Tuesday night I saw Cindy Mangsen and Steve Gillette at the Reston-Herndon Folk Club. I have never seen this duo before, though the emcee noted that they had performed maybe eight times at the folk club over the past twenty years.
I must admit that I was a bit unsure about the show, since I had not heard Cindy and Steve before. I decided to look for some music samples on CDBaby that afternoon. The first thing I found was an entire album of songs about cats sung by Cindy. Now that is probably fun for some folks, but it’s not quite my taste. but then I found samples of an album by Steve and cindy with some real good stuff. There was a stirring song about facing a hurricane, and some fun concertina tunes.
The show was very nice. No doubt the duo performs in classic seventies folk style. Mellow, sweet, and a little spunky. Lots of topical and story songs, and some apologies beforehand when they were going to sing something a little more poetic. I can take a lot more of the poetic stuff than most folkies maybe. Steve’s guitar picking is really sweet. I was impressed with his tone; it sounded like he was using a fairly thin pick on a dread or jumbo. The sound was clear and big, with some of the thin-pick percussive sound that can sound a bit like autoharp picking. Cindy’s concertina playing was spot on, sometimes playing backup for a song, and then ripping real good stuff on an instrumental like “Nola” or “Flowers of Edinburgh.”
Overall a very good show. I am definitely in a different generation from these folks and their fans, but I am sure glad that I went to hear them.