While our expectations were admittedly high for last Thursday’s Child Ballads show at the Knitting Factory, as soon as Stewart Lupton took the stage looking gaunt, holding a notebook, and with a picked-n-pecked love worn acoustic around his neck we knew we weren’t in line to be disappointed.
Playing in between the Willowz and Dead Meadow, Lupton and co. jangled out seven songs of rootsy Americana pop chock full of harmonica, shakers, a Wurlitzer, a Farfisa, and a viola to a crowd that was well aware of the semi-homecoming that they were attending. Lupton’s voice sounds as good as it did in the JF*E days, and the harmonies between he and organ player Betsy Wright are as loved-in and loose as the shoelaces on your fave pair of sneaks. The buzz is that she and Lupton are bf & gf, and they def did rock a musical couple vibe - fortunately, more Johnny and June Carter Cash than Mates of State. Case in point: during a break Lupton opined, “I wish I was as good at tuning as I am at kissing.” Wright only smiled. As she tuned his guitar for him.
We’ve got no song titles, but with lyrics like, “I remember when that voice went away and a harmony came back in its place,” the show was just more proof that sometimes song titles aren’t the most important part. Honestly we were damn near holding hands with ourselves.