[Harp-L] Jason Ricci Etters Review

I was at the Jason Ricci show last night at Kclingers in Etters, PA. Me
and fellow harp-lers Rick Smith, "Zig" Zeller, and Dick Lightfoot were
there. Awesome show, really I can't say much more that has been said in
the previous rave reviews. This is hard to classify - it isn't
straight-up blues per se, it's really a mixture of everything I love in
the harmonica sound in the blues/rock/funk genres. Even a bit of sort of
"world music" in an amazing hindu/ravi shankar/butterfield-east-west
sort of LONG take on Feel Good Funk that even broke into the best
version I've ever heard of Amazing Grace briefly, and took all sorts of
directions that just got better and better. It was just incredible to
listen to, the effects alone. It's on the coming live at checkers cd I
believe (minus the amazing grace part).

And as someone else just posted in the other thread, the cool thing
about Ricci is that nobody can accuse him of being made by the gear.
Many times, in fact during most songs, he simply pocketed the RE-10
wireless that was hooked to his rig and played blistering but fully
tonefull acoustic runs directly into the SM58 vocal mic and PA complete
with all of the traditional cupping effects (wah, etc). 

I checked out his rig but didn't write it all down or anything. Maybe
Rick can chime in. He had his bassman re-issue (one of the original
re-issues) that he's had worked up pretty well, sounding awesome as
usual. He had the re-10 played through a sanson wireless unit on the
floor next to his pedals (no wires at all, even to a belt clip, just an
adapter onto the mic). He had a series of pedals (delay, etc) beginning
with the kinder anti-feedback, which he said he doesn't even know if he
needs, but it's one of those things, when you DO need it and it saves
you (due to room acoustics, etc) it's worth the price. He had the boss
oc-2 and some other effects, about 4 pedals in all in series. 

The new drummer sounded quite excellent, forget his name, but he was a
session guy in Nashville before hooking up with Jason. Shawn Starski was
amazing as usual on the lead guitar, and the long-time bass dude (forget
his name) was also spot-on and sounded so good. Jason went into the
substance abuse rap, which was amusing to the huge table of very drunk
youngsters there celebrating a birthday, but they had a good back-forth
and it was entertaining. Ah, to be young again. Women didn't look like
that back in my day, at least they didn't dress like that! But I
digress... He also did a spiel before Blues Penitentiary about some
idiot who was giving them problems when they were setting up last night.
I talked to him right after this happened but missed what it was, but he
was very upset and said it almost came down to a fight. He had to go on
and said he'd elaborate later, but we didn't get the chance to follow
up. Maybe he'll treat us to that story when he gets back on.

So the tunes were a mix of old and new stuff, blue and lonesome, mellow
down easy, head in a bad neighborhood, etc. They kept most of the
audience there to the end, which for me is tough to do on a "school
night" these days, especially when I had a long, cold ride home on the
motorcycle at 1:30am. When the first set lasted from 8:45 until about
11:45, I thought they were going to say "Goodnight, thanks!" but no way.
A brief break and then onto set two. I'm tempted to head out to Red
Bank, NJ Friday because I have family out that way and they're
headlining a festival that night. If you're going tonight or any of
these upcoming shows, enjoy. If you're thinking about it, don't sit
home, just go. This is the show to bring those folks around you that get
their impression of harp from sources like dylan, springsteen, young,
joel (not that they're bad, I listen to all of their music and neil
young in particular is a favorite) and the knuckleheads in the bar bands
that play "just a little" because they want something to do besides

Bill Hines
Hershey, PA

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