Boom Forest came to town Wednesday night and made us all feel like family.
The band’s sage and, Wednesday night anyway, soloist, John Paul Roney strummed his father’s guitar and welled up a little as he played his favorite song.
He talked about how his dad used to call him after he’d seen a band perform on late-night TV.”You’re so much better than they were,” he’d say.
“And I’d say, OK, Dad,” Roney said. “What I wouldn’t give to hear him say it one more time.”
Then he launched into “While You Sleep,” a beautiful, melancholy song he said he sang at his dad’s funeral.
The song, the stories, and that old guitar that needed to be tuned repeatedly, set the tone for an evening in which Riverview Gardens felt like a big front porch on a sweet summer day, although one with excellent acoustics.
Whether he’s playing stomping songs with his band mates, or singing acapella, Roney connects intimately with his audience. The tenor voice that earned him solos around the globe during his boy choir days, has only grown sweeter.
In fact, it almost seemed a shame during the second set when the appreciative audience at Mile of Music’s Rhythms and Brews began to sing along. But, Boom Forest has played at every Mile of Music and has developed quite a loyal following.
And, when you’re sitting on someone’s front porch and he invites you to join him in song, it’s only polite to chime in. Toward the end of the concert, the whole room sang along with him to the Everly’s Brothers “All I Have to Do is Dream,” and that felt pretty cool, too.
I’m a little mad at myself that I didn’t take advantage of more of these Rhythms and Blues concerts and I intend to rectify that situation this spring. They offer an excellent sampling of what Mile of Music is all about — excellent, accessible music.
Boom Forest will be back for Mile 5. Ahhhh! Can’t wait!
For a small taste of the evening, here’s “Freshly Laundered Linen.” Check out Boom Forest for more songs I highly recommend.