drinking exceptional margaritas in tribute to “France V. Mexico: The Battle of Puebla“ and the last time America was invaded by a European power – but now, as night was quickly reclaiming possession of our surroundings, it was time for a change of scenery Somerville-style: voluntary shelter-in-place.
Entering the dark back room, we could see a laughing Dan Blakeslee relaxing with Keith McCurdy and local folk musician Ian Fitzgerald (future post pending). As it would be a good 10 minutes before Keith took the stage solo we sat down to discuss the newest additions to their catalogs. Both Blakeslee & McCurdy have recently completed new albums – both recorded at the recently re-opened Columbus Theater in Providence, RI – McCurdy, who plays under the pseudonym Vudu Sister (he explained to me after the show that the name allows far more flexibility when adding and subtracting band members and, additionally, that a group simply named “Keith McCurdy would sound stupid”), compiled the songs that would make up his sophomore release, Household Items, during a grueling five day stretch in the fall of 2012.
As Vudu Sister took to the stage the audience was treated to a stirring a-capella rendition of La Cucaracha by the jovial MC, who announced gleefully that “it’s as much Cinco de Mayo as you’ll get here at The Burren”, despite the songs popularity being traced to battles 50 years after France absconded, tail obscured by legs, from the sunny shores of Mazatlán.
The majority of the setlist was off McCurdy’s first album, Bastard Children, a bit surprising considering that Household Items was released May 4th, never-the-less it was a stirring performance of greatest hits:
- Psalms (Bastard Children),
- Underground (Bastard Children),
- Daughter of the Woods (Bastard Children),
- Dead Man’s Pockets (Bastard Children),
- Revival (Household Items),
- The Quiet Man (Bastard Children) “Thanks for being such a great audience, [laughing] I MEAN THAT!”,
- One of a Kind (Bastard Children),
- Buffalo, NY (Household Items).
Household Items is a powerful follow-up to Bastard Children. While it is tempting to compare his album to the likes of Nirvana, The Black Crowes, or Blind Melon, in reality, McCurdy has created his own penetrating vocal style and the sound is marvelous, & distinctly Vudu Sister. Be sure to listen to the haunting lull of A Farmer’s Life (plus ensuing bonus track?).
And now you know.