Monday, July 29, 2013

Rebecca Haviland & Whiskey Heart at Arlene's Grocery

Singer/songwriters Rebecca Haviland and Chris Anderson met at the Red Lion in 2003 shortly after graduating from Purchase University, where they'd never crossed paths while students. Finding common interests and musical tastes, they began writing songs together and soon formed an alt-country blues band called Rebecca Haviland and Whisky Heart. The band plays the local club circuit and recently released an eponymous album, self-produced and co-written by Haviland and Anderson.

At Arlene’s Grocery tonight, Haviland showed that she is a bright yet low-key folk blues singer, in the style of Bonnie Raitt, as Whiskey Heart played a warm and modest backup. With little fanfare or excessive color, Haviland sang authentically honest songs with heart, soul and guts. Most of the songs tonight were soft and slow, accentuating moods and sensitivities rather than rocking the senses. Although the original songs were impressive, the one cover song was a genius reworking of Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog.” When Robert Plant sang it in 1971, it was a driving rock song infused with sexual innuendo. Haviland’s masterful reinterpretation curiously countrified the song and made it sound like a G-rated home-spun log cabin spiritual. Rebecca Haviland and Whisky Heart will be performing at the Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2 on August 31.