Live at Rancho Tranquillico,
July 29, 2023
What an ambience, what a night, what an incredible band! Those four guys have complete control over their respective instruments. No matter what type of song they performed (be it originals, Indian, country, folklore, spherical or Chicago Blues), each musician was always spot on.
No word needs to be wasted on Peter Madcat Ruth: we all know that he is one of the very best harmonica players in the world, who was awarded a Grammy for his playing and during his lifelong career played with the likes of Dave Brubeck.
But maybe I should at least mention his enticing ukulele playing and his firm, versatile, often very bluesy voice.
John Churchville on the tablas and the drums is, yes, another Grammy winner, for his tabla playing. And boy! what an artist he is. His hands often moved faster than the rotor blades of a helicopter, taking his audience to musical places not many had been before: from Indian skies all the way to the darker streets of Chicago.
Brennan Andes on bass guitar proved to the audience that a bass is not only a handful of low tone strings. He rode his fretless (!) electric like a cowboy tames a wild bull at some Texas rodeo. Never before have I seen a bass player live (and I have seen many...) who played so creatively, so versatile, so nuanced and so fast. His mind blowing musical duets with either John Churchville on tablas or Dan Ripke on guitar were more than astounding.
Dan Ripke is the more quiet one. Friendly and composed, not the wild man. Yet, his exceptional guitar solos rank among the best you can hear. He surprised with jazzy, elaborate, often very fast runs and an incredible feel for whatever style song he interpreted.
The arrangements of each song were superbly orchestrated, with interesting changes in dynamics or rhythm, and unexpected breaks, which were conducted with incredible precision by all four.
The two hour show left everybody happy.
July 30, 2023.