Wednesday night felt like being in tundra land, but the fiddles were playing hot at The Westport Saloon with Betse & Clark (Kansas City) and the Urban Pioneers (Albany, TX). It’s always a special night at the Saloon with the Urban Pioneers come to town. These shows feel like a mini Westport Roots festival with the roots family coming in for the music.
Betse & Clark started with classic bluegrass. Betse being a fan of The Clash, a few of their songs were covered; they even mashed up Midnight Log with the classic fiddle tune Glory in the Meeting House. Betse & Clark blew me away with their incredible talent; if you haven’t seen them play yet, put them on your must see list. Betse has a powerful voice and their chemistry on stage is great. Their songs mix old time bluegrass, social justice, The Clash, and their own music.
The stage was warm and ready for the Urban Pioneers. If their music doesn’t move you to dance, I’m not sure what will. The Urban Pioneers get down and dirty with some fast pickin’ hillbilly swing music. Watching Liz slay on the fiddle you can almost see sparks flying off her bow. Jared and Martin kept pace. Liz and Jared take turns on vocals. Similar to Betse & Clark, the Urban Pioneers played a mix of old timey string music (last year they recorded a great 10 track album of old time strings songs that’s worth a spin or three) and originals. The music topics tell tales of their life from playing a song about they festival Jared and Liz got married at last year, funny songs about the kitty on laundry day and the waffle house to more serious issues dealing with being wrongly accused of a crime not commited. These songs while telling tales of their life still feel relatable. This was a special night.