Kelly McFarling: Worth Checking Out

Kelly McFarling
Subterranean Arthouse
Berkelely, CA
March 16, 2012

First, let me state that there is nothing subterranean about the Subterranean Arthouse in Berkeley, CA.  It is more of a fairly small sized art gallery with mismatched chairs and a sink in the back to make yourself some tea.  I was rather expecting a dimly-lit basement bar with unfinished walls and a low ceiling, PBR on tap and an audience of anachronistic beatniks snapping their fingers, rather than applauding, the polite folk music stylings of Kelly McFarling.

KM made a previous appearance on MV&R when she did a very nice (indeed) cover of Joni Mitchell’s Little Green at Uncovered: Joni Mitchell’s Blue.  Many were taken with her Zoe Deschanel voice and banjo accompaniment.  Her banjo playing is not a-mighty-fine-picking a la old-timey, foot-stomping bluegrass but, rather, is used more like a strumming folk guitar or rolling chord plucking a la Shawn Colvin, Joni Mitchell etc.  But she is a mighty fine singer which made the short performance at the Arthouse very enjoyable despite the violated expectations.  Her songs are well-crafted and thoughtful and she is a performer with real potential although the performance sounded more complete when she was accompanied by a full band rather than on her own.  Still, if you like the folkie singer-songwriter thing, Kelly is worth checking out.

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