Tonight was the beginning of the annual marathon of fundraisers supporting the local music festival Clucking Blossom held in the Spring. Dubbed “An Acoustic Celebration of the War on Christmas!”, the event was held at College Coffeehouse and included an eclectic range of singer/songwriter performers residing in Fairbanks.
While I didn’t have a chance to stay for the entire event, I was happy to have witnessed the two acts I’ve never seen perform before. The lineup began with a few familiar faces, starting off with the a performance by Young Fangs partial frontman Josh LaBuda. LaBuda has recently performed multiple shows as a solo gig and is continuing to show that sometimes the tinging pop-rock performed in Young Fangs, can be transformed into effortlessly affecting acoustic gems. Daniel Firmin took the stage second and is alway a little more light-hearted. That has always been his gig and along with a striking confident voice, he continues to charm. While throwing in a Feeding Frenzy soft ballad or two, the real focus was with the reunion of the always penetrating personality of Brandon Reid. Reid joined the stage to perform a duet with Firmin of his now classic song, ‘Strong Man’. He also shared a story of how College Coffeehouse was the first place he performed the song where only one of the friends in attendance was there the first go-round. The momentum and natural chemistry among these old friends is completely apparent and seems to always bring a smile to familiar friends and newcomers alike.
The first unfamiliar face I saw perform tonight was Joe Ransdell-Green. Not knowing much about the kid than just some hearsay from some of the event coordinators, it was a fun performance to watch. The set included a cover of some ‘Pretty White T’s’ or some shit of a band’s single I’m sure we all know but didn’t really know, sounded more approchable than the version heard on radio. An original called ‘Bilbo Baggins’ was also promising and entertaining to hear. Green’s attention and ambition was pretty spot on for an 18-year-old that has a lot of time to expand his sound. Seeing him perform in the future should be fun; especially to witness his journey as a budding musician play out over the next couple years. He also sported a “No Pebble Mine’ sticker on his guitar neck, and that is always awesome.
The other face who I hadn’t seen perform happens to be new to Fairbanks (also hearsay), and is a female vocalist/pianist named Merry Ellen Kirk. After a brief encounter at a house party the night prior, I was inclined to look her up and was pleasantly surprised to see what seems to be a quite established young career based out of Nashville. I’m not sure the reasoning behind her transplant to Fairbanks as of yet, but I’m sure we’ll welcome the musical addition with open arms. Her music played out soft but confident, and stirring but contained at the same time. Her voice and piano work reminded me of a younger A Fine Frenzy and at least to me, that’s a fine comparison. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of her as the months pass, and maybe even a KSUA Take Out Session in the future as well.
That is where I had to depart, but the night also included a few local favorties Bernie Bousa and Nate Zody. I’m sure their sets were fun and expectedly awesome as usual. Overall the Clucking Blossom committee and festival coordinators continue to impress with their dedication to support a local festival and ambition that truly strives off of a cultural web of family and talent here in Fairbanks.
The next event Clucking Blossom Fundraising will be holding is a Highschool Showcase on the 18th of January in the UAF Woodcenter Ballroom. More details will be arriving as we all approach the beginning of 2013. You can always find any and all information pertaining to Clucking Blossom here.
-B. Gross, Music Director KSUA 91.5
For more information on the artists discussed, check out some of the links below: