Gill Landry: Bluegrass Noir at Hi-Dive

Gill Landry performed the opening act at Hi-Dive on South Broadway in Denver, CO on October 17. 

Despite Landry’s claims to fame, as a former busker from New Orleans, LA and a member of the popular Old Crow Medicine Show, it is likely that you are unfamiliar with this singer-songwriter’s name.  For all those who love Americana music and do not yet know his work, I recommend an immediate Gill Landry discovery session.

Landry assumes the stage as a simple man with a simple sound.  Perhaps, it is this humble and unassuming vibe that is to blame for his Landry’s lack of notoriety.  With an unpretentious demeanor and presence best described as subtle, Gill Landry keeps only his six string and sincere love of music center stage.   I argue that it is this straightforward focus that separates him from the pack.   This is certainly not to say that his live performance is boring or disengaging—quite contraire.

As I stood there swaying to his earnest voice sing his title track “Piety and Desire,” I was moved by his street-singing roots and modern version of depression-era blues.  With his trusty acoustic guitar in hand, and the “prettiest-damn-fiddle player-I-ever-did-see” by his side, his bluegrass noir decidedly sustained the attention of his audience.  With dark lyrics and heavy-hearted vocals, Landry’s sincerity prevents his sound from being misconstrued as trite or lame.  He perhaps bit off more than he can chew on-stage, with his dramatic track “Anjolie,” but by the time he sang “Annie,” it was clear that I had been hooked by his maudlin charm and solid voice. 

Some might say that Gill Landry is cut from the same cloth as Steve Earle or Ramblin’ Jack Elliott.  Landry, however, delivers his bluegrass street blues straight and up.  With a voice like fine whiskey that goes down easy, but can still light a fire, Gill Landry’s music was made to be enjoyed.

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