It was kinda quiet at Vincents last night when I arrived. To be fair, 9:30 was a little early for this local favorite hotspot. It’s a place to go after you’ve been somewhere else—dinner, another performance, or just late getting out of the house. Vincent’s is always dependable because it's open later than most places and, more often than not, the music makes you “sit up and take notice.” I love it because it’s the place where I get to discover bands and musicians I haven’t heard before and tonight was no exception. I really enjoyed talking to Betsy-Dawn Williams of Girl Howdy over the phone and listened online to some of the music, but didn’t really know what to expect, hearing this band live.
Well, I thought, as I entered and glanced around the bar, they certainly LOOK the part, attired in western wear and cowboy boots, “stompin’ at the bit” to get started. Not that I really know what a honky-tonk band looks like. As I settled in, I looked around at the growing crowd. Aside from what must have been some devoted fans that the band brought with them, the regular crowd had a look of anticipation, waiting to hear something new. This band looked different.
I didn’t even need to warm up to them. Right out of the gate, they were a foot-stompin’ band. Paula Bradley, piano and vocals, and Betsy Dawn, guitar and vocals, both have these great country-style twangy voices that are so different from each other, yet blend so well. Drummer Billy Nadeau and upright bass player, Brian Rost, had a great driving sound but couldn’t get much of them on video—Just Billy’s arms flying around behind Betsy Dawn. And then there’s Peter “Doctor Z” Zarkadas, the guitar player sitting in for steel guitar player Rose Sinclair. His solos certainly had the “twang” and he was so in sync, it seemed like he had played with this band forever. This is a band that knows how to have fun and this is a band that when you hear them, you just can’t help smiling. Let alone dancing.
After one set, the late night crowd started filling up the place. People loved the band, recognizing some old favorites like ”Stop, Look and Listen”, “Face to the Wall,” “Don’t Worry About Me” or the band’s title track “Honky Tonk Hair” and “Eenie Meenie Miney,” a couple of originals. I’m pretty sure the Girl Howdy newcomers experiencing this spirited performance for the first time will be following this band closely . You can catch them at Johnny D’s in Somerville on January 29th @ 7 pm. See you there.