Arts Commission presents Kristen Graves at coffeehouse

By Wally Robinson - ReminderNews
Stafford - posted Fri., Mar. 11, 2011
Bruce John, of the Eagleville Band, entertains. Photos by Wally Robinson.
Bruce John, of the Eagleville Band, entertains. Photos by Wally Robinson.

A full house was on hand for the Stafford Arts Commission’s Coffee House Concert Series at the Ben Muzio Town House on Feb. 27, and with good reason: a rousing jam session featuring Town Troubadour Jim Bailey, the Eagleville Band’s Bruce John and sideman Jim Romanoff, followed by a performance by the nationally known singer/songwriter Kristen Graves.

Bailey set the tone for the evening, singing a Muddy Waters tune, while working out on the slide guitar. He was soon joined by John amidst a spate of good natured banter about the latter’s having recently won the Lion’s Club’s Humanitarian of the Year Award. John then introduced Romanoff, whom he described as the “Guru of Gurleyville.”

The trio got right down to business, led by the avuncular John’s gravelly baritone and lead guitar, with Bailey on harmonica and Romanoff manning the slide guitar. Their strong rapport was obvious as they romped through a selection of tunes by Hank Williams, Simon and Garfunkel, Sam Cooke and others. Their treatment of “St. James Infirmary” knocked off the audience’s collective socks.

Graves then took the stage, singing her own compositions and accompanying herself on guitar. It was her second appearance at the Coffee House, the first coming a year ago after a chance encounter with Bailey. “One of the things that happen to me all the time is people coming up to me after a performance saying ‘I play guitar too.’ Usually I’m like, “yeah sure, whatever, dude,” you know? But then I got to share a bill with Jim in Middletown and I said, ‘Wow, this guy can really play.”

Currently living in Fairfield, Graves hails from Green Bay, Wisconsin. “You may have heard a little something about a football team from there recently,” she smiled. “It’s a good place to be from and I wrote a song about it. It’s called ‘Gotta Get Out of this Town.’”

For more information about the Coffee House series and other Stafford Arts Commission events, call 860-684-9500.

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