Be on the Lookout for the By & By
This show by The By & By was on my radar because I knew the bassist, Brad Barrett, from his work with other artists. I was not prepared to enjoy this show of what the band calls “contemporary commentary on American folk” as much as I did.
Comprised of Leah Hennessey on vocals, Jacob Means on mandolin, and Barrett on bass, this trio took their name from the traditional song “I’ll Fly Away.” They began their set with “Can’t Be Satisfied” — their tribute to Muddy Waters.
Hennessey has a fabulous voice. Speaking with her after the show, I was almost afraid to suggest that her voice reminded me of Rachael Price (of Lake Street Dive). But she told me that she and Price had studied with the same professor at the New England Conservatory of Music, Dominique Eade. On top of Hennessey’s vocals, Means and Barrett add a fabulous dimension to the music.
Other songs they performed were Patsy Cline’s “Walkin’ After Midnight,” “I’ll Fly Away,” and Hank Williams’ “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” Despite the fact that the group has no fiddler, they tackled traditional fiddle tune “Cluck Old Hen,” which I loved. They delivered the Blind Willie Johnson tune, “You’re Gonne Need Somebody on Your Bond,” and ended with the gospel song, “A Closer Walk with Thee,” which had the audience singing along on the chorus.
Opening the show were Alex Smith and Jake Brillhart. They performed songs written by Smith, including a song about a heroin addict friend who overdosed titled, “We Can’t Always Go to Heaven.”