The Fast Horse Hootenanny, p. 3

And then some of the musicians bound off the stage while the rest of them wipe down with towels and suddenly Cedell Davis is brought onstage. He starts to riff, butter-knife clenched in his polio-ravaged right hand, and Tuatara falls in behind him. McCaughey cautions the crowd that if we're really good, Cedell might tell us some stories. The crowd stands, almost unmoving, as Cedell performs. His music feels real, homespun, legitimate, and it's a beautiful thing to see a 75 year old man perform with such grace and dignity. Davis is probably obscure to anyone but the most hardcore blues fans, but it seems like everyone in the crowd understands how talented he is anyway. No one talks or hoots while he tells the crowd about his life, and no one is even paying attention to the riffs and fills that Tuatara is creating under his guitar.

The show, a whopping four hours of music (four hours of real music! Not two hours of waiting and one hour of playing), is over at last and the dripping crowd heads out to the street. Everyone looks well-satiated, sweaty and moist. But no one's complaining. I overhear some exit chatter and everybody's talking about how nice and how refreshing the show was. It's late and it's real humid but I linger for a while outside the Knitting Factory, soaking in the happiness. It's rare that I leave a show feeling exhilarated and intrigued and, most importantly, refreshed.

The Fast Horse Hootenanny is really good - it's not the most amazing concert you'll ever see, but it's tight and it's unique and it's unusual. A night like this is the perfect palate-cleanser during the typical overwhelming outpouring of summer concerts and hepster parties, a lovely antidote to enormous amphitheaters or yet another punkfest on a pier. And it's got Peter Buck.

Image: Cedell Davis

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Bex Schwartz, music editor of Zeek, is a writer and musician who works for VH-1.

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