Stone Church at Zion Hill // Newmarket, NH // January 7, 2010
Nepotism should be one of the seven deadly sins. The idea that, as the child of someone talented, you must be talented too is an absurd one. Therefore it must be doubly hard for someone like Tao Rodriguez-Seeger (grandson of folk legend Pete Seeger) to convince folks he isn’t just a poor mans imitation of old granpappy.
Tao, after joining the opening band for a few songs, ended up walking on stage, in his New Jersey style tight jeans and denim shirt (think the Boss circa 1984) and wasted no time. ‘We got a little murder ballad for you,’ was all he said before his four man band busted into the more rockabilly rockn’roll than folk ‘Long Neck Bottle’. In fact, the only thing that seemed to be folksy about him at all during the entire night was his storytelling songs and his occasional political bent on covers like his fathers’ ‘Bring ‘em Home’ and Jim Garland’s ‘Harry Simms’. He strummed his banjo like a rock star, howled into it, and jumped around on stage like a madman.
Raised in Nicaragua, it was no surprise he played some Spanish tunes, including an old caballero number. His voice, which is pleasant in English, is beautiful in Spanish. Tao sounded more at home singing in Spanish, although the audience seemed more at home listening in English.
The only thing missing was a crowd as enthusiastic as Tao himself. After around an hour and a half on stage, Tao invited the openers (Chris Merenda and the Wheel Specials) up for a couple covers. He told the crowd that the show was basically over but that they would just stay up there and mess around for a while. Mess around they did, musically, it was all business, and it was all sorts of good.