Steve at Telluride #12: The Still is Still Moving to Me
Tristan Clarridge is the Sammy Hagar of modern acoustic music. Fans familiar with the elegant Boston acoustic group, Crooked Still, know that wunderkind cellist Rushad Eggleton left the band a while back. Eggleton was not only a creative driving force within the group—with his cello’s percussive zips and pops—but was also a performance dynamo (wore goofy costumes, couldn’t sit still). But, instead of hanging it up, Crooked Still replaced Eggleton with Clarridge (his hair: Crystal Gayle) and tacked on fiddler Brittany Hass (on a five-string fiddle today) just to be on the safe side. This new version played a set of complex and fragrant acoustic music that floated along on orchestral drifts bolstered by Aoife (rhymes with “Leaf-uh”) O’Donovan’s ethereal vocals, which call to mind Alison Krauss’s gentler side. Dreamy stuff.
Best moment: Their whip-smart take on “Orpan Girl,” a rumbler led by Clarridge’s cello and dappled with Dr. Greg Liszt’s banjo. Listz, an MIT grad (It’s a group of braniacs: Hass graduated from Princeton two weeks ago we were told from the stage), does a little dance as he plays, and…fun fact: Liszt was Bruce Springsteen’s banjo player for the Seeger Sessions Tour a couple years back. I caught up with Liszt backstage and asked him about working with Bruce. His answer: “He’s, like, the coolest guy in world, easily.”