Photos by Arnie Goodman
The evening provided a mix of complementing musical styles as Charlottesville, Virginia-based Eli Cook offered a rousing opening set, alternately channeling down-home Delta Blues with a bit of a rock edge. The plaintive and mournful sound of his overdriven National Tricone resonator guitar provided a perfect complement to the electric Trower set, as he ran through a selection of blues classics, from the opener “Give Me Back My Wig” to “Mama Don’t Allow,” all the while beating out a foot-stomping rhythm with his left foot. His style shows the influences of Son House, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker, and his performance showed that Cook is an emerging young talent to keep an eye on.
Trower took the stage and jumped right in with the simmering leads and shimmering rhythm for which he’s become famous. With a vast catalog from which to choose, he wove through the decades, opening with 1977’s “Somebody Calling” before venturing on to 20th Century Blues’ “Rise Up Like The Sun” and then to 2013’s “See My Life.” Each song sounded as fresh as the day of its original release, and judging from the audience response, the highlight was his Bridge of Sighs era, with an incredible performance of that album’s title track, “Day of the Eagle” and an encore of “Too Rolling Stoned.” Each bell-like note sustained endlessly, and Trower’s lush, chorale rhythm enveloped the room. That he has not lost a step in his near 50-year career is a testament to both the man and his music.
– Brian Cady