Friday, March 20, 2015

Live review: Lincoln Durham, Double Door Inn (3/19/2015)

Posted By on Fri, Mar 20, 2015 at 11:57 AM

Lincoln Durham
Double Door Inn
March 19, 2015

Lincoln Durham
  • Lincoln Durham

Without any announcement or warning, Lincoln Durham walked on to the Double Door Inn stage on Thursday night, held up a weathered, vintage suitcase and proceeded to beat it with drum sticks like an old shag carpet. He then began simultaneously stomping on a tambourine and kick drum pedal, as his powerful vocals offered up "Ballad of a Prodigal Son," showing range and commanding attention. When he tossed the suitcase aside and picked up a resonator guitar without missing a beat, the small-but-focused audience knew quickly they were in store for quite a show.

There wasn't much banter in the crowd as those in attendance watched every move Durham made during his Charlotte debut. The multi-instrumentalist switched his weapon of choice between nearly every song, playing a variety of guitars — acoustic, electric, cigar box and resonator — a fiddle, shakers, drums and harmonica. His one-man-band style fusing blues, country, folk and elements of rock and punk was a humble showcase of talent for the duration of his hour-and-a-half set.

Lincoln Durham
  • Lincoln Durham

Durham didn't bother with much small talk, instead cruising through his concert with sweat dripping from his brow, seemingly never missing a beat. Even when his fiddle went out of tune, he got it back on course without hesitation, tuning it as he sang. (A quick online search shows he's been playing guitar since age 4 and won a Texas state fiddle championship at age 10.)

Durham finger-picked his acoustic, used a slide on the resonator and even tried out a recently acquired three-string guitar. "I just got this," he told the crowd. "Let's see if it works." Durham then proceeded to astound the crowd, playing like the new instrument was his old favorite.

As I watched song after song, it became abundantly clear — this isn't a gimmick. Durham wasn't hammering away on a drum behind his back for show; it was simply the easiest way to hit it. He wasn't switching instruments to prove how many he can play; each one had a different tone to serve the song. Tuning that fiddle mid-song wasn't a show of talent as much as it was a necessity.

Lincoln Durham
  • Lincoln Durham

His main set ended with the rumbling blues of "Annie Departee" played on a one-string cigar-box guitar. When the crowd shouted for one more song, he agreed, playing "Truckers Love Song" on request. "I hate that song," he told the crowd, "but I can't think of any others I know..." As the final notes rang out, Durham promised to return to Charlotte soon. It won't be soon enough.

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