A fantastic night of Americana rock concluded with Henry Alms and members of Darlington and The Tisburys performing a rendition of “California Stars”. All six of the musicians on Boxcar’s stage appeared to be genuinely having fun playing music that they loved. The infectious nature of that joy clearly resonated with the crowd, and the bond displayed by the musicians served as a positive indicator for the growth of the music community in West Chester.
The night began with singer-songwriter Henry Alms playing ballads from his new album “Lucky King”. Henry’s music reminded me of Wilco circa “A.M.” with a little bit of Osccar Issac’s portrayal of Llewyn Davis. The interconnected nature musicians in the greater Philadelphia area was demonstrated by the inclusion of The Levee Drivers‘ Jeff Orlowski on drums. Jeff did a great job of adding his signature “train driving” drum beat to the set.
Midway through their set, Darlington’s Jack Shoudy announced that they were down a member. Despite Emily MacDonald’s absence, Darlington played originals that were equally influenced by folk roots and The Grateful Dead. Covering some of Emily’s vocal duties was keyboardist Ethan Stauffer, who you may recognize from The Cocktail Party Phenomenon. Darlington ended their set with two songs about drinking. The first was “An Old Crow (Kind of Morning)” which seemed to condemn excessive drinking while still playing with the drinking song model that’s become a mainstay of americana music. For their final song, Darlington played their ode to TrÖegs, “DreamWeaver”. Hopefully this song will be included in future advertisements for the craft beer.
Like all the bands that played Boxcar on Saturday night, The Tisburys showcased their Americana influence, but there was certainly a large indie-rock aspect to their set. The band formed in 2012 in Clarks Summit, PA, but back then they were just an acoustic duo. Their most recent release, “In My Soul” reminded me of a cross between XTC and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. The bands diverse/genre hopping sound makes me believe that there are tons of venues that these guys can play. They can do the whole singer-songwriter thing, but they can rock when it’s called for, which makes me believe they would fit really well on a bill with West Chester’s Readership. The Tisburys are clearly doing something right, and hopefully they’ll drop another album this year.