BettySoo and Doug Cox live at the Rogue Folk Club
Across the Borderline (BettySoo and Doug Cox) played the Rogue Folk Club in Vancouver on November 11. As well as some originals, they played songs written by their musical heroes.
It turns out we share the same heroes.
They played every song save two from their fine, new CD, Across the Borderline: Lie to Me. From the opening “Lie to Me,” they had us eating out of their hands. It was a pleasure to hear Cox’s dobro featured and this was highlighted on Jane Siberry’s “You Don’t Need.” As the concert went on it was hard to tell if we were looking forward to the next song more or the between-song banter. Not many can get away with referring to Guy Clark as “that old hack” but by the time they got to their encore “Dublin Blues” everyone knew it was said out of profound admiration for the master who turns 70 this year. We were amused to hear that other audiences have expressed alarm at the fond way they shoot darts at each other between songs.
BettySoo and Doug Cox met less than two years ago at Acoustic Alaska Guitar camp where they were both teaching. They claim no one else would hang out with them and so they were thrown together. We are glad they were and their musicianship shines.
They were not into self-promotion; the concert was as much about the songs in their set that they have not recorded. The last song before intermission was “Morning Song to Sally.” During the break I thanked BettySoo for singing the Jerry Jeff Walker song which has always been a personal favorite. When I discovered they had not recorded it yet, I insisted they do so. I felt the same when later they played Kate Wolf’s “Across the Great Divide.” Many have sung it, including the late composer, but BettySoo made it her own, beautifully.
Tribute after tribute came as the evening unfolded: Doug Sahm, Blaze Foley, Butch Hancock, Betty Elders and Bob Carpenter. Having grown up on the Canadian plains I was astonished and excited to hear them play “Louis Riel” by Sahm. Historical accounting has not been kind to Riel, leader of the Metis peoples’ uprisings in 1869 against the settlement of the Canadian West.
“The touring and recording BettySoo and I plan to do is based on all the stories and songs we have each collected over years of being surrounded by great characters.” says Cox, “Lots of these songs are in danger of disappearing if they don’t keep being sung. Keeping these songs alive is what we intend to do with Across The Borderline.”
BettySoo is based in Austin, Texas and Doug Cox lives on Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada. It is wonderful they have come together to make music.
Opening for them was the Victoria-based, sometime-duo Ivonne Hernandez and Jeremy Walsh. They clearly belonged sharing the same stage with Across the Borderline. Both have fine voices with Hernandez on violin and Walsh on guitar.