Acoustic Poetry at Mill Mountain Theatre

The singers in full voice at Mill Mountain Theatre Friday.

Mill Mountain Theatre’s first concert production of the season Friday evening may well be mis-named. It is called “Acoustic Legends,” but I’d prefer “The Poets.”

MMT puts together these musical celebrations (in five days) with specific themes, often using cast members from its plays and some of its staff and the reception has been very good. Tonight the theater was a near-sellout and the older crowd (including me) was treated to music it recognized and cheered.

Among the mid-20th Century musical poets celebrated tonight were Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Kenny Logins, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Jim Croce and even Eric Clapton (playing a George Harrison song). There were some other notable ballads sprinkled about, accompanied by talented musicians on piano, guitar, bass and drums (three of the four singers played either guitar or piano, as well).

Madeline Corliss, who was in MMT’s “White Christmas” and the holiday music concert last year and is based in New York, carried most of the female portion of the evening and was especially impressive singing Joni Mitchell. Mitchell’s music is especially difficult to perform.
Morgan Hollingsworth did a fine James Taylor and a touching “Danny’s Song” (Kenny Loggins). He’s a first-timer at MMT and is also based in New York. Brendan Hembree played a good guitar and sang and played the upbeat Paul Simon song, “Me and Julio” and Eric Clapton’s “Layla.” (Side note: Duane Allman joined Clapton’s band in the studio at Muscle Shoals to record the famous guitar solo in the middle of “Layla,” the solo that became Clapton’s signature.) Hembree is also a New York resident.
Seth Davis, resident music director for MMT, played piano and sang back up vocals, while MMT’s Alicia Varco, assistant to the MMT producer, sang two songs by Carole King and staged the concert.

I will assure you that this is worthy music performed by talented people and it can especially be appreciated by the over-40 (maybe more like over-50) crowd. There is one more performance Saturday night at 7:30 and tickets are just $25. The concert lasts about an hour and 45 minutes and it’s well worth your time and money.

 

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