Photos by Mark J. Smith
Neal Shulman mentioned during the show that he and Rex Fowler have been writing and playing music together, as Aztec Two-Step, for 43 years, and man does it show in their incredibly tight performance.
(Full disclosure: I have been a friend of Shulman’s for maybe 35 of those 40 years. I met Fowler through Shulman. Oh, those days of hanging out on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village…)
In concert, they perform mostly their own beautifully written songs, featuring great lines like, “He said his name was Mr. Dumpty, but she could call him Humpty if she choosed,” from “The Ballad of Humpty Dumpty and Cinderella.” They are not only great songwriters, but great storytellers as well.
And did I mention those harmonies? They bring to mind some of music’s great duos; in fact, songs from the Everly Brothers and Simon & Garfunkel are a big part of their concerts (“Cathy’s Clown,” “Bookends” and “The Boxer” all made the playlist at the Crossings).
After 43 years, they still love the music and love playing it together. And their audience still loves hearing it (they packed the house). Great harmonies to be sure, fantastic guitar work, a wonderful rapport with their audience and a truly heartwarming feeling.
No more hanging out in the Village, but, now a Philly boy, I try to get to see them every time they are around these parts. You should as well.
– Mark J. Smith