Show Review: Arthur Alligood @ Eddie’s Attic, Decatur, GA (August 5, 2012)

Arthur Alligood performs at Eddie's Attic in Atlanta on August 5, 2012Arthur Alligood is a true storyteller and songwriter. Sometimes the two don’t go hand in hand. With Arthur they do; he doesn’t pull any punches but he also pats you on the back. I have caught him live twice before: once at The 567 in Macon, Ga which sold me on the goodness, and once singing into the night from a cold, dimly lit porch in the Georgia backwoods which sold me on his fortitude. He makes you laugh with wry anecdotes and kind of want to cry at the same time. His songs and performance are full of heart and truth and a little boot stompin’.

This third go round, the musician friendly venue Eddie’s attic housed Arthur’s rumblings and ramblings. Backed by a skilled full band and some guest vocalists, he shared most of his newest album, One Silver Needle, and seemed real comfortable in his skin. Arthur began the night alone with his acoustic and cleared the air with a plaintive voice in “Coming for The Heart of Me,” a heart render on leaving things behind:

All the lies, the broken smiles

We lined up in a row

At every sign we closed our eyes

We didn’t want to know

That some things aren’t worth keeping

Some things you gotta let go.

The band took their places with the toe tapping “Shouldn’t Be That Hard,” somehow simultaneously hearkening a good Dwight Yoakam tune and a peppy Patty Griffin. Things got a little sassy with “Why’d You Let Me Go Cold”; I kept thinking of Emmylou’s original The Hot Band as everyone smiled knowingly and tapped table tops.

Recollecting childhood dreams of sailing down the river Huck Finn style, “Ochlocknee” charmed and drew the crowd together the way only a talented wordsmith can, with an understanding and a scratching beneath the surface of weathering everyday life. The trend continued with the title track “One silver needle,” at once a soft shoe waltz and a paean to the brokenhearted.

Before everyone got too settled in their melancholy, Arthur revved things up with the rocker, “Go On Back” and I felt a little full moon fever, a la Petty–surely a stand out moment on the album and on the stage this night. All the players shone and Arthur jumped right out of any pigeon hole anyone mighta thought to place.

Joining him in a delightful duet of “Keep Your Head Up” was chanticleer Molly Parden, a precursor to the show’s finale, a collection of all the night’s performers- Molly, Faye Webster, the Skipperdees and the “Hot Band.” The only person missing was maybe Van Morrison in his sparkly leisure suit. In lieu of “Forever Young,” we got a good ole Hank tune, “I Saw the Light,” and by the end I think all of us were. Seeing, that is.

-Holly Etchison, August 13, 2012