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  • Rich Kassirer

Concert Review: Anais Mitchell's Hadestown, Me & Thee Coffeehouse, 5/6/11

Updated: Aug 17, 2018

Anais Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer at the Me & Thee Coffeehouse.
Anais Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer at the Me & Thee Coffeehouse.

Sleeping after a concert is always difficult for me; the music from the show runs through my head, almost like reliving what I heard. So imagine what it’s like when you have the entire Hadestown folk opera on repeat!

That said, Anais Mitchell’s Hadestown, as performed in Marblehead last night, was truly an amazing experience. I was lucky enough to have seen the premiere in Cambridge a little more than a year ago (review HERE). I was totally bowled over by that show, and was equally blown away here. A lot of what I wrote about that is still true so I’ll try not to repeat too much, but it kills me how much the musicians get into the show. I wrote this before but it is worth repeating: I’ve never seen a group of performers who are so focused in on listening to each other and to the music. When they weren’t singing, they were swaying, eyes closed and thoroughly enjoying the community of the project.

This rendition of Hadestown was notable in that all the singers had performed their roles before. Tim Gearan as Hades and Dinty Child as Hermes in Cambridge, Jefferson Hamer as Orpheus and Amy Correia as Persephone appeared in New York, and of course the fabulous Anais, who wrote and created the whole thing, as Eurydice. This is a great group and the fact that they had done it before meant they could really get into their characters. I also have to mention the fabulous backing band, the Michael Chorney Orchestra, which punctuated the songs with a bevy of folk and jazz grooves — trombone, cello, viola, drums bass and the amazing acoustic guitar of Chorney. Another local, Jake Bush, added some tasty accordion.

I love Gearan’s Hades. His “Hey Little Songbird” and “Why We Build the Wall” are showstoppers.  And Amy Correia, who I had never heard before, has an amazing, raspy-husky voice that, to me, blows away Ani DiFranco’s from the album as Persephone. Correia was a force on “Our Lady of the Underground.”  Jefferson Hamer, who I had seen just a few weeks before as a guitarist-only backing singer Robert Sarazin Blake, was a surprise to me with his high-range vocals, and really stood out on “If It’s True.” Local musician Rose Polenzani, who was in the audience, came up to add some vocals for the role of the Fates. If there was one downside it was the lack of the Fates. In Cambridge, Polenzani led two other local singers, Ann Heaton and Melissa Myers, in the roles of the three Fates.  The song “When the Chips Are Down,” one of my favorite tunes, was a little lacking.

In all, it was a great night. I brought my 17-year-old daughter and her boyfriend along. It was really fun to see how much they enjoyed it. Natalie was spot-on with her summatio: “Brilliant!”

To see my pics from the night, click HERE

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