Written by Eddie Ferranti
Apr 13, 2013 at 08:00 PM
ImageThe Southwest Regional Folk Alliance in 2012 has been an unreal spawning of talent to the Houston area in 2013. Rose and I left that conference last September marveling about all the talent we had witnessed in a rapid fire, in-your-face style that has paid major dividends for Houston Music Review.

This night, we were not only seeing one of those groups, but were hitting yet another house concert in the H-Town area, too. Moors and McCumber came to town to play at the Rouse House Concerts in the cool Houston Heights locale.

Based in Superior, Wisconsin, and growing up in Minneapolis, James Moors is the heavy side of the songwriting in the duo and his lyrics are beautifully crafted story type songs, which weave a calming feel to the tales. To say his partner in crime, Colorado’s Kort McCumber, is a multi-talented instrumetalist is putting it mildly. In the first 5 songs, I counted six instruments he had played! Several acoustic guitars (6 & 12 string), a Tenor banjo, violin, a mandolin, which he’s mastered after only like 18 months experience, a dobro, an odd 8-string called an Irish Bouzouki…toss in killer harp work and you have the makings of a skilled performer!

M&M were exposing the audience to a lot of songs from their 3rd album, “Against the Grain”, which comes out 6/1/13.

‘Feeling In Your Belly’ has a nice hometown good feeling charm to it and the title cut kicked it also. Two stand out cuts to this reviewer that stuck in my noggen afterwards were ‘Some Things Are Better Unsaid’ and the ultra catchy ‘Quick As I Can’!

As the gig moved along it was wonderful to see two musicians bring an unreal intimacy to their music. I really think McCumber could play a kitchen sink if you threw it at him and I love that their lyrics dare to take a chance and actually say something ala ’70’s style like in ‘Somethings Got to Give’ featuring an off-the-rails mandolin solo. Other gems included a cover of Ellis Paul’s ‘3000 Miles’ and ‘Leaving for Cove’ with killer refrain of: “We drink to remember, We drink to forget. We drink to put to rest the ghosts in our head.” Amen to that!

The Irish Bouzouki came into play big time on new one ‘Sla Abhaile,’ which I believe was Irish itself pronounced “slan awallya”! Whatever it was, McCumber was found to play his violin like a guitar and the “Seals and Croft” delivery with backdoor jamming is quite an unique combination. In fact, for my taste I can only imagine if these two stretched it out and added jam band tendencies to their already gliding harmonies technique.

A super treat for the ending was when they called up Houston singer-songwriter Brian Kalinec to join them on guitar for ‘Shakin’ Off These Blues’.  BK has a nice way of sliding some good guitar work into any song and he added to the jam band feel I dug big time.

The music of Moors and McCumber ends up covering a lot of influences, a smokey Celtic-bluegrass-blues, if you will, and seems best in a live setting. After they got our attention in hotel rooms and showcases last September, it was more than pleasing to see them up close and personal and visit with two of the most down-to-earth fellows you’d ever want to meet and support.  Hipefully you can catch them August 17 at Conroe House Concerts.  HMR will be there with bells on and who knows that may be one of their instruments by then, too!

As for Rouse House Concerts ( rouse_house_concerts@yahoo.com ) it was a very nice evening.  The duo of Deb Rouse and Lindsey Lee opened their doors on 623 E. 7-1/2 Street and what a nice house it is. A potluck of finger food type grub rocked and their desserts were very good, too! Wine flowed like a river to the pro-wine crowd and everybody was having a nice time.

Most of the sardine packed crowd seemed to be regulars and Deb told me she inherited this gig from her dad. He was known to stalk Ray Wylie Hubbard back in 1991 until RWH finally gave in and he loved it! 1991 house concerts were born and all over Texas it is way more than a passing fad these days with many home gigs thriving in the H-Town area.

My only nit picks of this particular one was the absence of a PA or microphones.  Not that the sound was bad at all, but I’m sorry I have to have a mike in front of a performer to make it feel. Right…Just me being me always and I’d drop a few chairs while you’re at it to lessen the “get to know your neighbor” tightness of the venue.
Don’t take my word for it, gO see Deb & Lindsey yourself and support these fine folks who care passionately about the live music scene in the area and love to promote everybody’s gigs! THAT is a fine trait and should be whole heartily supported…HMR does and we’re looking for you out there!