On Sunday night, The Aggie Theatre hosted the return of the talented duo, Rachael and Vilray. Performing to the Fort Collins crowd for the first time since July 2021, the couple presented several selections from their 2023 release, "I Love a Love Song," along with other originals. They kept a mostly seated audience captivated with every note and story from beginning to end.
Energized and beaming, this melding of melody and mind felt as genuine and sincere as ever. The two kindred spirits took turns telling stories, engaging in banter, and exuding an authentic comfort both on stage and in each other's presence. Even in moments of lyrical or memory slips, the atmosphere remained light, and not a beat was missed as both performers and the audience laughed through the all-too-human moments.
Although the latest album features additional instrumentation, including horns and rhythm, the sound was as authentic as it gets. The stripped-down delivery highlighted their skill and savvy, with each staying in perfect swing to the meter of Vilray's lone guitar (and occasional whistle). While they visited the tin pan alley genre numerous times, the duo also explored other styles, including Latin, jazz, and pop.
Rachel Price's powerful vocal delivery became even more apparent against the minimalist backdrop of Vilray's instrumentation. The "gentle giant's" six-string prowess was evident note for note, showcasing his mastery of the fretboard. Vilray's lyrics not only entertained the audience but often had Price laughing along with the crowd, his wry smile evident as he frequently stood satisfied, having achieved his goal of sharing his comedic take on life's themes.
Speaking with audience members after the show, many mentioned they had attended the 2021 performance and expressed their intentions to keep returning for more. They wished the duo would tour more regularly, as a few shows every now and then were never enough.
With The Aggie's capacity maxing out at 600 and the number of tour stops being less than ten for this and past tours, it's clear that Rachael and Vilray's continued commitment stems from a love for the musical era, each other, and the joy of sharing that inspires them. They give insight into the quirks that define them. Moreover, their decision to arrive without any merchandise to sell and to comment on this fact further demonstrated that for these two artists, it's not always about profit but more about the joy of giving of themselves to others who simply "Love a Love Song."