Xtreme Holiday Xtravaganza Rocked!

Experiencing the Boise music scene at the Xtreme Holiday Xtravaganza hosted by Curtis Stigers at the Egyptian Theater was an eye opener.  Who knew there was so much local talent in little old Boise??  Now in it’s 11th year, this musical holiday journey featured Curtis, who is an amazing talent I was unaware of until lately, and loads of other Boise solo artists and groups. Not a bad note in the bunch and lots of moments that just made you smile.   It was sold out both nights and now I can see why.  WOW.stigers-2

This fundraiser benefits Interfaith Sanctuary Housing Services that supports the homeless in Boise.  I got to meet Dan Ault, Shelter Director, in the lobby while on a break and promised my future support.  How can you not?  We volunteer every Sunday in Seattle when we are home to feed 300+ homeless at Shared Breakfast.  For those of us blessed with so much, helping others with life’s basics of food and shelter seems to be the least we can do.  Stigers’ rendition of “Burden” by Foy Vance was so relevant and gave me goose bumps.  Foy is one of my favorite artists that we just got to see in Seattle at the Columbia City Theater, a small venue that won’t hold the crowd for Foy’s next concert swing as he gains in popularity.  Go see Foy if you get a chance.  Oh, and Curtis, please come to Seattle soon and allow us to enjoy a full evening of your music.  The Moore or The Paramount would be ideal venues for your big voice.  Please.

 

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Curtis sings Burden with back-up from many talent Boise artists

 

From an Irish band that I will have to check out soon at the local downtown Ha’ Penny Bridge Pub to Pengilly’s Saloon which seems like “the” place for local artists, we need to challenge ourselves to explore all this great Boise talent.  Trooping up to the stage, The Divas of Boise, a group of talented female singers/musicians started by Rocci Johnson in the mid-90s to showcase their skills and lend a helping hand in the Boise Community, brought it with big voices and loads of talent.

Silly us.  We have never fully explored the Boise music scene when visiting our home here because we are usually so busy with babysitting the lovely Miss Mia or doing home renovations.  Busy, busy but finding time to listen to great music is essential to a happy life, at least for me.

Lucky for us, Eilen Jewell who lives in our North End neighborhood was on the stage with her husband rocking out with some other local musicians.  I would love to see Eilen give a concert in this spacious theater.  The last time we saw her we were packed into the Tractor Tavern in Seattle.  Her heartfelt tunes and excellent band make for a fun evening but I would prefer not to stand the whole time.  Yes, I’m getting a tad older and like simple creature comforts like a  comfy padded seat.

 

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Eilen Jewell and friends rocking it out.  She’s AWESOME!

 

Curtis and his cohorts did a great job balancing the request for support with music and frivolity.  Even in bleeding red Idaho, the liberal taunts of Trump were woven into the evening and it felt good to be among fellow people with brains who could laugh and cry together at the state of our country.  The 3+ hour show went by quickly and raised a lot of money for those in need.  On a cold and wintery evening, we felt the holiday spirit loud and clear.  Happy holidays to all and to all a good night!

 

Musical May

Thom and I treated ourselves to fantastic musical experiences in May by a wide variety of talented artists, emerging and exiting, that ranged from The Who to Griffin House to Billy Joel to Kris Allen to Jewel to Marie Miller to Gavin DeGraw.  WOW.  As my mom remarked, “Boy, you get around!”  Yes, we surely do and enjoying every  lyrical moment of it.

I truly appreciate how hard these artists’ lives are travelling from city to city, leaving behind family and their homes to sing their hearts out for us.  Of course, The Who and Billy Joel may be flying around in style but the majority of musicians are probably packed onto rented buses, staying at Arbnb and eating fast food.  Tough way to make a living.

Coolest concert moment for me was seeing parents trying to get their kids to buy into the classic music of The Who that shaped a generation or two.  Yes, these dudes were OLD but still had clear voices and energy to play for hours.  Good for them and better for us!  While everyone knows of Billy Joel, I hadn’t played or heard his music for years.  As he played hit after hit on his piano, memories in my life that were linked with his tunes all came flooding back to me.  He is quite the showman and even strapped on a guitar for a few songs.  So much talent!  With an opening act as strong as Gavin DeGraw, who was amazing, it was quite the concert.   Splurging to share a VIP suite, Thom’s biggest delight was the designer lotion in the bathrooms.  Appreciate everything, expect nothing!

Swinging from 30,000+ in Safeco Field for Billy to 100+ The Triple Door, Marie Miller, opening act for Kris Allen, shared with us how she was a late fill-in to sing for the Pope on his US tour last year.  She was asked to share her “6 foot 2” song that she felt was rather shallow for such a dignitary but, hey, it was the biggest crowd she had sung for so she went with it and got to sing one other, “You’re Not Alone” that actually had a stronger message.  Check her out-great young talent.  Kris Allen, American Idol winner, is back with a new album and much improved stage performance with a killer band too.  I’m so excited to see him again next weekend with my sister and best friend in Chicago at City Winery.  Yes, I do get around, Mom!

One of the most special evenings was sharing favorite indie artist, Griffin House, with my daughter in Boise at the beautiful Egyptian Theater.  She actually first turned me on to his music and then Thom and I were able to see him play in NYC and Seattle and now Boise.  No, I’m not a stalker-just a music fan!  Griffin and his guitar and soulful original songs make for a great evening of music appreciation.  Then Jewel came on by herself and two guitars and shared her emotional journey from homeless teen to just separated 40 year old mother trying to make a musical comeback.  She has the best voice we’ve ever heard.  I don’t usually buy concert apparel but felt compelled to support Jewel and bought matching “Only Kindness Matters” sweatshirts for Hannah and I.  And really, ain’t that the truth!  If only our politicians would heed this important message.  But that’s another story.